Articles tagged as: Texas A&M
The Texas A&M University System and The University of Texas System will celebrate the opening Friday (May 24) of their Joint Library Facility at Texas A&M University’s Riverside Campus. The 18,000-square-foot library facility represents an unprecedented collaboration between the state’s two largest university systems to provide joint storage of more than a million books and make them available for use by other academic or medical institutions.
The program begins at 10:30 a.m. with remarks and ribbon cutting led by officials of both university systems followed by an open house and tour. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin, and Texas A&M Libraries Dean David Carlson will offer remarks and participate in the ribbon-cutting. Representing The University of Texas System on the program will be Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Pedro Reyes and Vice Provost and Director of UT Libraries Fred Heath.
“This is a prime example of two flagship university systems working together, not only for the benefit of the students and faculties at their institutions but also for the benefit of their counterparts at colleges, universities and other scholarly entities throughout Texas and elsewhere,” said Sharp. “This joint endeavor demonstrates good stewardship of funding and other resources entrusted to us by the state, which, of course, ultimately means the citizens of Texas.”
Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin agreed, adding that he is pleased to have the facility located in Aggieland and operated by Texas A&M library faculty and staff.
“We consider it a privilege to host this specialized facility that will help preserve a million or more books and other documents for scholars today and in the future,” Loftin said. “It’s a grand opportunity to partner with our University of Texas counterparts in this worthy endeavor.”
University of Texas at Austin President William C. Powers joined in praising the collaborative effort.
“We are delighted to participate in this innovative venture with Texas A&M,” Powers said in a released statement. “As the state’s flagship research institutions, our library holdings help address today’s needs while providing a foundation for Texans of tomorrow. The joint library storage facility will provide for the preservation of this vital cultural record, while ensuring that the books and documents remain available for study and research for students and scholars.”
Heath cited the benefits of the cooperative endeavor.
“At a time when academic libraries face twin challenges of limited space and diminishing financial resources, this collaborative solution is a model for how unified efforts can result in positive outcomes for all involved,” Heath pointed out. “While we maintain a competitive rivalry that constantly challenges our respective institutions to reach ever higher, we also recognize that we share common goals that benefit from working together. The success of this project is another example of that collaborative spirit.”
Carlson, who will serve as master of ceremonies at the facility’s formal opening, cited the technological advantages offered by the facility in service to the scholarly community.
“As we rely increasingly on digital technologies for access to information, this facility allows us to protect the vital legacy of print materials and provide timely access to the originals,” Carlson explained.
The $6.3 million construction project at the Riverside Campus, the former Bryan Air Force Base located about 10 miles northwest of the main Texas A&M campus, began in the summer of 2012
The facility will enable the UT System and Texas A&M System libraries to store print books and journals using high density shelving, minimizing the physical requirements and costs of print storage.
Officials explained the new facility will help alleviate pressures as libraries continue to add volumes and related resources. The facility will keep the burden of storage costs off individual campuses in both systems.
To streamline collections, the collaborating institutions will implement a novel process of “sharing” a single copy of duplicated holdings in the new facility. The process will eliminate redundancy while making a “shared” copy available for research and study among users at multiple institutions.
Texas A&M University in College Station and The University of Texas at Austin have collaborated on projects in the past, including the Texas Digital Library and preservation storage in the High Density Repository on the J.J. Pickle Campus in Austin. The Joint Library Facility represents a new degree of cooperation by incorporating the resource-in-common model for all materials in the facility and including general academic and medical campuses from both systems.
Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662
The mystery concerning the identity of two sailors whose remains were recovered from the USS Monitor, the famous Civil War ship that sank 150 years ago, may be a step closer to being solved, thanks to the initiative of a Texas A&M University anthropology professor, Wayne Smith, who specializes in nautical archaeology, and experts at Louisiana State University’s FACES laboratory.
The wreckage of the USS Monitor, best known for its battle with the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads, Va. on March 9, 1862, was first discovered in 1973. In 2002, the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) raised the Monitor’s armored turret from 240 feet of water.
During that recovery, divers discovered the well-preserved remains of two unidentified crewmen. Even some remnants of their uniforms were found intact.
Wayne Smith, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M, is also chairman of the advisory council at Monitor National Marine Sanctuary based in Newport News, Va. The council provides advice to managers of the sanctuary, which was created in 1975, to protect the wreck of the famed Civil War ironclad.
Smith said when the sailors’ remains were found he recommended that the sanctuary attempt to discover the sailor’s true identities. So he put the sanctuary in touch with Louisiana State University’s Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) laboratory, which is noted for its facial reconstruction using computer simulation and modeling techniques.
“In all good archaeology the first questions you ask are ‘What do we make of this, what is the story, who are these people?” Smith said. “It’s putting a face in history. History is far more cogent if we know something about the people in it.”
Using skeletal remains as their guide, a team at the lab has reconstructed the facial features of the two men who lost their lives in 1862.
Eileen Barrow, the imaging expert at the LSU FACES laboratory, and Mary Manhein, the lab’s director, completed the clay facial reconstructions and sent them to Washington, D.C. for their unveiling. The pair also created software enhanced reconstructions of the sailors that appear even more life-like.
“We’ve done multiple historic projects before, but we haven’t done one where someone has been raised from a ship that’s been down for 150 years,” said Manhein. “To be able to work on something like that and to know that they were U.S. military people is a big honor. We’re very excited about having the privilege to do these images.”
