KILLEEN, TEXAS — Just six months after the grand opening for its inaugural building, Founder’s Hall, and groundbreaking for the anticipated second building on its 672 acre campus, Texas A&M University-Central Texas announced the development of The Texas A&M University-Central Texas Alumni Association.
“This University grew out of the support of the many communities in Bell County and Central Texas,” explained Dr. Marc Nigliazzo, A&M-Central Texas’ inaugural president. “And when we engage the community in conversations about our momentum, we quickly discover that we are surrounded not only by our own graduates, but by those who have graduated from American Technological University, the University of Central Texas, and Tarleton-Central Texas.”
Acknowledging the significant role played by the predecessor institutions, A&M-Central Texas isn’t just creating an alumni association for the 2000+ students it has graduated since 2009; it is extending an invitation to the alumni from ATU, UCT, and Tarleton-Central Texas in the hopes that they will know that they have a home at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Dr. Karén Bleeker, acting director of advancement, noted that she couldn’t imagine doing it any differently, adding that the graduates of ATU, UCT, or Tarleton-Central Texas are ‘legacy alumni’ because they attended the universities that preceded A&M-Central Texas and made us what we are today – even before anyone knew who we would eventually become.
“A prominent part of the University seal is a shield with four, five-pointed stars, lining the top. Each of these stars represents the institutions that we evolved from: American Technological University in 1973, the University of Central Texas in 1990, Tarleton State University-Central Texas in 1999, and finally, Texas A&M University-Central Texas in 2009. We intentionally included them in our history and our seal, and we intentionally invite the alumni from those institutions to know that they have a home here.”
Intentions aside, little did the university know that when the time was right to initiate an alumni association, they would find two of ATU’s ‘legacy alumni’ and prominent Killeen residents who would step forward to get things moving: Sam Murphey, who graduated in 1980 with a graduate degree in management sciences and Nancy Hennigan Bryan, who graduated in 1986 with an undergraduate degree in business administration. When asked by the University to help build an alumni association, both expressed immediate support, even upon learning how much work lay ahead of them.
“We want to strengthen the role of the alumni in the on-going growth and development of the University, support it as it grows, engage our alumni throughout the Central Texas Region, the state, and beyond, and demonstrate the sense of pride and loyalty we have for Texas A&M University-Central Texas,” they observed. Next steps include forming the alumni association corporation, qualifying for 501c3 status, selecting and orienting alumni association board members, establishing an alumni association website, membership drive and annual campaign.