Tarleton’s fall 2016 enrollment largest ever; the whole family’s here

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STEPHENVILLE (August 26, 2016) — Tarleton State University boasts its largest enrollment ever with more than 13,000 students signed up for fall 2016 classes in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online.

Fall 2016 numbers represent a 6-percent increase over last year and a 12-percent growth over two years ago, marking the fifth consecutive year Tarleton has set a record for total enrollment.

Most of Tarleton’s 2,200 freshmen—the largest first-year class in university history—moved into their home-away-from-home this past weekend on the Stephenville campus for a week of activities that prepare them for their college experience.

If enrollment momentum continues through the university’s official start on Monday, Aug. 29, Tarleton-Fort Worth could see a 6.5-percent growth—with more than 1,800 students—and Tarleton-Waco could surpass 1,000, a 3-percent increase over fall 2015. Enrollment at Tarleton-Midlothian is expected to top 300 students and the Global Campus 600.

“Fall 2016 marks another milestone in the incredible story of Tarleton State University,” said President F. Dominic Dottavio. “It’s clear that Tarleton is fast becoming a university of choice for students looking for a real-world, high-quality university experience. Our students tell us time and time again that our expert faculty, personal attention, friendly atmosphere, traditions, and core values are defining characteristics of Tarleton.

“Students come from all over Texas and from around the globe,” he said. “Entire families—parents and their children—are pursuing their university education together at Tarleton.”

Carmen Noles, her three children and a nephew, along with Neil and Jody Waddell and son Benjamin are ready to start fall classes at Tarleton. The Waddell’s oldest son Matthew plans to join them next spring after graduation from the Fort Worth Police Academy.

Carmen, Neil, Jody and Benjamin are enrolled at Tarleton-Fort Worth, while Carmen’s children—Rudy and Joseph Puente and Jennifer Gonzalez—and nephew, Daniel Raya, will take classes on the Stephenville campus and online.

The Waddell family graduated together from Tarrant County College this spring, with their minds already set on transferring to Tarleton to complete their degrees. Neil, Jody and Benjamin, 19, will study business, and Matthew, 21, will major in psychology.

“There was never any question about where we’d continue our education,” said Jody, who works as a self-taught accountant for a defense company. “With Fort Worth and global campuses, Tarleton is a perfect fit for the entire family.

“I grew up participating in high school 4-H activities at the Stephenville campus and fell in love with it. When I heard there was a Fort Worth location, I didn’t have to think twice about enrolling at Tarleton.”

Meet the Noles Family (top photo, back row l-r): Joseph Puente, Daniel Raya, Rudy Puente Jr.; (middle) Mireya Raya, Carmen Noles; (front) Abigail Puente; and (inset) Jennifer Gonzalez. The Waddell family has four enrolled at Tarleton, including (l-r) Matthew, Jody, Neil and Benjamin. (Photos contributed)
Meet the Noles Family (top photo, back row l-r): Joseph Puente, Daniel Raya, Rudy Puente Jr.; (middle) Mireya Raya, Carmen Noles; (front) Abigail Puente; and (inset) Jennifer Gonzalez. The Waddell family has four enrolled at Tarleton, including (l-r) Matthew, Jody, Neil and Benjamin. (Photos contributed)

Jody and Neil’s pursuit of a university education started with a push for their children to earn undergraduate degrees and Matthew’s inquiry about why they had to go to college when their parents hadn’t.

“We eliminated that excuse right away,” explained Neil, a real estate agent, “and decided to enroll with the kids. I wouldn’t ask someone to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.”

Carmen Noles’ oldest son, Rudy Puente Jr., 19, was the first in his family to enroll at Tarleton. He’s a sophomore music education major and member of the university’s marching band, The Sound & The Fury. With Rudy’s encouragement, younger brother Joseph, 18, enrolled this fall as a first-year student in Stephenville with plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in wildlife sustainability and ecosystem science.

Together, Joseph and Rudy convinced their mother to enroll at the university’s Fort Worth location—not far from where she teaches first grade as a bilingual elementary school teacher—to earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Their older sister, Jennifer, is signed up for graduate classes in public administration via Tarleton’s Global Campus.

“When my nephew heard we’d all enrolled at Tarleton for the fall, he decided to transfer from Texas A&M-Kingsville to make our pursuit of a higher education a true family affair,” Carmen explained, “and there’s a strong possibility that others will join us next spring or summer.

“Tarleton is the perfect place for an entire family to learn and grow together,” Carmen said. “The university’s standards and values reflect those I’ve tried to instill in my children. Our time together as Tarleton Texans will be time well spent.”

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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