Dear TAMIU family,
As I indicated in a previous e-mail and in the spirit of improved communication within the University, I will continuously send you brief reports to let you know what is going on in this office.
First, as you no doubt know, plans for the Christmas party this year were late materializing. It was pointed out that we had not asked the community what you would prefer, and hence the survey. Of the 171 who replied, the vast majority preferred an afternoon reception to the evening dinner of the last several years. Accordingly, the afternoon event is what we will do for this year, and I have asked the Academic Advisory Council, headed by Alex Martínez, to begin discussions of what we wish to do for next year.
Last week, someone posed a very interesting question. How does one plan, in any meaningful way, the future of this institution when there are so many variables over which we have little or no control? How do we define what we are about now and in the immediate future when we don’t know at this point how the Legislature, for example, will deal with the large shortfall in revenue for education and health care? The answer is, of course, that planning is tentative. We have to be flexible and alert, able to move quickly in unexpected directions that open up, willing to back away from cherished plans that become, at least for the moment, unrealistic.
Much of our work for the next several years, however, has already been laid out for us. Phenomenal growth of the past nine years, fueled by good politics in Austin and good support in the Laredo community, has brought forth large numbers of wonderful projects, worthwhile ideas, brilliant initiatives that we have embraced, in outline or in concept, and then had to put aside because other issues demanded immediate attention. Our soon-to-be-opened graduate school office is a good example of such an initiative---necessary, important, overdue---that other, more pressing matters temporarily crowded off the table. In June, 2002, I presented to the Board of Regents our plan, the result of a year of meetings and discussion, revisions and reconsiderations. Their approval was immediate, but it is now, finally, that we are preparing for implementation of that plan.
I am sure all of you can think of many other ideas and dreams that remain to be made reality. The point is that we have left for completion many, many worthy projects, inevitably so, when one considers the speed and the scope of our work of recent years. The State of Texas speaks of Closing the Gaps. At TAMIU, we might speak of closing the loops. Many remain open.
On Monday, Dr. Jones, Dr. So, and I were in Austin visiting the Trading Room of the Red McCombs School of Business, gathering information for a potential donor. On Tuesday, a group went to Dallas for the 50% review of the kinesiology build-out for Phase V. The student-faculty advisory committee on fees continues to look at the need-requirement that we increase fees for next year. Everyone is concerned that those increases, when they come, be connected if possible to easily measurable and visible enhancements.
Last night, Institutional Enhancement put together our first meeting-dinner for the Heritage Society, persons and corporations who have made major gifts to the University. The entire evening was punctuated with endless praise for the work all of you accomplish every day. It was a joy to hear, and I only wish all of you could have heard yourselves praised, thanked, and lauded.
Ray M. Keck, III