STEPHENVILLE ( January 10, 2017) — Tarleton State University in 2017 celebrates its 100th anniversary as a founding member of the Texas A&M University System with a yearlong slate of activities honoring the people and events responsible for creating one of the fastest growing schools in the nation.
The Texas Legislature approved the partnership on Feb. 20, 1917, following a 3½-year effort by supporters to raise money to purchase 500 acres northeast of Stephenville for use as a college farm and to restore the endowment left by the university’s namesake, John Tarleton, to its original level. The money and land, plus the school’s campus, were donated to the state in exchange for Tarleton’s acceptance by Texas A&M College.
“Our century-long relationship has been a match made in academic heaven,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “Joining the System made it possible for Tarleton to establish its nationally recognized agricultural programs and, by nurturing academic opportunities in Killeen, Tarleton played a role in establishing Texas A&M University-Central Texas as well as new centers in Fort Worth, Midlothian and Waco.”
The Texas A&M University System—one of the largest networks of higher education in the nation—is home to 11 universities and seven state agencies, educating more than 140,000 students and making more than 22 million additional educational contacts annually through service and outreach programs.
“As we celebrate our 100-year affiliation with the Texas A&M University System, we not only look back on our unique heritage, but look forward with momentum and pride to continuing John Tarleton’s dream for an institution where students have access to an affordable, high-quality education that improves their lives and communities,” explained Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “We value our history and tradition, and our future as the premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond.”
Tarleton’s yearlong centennial celebration kicks off Monday, Jan. 23, with the opening of an exhibit of historical items dating back to 1917. The free exhibit, including photographs, documents and other artifacts, will be open to the public through Saturday, Jan. 28, in the gallery of the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday. A reception begins at 4 p.m. on opening day.
The celebration continues Friday, Jan. 27, with a ribbon cutting and grand opening for Tarleton’s new 24,000-square-foot Agricultural Field Machinery and Fabrication Laboratory—part of the university’s Agricultural Center—located on property originally donated to establish the university as part of the A&M System at the intersection of FM 8 and College Farm Road (County Road 518). The $3.8 million facility includes three 6,000-square-foot laboratories as well as classrooms, a computer lab, faculty offices and meeting spaces. Ceremonies begin at 2 p.m., followed by tours.
At 7:30 p.m. that Friday, Tarleton’s wind and jazz ensembles join university choirs for a concert debuting original compositions by Tarleton music faculty members Drs. Anthony Pursell and Troy Robertson and featuring guest conductor Dr. Timothy Rhea, director of bands at Texas A&M University. The concert takes place in the auditorium of the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from the box office. Call 254-968-9617 for more information.
Dr. Thomas Hatfield shares insights from his biography on U.S. Army Gen. James Earl Rudder—Rudder: From Leader to Legend (Texas A&M University Press, 2011)—with students, faculty, staff, community members, alumni and friends throughout the day on Monday, Feb. 13, and with the public at 7 that evening in the Wells Center auditorium. There is no charge.
One of the most decorated soldiers in World War II, Rudder was a Tarleton alumnus and served as president of Texas A&M University and chancellor of the A&M System. Later this year, Tarleton will dedicate a pedestrian mall and unveil a statue of the American hero—sculpted by Granbury artist and Tarleton Distinguished Alumnus Mike Tabor—on its Stephenville campus, and Vanderbilt Street on campus officially will become Rudder Way.
In concert with the annual celebration of Presidents’ Day on Monday, Feb. 20, well-known local artist and sculptor Mary Waters unveils a permanent display of pen-and-ink portraits of Tarleton presidents. The event, with a 4 p.m. ribbon cutting, takes place on the second floor of the university’s Administration Building at 1333 W. Washington St.
Hand-stamped mail leaving Tarleton’s campus postal facility carries a special postmark for all of 2017. In purple ink, the stamp features Tarleton’s “T”-over-Texas logo under a script “Centennial Celebration.” The new postmark was first used during the Christmas season, appearing on holiday greetings to friends of the university.
For more centennial happenings—including an international rocket competition this summer, a birthday party in September and a concert in November at the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth—watch Tarleton’s calendar of events at www.tarleton.edu/calendar.