June 26, 2012

Texas A&M, Texas Wesleyan University Partner To Form The Texas A&M School Of Law At Texas Wesleyan University

The Texas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees has approved a letter of intent for Texas Wesleyan University and Texas A&M University to enter into a strategic partnership that would provide premier legal education in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for decades to come. Under the proposed multi-million dollar agreement, the school would be known as the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University.

“Last October, Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp approached me about a unique strategic partnership,” Texas Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach said. “After months of careful consideration, we both consider this to be a mutually beneficial collaboration with limitless possibilities.”

Among the future offerings would be a joint law school JD/Texas Wesleyan MBA program and also a Texas Wesleyan undergraduate/law school 3+3 program. These new programs exemplify how the partnership would allow for the development of collaborative academic programming that will have a lasting impact on students. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents is expected to meet later this week to take up pending business, including whether to provide approval for the Texas A&M-TWU partnership.

“In creating the Texas A&M University School of Law at Texas Wesleyan, we are finally expanding the Texas A&M brand into the field of law with a focus on emerging fields that require a growing legal expertise,” said Chancellor Sharp.

Sharp also put the law school partnership in the context of recent major announcements, saying, “In the last week we have received one of the largest federal grants since NASA was brought to Texas to develop life-saving vaccines and medical therapies, we announced a concession agreement for facilities and food services valued at more than a quarter billion dollars, and today we are forging a new partnership to create a long-sought Texas A&M School of Law, which will have a profound impact on the future of Texas.”

The President of Texas A&M University, R. Bowen Loftin, praised the new arrangement, saying, “Expanding Texas A&M’s graduate professional programs is one of the key tenets of Vision 2020, our long-range plan to become one of the country’s top 10 public institutions by the year 2020. If you look at the top universities – our peer institutions – most of them have a law school.

“We see today’s announcement as the next step in Texas A&M’s dramatic evolution from its beginnings as a regional, military-focused institution into one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious comprehensive universities in a short period of four decades.”

Under the agreement, Texas A&M would acquire ownership and operational control of the law school as a going concern and all faculty and staff of the law school would be employees of Texas A&M. Texas Wesleyan University would retain ownership and control of the law school building and four city blocks of land at the downtown Fort Worth campus and would lease the facilities to Texas A&M.

“The synergy of this strategic partnership is extraordinary,” said Kenneth H. Jones, Jr., chairman of Texas Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees. “Texas A&M stands to benefit from an already established, ABA-accredited law school. Fort Worth and the metroplex would lay claim to an institution poised for first-tier status. And Texas Wesleyan would gain new academic programs that drive our vision of preparing motivated students for graduate school.”

Among the future offerings would be a joint law school JD/Texas Wesleyan MBA program and also a Texas Wesleyan undergraduate/law school 3+3 program. These new programs exemplify how the partnership would allow for the development of collaborative academic programming that will have a lasting impact on students.

The presidents of the two universities would appoint a Strategic Partnership Academic Coordinating Council to advise them on additional collaborative academic initiatives that would serve the students of each campus.

President Frederick G. Slabach served as dean at the School of Law from 2003 to 2006 and has remained a professor of law from 2006 to present. John Sharp was appointed chancellor of the Texas A&M University System by the Board of Regents on Sept. 6, 2011.

The agreement will be executed on or before June 1, 2013.

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Media contacts: Jason Cook, Texas A&M University, at (979) 458-1729; John M. Veilleux, Texas Wesleyan University, at (817) 531-4269; Steven B. Moore, The Texas A&M University System, at (979) 458-6023

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34 Comments to Texas A&M, Texas Wesleyan University Partner To Form The Texas A&M School Of Law At Texas Wesleyan University

  1. I do not support this move. I think you let a lot of Aggies down by not buying the STCL in Houston and pursuing TWU. Aggies flock to this school and it has a reputation and strong job market to sit on.

