CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Friday marks the 75th Anniversary of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
“Through those years the one thing that has stayed the same is that Islander spirit," Jaime Nodarse Barrera said, vice president for institutional advancement. "And we’re just going to celebrate that for the next year to come."
It began as the University of Corpus Christi in 1947. Once the school purchased Ward Island, the transformation began. The island setting has been one of the draws for students over the years, but community is what helped them stay.
“I love the students here and the community," said student Jackson Gray, who is studying towards a Master's in Business Administration. "It’s just been really great for me to go from being a student worker and undergraduate to now I'm a staff member. And I get to keep working with the students here. I get to keep working with the staff members that I've gotten really close with.”
“The location first of all, I like the beach," Julianne Rancon said, a freshman in psychology. "And then the size. It’s not like the biggest school, but I like that and very, kind of, close-knit a bit.”
"One of the reasons that I stayed, because when I came in '94 I was only going to stay for one year, was that family feel of this place," TAMU-CC President Dr. Kelly Miller said. "And how much people cared about students and how much they cared about each other."
The school started with just over 300 enrolled, and now it's up to about 11,000 students. Since the beginning, the growth has never stopped.
“Adding more degrees that really meet the workforce needs," said Miller. "Really becoming an innovation hub. We’re an R2 university which speaks to our research and we engage students in that research, so they are creating knowledge.”
"Not only does that impact the university campus and our students, but it also impacts the Corpus Christi community," Nodarse Barrera said. "Through economic development and just kind of the culture and educational offerings that we bring."
From the University of Corpus Christi, the name changed to Texas A&I University at Corpus Christi in 1973. Then it became Corpus Christi State University in 1977 before joining the Texas A&M University System in 1989. The school was not named TAMU-CC until 1993. Though no name changes are planned, the university has a vision of growth when they celebrate 100 years.
“We really focus on the things that make us unique," said Nodarse Barrera. "The island setting is one of those. Artificial intelligence will be one moving forward. Our lone star UAS drone program will be another. So we really want to have strategic student growth.”