FORT WORTH — After more than 40 years in Fort Worth, Tarleton State University today opened the first building of its planned campus along Chisholm Trail Parkway with a ribbon cutting, tours and remarks from community leaders, legislators and Texas A&M University System officials.
“This is a watershed event for Tarleton, Fort Worth, Tarrant County and the entire A&M University System,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “This state-of-the-art facility and future campus will stimulate job growth, spur innovation and improve overall quality of life for generations to come.
“Texas was built on cattle, cotton, oil and gas, but today we celebrate a new step in growing the Texas empire — the opportunity to empower our human resources with an affordable, high-quality university education.”
State Rep. Craig Goldman (District 97) applauded Tarleton’s commitment to education, calling it an extension of the competitiveness and community outlined in Fort Worth’s economic development plan. He lauded the school as the first public university to put down roots in the city.
Added Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio: “Today we celebrate more than the opening of a building. We celebrate John Tarleton’s dream, and we celebrate our commitment to Fort Worth and the students we serve. As the heart of our presence in Fort Worth, this first building reflects our rich heritage and bright future. Our founder ranched in Palo Pinto and Erath counties in the late 19th century and hoped to make education accessible and affordable throughout the region. Today we extend our founder’s dream.”
The three-story, 76,000-square-foot building — crowning 80 acres donated by Walton Development — will enable Tarleton to work with business and industry leaders to expand current degree programs and add new ones, furthering continued economic growth and development in North Texas.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called education the key to the city’s future.
“As Fort Worth continues to see economic growth and attract new residents and businesses, we must provide greater educational opportunities,” she said. “Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus is a significant step in offering accessible and affordable higher education opportunities that will lead our community toward a better-educated workforce. Together, we will make Fort Worth the best place to live, work and learn.”
Tarleton State University came to Fort Worth in 1978 with eight students on West Myrtle Street, moved to the Richard C. Schaffer Building on Enderly Place in the ’90s, and expanded to the Hickman Building on Camp Bowie Boulevard in 2006.
Tarleton-Fort Worth now offers more than 50 graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs to working adults, community college graduates and returning students. Classes for the university’s first Ph.D. — a doctorate in criminal justice — begin this fall at the new campus.
Plans are for the campus to serve 9,000 students by 2030.
Projections are based on long-standing partnerships with Tarrant County, Weatherford, Hill and Collin colleges to create major-related pathways for seamless degree completion, along with anticipated population growth in North Texas and the number of students choosing to add a graduate degree for career development.
Tarleton-Fort Worth’s number of transfer students is up 53 percent from just six years ago, and its four-year graduation rate tops 61 percent.
Councilmember Jungus Jordan (District 6) said Tarleton is helping Fort Worth sustain its reputation as one of the most livable large cities in America. “The strategic location of Tarleton’s new campus is a catalyst for continued development in Southwest Fort Worth and a tremendous benchmark for the future success of higher education in North Texas.”
“As our North Texas economy rapidly evolves through technological advances, colleges and universities play an integral role in providing the answer to workforce needs through academic programs and training,” Tarrant County College Chancellor Gene Giovannini said. “Tarleton and TCC are leaders in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s economy while also sharing the values of academic access and opportunity.”
State. Sen. Beverly Powell (District 10) called Tarleton’s investment in Fort Worth a key contributor to training a globally competitive workforce, “an investment in a vibrant North Texas business climate and our diverse, dynamic community.”
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (District 25) said higher education opportunities are paramount when businesses consider a move to Tarrant County. “Having Tarleton in Fort Worth increases the options and promotes North Texas as an innovative and vibrant region where businesses and their employees can succeed. I am excited for this next chapter and look forward to watching this university grow.”
“The opening of this new campus in Fort Worth allows Tarleton and The Texas A&M University System to provide students with even greater opportunities to realize their academic dreams,” said State Rep. Chris Turner (District 101), who chairs the House Committee on Higher Education. He called Tarleton’s ongoing commitment to an accessible, affordable higher education “good news for Fort Worth, Tarrant County and North Texas.”
At the spring 2018 groundbreaking for the first building, John Vick, executive vice president of Walton Global Holdings Ltd., talked about how Tarleton’s dream for a home of its own came true.
“It takes a vision. People willing to take a chance. Commitment and perseverance,” he said. “Someone recently asked why we donated the best 80 acres along Chisholm Trail Parkway to Tarleton. The answer is simple. It’s right where Tarleton belongs.”
Holder Construction is the builder for the inaugural building, and the global Dallas-based firm Perkins&Will is the architect and designer.
For more information on Tarleton in Fort Worth, including a copy of the campus master plan, go to www.tarleton.edu/fortworth.