Smith hopes that when paired with DNA analysis, the facial reconstruction will link the unidentified sailors to their descendants and put a name with a face from history.
“In theory, if a mother or a good friend were to see the end result of this reconstruction, they would recognize these men even though we don’t know the color of their eyes or the color of their hair,” Smith said.
Many historical documents from the time period are incomplete, so archaeology could reveal some important clues about the past.
“A lot of people who were being pressed into service for this particular vessel didn’t have papers,” Smith said. “A family might have common knowledge in its genealogy that they had a captain on the Monitor and then find out he wasn’t the captain – he was the cook.”
Besides being optimistic about finding the crewmen’s true identities, the scientists in this project plan to give the sailors the honorable burial they deserve for serving their country. To a scientist like Smith, it’s the completion of a story.
“Until there’s an end, there’s no end. It’s not philosophical. It’s up to us to create the conclusion of this story,” he said.
By giving these long-lost sailors an identity, Smith is confident that this scientific team can help write a gratifying end to the story of these brave men.
Media contact: Monika Blackwell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979-845-6061
Louisiana State University’s new executive vice chancellor and provost, Dr. Stuart Bell, holds three degrees from Texas A&M, and his wife, Susan, also is an Aggie. He earned his undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering in 1979 and master’s and Ph.D., both in mechanical engineering, in 1981 and 1986, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1979.
“Susan and I spent many years in College Station while we were students at Texas A&M, and the experiences we had there were wonderful. We are looking forward to returning this weekend for the game, and it will be exciting to watch Texas A&M and LSU play for the first time as conference opponents.”
Dr. Bell joined LSU as its second-ranking administrator Aug. 2 after serving as dean of engineering at the University of Kansas.
LSU’s top-level Aggies don’t stop with Dr. Bell. Dr. William Jenkins, interim chancellor and interim president, taught in Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for a decade before being named dean of veterinary medicine at LSU in 1988 and subsequently moving into increasingly higher level positions, including the chancellorship. He returned to LSU as interim chancellor and interim president in July when Dr. Michael Martin resigned to accept the presidency of the Colorado State University System. (LSU operates under an administrative system in which the top position at the flagship university has the designation of chancellor and the head of the overall system has the title of president.)
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, at (979) 845-4645
When the Texas A&M Aggies and the University of Florida Gators take the field, there’s one fan in the stand that will win regardless of the outcome of the game.
Dr. Eleanor Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) has a special spot in her heart for the Florida Gators, even though she confesses to bleeding maroon.
Dr. Green received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Auburn, where she was recently recognized as a Distinguished Alumnae.
“The University of Florida has been an important part of my life,” said Green. “I am a University of Florida alum (Go Gators!). I then made stops at Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, and Tennessee before circling back to the University of Florida for a 14 year stint as Department Chair of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Chief of Staff of the Large Animal Hospital.” Dedicated to spending the rest of her career at her alma mater, she did not predict that Texas A&M would call, but they did. “It was love at first sight and I am thoroughly enjoying Aggieland.”
“And I am going to enjoy this Saturday for the first SEC game for Texas A&M,” says Green. “The SEC is a competitive, fun, and exciting conference. Interestingly, every school where I have been has been in the SEC conference, except – University of Missouri and Texas A&M. Well, now they are, so it is a clean sweep. From this experience, I can say the culture here in Aggieland just fits with the SEC culture,” said Green. “Texas A&M has just been named ‘The Best Gameday Tailgate’ by Southern Living magazine, so while I miss The Swamp in Gainesville, I feel very much at home in Kyle Field. With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, the SEC has the most veterinary schools of all conferences in the nation.”
“While I was at Florida, it was an exciting time for sports,” recalls Green. “I got to be there for two national championship football teams, two Heisman Trophy winners, and back-to-back national championship seasons in basketball. In fact, my going away gift from friends at UF was a trip to the BCS. Now in Aggieland, I’ve shared the excitement of the national champion women’s basketball team, as well as multiple national championships in equestrian and track and field. In addition to sharing a common commitment to building champions in athletics, these two tradition-rich universities also share a commitment to excellence in academics.”
Both Texas A&M and the University of Florida are land grant universities that house exceptional veterinary medical programs. Both universities have a foundation built on tradition and commitment to growing the future of the veterinary profession.
“As colleges of veterinary medical education, Florida and Texas A&M recognize the responsibility we have in educating the next generation of veterinarians,” said Green. “These students will not only go out in the world to care for animals in clinics, but also they will play a role in food safety, pharmaceutical research, public health. Every day it becomes more evident that human, animal, and environmental health are inextricably linked together, and the veterinary profession is poised to make an impact through collaborations with our human health counterparts. This approach to One Health is now key in the future development of our curriculum.”
When it comes to the players on the field, Green says she will be one of the loudest Aggie fans in the stands, as she yells for Texas A&M to win. However, for Green, it will definitely be a win-win as the blue and orange of Florida still holds a special place in her heart.
“I love college football,” said Green, “and I know that Aggies across Texas and beyond will miss the Big 12 and those historical rivalries that are such a big part of our traditions, but I can assure them that Texas A&M has found a home among kindred spirits in the SEC. I love the Gators and hope that they play well this weekend, but I’ve become a true Aggie at heart. I know that I definitely bleed maroon!”
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