A new Academic Complex will enrich the marine learning environment at Texas A&M University at Galveston.
Laura Mae Hinson ’17 grew up in an Aggie family, and she knew at an early age that Texas A&M Galveston had captured her heart. Her late father James ’83, a biologist, imparted to her a love for nature, the sea and all things environmental.
Hinson became dive-certified at age 16 and fell in love with the underwater world. Now an ocean and coastal resources major who will graduate in May, she appreciates the intimacy that a small campus like Galveston affords her. Hers is a story that I feel repeats itself in the lives of more than 2,400 other Aggies who are studying marine and maritime studies at the university’s Galveston campus, which lies 145 miles southeast of College Station.
Established in 1962 as a marine laboratory, the Galveston campus has transformed from 35 acres of land donated by the late George P. Mitchell ’40, one of Texas A&M’s most generous donors, to a vibrant, dynamic and prosperous branch campus of Texas A&M University focused on marine sciences and maritime affairs.
As an extension of the Aggie flagship, we are fully committed to answering the call of President Michael K. Young to make Texas A&M a national leader in recruiting and retaining the most diverse talent pool of students like Hinson, as well as faculty and staff. As part of the university’s Lead by Example campaign, we launched an initiative in early 2015 called “Wave of Change” to advance our institution in the face of unprecedented growth. Our first step was to build the new Texas A&M Maritime Academy Hall, a residential facility designed to house our Corps of Cadets, which opened in January 2016. Our second and most impactful step comes in the form of a three-phase Academic Complex under construction on the north side of campus.
As a true front door and gateway to our campus, the Academic Complex will provide a lasting first impression to prospective students and their families, donors, dignitaries and campus guests when it opens this fall. This new building will also further solidify Texas A&M Galveston’s reputation as one of the premier marine-oriented campuses in the nation.
Enrollment of students pursuing marine and maritime studies at the Galveston campus has steadily increased for many years, and our strategic plan calls for enrollment growth of 15 to 20 percent within the next five years. To accommodate this growth, we need facilities that will offer an updated and innovative learning environment.
The new Academic Complex will best serve students’ needs for better quality both inside and outside the classroom. This state-of-the-art facility will support a variety of learning uses, including formal lecture delivery, open study environments and 21st century hands-on instruction in chemistry, physics and geographic information systems labs. Within these spaces, our students and faculty can tackle complex issues facing the marine and maritime worlds.
In addition to supporting academic needs, the building will incorporate elements of wellness, such as natural light, broad corridors, quiet rest areas and beautiful gathering spaces to welcome visitors.
The facility’s second floor will also feature the Seibel Learning Center, made possible by a lead $2 million gift from the Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation. The organization funds interest-free loans to Texas residents enrolled in state colleges and universities who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. In this spirit, a portion of the Seibel Foundation’s funds are designated each year to support construction of residence halls and student centers across the state. We are proud that in our new building, the Seibel name will be synonymous with student achievement and excellence.
Through private support, you too can support this endeavor and in turn leave your own imprint. Your gift will have a lasting impact on our future graduates as they go on to support the ever-evolving needs of our region, state, nation and world.
As a former student, corporation, family, class or friend, you can donate to the Texas A&M Galveston Excellence Fund, which will be used for future facility and grounds upgrades, student support, teaching excellence, and research and exploration. In return, your name or the names of loved ones will be memorialized as a permanent part of the Academic Complex, including in its lobby, laboratories, classrooms, student gathering areas, office suites or a rooftop terrace.
We want to give Sea Aggies like Laura Mae Hinson ’17 the college experience they deserve and continue to fulfill the extraordinary vision of George P. Mitchell ’40. Your support determines the size and impact that our wave of change will have on the future of our students, faculty and researchers.
Through private support, you can donate to the Texas A&M Galveston Excellence Fund and participate in naming opportunities within the Academic Complex.