Advocate editorial board opinion: Texas A&M System offers perfect fit for Crossroads
March 8, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated March 7, 2011 at 9:08 p.m.
Stand up and cheer. Or, gig 'em, as Aggies say.
You don't have to be an Aggie to realize this is a monumental moment for the Crossroads region. The University of Houston-Victoria is poised to become Texas A&M-Victoria.
Why is this so important?
Along with its premier educational standing in the state, nation and world, the Texas A&M System is renowned for developing community-based universities. That's exactly what the Victoria institution of higher learning needs to grow and thrive.
The University of Houston's vision is to create the best metropolitan university. That's a laudable goal, but it doesn't fit Victoria.
Our campus has shown a tremendous ability to attract and serve first-generation college students and those who want a more intimate setting for learning. This success is exactly what the state needs to meet its "Closing the Gaps" initiative of providing higher education to many more underserved Texans.
"I think Texas A&M University is uniquely qualified to take advantage of the great, great need that there exists in South Texas to close those gaps," said Dennis Patillo, one of the community leaders who spearheaded the legislation introduced Tuesday to realign UHV.
All of the community's key leaders united to make this change possible and deserve our support. The bill, introduced by Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, happened only because the city council, Victoria county commissioners, Victoria chamber and Victoria Economic Development Corp. came together to make it happen.
This appears destined to become the crowning achievement of Morrison's illustrious legislative career. As the former chairwoman of the House Higher Education Committee, she has long worked on improving educational opportunities across Texas.
Now, she is leading a change that will reshape the future of the Crossroads. The successful development of a destination university will forever improve the lives of our community's residents.
Whether you're a loyal UH alum or a diehard Texas Longhorn, this vision should be shared by all in the Crossroads. This is a time for all to come together and push forward toward this goal.
Naysayers have talked of a Hobson's choice - either we accept the status quo or be left with nothing. This legislation demonstrates Victoria has many more choices and much more to offer than that.
Both Texas A&M and Texas Tech found Victoria an appealing partner. Ultimately, community leaders went with the Aggies, but either direction offered excellent options for our region.
We should revel in this moment while realizing much work remains to be done. We must muster all of our energy toward not only passing this legislation but making Texas A&M-Victoria a true destination university.
Then, we can all let out the Aggie cry, "Whoop!"