2024 Warrior News

A&M-Central Texas Summer 2024 Enrollment Sees Big Increases

Texas A&M University–Central Texas recently celebrated the university’s 15-year anniversary, and recent data points to significant increases in enrollment this summer.

Created to be a unique public university purposefully focused on accessibility and affordability, A&M–Central Texas removes complex admissions barriers, requiring only that undergraduate students have earned a minimum of 30 hours of previous college or university courses and a 2.0 grade point average for undergraduate admissions.

Many of the university graduate programs, too, practice flexible admissions including conditional and provisional acceptance. Graduate faculty emphasize the importance of these alternative admissions programs, citing years of experience with students who bring life experience and determination to their graduate studies that is enhanced by mentorship, encouragement, and academic rigor.

Grit and a Worthy Goal: Community Members Built the Foundation for A&M-Central Texas

In a state known for independence, there are books and songs and stories aplenty celebrating Texans and their rugged determination.

The only state to have been its own country, Texas and its citizens have proven themselves to be fiercely independent, community-minded, and unwilling to shrink from adversity – a place where people with a goal come together to do things bigger and better than they might accomplish individually.

Spring 2024 Commencement: 348 Degrees Awarded and 26 New 2nd Lieutenants Commissioned

The A&M-Central Texas Spring 2024 Commencement was held on Saturday, May 11 at the Cadence Bank Center (formerly known as the Bell County Expo Center). Officials from the registrar’s office said that an estimated 275 undergraduate degrees and 73 graduate degrees were received, increasing the number of A&M-Central Texas degrees awarded since 2009 to a 15-year total of 10,837.

Not only did the ceremony mark the graduation of 348 students, it also recognized 26 of the graduates who were also A&M-Central Texas ROTC cadets being officially commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

A&M-Central Texas President, Dr. Richard M. Rhodes, said that the entire university community looks forward to every graduation because it marks important milestones for both the graduates – many of whom are the first in their families to earn a university degree.

A&M–Central Texas Alum Named Army Congressional Fellow

Sitting in his room in Washington D.C. Matthew Coble takes stock of his new temporary home. For the past month, the Army Captain has been stationed in a classroom at The George Washington University (GW), focusing on the inner workings of congress and working toward a Master of Professional Studies degree in legislative affairs.

It’s all part of his new assignment. As a 15-year Army veteran, CPT. Coble was recently named an Army Congressional Fellow — a post he finds both exhilarating and challenging.

“This is crazy. You take the hard jobs, you run, and run, and run, and then, suddenly you’re a student again,” he said. “Like a lot of things in the Army, the hardest part is the process to get there and get selected. It’s really having the drive to stick with it. Taking the hard jobs and being competitive, and once you get there, you’re rewarded.”

Swiss Army Knives and Immaculate Vibes: A&M-Central Texas Academic Advisors Create a Culture of Student Successes

Together, the A&M-Central Texas academic advisors have more than 50 years of experience in higher education, and they put that expertise to use with every student on their schedule. Every day. Every month. Of every year.

“Academic advisors are the Swiss Army knives of higher education,” Jeff Barron said, flashing a 1000-watt smile. “We meet our students where they are when they come to us. And because no two students are the same, we listen carefully to their goals and help them connect the dots.”

And not one person ever crosses the stage at commencement who hasn’t benefitted from their determination...

A&M–Central Texas Foundation Commits $750,000 to University Growth

The Texas A&M University–Central Texas Foundation is more than doubling its commitment to student support and future growth of the university. Through its efforts, the foundation is committing $750,000 to scholarships, support for Early College High School (ECHS) graduates, and the establishment of new academic spaces.

In a recent meeting, foundation members voted to renew their annual commitment of $300,000 in scholarship funding through a combination of endowed and unrestricted funds. Along with the commitment renewal, the foundation authorized an additional $150,000 contribution to provide funding for ECHS students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degree at A&M–Central Texas. Previously the foundation authorized $300,000 to help establish an outdoor forensic lab space to enhance learning experience of students in criminal justice and anthropology programs, as well as developing an accounting lab for students focusing on accounting and finance education.

A&M—Central Texas President Dr. Richard M. Rhodes said the support of groups like the A&M–Central Texas Foundation is a crucial part of the university’s success....

A&M–Central Texas ROTC Program Commissions 26 New U.S. Army Second Lieutenants

Texas A&M University–Central Texas will celebrate the commissioning of 26 new U.S. Army second lieutenants in a Commissioning Ceremony, Friday, May 10, at 10 a.m. at the Killeen Civic Center.

