Texas A&M and Florida may square off on the gridiron at Kyle Field this Saturday (Sept. 8 ) in the Aggies’ first-ever Southeastern Conference football game, but don’t be fooled — the two universities have much in common and work closely together academically.
The commonalties between the two largest schools in the SEC — both have enrollments of nearly 50,000 students — are many and varied.
“The University of Florida is a great institution that we are proud to partner with both on and off the playing field,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin ’71, who worked closely with Florida President Bernie Machen during the Aggies’ transition into the SEC. “Now that we are both members of the SEC family, our connection is furthered even more.”
Academically, Texas A&M and Florida are tied at 19th among public universities in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report rankings and are consistently recognized by various organizations as “best values” among public institutions, as well as for providing a best return on investment for undergraduate education. Both schools are also among the few in the country that hold land-, space- and sea-grant designations, while also holding membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), a prestigious organization composed of 61 top research universities in the United States and Canada.
Research awards at both institutions are some of the highest in the nation. Texas A&M boasted $705 million in research expenditures last year, while Florida followed closely behind at $619 million.
Research projects at Texas A&M and Florida are closely aligned. For example, Florida is recognized as a national leader in alternative energy research, just like Texas A&M. Programs studying ethanol production, nuclear energy and solar energy are in place at Florida, while initiatives at Texas A&M involve specialized research studying algae, tobacco and food scraps as potential alternative fuels.
Additionally, Texas A&M and Florida are highly involved in space exploration. Florida is the lead institution on the Future Space Transport project, a NASA University Research, Engineering and Technology Institute endeavor that is seeking to create the next generation of space vehicle. Texas A&M is home to the Space Engineering Research Center, which advances research ideas and concepts to space flight, and currently, one Aggie professor is serving as a camera operator for the NASA Mars rover Curiosity.
Academic programs at Texas A&M and Florida are similar as well. For example, both schools are home to veterinary schools – in fact, eight of the 14 SEC schools have veterinary schools, the most of any other athletic conference in the country. The library systems at Texas A&M and Florida are also some of the largest and most extensive academic libraries nationwide.
“Our move to the SEC provides a national platform for us to introduce the entire country to Texas A&M, not only athletically, but academically as well,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “The University of Florida is one of the country’s best overall universities and a perfect partner for our entrance into the SEC.”
Media contact: Krista Smith, Division of Marketing & Communications, (979) 845-4645