From the Hill, An Update from President Denise M. Trauth
 
2015 Spring I
 
 
Dear Friends,
 
Our plans to add a badly needed Engineering and Sciences Building got a huge boost from our dear friends and longtime supporters, Bruce and Gloria Ingram, who recently made two pledges totaling $7.1 million toward the construction of the proposed building. The first pledge is for $5 million and would help fund the construction and equipping of research facilities within the proposed building. The second is an in-kind gift pledge of $2.1 million worth of concrete from Ingram Readymix, Inc., the company founded by Bruce Ingram.
 
These pledges come at a crucial time for Texas State, as the university is seeking state funds for the building at our San Marcos Campus – and for a health professions building at our Round Rock Campus. On Thursday, I testified about these critical needs before the Senate Finance Committee.
 
Preparing to address the Senate Finance Committee on February 12
 
Preparing to address the Senate Finance Committee on February 12
 
To keep up with our growing Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State needs this new building. Our engineering enrollments have grown from 62 students a decade ago to about 840 students currently. We need this facility not only to accommodate more students, but to expand programs. We will launch a master's degree in engineering this fall and we expect to eventually add undergraduate programs in civil and environmental engineering and in civil and environmental engineering technology.
 
We've had to put the plans for the undergraduate degrees on hold because we simply don't have the necessary classroom and lab space for them. In fact, given our burgeoning growth at the Ingram School, we expect we will have to cap enrollment across all undergraduate engineering disciplines within two years.
 
Although it is still uncertain as to whether the Legislature will authorize funding for new buildings at universities this session, there is a prevailing sentiment in our state Capitol that universities should have 'skin in the game' and that they should raise a portion of the funds needed for new facilities. Besides these very generous pledges, which are contingent on the 84th Texas Legislature approving funds for new buildings, Texas State already has spent $2.5 million to extend the necessary utility infrastructure in support of the new engineering building. For additional details about the pledge and the proposed building, click here.
 
Impact of Higher Education in Texas
 
We believe our charge to educate more Texans, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, fields, has a strong bearing on the state's prosperity, which is why Texas State has become increasingly focused on expanding activities and programs related to those disciplines.
 
And speaking of the financial impact of higher education on the state economy, a report released earlier this month showed that Texas' public and private colleges and universities created $143.9 billion in added income to the state in Fiscal Year 2013. That figure is equal to approximately 11 percent of the total gross state product, and is equivalent to creating more than 2.2 million jobs.
 
The study, prepared by an Idaho consulting firm and commissioned by three nonprofit associations that represent community colleges, independent colleges, and public universities, also found that for every dollar of public money spent on higher education, taxpayers receive $6.40 in taxes and benefits. You may read more about that study here.
 
That study reinforces a separate analysis completed last fall that shows Texas State's impact on the state was $2.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2013. The Texas State study, prepared by James LeSage, holder of the Fields Endowed Chair in Urban and Regional Economics at the university's McCoy College of Business Administration, showed that Texas State had an economic impact of $1.6 billion in the Central Texas region that includes Hays and eight other counties. In Hays County alone, the university had an impact of $1.1 billion.
 
We are confident that as Texas State's research activities grow so too will the university's economic impact on the state and the region. To learn more about the Texas State economic impact study, click here.
 
Partnership with NASA Contractor Progresses
 
You may recall that last year Texas State initiated a $5 million partnership with Jacobs, a California-based firm that contracts with NASA on an array of advanced engineering and science projects. Texas State has begun working on some of those projects, including the most recent which involves The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. That project is drawing upon the expertise of our Meadows Center personnel on the use of "remote sensing" techniques and subsequent analyses to examine geomorphic forms. This technology and the applications associated with it are important to NASA's interests. The partnership with Jacobs represents an extraordinary opportunity for our faculty and staff to be involved with cutting-edge projects and research, and is a prime example of the progress we've made in raising our research profile.
 
We are delighted that Texas State is playing an important role in educating our state's future workforce and next generation of leaders, and we are heartened that so many of our friends and supporters are helping us to do just that.
 
Sincerely,
 
Denise M. Trauth
 
 
 
 
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