LTG Donna W. Martin will be the featured speaker and is the Inspector General of the U.S. Army, assuming responsibility as the 67th Inspector General on September 2, 2021. LTG Martin is a native of Yorktown, Virginia, and a graduate of Old Dominion University, with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She was commissioned in the Military Police Corps in 1988. LTG Martin holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College.

See the list of commissioned officers.

A&M–Central Texas Spring 2024 Commencement This Saturday

The Texas A&M University–Central Texas Spring 2024 Commencement will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 11 at the Cadence Bank Center (formerly known as the Bell County Expo Center). The ceremony will also be livestreamed, and information for friends and family is available on the University website at

Officials from the registrar’s office said that an estimated 275 undergraduate degrees and 73 graduate degrees will be received, increasing the number of A&M-Central Texas degrees awarded since 2009 to a 15-year total of 10,837.

A&M–Central Texas Renews Partnership with Centex Technologies and Trideum Corporation

Two prominent Central Texas businesses have been in partnership with Texas A&M University-Central Texas for the past two years, originally opening offices on campus, offering internships, opportunities for full-time employment, and conducting research.

Centex Technologies is a leading IT consulting company founded in 2006, serving both public and private sectors with a comprehensive suite of IT services. With over 18 years in business, Centex Technologies specializes in DevSecOps, digital marketing, forensics, and cyber solutions. The organization prioritizes innovation and community engagement, building strong ties with local educational institutions to support the next generation of IT professionals.

A&M–Central Texas Celebrates Staff Appreciation Week

Friday marked the end of the Staff Appreciation Week at Texas A&M University–Central Texas, a time when administrators, directors and the Staff Council celebrate the individuals who make things happen on campus.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Staff Council sponsored the week-long celebration, offerings special events designed to educate, inspire and entertain staff members in unique ways that provided a brief respite from the typical daily grind.


A&M-Central Texas Hosts Awards Ceremony for College of Arts and Sciences Students

A&M-Central Texas Hosts Awards Ceremony for College of Arts and Sciences Students

Texas A&M University–Central Texas hosted a special awards ceremony recognizing students in the College of Arts and Sciences last Friday.

Dr. Amy Mersiovsky, director of the university’s nursing program, welcomed students and guests who were then celebrated for their academic achievements. In all, 39 students received awards. Following the awards presentations, Austin Davis, who received the award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Music, treated the attendees to a baritone solo.

See the award winners.

A&M-Central Texas Faculty Summit Results in Shared Research and Learning-Focused Teaching

At colleges and universities across the country, faculty members are, without a doubt, the primary connection between students and the subjects that result in degrees.

Skilled at both their disciplines and at inspiring and nurturing curiosity and respect among with their students, university faculty constantly re-explore their academic areas of expertise in order to be currently informed and continue their professional development beyond their degree attainment. But in the best universities, they add one more thing: they pause, on occasion, to share their respective research with one another.

A&M–Central Texas Professor Co-Authors Paper on Environmental Harm of Slack-Fill

Consumers today are feeling the fiscal pinch in the supermarket checkout lines as prices continue to rise. Meanwhile packaging just doesn’t seem to be as full as it once was. According to a paper co-authored by Texas A&M University–Central Texas Visiting Assistant Professor of Business Law Dr. Michael Conklin, this slack-fill practice is not only misleading to the consumer, but also is damaging to the environment, and, Conklin said, slack-fill is becoming a topic of interest in political circles.

Conklin said his research paper is the first of its kind to present environmentalism as a basis for this type of regulation.

Photo of Michael Conklin

A&M-Central Texas's Jerry Jones Remembers 25+ Years as a Professor, Scholar, and Dean

Above: Career-spanning photos of Dr. Jerry W. Jones, professor of history at Texas A&M University–Central Texas. Jones's time in education includes more than 25 years in the classroom and publication of "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I", analyzing the strategic and tactical U.S. battleship operations during World War I and their impact on the war's maritime dynamics.

When Jerry Jones, Ph.D., enters a room, he does so quietly, pulling up a chair, situating himself comfortably, and completely and without pretention, telling the story of over three decades of teaching, leading, and learning. Twenty-eight of those years, he says, were at A&M-Central Texas or the three other universities that pre-dated it, and, as a result, he is rightfully known as the longest-serving employee at the university.

It is a gift of a sort that he is a historian. After all, he has not simply acquired historical or contextual facts and figures. To hear him weave a story or to engage him in conversation on just about any topic is to experience the same scholarly but slightly raconteurish style that has fascinated his students and colleagues.

