Dr. Hurley’s State of the University

Sept 30, at 10:30 a.m., Tarleton State University President, James Hurley, recapped 2020’s successes and shared his vision for the future of Tarleton.

During this one hour and twenty six minute live stream, Dr. Hurley addressed the university in order to discuss the challenges TSU overcame due to COVID-19, as well as his plans for TSU’s future.

The Address begins with Tarleton’s Student Body President, Cahlen Cheatham, introducing the address and highlighting the role SGA has played and will continue to play, throughout 2020, as student advocates and representatives of the student body.

“While constantly fulling our roles as student advocates SGA continues to work towards our strategic priorities. This year SGA will enhance our brand, evolve into a proper Division 1 organization and further define our missions. We will continue to create high quality leadership for our students, improve relations with alumni, faculty, staff and other stack holders and better connect with students at our outreach campuses. Above all else SGA will continue to create opportunities, honor traditions and always serve others. We are proud to be apart of such a purple wearing, bonfire building, Division 1 Tarleton family. Texans our legacy is strong, our future is bright and our time is now,” Cheatham said.

Following this speech Dr Hurley took the stage to talk about TSU’s increased enrollment, increased diversity, increased retainment, decreased transfer enrollment and overall, how TSU has had a record breaking year with its highest total enrollment, largest freshman class and most diverse population.

Dr. Hurley then went on to address TSU’s budget. He talked about some of the negative impacts that COVID-19 has caused, while also highlighting all the ways him and his team have worked to help students with their financial needs. In this segment Dr. Hurley highlighted the student aid given, through the CARES Act.

“This was a life saver for this institution because we were able to reimburse our students and make our students whole when they had to move out. We did it first and I think we did it the most efficiently and effectively, but we did what was right by our students and that was really important. We reimbursed almost a little over five million dollars . . . and all of it went back to our students,” Dr Hurley said.

Following this Dr Hurley highlight how TSU has been working to put more money into its students who have been affected by COVID-19. He highlighted a new program in the works called TexConnect.

TexConnect is a cross-divisional partnership with Academic Affairs, Finance & Administration and Institutional Advancement. Through this program they will all have the overarching goal to connect students with the resources they need and be a “hub” of information for students in need.

TexConnect serves as one of the cornerstones for TSU’s holistic care initiative to aid students with food insecurities, their physical and mental well-being, living and housing insecurities and unexpected emergencies. Plans for the initiative to begin integration started back in spring 2020, with the program now being fully online and operational as of fall 2020.

“The Holistic Care, if you think about what’s in the core, [it’s] our students. Think about the food insecurity, the housing insecurity, the unexpected emergencies and the physical and mental well-being, that’s really important for us to emphasis, not only are our students physically endanger, their mentally endanger, because their parents have lost their jobs, their love ones could have lost their jobs, they could have even lost a love one during COVID-19, so that wears on the mental well-being,” Dr. Hurley said.

Following this Dr. Hurley gave more information about TSU’s Response to COVID-19 and highlighting the current plan surrounding tradition homecoming events. Dr. Hurley also went on to talk about the future plans for TSU.

The future plans included, Health Sciences Expansion, Fort Worth Building #3, Parking Expansion, Convocation and Events Center and Rodeo and Equestrian Center. The projected total budget for these projects is currently $221 million, with 72 going to Health Sciences Expansion, 60 million going to Fort Worth Building #3, 12 million going to Parking Expansion, 75 million going to Convocation and Events Center and two million going to the Rodeo and Equestrian Center.

Dr. Hurley went on to talk about the importance of these expansion projects highlighting the Parking Expansion specifically.

“We have got to start thinking about stacked parking at this institution, because our single service parking lot are eating up so much prime property and were running out of property. We are running out of property that we can acquire and purchase, so we have to start going up, don’t believe though that air is cheaper than rock. It’s not, people say that and it’s not and there are other structural reasons why it’s no, however it does save space and we desperately need space as we grow,” Dr. Hurley said.

In order to watch the full University address, go to TSU’s official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuD1RiYnSuE. A lot of important information was said in this address and it’s important for Texan’s to stay informed about the feature of their college.