  2. Brett Weitz on June 26th, 2012
  3. This development is a landmark breakthrough for TAMU since the failure of the South Texas College of Law merger several years ago due to opposition by U Of H et al. We have many exciting things happening @ TAMU (and the TAMU System), thanks to John Sharp, Dr. Lofton (and others).

  4. John E. Watson '48 on June 26th, 2012
  5. What a horrible name. The value of an A&M law school is the A&M brand. Keeping the Texas Wesleyan name on the law school will doom it to the unranked or 4th tier of law schools forever. Buy the law school, change the name, dump the faculty and you will have something. Keep the name and keep the garbage faculty and you will have lipstick, applied to a pig.

    Are you listening John Sharp?

  6. Anon on June 26th, 2012
  7. I am so excited I wanted to go to law school and I wanted to go to Texas A&M and have been looking at the Phd programs. Now I can do both…law school at Texas A&M.

  8. Tammy on June 26th, 2012
  9. Considering I already fell for this once at STCL, I’m not holding my breath. I still have my Texas A&M Law school and the bill that went along with it. The same opponents are going to block this affiliation to preserve their own funding……sad to say, but I will oppose the affiliation as A&M dropped me and left me holding my tuition bill….I actually went to STCL instead of UH or UT because I wanted my second A&M diploma……

  10. Mark on June 26th, 2012
  11. What a great way to lower our standards even further.

  12. James on June 26th, 2012
  13. Anon’s comment perfectly illustrates why so many Texas Wesleyan Law alum are horrified to be forced into associating with A&M.

  14. Anca Adams on June 26th, 2012
  15. Awesome union in keeping with the Vision of 2020!

  16. John Alan Cook, J D on June 26th, 2012
  17. What a great move. Texas A&M will claim an even greater foot hold in North Texas. The growth potential in the DFW Business scene is enormous. Make no mistake, this will be a pure Texas A&M University Law School to rival any in the State/Country. You doubters shout now, this Flagship University will have a Flagship Law School in the coming years i.e. Veterinary, Medical (including Nursing), Dental and now Law. I know of no other university that can boast such a Professional Graduate Line Up – WOW

  18. Randy on June 26th, 2012
  19. I feel this will be an awesome union in keeping with the Vision 2020!

  20. John Alan Cook J D on June 26th, 2012
  21. What a great addition. Adding a Law School is the next logical step for this Flagship University. Texas A&M bringing it’s substantial resources to bear in North Texas will add significantly to an already Aggie infused DFW Business scene. No other University can tout such a powerful line up of Professional Graduate Doctoral Programs – Veterinary, Medical (including Nursing, Dental, and now LAW. No whining here Great Job AggieLand – WOW…

  22. Randy on June 26th, 2012
  23. As a current TWU student I am excited about this move. I too agree the name is a little wonky and should be changed but the a&m name will most likely be all anyone says anyways. However your assessment, Mr. Watson, that they should “dump the garbage faculty” is so off base you should be ashamed. Yeah there are some that are not great, just like a&m itself probably, and any other university. However, there are some wonderful faculty members here and a lot of them will only add to the academic prestige a&m demands. I fear you know nothing about the faculty and should be more cautious about presumptions you make.

  24. Cole on June 26th, 2012
  25. Quit being so negative, Ags! Who knows…this may come to be the best law school in Texas! I plan on going there if this gets set in stone by 2014! Whoop!

  26. Aggie Bandsmen on June 26th, 2012
  27. Why do we have to partner with anyone? Can’t we attract the best and brightest to carry on our tradition of excellence? Disappointed in the partnership.

  28. Melanie on June 26th, 2012
  29. Anon,

    Can you explain why the faculty at my great institution is garbage? I implore you to state facts instead of mere conjecture that is untrue.

    (future) txaggielawstudent

  30. txagglaw2014 on June 26th, 2012
  31. Mr. Watson is a smart man. I graduated from both schools and if A&M wants more than an average law school, they need to make considerable changes. Having said that, I had excellent professors for contracts and negotiations.

