Deep Dive Into the Texas State University System

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The Texas State University (TSUS) is a public university system that was established in 1911 in Texas, United States. It is currently the oldest multi-campus system in Texas. It comprises seven institutions across the state, including Texas State University, Sul Ross State University, Sam Houston State University, Lamar University, Lamar State College-Orange, Lamar Institute of Technology, and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

Each of the institutions within the TSUS system offers unique academic programs, but all of them share a commitment to providing accessible, high-quality, and affordable education to students. In addition to that, the system also offers different online courses and programs to give flexibility to students who may not be able to attend classes on campus.

The Texas State University System plays an important role in giving educational opportunities to students in the state of Texas. It also has a long history of serving the needs of its diverse student body. If you are interested to learn more about it, read on as we are giving you more information about the Texas State University System.

History of the Texas State University System

professor teaching students in the classroom

The State Normal School Board of Regents was founded by the Texas Legislature in 1911 to oversee and administer the state-run normal schools for white teachers. Back then, it was known as the Teachers Colleges of Texas, which was established to provide teacher training programs to meet the needs of the growing population of the state. It would later become the present-day Texas State University System. Originally, the board assumed authority over North Texas State Normal College, Sam Houston Normal Institute, Southwest Texas Normal School, and West Texas State Normal College.

Legislative approval was obtained in 1917 for the establishment of Sul Ross Normal College as well as the private East Texas Normal College, both of which were established in 1889. In that same year, the Legislature authorized the renaming of the normal schools of the system to normal colleges. Political conflicts over the establishment of South Texas Normal College (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) and Stephen F. Austin Normal College were settled in 1921. 

The member of the system was once more given the name state teacher colleges by additional legislation in 1912, and the board was given the name Board of Regents, State Teachers Colleges. South Texas broke away from the system in 1929 to operate independently as Texas Arts and Industrial College (Texas A&I), and then later re-joined the system as Texas A&M-Kingsville.

In 1949, both Sul Ross and West Texas received name changes, becoming Sul Ross State College and West Texas State College. In the same year, North Texas left the system, becoming independently governed North Texas State College. Later on, it would become the flagship campus of the University of North Texas System. Sam Houston State College and Southwest Texas State College both had a similar name change in 1965. West Texas State College changed its name to West Texas State University in 1963. 

In 1965, Angelo State College, which was established in 1928 as a junior college, was added to the college system. With these changes, the Board was then called the Board of Regents, State Senior Colleges. In 1968, all of the components of the system had their name changed from state colleges to state universities. East Texas and West Texas both completely left the system that same year in order to become independent before deciding on their current ties to the Texas A&M University System. Stephen F. Austin also left the system in 1969 but continues to be independent with its separate governing regents outside of any of the other university systems of the state.

In 1973, Sul Ross established upper-division and post-graduate study centers on campuses of Southwest Texas Junior College in Eagle Pass, Del Rio, and Uvalde. In 1975, the Legislature deliberated upon the system and its present designation as the Texas State University System. Angelo State University, along with Sam Houston State University, Sul Ross State University, and Southwest Texas State University, was re-designated as a member. 

In 1995, in the most transformative change to the history of TSUS, the Lamar University System was abolished, and its four members were incorporated into the TSUS: Lamar University, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar University Orange, and Lamar University Port Arthur. Southwest Texas State established an extension center in 1996, and it was located in temporary structures next to Round Rock high school. In 2005, a permanent Texas State University Round Rock Campus was opened.

In 1998, Sam Houston State opened The Woodlands University Center. The previous Lamar campuses in Orange and Port Arthur were given the names Lamar State College-Orange and Lamar State College Port Arthur, respectively, the following year. Southwest Texas State was renamed Texas State University-San Marcos by the legislature in 2003. In 2013, the name was shortened to Texas State University. 

Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, Sul Ross State University, Lamar University, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College-Orange, and Lamar State College-Port Arthur are the seven institutions that make up the TSUS system at the moment. These institutions serve a diverse student body and provide a wide range of academic programs, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certifications, and online courses.

Throughout its history, the Texas State University System has played a vital role in providing educational opportunities to students in Texas and beyond. Up until today, it continues to be an essential part of the higher education landscape of the state.

