A&M System Chancellor Sharp, Regent Albritton make official visit to Tarleton

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STEPHENVILLE (October 13, 2015) — John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, and Robert L. Albritton, newest appointee to the System’s Board of Regents, made an official visit to Tarleton State University today to receive updates on capital improvement projects and to provide the regent with his first tour of the Stephenville campus.

Today’s visit marks Chancellor Sharp’s fifth official trip to Tarleton since being appointed chief executive officer of the A&M System, and Albritton’s inaugural visit since being named to the Board of Regents by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 22, 2015. Joining the System representatives during today’s visit was Dr. Craig L. Nessler, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the state’s lead agency for research in the life sciences, natural resources and agriculture, as well as Tarleton State University Foundation Inc. board president A. Dwain Mayfield.

Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio and Dr. Karen Murray, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, officially greeted the campus visitors and led the entourage throughout the day for visits with various faculty and program directors, highlighting some of the recent developments throughout the university’s academic colleges.

Tarleton ROTC Cadet Jonathan Torres greets Chancellor Sharp during an overview of Tarleton's revived Corps of Cadets leadership program as Corps Commandant Kenny Weldon looks on.
Tarleton ROTC Cadet Jonathan Torres greets Chancellor Sharp during an overview of Tarleton’s revived Corps of Cadets leadership program as Corps Commandant Kenny Weldon looks on.

As part of their visit, Sharp and Albritton met with members of Tarleton’s ROTC and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, commandant of the university’s recently revived Corps of Cadets. Weldon highlighted the history of the Corps of Cadets at Tarleton, its ties to Texas A&M University and how the storied student leadership program will make a return to the university in the coming months.

Sharp and Albritton were given a brief presentation on Tarleton’s recently formed School of Criminology, Criminal Justice & Strategic Studies by executive director Dr. Alex del Carmen, while Nessler met with faculty from the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences to discuss ongoing research activities in partnership with the local Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center.

During the morning tour, Dottavio discussed plans for the Centennial Pedestrian Mall project—a redevelopment plan that includes transforming the now-closed portions of Lillian and Vanderbilt streets within the campus into attractive pedestrian malls, linking both the east and west sides of campus, and alleviating storm water run-off and drainage issues and allowing installation of underground utility infrastructure.

Upon completion of the pedestrian mall project, Tarleton will honor one of its most well-known alumni, Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder, the 16th president of Texas A&M, third president of the A&M System and former Texas Land Commissioner. Tarleton will rename a portion of Vanderbilt Street as Rudder Way, commemorating his distinguished service to both higher education and politics within Texas, as the university celebrates its 100th year as a member of The Texas A&M University System in 2017.

Dottavio also highlighted completion of Tarleton’s newest student residential living and learning facilities, Heritage and Integrity Halls, as well as two student housing projects currently under construction and renovation, Traditions Hall and the Honors Hall.

Chancellor Sharp is greeted by members of the Tarleton Texan men's basketball team during a brief tour of Wisdom Gym.
Chancellor Sharp is greeted by members of the Tarleton Texan men’s basketball team during a brief tour of Wisdom Gym.

Sharp and Albritton also met with members of Tarleton’s 2015 men’s national champion rodeo team, this year’s men’s NCAA Final Four Texan basketball squad and student-athletes who captured national titles in the 4×400-meter relay and long jump at the 2015 NCAA track and field championships.

Dr. Joe Priest, director of Tarleton’s Laboratory for Wellness & Motor Behavior, provided a brief tour and presentation of the psycle training program. Sharp and Albritton met several clients who have benefitted from the free training provided to individuals with quadriplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis or other mobility impairments that require special consideration.

To conclude their official visit, student members with Tarleton’s Aeronautical Team and their adviser, Dr. Bowen Brawner, discussed the achievements and recent victories after competing in NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative (USLI). Tarleton’s Aeronautical Team, founded in 2011, placed second and won a $15,000 prize in April 2015 for successful completion of this year’s design-build-launch competition that highlighted NASA’s Mars Ascent Vehicle—the rocket affiliated with a proposed Mars Sample Return lander mission. The team is preparing for the 2016 NASA-USLI and has begun initial design and educational outreach programming as part of the upcoming competition.

Texas A&M University System Regent Robert L. Albritton, Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp review architectural renderings of the Centennial Mall Project.
Texas A&M University System Regent Robert L. Albritton, Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp review architectural renderings of the Centennial Mall Project.

About Chancellor Sharp
Sharp was appointed chancellor of The Texas A&M University System by Gov. Rick Perry in September 2011. He leads the 20-member system, which has an annual budget of $3.8 billion and is comprised of 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a comprehensive health science center. The System educates more than 131,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts annually through service and outreach programs.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and was elected student body president. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. In 1976, Sharp received a master’s degree in public administration from Southwest Texas State University while working full-time with the Legislative Budget Board in Austin.

In 1978, Sharp was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and in 1982 to the Texas Senate. He was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1986 and served two terms as state comptroller from 1990-98.

About Regent Albritton
Albritton, of Fort Worth, graduated with honors from Texas A&M receiving a double major in economics and marketing in 1971. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

Albritton currently serves as chairman and CEO of railroad construction services company RCL Services and CEO of Mayfair Petroleum & Minerals, both based in Forth Worth. A native of Bryan, Texas, Albritton has served on numerous boards in both the public and private sector, and remains active in several charitable and community organizations. He also has been active with both the United States Golf Association and Southern Golf Association with opportunities to qualify for numerous U.S. and British Amateurs.

Albritton was appointed to the Board of Regents by Gov. Abbott in 2015. He currently serves as a member of the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Buildings and Physical Plant. He serves as a liaison to the Development Foundations of A&M System Members and the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets and System Military Training Programs. His term expires February 1, 2021.

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.

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