STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University President James Hurley has been appointed to the North Texas Commission Board of Directors. A public-private partnership established in 1971, the commission addresses regional challenges and opportunities to spur economic development, promote innovation and improve quality of life.
Dr. Hurley hit the grounding running in fall 2019 when he became Tarleton’s 16th president. His signature initiatives include powerful enrollment growth, creative student funding, vigorous partnerships with high schools and community colleges, innovative research, robust partnerships with businesses and community stakeholders, launch of the university’s largest capital campaign, and a move to NCAA Division I as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
“Dr. Hurley is a visionary who understands the strong tie between education and economic vitality,” said NTC President and CEO Chris Wallace. “Preparing students for today’s market and tomorrow’s careers should be the guiding star for any North Texas university. It is for James Hurley and Tarleton.”
In 2020 Dr. Hurley established the Center for Research, Innovation and Economic Development and the Texas Rural Research and Innovative Alliance, positioning him as one of Fort Worth Inc.’s 400 most influential leaders in North Texas.
Construction of a second building on Tarleton’s 80-acre campus in southwest Fort Worth — set to begin in 2022 — will take the university’s nationally recognized education and healthcare programs to the next level and help meet regional demand for skilled nurses, medical laboratory scientists, public health professionals, and classroom teachers and school administrators. With additional buildings, the Fort Worth campus could accommodate 9,000 students by 2030.
“I am profoundly grateful to serve on the North Texas Commission Board of Directors,” Dr. Hurley said. “Tarleton takes great pleasure in giving back to the region we proudly call home. As a public institution of higher education we have a social and economic responsibility to invest in the future of our students and in the communities we serve.
“If we educate students in North Texas, they will stay in North Texas, and North Texas will prosper.”
Tarleton scored all-time-high enrollment for the third consecutive term this spring, reflecting its growing reputation as a first-choice destination for the brightest minds in the region and for the expert faculty and staff who foster their success. Current numbers are up 6.46 percent over spring 2020, fall enrollment increased 6.42 percent, and summer 2020 saw a 10.19 percent growth over the previous year.
Dr. Hurley’s creation of partnerships with regional school districts and two-year colleges — Distinguished High School Partners and Distinguished College Partners — deepens the university’s 122-year commitment to educational attainment and affordability. Both programs provide guaranteed scholarships for students meeting qualifications. More than 70 school districts and nine community colleges are participants, with others expected this year.
“John Tarleton dreamed of an institution of opportunity — a comprehensive regional university,” Dr. Hurley said. “Our work with the North Texas Commission propels his dream.”