A&M-Central Texas Students and Faculty Attend Regional Psychology Conference

From left: Queen Miller and Amanda McHugh received Psi Chi Regional Awards for their student projects at the 2024 Southwestern Psychological Association Conference in San Antonio.

Eight students and faculty from Texas A&M University—Central Texas attended the 2024 Southwestern Psychological Association Conference. Over the three-day event, the attendees engaged in a series of workshops, research presentations, and teaching demonstrations.

79-Year-Old Student Graduating in May, Headed to College Station for Graduate Degree

Charles “Chuck” Simmons, 79, has always wanted to finish the undergraduate degree he began more than 50 years ago, but, he says, his life got in the way.

It was the 1970s, he recalls, and he and a couple of colleagues also working on their degree at Sam Houston State University would make the three-hour drive from Houston to Hunstville and back – and not just once, he said – they did that three times a week – and it was every bit the inconvenient haul that it sounds like.

In his mid-twenties then, he was a Houston police officer, a husband, and the father of three, and it all became too much. And back then, he says, there were no better options, no such thing as online degree programs, and no easily accessible or more affordable options. So, he just gave up on it.

A&M-Central Texas graduating student Chuck Simmons, 79, with his grandchildren.

A&M–Central Texas Inducts Inaugural Class Into Psi Chi Chapter

Texas A&M University–Central Texas celebrated its inaugural class of inductees into the newly formed chapter of the Psi Chi honor society last Friday, recognizing two professors and 40 students who met the requirements for inclusion into the prestigious society.

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Brandon Griggs welcomed those in attendance, recognizing their hard work and accomplishments. Dr. Andria Schwegler, chair of the counseling and psychology department, followed with a brief explanation of what Psi Chi is and the values for which it stands.

New Psi Chi chapter officers, from left: Amanda McHugh, treasurer; Avery Abrams, vice president; Amanda Sawyer, president; and Em Monks, secretary

First Psi Chi Induction at A&M—Central Texas

Texas A&M University—Central Texas is hosting the university’s first Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society induction ceremony, celebrating the academic achievements of 40 students and two faculty members on April 12 at 4:30 p.m. in the Bill Yowell Conference Center in Warrior Hall.

Founded in 1929, Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, has a mission to encourage excellence in scholarship and advance the science of psychology. Memberships are offered to students and professionals who exemplify high standards of academic achievement in the field of psychology.

Social Work Chair Receives Award for Outstanding Service

At the recent Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD) 41st Annual Conference in New Orleans Dr. Michael Daley, TAMUCT Regents Professor and Chair of the Department was presented with an award for Outstanding Service. BPD is the national organization representing over 550 undergraduate social work programs in the United States. A long-time member of BPD, Dr. Daley has served in a number of leadership positions, and was President of the organization from 2010-2011. Learn more.

April 3: Author Jenny Tinghui Zhang Presents Writing Four Treasures of the Sky

Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Apogee, Ninth Letter, Passages North, The Rumpus, HuffPost, The Cut, Catapult, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming and has received support from Kundiman, Tin House, and VONA/Voices. She was born in Changchun, China and grew up in Austin, Texas, where she currently lives. Four Treasures of the Sky is her debut.

The author will stay to sign books at the talk, so bring your copy or purchase one at the event.

Light refreshments will be served.

Details For Author Talk:

  • Sponsors of Event: CAS, University Library & Archives, Student Affairs, Faculty Senate, and Warrior Wellness
  • Author Name: Jenny Tinghui Zhang
  • Title of Book: Four Treasures of the Sky
  • Date: April 3, 2024; 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Location: Bill Yowell

A Long Line of Dreamers and Doers: Original A&M-Central Texas Staffer Remembers When

Above left: In A&M-Central Texas's early years, the former Fairway Middle School gymnaisum served as the university's library, nicknamed "the gymbrary" Right: Stacy Ferrell, celebrating her nearly 25 years at a university that is "really" just 15 years old.

Stacy Ferrell has worked in and around libraries for most of her life, and while she cannot count herself among the ranks of librarians, her work has been and is a labor of love.

She can’t say when it was that her love for reading began, exactly. But she does have vivid memories that reaffirm those moments when she knew that both her love for books, libraries, and the work that happens there would always be an undeniable part of who she is.

Cybersecurity Programs Offer Pathways into Future Careers

Cybersecurity Programs Offer Pathways into Future Careers
At A&M-Central Texas, Center for Cybersecurity Innovation students become future business leaders, faculty, and security professionals needed to maintain the United States’ technological edge in cybersecurity. Learn more about CCI.

