From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2008
CONTACT: Arturo Ballesteros
(512) 463-0120 office
(512) 659-1294 cell

Green Light Given to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Engineering Program

AUSTIN -- State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and State Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr., announced that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) gave preliminary approval this morning to Texas A&M University Corpus Christi's (TAMUCC) efforts to offer a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. The unanimous vote allows the university to move forward and develop the degree program for TAMUCC.

"The Texas economy continues to grow because of the friendly business climate that we in the legislature have helped create. However, with those jobs also comes the demand for an educated and skilled workforce, and those demands can only be met by allowing our institutions of higher education to offer educational opportunities that meet the needs of the market place," stated Senator Hinojosa. "Today's unanimous vote by the THECB certainly will help us meet the demand for the future of Corpus Christi, and I am looking forward to making sure we obtain the necessary funding to make this engineering school a top-flight program."

"This is a great day for the Coastal Bend," stated Representative Ortiz. "Today's unanimous vote is the result of two years of hard work, and I am prepared to continue the effort to ensure final approval of the program."

TAMUCC will now develop a mechanical engineering curriculum and submit a plan for approval by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. The Board of Regents and Chancellor Mike McKinney have previously voiced support for the program. Following this step, the matter will be brought back to the THECB for final approval. It is conceivable that TAMUCC could begin accepting students for the program in the fall of 2009.

Hinojosa and Ortiz thanked the Corpus Christi legislative delegation for their support, as well as Bernard Paulson, the Port Industries, and the Port of Corpus Christi. These and other local donors have already pledged funds to help with the creation of the engineering program.

"The local support has been tremendous," said Hinojosa and Ortiz jointly. "We are proud that our community is committed to expanding opportunities for the Coastal Bend."

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