  32. Scott Wilkerson '89 on June 27th, 2012
  33. I do not support this move either. Why buy one of the worst law schools in the state? There is already a well established law school that is full of aggies- South Texas College of Law

  34. George08 on June 27th, 2012
  35. If it is the building we are getting, why not build one in Aggieland? We have plenty of land by the Bush School. Why can’t we build one in College Station? The BCS area is growing. If the agreement is not happening until a year from now, We should build our own. I also agree with Mr. Watson’s ’48 argument.

  36. robel on June 27th, 2012
  37. This is a good move. The South Texas Law School move was being resisted by TSU and UH. They are jealous of the Ags and did not want TAMU in Houston. Well, Fort Worth, Dallas, etc. are good places also so here we go Ags. Very good move and will likely work out better since Fort Worth is a very nice area.

  38. George Davis on June 27th, 2012
  39. I agree that this is a good move! I was also in favor of the South Texas plan years ago but I see a lot more of an up side for the purchase of the Texas Wesleyan School of Law. First, this will be the only public law school in the Metroplex at this time. This is good because there will not be a base for so much uproar as there was in Houston with two other state law schools already there. Second, this will save A&M alot of time and money in trying to start a new law school and get ABA accreditation. Third, Texas Wesleyan School of Law has a ton of current and former students that are Aggies (myselfe included). Fourth, as the newest (now operating) law school in Texas, Texas Wesleyan School of Law has been building its reputation from scratch and it is getting better each year. Also, the law school is in a stand alone building in downtown Fort Worth and not at the Texas Wesleyan main campus. The building has been recently completly remodeled and has current classroom technology and a good law library. Texas Wesleyan traditionally finishes in the top half of the Texas law schools in first time bar pass rate and has beaten the “First and Second Tier” schools on occassion. I agree with some of the previous comments – just like at A&M – I had some great professors and some that were on par or below. Finally, I think there is tremendous potential for the Texas A&M Law School to reach upper tier status. I also agree that the proposed name sounds crazy.

  40. Chuck '90 on June 27th, 2012
  41. I wonder if UNT will sue just like UH and Texas did on the STCL affiliation. Rent seems a bit high at 2.5 mil a year.

  42. Doris Wellborn on June 27th, 2012
  43. I think that the fact that we have taken the first steps to expand TAMU should trump the trivial concerns of a name and of a location. I think that we need to focus on the big picture and realize that no matter where we decide to build a law school, success will follow. I can’t even count how many of my friends, including me, would love to go to an A&M law school. In all honesty, I don’t think that Aggies will let our law school fail.I think the people that are skeptical of this move are so because they realize that it is going to take a lot of work and dedication to build a distinguished reputation. So what? It won’t be the first time. Point in case, A&M’s nursing school. The school has been open for several years and continues to grow. I think that we need to stop worrying and start acting to create a program that will rival all others.

  44. Edith Ramirez '13 on June 27th, 2012
  45. As an Aggie (Class of ’04) and an attorney that works in Fort Worth, I am very proud of this partnership. I know several Wesleyan Law School grads and can say they are top notch. I am not too happy with the name, but it’s darn time A&M added a law school.

  46. Will on June 27th, 2012
  47. I do support this partnership. I believe this will enhance the educational offerings for many Aggies to come. Aggies will have yet another award wining institution and faculty to continue it’s legacy and traditions.

  48. Sara Kimmich '86 on June 28th, 2012
  49. Ags, stop putting this down. Texas A&M wouldn’t forge this partnership if they didn’t think they could not only raise the standards of the law school, but also establish the identity of Texas A&M there as well: excellence. Regardless of the law school’s current status, it will only get better. When people, professors, and other authority see that Texas A&M is getting a law school, it doesn’t matter who it’s with, they see TEXAS A&M. No disrespect at all to TWU, I’m sure there currently is a fantastic program there. I just can’t stand to hear people, especially Aggies complain about this. Let me break it down. We’re getting a law school. We don’t have to start one from scratch, meaning we can keep the good faculty and hire some better ones. It will only grow better and more prestigious (just like ANY new program anywhere across the nation with resources like A&M). In a prosperous, highly populated metropolitan area like DFW, this thing is going to explode in attendance and popularity. Every factor about this move will only make the law school itself better, Texas A&M better, and TWU better.

