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John Sharp talks Texas A&M, agriculture at Farm and Ranch Show

Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:26 a.m.

John Sharp, chancellor of Texas A&M University and Placedo native, was speechless when someone played a recording of the Aggie War Hymn. Sharp was the keynote speaker at the Farm and Ranch Show.


Former Texas comptroller

Served in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate

Served as Texas railroad commissioner

Selected as chancellor of Texas A&M University System in August

Earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a master's degree from Southwest Texas State University

Sharp on UHV and Texas A&M

BY ALLISON MILESAMILES@VICAD.COMThe Texas Legislature has not yet decided whether to incorporate the University of Houston-Victoria into the Texas A&M University System, but A&M would welcome the school, said John Sharp, A&M system chancellor."Our answer is that we would be enthusiastically in support of the Legislature doing that," he said.

Rep. Geanie Morrison filed HB 2556 in early March to move the Victoria university under the Texas A&M umbrella.

Sharp emphasized A&M does not decide the issue.

"We're not necessarily the folks that advocate that," he said, "but, if Geanie Morrison and Glenn Hegar choose to go down that road, we will do it, and we will produce the darnest university you've ever seen."

John Sharp smiled out at an approximately 350-person crowd Wednesday. When he opened his mouth to speak, however, he didn't get far.

The Aggie War Hymn interrupted over loudspeakers, prompting claps from some, the "hook 'em horns" hand signal from others and red-faced laughter from Sharp.

Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, was the keynote lunch speaker at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show.

People might think they understand what the A&M System is about, Sharp said, but they don't. In fact, he didn't have any idea until about a month ago, when his term as chancellor began.

"It turns out, every day for me is like drinking water through a fire hose," he said of the learning curve. "And I've just scratched the surface. What is happening in the system is . just absolutely remarkable."

Ongoing research projects could have major impacts, he said.

Among others, Sharp noted a cotton variety that required so little water that morning dew could fulfill its needs, mobile clean rooms to assist with vaccine production and jet fuel created from algae.

Sharp went on to say Texas can expect significant change in 2014, when new locks open on the Panama Canal.

At that time, much cargo that currently ships from places such as China and Indonesia to the West Coast will, instead, come through the canal and into the Lone Star State. He cited the state's extensive rail lines, which can feed cargo to the rest of the country, as a major push for Texas.

Oil and gas supplies, an advancing agricultural industry and cattle and cotton add to the state's future outlook.

"I'm telling ya, God knew what he was doing when he put Texas where he did," Sharp said.

Victoria resident Allan Sklar said he attended the lunch presentation because he not only works in agriculture, but also because he has known Sharp since the chancellor was a young child.

"He's a good man," he said afterward. "I really enjoyed hearing about everything that's going on with the university."

For Bob McCarn, with Windmills of Texas, Sharp's humor was a high point of the presentation.

McCarn, who described himself as a conservative, said he also appreciated Sharp's political career and views.

"I think he's probably one of the most popular politicians in Texas," he said.



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