Begun in 2017, the Texas A&M University–Central Texas cybersecurity programs have had more than a few things going for them: program graduates remain in high demand locally, state-wide, and nationally thanks in part to faculty and administrative leadership devoted to creating the best possible program.

A&M–Central Texas Celebrates 15 Years in Killeen

A&–Central Texas Celebrates 15 Years in Killeen

Texas A&M University–Central Texas is marking its 15th anniversary through a series of special messages, publications, and social media programs designed to celebrate its first decade-and-a-half and look to future growth and expansion of the state’s only upper-division university.

Although its historical ties date back to the 1970s, A&M–Central Texas was officially chartered as the 11th member of the Texas A&M University System on May 27, 2009. Since then, the university has moved to its existing site off Clear Creek in south Killeen, issued more than 10,000 degrees, and developed a curriculum designed to build a well-educated workforce in Central Texas with degree knowledge and skills valuable to local industry employers. The university continues to grow, adding new degree programs and starting construction on a new building that will further enhance its plans for expansion.

A&M–Central Texas Texas Signs Transfer Compact

A&M–Central Texas Texas Signs Transfer Compact

Above: A&M–Central Texas Interim Provost Dr. Kellie Cude (left) stands with Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and University Relations Clifton Jones and Director of Recruitment and Enrollment Services Loida González Utley at Alamo College in San Antonio on Friday. The trio was on hand to sign the South & Central Texas Transfer Compact agreement with Alamo Colleges.

Representatives from Texas A&M University–Central Texas spent Friday morning in San Antonio at the Alamo Colleges District to sign the South & Central Texas Transfer Compact agreement.

The agreement signifies a relationship between Alamo Colleges and A&M–Central Texas to enhance the efficiency of transferring from community college to the university.

See degree pathways from Alamo Colleges to A&M-Central Texas.

Former U.S. Army Platoon Sergeant and A&M-Central Texas Alum Earns a Career in Cybersecurity

Former U.S. Army Platoon Sergeant and A&M-Central Texas Alum Earns a Career in Cybersecurity

To hear him tell it, before now-retired U.S. Army staff sergeant and Killeen resident Samuel “Sam” Schmidt, 35, joined the military, he was an average high school kid.

He played offensive tackle for Brentville District High School Tigers in Nokesville, Virginia, graduated, and even did a couple of years doing what a lot of teenage boys only wish they got to do: he was a roadie for a local metal band named Time Lord.

It wasn’t that he was musical, but he had friends who were. And he was built for heavy lifting. At almost six feet tall and muscular, he could do to any heavy equipment what he had lots of experience doing on the football field.

Visiting Scientists Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Data Compression

Visiting Scientists Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Data Compression
Dariusz Puchala, Ph.D. (left) and Kamil Stokfiszewski, Ph.D., from Lodz, Poland, talk about their research involving data compression and artificial intelligence during a presentation at Texas A&M University–Central Texas recently.

With the proliferation of artificial intelligence shaping the modern marketplace, finding models and uses for the technology has become an increasingly important endeavor for computer scientists. Students, faculty and staff at Texas A&M University–Central Texas were treated to a glimpse into research surrounding the field recently by a pair of visiting professors from Poland.

Dariusz Puchala, Ph.D., and Kamil Stokfiszewski, Ph.D., of Lodz University of Technology in Poland specialize in the field of data compression and are working with A&M–Central Texas Assistant Professor Khaldoon Dhou, Ph.D., to develop advanced models of data compression and determine a means by which artificial intelligence platforms can be compressed for use in smaller devices with less computational power.

A&M-Central Texas Counseling Student Awarded National Fellowship

A&M-Central Texas graduate student Leiah Ortiz

A&M-Central Texas graduate student and Nolanville resident Leiah Ortiz has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from The National Board of Certified Counselors – Minority Fellowship Program, a federally-funded program designed to increase the number of counselors working with underserved minority populations. Ortiz is one of 37 fellows selected across the United States for a $10,000 fellowship.

Assistant Professor of Counseling in the College of Education and Human Development, Samantha Airhart-Larraga, Ph.D., said she was overjoyed for her student, who is now almost halfway through the graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

A&M-Central Texas Business Program Ranked #59 in U.S. News & World Report of Best Online Programs

The Texas A&M University–Central Texas College of Business Administration was ranked 59th by the U.S. News & World Report for best online undergraduate business programs. The updated ranking showed the program moving up nearly 40 spots from its No. 98 ranking a year ago.

