2022 State of the University: Tarleton is Scaling the Heights

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STEPHENVILLE — Calling 2022 a year of unprecedented progress, Tarleton State University President James Hurley today illuminated some highlights and shared a vision for many more in his annual State of the University address.

“In every area — enrollment, scholarship, research, athletics, philanthropy, engagement — Tarleton is strengthening its position alongside America’s great public universities,” he said. “And the best is yet to come.”

Enrollment records have improved each semester for the past three years, and fall 2022 saw another all-time high exceeding 15,000 students — up nearly 14 percent from 2019. The Class of 2026, approaching 2,500, is the largest, most diverse and best academically prepared group of freshmen in Tarleton history.

Texas residents account for 96 percent of enrollment, giving the university bragging rights for a student body with the third highest number of Lone Star counties represented (233). Many — 50 percent — are the first in their family to attend college. Hispanic students make up 22.4 percent of overall enrollment, edging the university closer to becoming an Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Dr. Hurley: “We’re a close-knit family that cares for one another, all of us united by our history and traditions. Our students love this very special place.”

Collaborations with two-year Distinguished College Partners and regional Distinguished High School Partners continue to ensure that no talent is left behind, as qualifying students receive guaranteed scholarships and admission. More than 220 high schools and 36 community college campuses participate, and the numbers continue to rise.

True to its 123-year drive for academic might, Tarleton introduced six new market-responsive majors in fall 2022 (14 since 2019) — including a master’s program in mechanical engineering — to connect students to growing professional fields and fuel economic growth. Soon the university will add a fourth doctorate, a PhD in animal and natural resource sciences.

Tarleton’s nationally recognized School of Engineering is now the stand-alone Mayfield College of Engineering, named in honor of longtime benefactor and retired Lockheed Martin executive Dr. Dwain Mayfield. College of Business programs are in the top 5 percent worldwide, and a realigned College of Health Sciences is improving access to vital healthcare.

This fall’s invitation to join the prestigious Association of Public and Land-grant Universities underscores Tarleton’s place among the top schools in North America and complements its elevated designation of Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity. An uncompromising dedication to life-changing research and student success perfectly complements the APLU mission to improve lives and livelihoods through a university degree.

“Make no mistake, Tarleton is on a trajectory to greatness,” the President said. “The next generation of engineers, educators, healthcare professionals, creatives, scientists, communicators and entrepreneurs will be Tarleton Texans. Count on it.”

A second structure is rising on Tarleton’s 80-acre Fort Worth campus. At more than 100,000 square feet, the $66 million Interprofessional Education Building will expand academic offerings and help researchers tackle the medical and educational challenges of North Central Texas. Move-in is set for 2024.

The President noted that economic developers and regional leaders have long expressed the need in Stephenville for a multipurpose facility to accommodate large crowds. Seating up to 7,500, the $110 million Convention and Events Center — completion projected for 2025 — will sport NCAA Division I basketball facilities and room for conventions, concerts and academic symposiums. University convocations, commencements and student activities will have an indoor home, and Stephenville will enjoy increased revenue from community and regional events.

Just in time for Homecoming 2022, additional seating at Memorial Stadium increases capacity to nearly 24,000. The anticipated Aquatics Center is open, baseball and softball facilities are enhanced, and track and field is set to receive a permanent home ahead of the 2022-23 season.

“Without question we belong at the top,” Dr. Hurley said. “We’re setting a high bar. The world is taking notice.”

Tarleton’s men’s rodeo team won its fourth national title this summer, and women’s tennis enjoyed an undefeated conference season, leading to the university’s first NCAA Division I team championship.

The men’s basketball team faced two of the nation’s best, Gonzaga and Michigan, and

softball received Tarleton’s first D-I postseason invite, competing in the 2022 National Invitational Softball Championship. Women’s soccer debuted in fall 2022, and men’s golf — gone since 1995 — is back. In football, Texan nation challenged TCU in front of more than 43,000 fans, bringing Tarleton spirit to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. 

And they did it all while recording the highest Academic Progress Rate (990) in university history, improving Tarleton’s NCAA APR record (987) for any first-year school reclassifying to D-I.

Dr. Hurley applauded Tarleton’s philanthropic visionaries, who once again set a record for their generosity in fiscal year 2022 — an almost 300 percent increase in new gifts and commitments since 2019. After eclipsing its initial $100 million goal two years ahead of schedule, the university announced a revised target of $125 million for its largest-ever comprehensive capital campaign to commemorate the school’s 125th anniversary in 2024.

“It is such a blessing to have forward-thinking friends and family who consistently give more, and we are grateful. Our benefactors know that when we grow and rise, our students, our communities and our region absolutely do, too.”

He saved for last what some would call the best news: a tuition and fee benefit for qualifying employees and their dependents. Starting in the spring, the university will cover 50 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for those pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Tarleton.

“We are only as proficient as we are prepared. Strengthening our employees strengthens Tarleton,” Dr. Hurley said. “They deserve our respect for wanting to better themselves. We are delighted to reward that determination with tuition assistance.”

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