New book chronicles Texas A&M University System successes

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A new book, “Breaking Away: How The Texas A&M System Changed the Game,” chronicles a decade of achievement in higher education in Texas – from Texas A&M entry at the Southeastern Conference to the most successful construction expansion. Significant History of the Texas A&M University System.

Author Tim Gregg documents how the Texas A&M System used its unique structure – 11 universities and eight state agencies – to answer the nation’s and state’s call at a critical time when some are questioning the role of higher education.

In “Breaking Away,” Gregg tells the stories of the people of the Texas A&M System who are not bound by conventional thinking about what a college system can accomplish.

As the head of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas in 2017, Chancellor John Sharp established the Texas A&M System agent network statewide to help Texans recover from Hurricane Harvey – an approach so successful that the legislature formalized it by adding the Texas Emergency Management Division as the Texas A&M System eighth state agency in 2019.

Gregg also explains how the Texas A&M System Board of Regents and Chancellor Sharp adopted a broad agenda for the future defense of this nation. First, the system outbid its competition to become the only university system in Texas to help run a national weapons lab, the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico. The system also converted a former military base in Bryan, TX to the RELLIS campus, which includes the test house for US Army Futures Command.

On the educational front, the Texas A&M System campuses are growing first-generation students and offering new ways to earn a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, the flagship campus has increased research funding and quintupled the membership of the National Academy, thanks to innovative programs such as the Chancellor’s Research Initiative.

Gregg also tells the stories of the people behind these accomplishments:

• Dr. M. Katherine Banks, originally from the mining country of Kentucky who, by chance, took an engineering course and eventually found her way to become president of Texas A&M University.

• Dr. Ruth Simmons, who retired from an academic career in the Ivy League to take on the challenge of leading Prairie View A&M University as a way to give back.

• And Chancellor John Sharp, former president of the Texas A&M student body, who became an elected official and ultimately leader of the Texas A&M University System.


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