  50. Mark M. on June 28th, 2012
  51. If the A&M Law School wants to compete with the top Tier law schools in the country, they will need to make sure they include top tier curriculum, such as International Commercial Law and other globally oriented subjects, rather than just the average run of the mill domestic topics. Right now only a few of the best northeastern colleges are offering internationally oriented subject matter. It is a global oriented world now and that includes lawyers. We need to get on the bandwagon if we are going to truly compete. Considering Texas A&M has so many great areas of international study – history, political science, business, etc. already in place at our main campus, it should not be much of a stretch to add those areas of focus to our law school. Great instructors are important, but a competitive curriculum is a must.

  52. Sharon C on June 28th, 2012
  53. As a 26 yr attorney and texas tech law school grad this move to add a public law school to the metroplex is a very sound decision. I support the decision. Many students and the public will benefit from the coordination of these institutions. STCL. Would not be able to offer dual degree programs. Although STCL. Is a very fine law school,It only turns out lawyers and can not offer the dual degrees that can be offered through TWU. Good job guys.

  54. Mark Wilson on June 29th, 2012
  55. A&M wants to increase its presence in North Texas; it is ironic that the law school sits across the street from UT Arlington’s Fort Worth Center. UT Arlington was proudly part of A&M for about five decades. A&M President Earl Rudder’s big mistake was allowing Arlington State College (now 33,000 student UT Arlington) to depart from A&M to the UT System.

  56. Eric on June 29th, 2012
  57. The proposed name of the law school is very uninspiring. I hope when this deal is finalized, TAMU powers to be will rename it to something else. Other than that, TAMU gets an ABA accredited law school in DFW to take to the next level. Wonder if this will throw a monkey wrench in the plans of proposed UNT law school. There is very little justification to invest limited state resources to establish the UNT law school if this deal is finalized.

  58. Mr. Lee on June 29th, 2012
  59. We might be carefull regarding our trashing of the TWU Law School – soon to be Texas A&M School of Law. Texas A&M University graduates make up the largest percentage students at TWU Law School. Just a little food for thought…. I know of no better way to start the advance to Top Tier. Great Move.

  60. Randy on June 29th, 2012
  61. As an Aggie and a current STCL student, I am not dissapointed by this decision, I only regret that the partnership with STCL never came to pass. Also, I want to correct the record and state that STCL does offer a 3+3 program and a joint JD/MBA currently in partnership with A&M.

  62. Tim Jadloski on June 30th, 2012
  63. To respond to several comments: 1) South Texas College of Law was approached but chose to remain independent, 2) the name is awkward but Texas Wesleyan did take a struggling independent school and got it to full accreditation, 3) $2.5 million is steep but given that A&M is leasing a fully-furnished law school in a downtown area of a major city (as opposed to simply renting a building) the price is probably reasonable, and 4) Eric–as a Maverick alum I agree that I would rather have my diploma read “Texas A&M University-Arlington”.

  64. Mark R on July 1st, 2012
  65. The best professor I know is an Aggie and a professor at Texas Wesleyan University’s School of Law. http://tinyurl.com/72p46tl

  66. Lawyer on July 7th, 2012
  67. I think some people need to stop and think before vomiting their opinions all over the Internet. TWU’s law school has made great strides in recent years, from becoming accredited to out performing other Texas law schools on the bar consistently. Some people seem to think that somehow starting from scratch would be an improvement over building on an already accredited institution… With the funding TAMU can provide the law school will jump up a tier with the next couple years and will continue to improve from there. Don’t let shortsighted negativity poison our relationship with alum of this new addition to the family.

    I’d also like to say that my career puts me in court regularly and I can name several Wesleyan lawyers who I’d choose hands down over any SMU grad I have worked with thus far.

  68. KG '08 on July 7th, 2012
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