The Institutions within the Texas State University System

The Texas State University System’s member institutions span a wide academic, cultural, and geographic spectrum. It has seven flagship institutions located on 13 campuses, all of which have access to the same quality and level of support from the System Administration. To learn more about these, below are the current institutions within the TSUS:

The Institutions within the Texas State University System

Institution

Year Founded

Location

Year of Joining TSUS

Type of Institution

Lamar University

1923

Beaumont, Texas

1995

University

Sam Houston State University

1879

Huntsville, Texas

1911

University

Sul Ross State University

1917

Alpine, Texas

1917

University

Texas State University

1899

San Marcos, Texas

1911

University

Lamar Institute of Technology

1990

Beaumont, Texas

1995

State College

Lamar State College-Orange

1969

Orange, Texas

1995

State College

Lamar State College-Port Arthur

1909

Port Arthur, Texas

1995

State College

Lamar University

the track and field stadium of Lamar University in Texas

Lamar University was founded in 1923 as a junior college. At the present time, it is a nationally recognized institution located in the center of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, Texas. It is one of the fastest-growing colleges and universities in the state. It offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various fields, including business, engineering, nursing, and education.

It has a beautiful 300-acre campus that accommodates over 17,000 students from 62 different countries. It provides a vibrant campus community that nurtures diversity. More than 53% of its students are first-generation college attendees, 48% are students of color, and around 21% of them are Hispanic. In fact, Lamar University has been ranked among the most diverse universities in Texas by the United States News & World Report. 

Sam Houston State University

entrance of the Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University is named after Sam Houston, Texas’ greatest hero. The state university has been preparing students for meaningful lives of achievement for over 140 years. It was founded in 1879 and is located in Huntsville, Texas. It offers more than 90 bachelor’s degree programs, over 60 master’s degree programs, and 11 doctoral programs, which includes the nation’s first Ph.D. in forensic science. 

The students of Sam Houston State University can earn degrees at three locations, such as in Huntsville, The Woodlands Center, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine, and also through SHSU Online. In 2020, SHSU was number 8 in Best Affordable Colleges in Texas, and it is among the top 15 public universities nationwide for helping students stay on track and graduate, based on the Southern Regional Education Board. 

Sul Ross State University

outside the Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas

Sul Ross State University was founded in 1917, and it is located in Alpine, Texas. It has served as the cultural and educational center for the Big Bend region. It is also the only public university between San Antonio and El Paso. The name of the university honors Lawrence Sullivan “Sul: Ross, the son of a pioneer family, a Civil War general, renowned Texas Ranger, governor of Texas, and later, president of Texas A&M University.

The state university was founded as a teachers’ college, and it continues to offer Education as one of its most popular programs. In addition to that, other prominent programs in this state university include Criminal Justice, Agricultural & Natural Resources Sciences, Business, and Geology. Sul Ross State University has also been a leader in online learning opportunities for more than 20 years, as it offers 15 fully remote graduate degrees. 

Texas State University

at the entrance of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas

The Texas State University was founded in 1899 in San Marcos, Texas. It is a public research university and the flagship institution of the TSUS. It is the fourth-largest public university in Texas, with an enrollment of over 38,000 students. It is a comprehensive institution with 97 bachelor’s, 88 master’s, and 12 doctoral degree programs, along with a growing portfolio of research activity. 

The University has a set of world-class research programs in areas such as nanotechnology, biochemistry, freshwater conservation, and counterterrorism. There are also various respected programs, including biology, business, geography, creative writing, psychology, education, mass communication, music, physical therapy, and more, in order to keep Texas State students at the top of employers’ recruiting lists.

Lamar Institute of Technology

The Lamar Institute of Technology is a public technical college founded in 1949. It is located in Beaumont, Texas. It is ranked as the 24th fastest-growing two-year college with enrollment under 4,000 by Community College Week. This institute is a two-year technical college that offers associate of applied science degrees and certificates of completion in over 50 educational programs in various fields, such as business and allied health. It also offers continuing certificate programs in workforce training.

LIT has also ranked as one of the top three producers of science and technology graduates in the nation. It offers degree and certificate programs in technology, allied health, operational supervision, and workforce training. It is also among the largest producers of process operators and instrumentation technicians in the world. 

Lamar State College-Orange

Lamar State College-Orange is a public state college located on the banks of the Sabine River in downtown Orange, Texas. It was founded in 1969 in an abandoned elementary school building but has now developed into a dynamic institution that serves over 2,400 students. The campus occupies 14 landscaped acres and has eight academic buildings. 

It is a two-year institution that offers both academic transfer and career-oriented programs of instruction. The academic transfer curriculum is for students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree. They can earn an associate’s degree while taking freshman and sophomore-level courses that transfer to any public four-year institution in Texas.