Mark White, vice president of marketing at U.S. News & World Report, in the process of confirming the ranking results, rightfully noted, “That’s quite a big jump in one year!”

Regents name Richard Rhodes as president of A&M-Central Texas

Dr. Richard Rhodes has been named president of Texas A&M University-Central Texas, following a formal vote of the Texas A&M University Board of Regents at the regularly scheduled meeting in College Station.

Rhodes has been serving as interim president since October 2023, following his retirement as chancellor of the Austin Community College District in September. As interim of A&M–Central Texas, Rhodes embraced the university’s unique purpose, often praising its undergraduate transfer mission and graduate programs while looking toward the future.

A&M-Central Texas Spring 2024 Enrollment Increases

A&M-Central Texas Spring 2024 Enrollment Increases

A&M-Central Texas is seeing significant increases in enrollment this spring.

The number of students currently enrolled boasts a near 6% increase over last spring, according to data from the Institutional Research office. The current number of students enrolled is 2,239, and the total number of credit hours students are taking has increased by more than 12% to a current total of 21,172 – indicating that more students are taking more classes compared to Spring 2023. University funding is generated by credit hours.

Hundreds receive free meals at downtown Killeen ministry

A&M-Central Texas Recognizes 12 Employees at Convocation

Claudia Rappaport, a social work professor at Texas A&M University-Central Texas grabs some fried chicken to put in a plate. Killeen Daily Herald photo.

With a spread of homestyle food from Cracker Barrel, a social work society from Texas A&M University-Central Texas, members of the Killeen PD’s Homeless Outreach Team and volunteers from Jesus Hope & Love Mission, made sure no one walked away hungry from the Winter Feast on Saturday.

“You just have to think about the fact that there’s a lot of people out there in need,” said Claudia Rappaport, a social work instructor at A&M-Central Texas and head of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work. “And the appreciation they show for being able to come in and get hot meal and to get whatever they want.

Student Engagement Administrator Finishes his Doctorate

Dr. Paul York, Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Above: Dr. Paul York, Associate Dean of Student Affairs

A few weeks before the Christmas holidays, Paul York, associate dean of student engagement at A&M-Central Texas, was preparing to take one last road trip from Killeen to College Station.

Although he might have enjoyed it, he was not returning to Texas A&M University for a football game, a ring ceremony, or a graduation. What his day would reveal would be the culmination of nine long years of work.

A&M–Central Texas Focusing on ‘New Possible’

In his first convocation at Texas A&M University–Central Texas, Interim President Dr. Richard Rhodes flipped the script from previous years and used the time not to report on the state of the university, but to focus on future outcomes.
Above: Dr. Mark Milliron speaks to a gathering of faculty and staff at Texas A&M University–Central Texas’ spring convocation on Thursday. Milliron spoke on adopting a “new possible” mindset. Classes begin at A&M–Central Texas on Jan. 16.

In his first convocation at Texas A&M University–Central Texas, Interim President Dr. Richard Rhodes flipped the script from previous years and used the time not to report on the state of the university, but to focus on future outcomes.

Held Thursday morning in the Bill Yowell Conference Center on the A&M–Central Texas campus, Rhodes led a student panel discussion designed to impress upon faculty and staff the importance of what they do and who they serve, as well as challenge them to continue focusing on students and improving the student experience.

A&M–Central Texas Hosts 4th Annual Research Park Summit

A&M–Central Texas Hosts 4th Annual Research Park Summit
Above: Trideum Corporation CEO Van Sullivan (second from right) speaks to the audience as part of the afternoon discussion panel focused on technology growth during the 4th annual Forge University Research Park & Innovation Summit at Texas A&M University–Central Texas on Tuesday. Other panel members are: (from left) Centex Technologies President and CEO Abdul Subhani, Chairman of the Board of Tokyo Electron America, Inc., Larry Smith, and President and CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Scott Connell.

City, industry and university leaders gathered to discuss turning opportunities into outcomes at the 4th annual Forge University Research Park & Innovation District Summit on Tuesday. Hosted by Texas A&M University–Central Texas the event focused on creating a collaborative relationship where education and industry come together to find innovative solutions to issues faced by employers in both the private and public sectors.

A&M-Central Texas Leader Named Austinite of the Year by Austin Chamber

A&M-Central Texas Leader Named  Austinite of the Year by Austin Chamber
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp and A&M-Central Texas Interim President Richard Rhodes.

Richard Rhodes, interim president at Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, has been named Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce for his work leading to the explosive growth of the Austin Community College District. Rhodes was ACC’s longest serving chancellor before retiring this summer and being named interim president of Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

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