November 24, 2017

Tarleton throws itself a birthday party Sept. 20 at Heritage Park

STEPHENVILLE (September 12, 2017) — Tarleton State University celebrates 100 years as a founding member of The Texas A&M University System with a Centennial Birthday Bash on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at Heritage Park in Stephenville.

Everyone’s invited for free snacks, carnival fun and live music by headliner Jon Young. Festivities kick off at 4:30 p.m. and wind down at 8.

Tarleton’s yearlong centennial celebration kicked off in January with the grand opening of a $3.8 million Agricultural Field Machinery and Fabrication Laboratory located on property originally donated to establish the university as part of the A&M System in 1917.

More events followed.

A concert with music composed by Tarleton faculty. Lectures on alumnus and military hero Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder, who became the 16th president of Texas A&M University and third chancellor of the A&M System. Pen-and-ink portraits of Tarleton presidents. Tarleton State University Day in Austin. Ground breaking for a $54 million engineering building. And a party to commemorate the single-semester enrollment of 1,000 students at the university’s outreach center on the campus of McLennan Community College in Waco.

“We have had a great year,” said President F. Dominic Dottavio. “We have looked back on our unique heritage and forward with pride to continue John Tarleton’s dream for an affordable, high-quality education that improves lives and communities. As we prepare for the next 100 years, we are more committed than ever to the success of our students and to the faculty, staff and programs that will lead them to their academic goals.”

More centennial events are planned.

Ground breaking ceremonies for the $26.4 million renovations and expansion of Memorial Stadium takes place just before the football game against West Texas A&M on Sept. 23 during Family Weekend.

When all is said and done, the stadium will boast an improved press box, suites, entrances and ticket booths as well as premium seats with chair backs and enhanced concession facilities. Overall stadium seating increases to more than 9,000, and west side stands will be converted for home fans. Football turf was replaced this summer, and track-and-field surfaces get updates after the renovation is completed next fall.

An exhibit of university artifacts is on display in the Carriage House at the Stephenville Historical House Museum through the end of October. A second exhibit will be part of the museum’s annual benefit, Sundown on the Square, on Oct. 14 and located in the foyer of the Erath County Courthouse.

Highlight of Tarleton’s centennial celebration is a visit from the A&M System Board of Regents and top officials Oct. 18 through 20, when they conduct their regular fall meeting on the Stephenville campus and honor Rudder that Thursday with the dedication of a pedestrian mall and the unveiling of a life-size statue sculpted by Granbury artist and Tarleton Distinguished Alumnus Mike Tabor. Vanderbilt Street on campus becomes Rudder Way.

One of the most decorated soldiers in U.S. history, Rudder was a student at Tarleton from 1927 to 1930 and returned eight years later to teach and coach football after graduating from Texas A&M and coaching at Brady High School.

Tarleton is where Rudder discovered who he was and what he wanted to be. Called into active military duty in 1941, he commanded the historic D-Day assault up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc in World War II and long will be remembered for the “Rudder Way” of doing things.

To keep up with centennial happenings, go to Tarleton’s calendar of events at www.tarleton.edu/calendar.

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