But for the students who want to enter the job market immediately may choose from different technical programs that are geared to the needs of the local workforce. Lamar State College-Orange offers around 30 various career-oriented degree and certificate programs, such as Nursing, Industrial Technology, Dental Assisting, and Information Technology. 

Lamar State College-Port Arthur

Lamar State College-Port Arthur was founded in 1909. It caters to students of all ages, whether they want to complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program, earn a two-year degree, or complete a one-year technical certification to enter the workforce. Currently, it offers academic and technical programs that include various options, which lead to 31 associate degrees and 24 technical certificates. These include programs like music, drama, art, allied health, and cosmetology.   

The students in Lamar State College-Port Arthur may also participate in different student organizations and extracurricular activities, such as the NJCAA Division I intercollegiate men’s basketball and women’s softball. 

The Texas State University System Board of Regents

The governing body for the Texas State University System is the TSUS Board of Regents. They are responsible for overseeing the management and operation of the TSUS institutions mentioned above. The Board has nine members who are appointed by the Governor of Texas with the advice and consent of the Texas Senate. Below are their roles and responsibilities:

Setting Policies and Strategic Goals: They are responsible for creating policies and strategic goals for the TSUS institutions. This includes developing long-standing plans for the growth and development of the institutions.

Hiring and Evaluating the System Leader: They are also responsible for hiring and evaluating the leader of the chancellor of the system, who serves as chief executive officer of the TSUS.

Overseeing Financial Management: The Board of Regents is also responsible for approving yearly budgets for the TSUS institutions. They need to ensure that financial resources are allocated correctly.

Approving Academic Programs: They are the ones who must approve new academic programs and make decisions about program expansion or termination.

Setting Tuition and Fees: They also set tuition and fees for the different TSUS institutions.

Ensuring Compliance with Laws and Regulations: The Board of Regents is also responsible for approving contracts and agreements related to the TSUS institutions. These may include real estate agreements, construction contracts, and vendor contracts.

Promoting the TSUS Institutions: They are also responsible when it comes to the promotion of the TSUS institutions, as well as representing them to the public.

Generally, the TSUS Board of Regents plays a vital role in managing and governing the Texas State University System. They need to ensure that the TSUS institutions are providing high-quality education to their students. Below are the current members of the Board of Regents and the Current Executive Officers: 

The Current Board of Regents

Charlie Amato – Chairman, San Antonio (2007-2025)

Duke Austin – 1st Vice Chairman, Houston (2019-2023)

Garry Crain – 2nd Vice Chairman, The Hills (2018-2023)

Sheila Faske – Rose City (2021-2027)

Don Flores – El Paso (2019-2025)

Nicki Harle – Baird (2019-2023)

Stephen Lee – Beaumont (2021-2027)

William F. Scott – Nederland (2013-2025)

Alan L. Tinsley – Madisonville (2015-2027)

Gabriel Webb – Student Regent (2022-2023)

The Current Executive Officers

Chancellor: Brian McCall

Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations: Sean Cunningham

Chief Audit Executive: Carole Fox

Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer: Daniel Harper

Vice Chancellor for Academic and Health Affairs: John Hayek

Vice Chancellor and General Counsel: Nelly Herrera

Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications: Mike Wintemute

Notable Alumni from TSUS Institutions

hands holding graduation hats

The Texas State University System has produced many successful and notable alumni in various fields in its institutions. Below are some of them:

Lyndon B. Johnson: Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th President of the United States. He graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, which is now known as Texas State University.

Larry McMurtry: Larry McMurtry was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Lonesome Dove.” He graduated from North Texas State University, which is now the University of North Texas.

Earl Campbell: Earl Campbell was a former NFL player and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He attended the University of Texas at Tyler, which is also part of the TSUS.

Liz Carpenter: Liz Carpenter was a former press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson and also an author. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, which is part of the TSUS.

In addition to them, some of the other notable people who have attended TSUS institutions include Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Harvey, Wanda Sykes, and James Baker III. All of these alumni demonstrate the breadth and depth of the impact of the TSUS, both nationally and globally. They also highlight the quality of education and opportunities available to the students of the different TSUS institutions.

Conclusion

The Texas State University System is among the noteworthy contributors to higher education in Texas and beyond. Its focus on accessible education, innovation, workforce development, and research makes it a key player in shaping the future of higher education and driving progress in society. With this, it is an essential component of the higher education landscape in Texas and also serves as a model for other institutions looking to make a significant impact in education. We hope this post helped you learn more about the Texas State University System.

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