Texas A&M University–Commerce

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Texas A&M University–Commerce
Texas A&M University–Commerce seal.svg
Motto Ceaseless Industry, Fearless Investigation, Unfettered Thought, Unselfish Service to Others.
Type State university
Established 1889 (1889)[1]
Endowment $20 million (2015)[2]
President Ray Keck
Academic staff
Students 12,385 (fall 2016)[3]
Undergraduates 7,724 (fall 2016)
Postgraduates 4,661 (fall 2016)
Location Commerce, Texas, U.S.
33°14′32″N 95°54′28″W / 33.2423°N 95.9077°W / 33.2423; -95.9077Coordinates: 33°14′32″N 95°54′28″W / 33.2423°N 95.9077°W / 33.2423; -95.9077
Campus Rural, 2,203 acres (8.92 km2)[2]
Colors Blue and Gold[4]
Nickname Lions
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IILone Star
Mascot Lucky the Lion
Website www.tamuc.edu
Texas A&M–Commerce logo.svg

Texas A&M University–Commerce is a public research university located in Commerce, Texas. With an enrollment of over 12,000 students as of fall 2016, the university is the third largest institution in the Texas A&M University System.[3] Founded in 1889, the institution is also the fourth oldest state university or college in Texas.[1]

Located on the eastern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex approximately 65 miles from downtown Dallas, the university attracts traditional resident students, from the Metroplex as well as from the smaller communities of northeast Texas. In addition to the main campus in Hunt County, the university has satellite campuses in Downtown Dallas, Mesquite, and Rockwall; it also offers courses in Corsicana and Midlothian in partnership with Navarro College and in Frisco and McKinney with Collin College.[5]


Original ETNC campus in Cooper in 1890
ETSTC Heritage Garden

The history of Texas A&M University–Commerce began in 1889 with its establishment as East Texas Normal College (ETNC) in Cooper by Kentucky native William L. Mayo as a private teachers' college based on Normal principles.[1][6] ETNC relocated to Commerce after its original campus was destroyed in a fire in July 1894.[1][7][8][9] One of Commerce's chief advantages was that it was well connected by rail, boasting regular service on the St. Louis Southwestern Railway of Texas ("Cotton Belt") to Dallas, Sherman, and Texarkana and on the Texas Midland Railroad to Paris, Ennis, and Houston.[9]

ETNC was renamed East Texas State Normal College (ETSNC) in 1917 after it was acquired by the State of Texas and transformed into a public college.[7][8][10] In 1923, it was renamed East Texas State Teachers College (ETSTC) to define its purpose "more clearly",[7][11][12] and in 1935 it began its graduate education program.[11][7]

The institution was renamed East Texas State College (ETSC) in 1957, after the Texas Legislature recognized its broadening scope beyond teacher education.[11][7][13][10] Following the inauguration of the institution's first doctoral program in 1962,[11][7] its name was changed to East Texas State University (ETSU) in 1965.[11][10] It integrated in 1964 when ordered to do so by the Board of Regents.[14] ETSU obtained a separate board of regents in 1969,[15] and the approval to open a branch campus in Texarkana in 1971.[16]

While the student body shrank in size in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it became increasingly diverse as older non-traditional students, ethnic and racial minorities, and international students all grew in numbers.[17] The economic downturn in Texas in the mid-1980s seriously threatened the university, leading to proposals to close it entirely before a bus trip with 450 supporters trekked to the State Capitol in a show of support that ultimately secured its continued existence.[18][19][20] In 1996, ETSU was admitted into the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) and renamed Texas A&M University–Commerce (A&M–Commerce).[13][21] ETSU's former branch campus in Texarkana was renamed Texas A&M University–Texarkana and admitted into TAMUS as a separate university.[22]

University presidents[edit]

  1. William Leonidas Mayo (1889–1917)
  2. Randolph Binnion (1917–24)
  3. Samuel Henry Whitley (1924–46)
  4. Arthur C. Ferguson (Interim)(1947)
  5. James Gilliam Gee (1947–66)
  6. D. Whitney Halladay (1966–72)
  7. F.H. McDowell (1972–82)
  8. Charles J. Austin (1982–87)
  9. Jerry D. Morris (1987–97)
  10. Keith D. McFarland (1997–2008)
  11. Dan R. Jones (2008–16)[23]
  12. Ray Keck (2016–present)[24]

Colleges and schools[edit]

Gee Lake at Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University–Commerce is composed of five academic colleges awarding degrees in over 100 diverse disciplines.[25]

The College of Education and Human Services is perhaps the most well known college within the University and is one of the foremost education focused institutions in the state of Texas among all universities, both public and private and has produced numerous successful and notable teachers and school administrators. Texas A&M Commerce has agreements with many school districts in the DFW area and Northeast Texas to send their undergraduates to student-teach, and also has a notable graduate school for those educators who are in pursuit of advanced degrees in teaching and education and also, a well known doctorate program for those pursuing a Ph.D in education. Accordingly, Texas A&M-Commerce is a Level II Doctoral Research University, classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.[26] In the Summer of 2013, The College of Education and Human Services at Texas A&M-Commerce was ranked # 1 in the State of Texas for Teaching Education among all Universities, public and private, and 13th in the entire nation by the Directory of U.S. Colleges Database Online Magazine.[27]

The College of Business (CB) has over the past 3 decades become a highly respected Tier II Business school in the State of Texas and beyond. The CB offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Finance, General Business Administration, Management, Marketing, Applied Arts and Sciences, and Business Analytics. The College of Business has been nationally recognized for its M.B.A. program and was ranked as the fifth best program overall in the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report's annual Best Graduate School issue. Both the M.B.A. and the undergraduate Accounting programs make mention in both Forbes magazine and the Wall Street Journal as best buys for programs offered by Tier II schools in Texas. The College of Business also has a large number of professors with tenure and Emeritus status who provide lectures and speaking engagements nationally and internationally, which reflects the superior quality of business oriented educational opportunity that Texas A&M- Commerce has to offer.[28]

Art Building

The College of Humanities, Social Sciences, & Arts offers degree programs for most liberal arts programs offered at Texas A&M-Commerce. Degrees and courses of study offered in this Collegel include Liberal Arts, History, Performing Arts, Music and Music Education, Literature and Language, Mass Media and Communications, Theatre, Political Science, and Sociology and Criminal Justice. The College also offers undergraduates who are pursuing a Political Science degree who wish to attend Law School for post graduate work, a career in law preparatory program as well as LSAT test preparation that is also administered on campus. Students who major in broadcast journalism and in mass media are given the opportunity to join the staff for both the school newspaper, and also use and perfect skills working for KKOM, KETV-3, and the region's source for public broadcasting radio news and information, KETR.[29]

The College of Science and Engineering is the most recent academic addition at Texas A&M University–Commerce. This College offers degrees in Biology, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science & Information Systems, Computational Science, Mathematics, Engineering Technology, Physics, and Astronomy. The physics and astronomy Department has an award winning planetarium that is located within the McFarland Science Building attracting student's from area schools and interested visitor's as well.[30]

The School of Agriculture The School of Agriculture was created in September 2014 as a former academic component of the College of Science & Engineering. Majors range from Agribusiness, Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Science & Technology, Animal Science, Wild Life & Conservation Science, and Equine Studies. The College operates an educational farm and ranch approximately 5 miles south of Commerce on Texas State Highway 24 where students are able to engage in a true hands on approach to agriculture sciences and animal handling.[31]


Aerial shot of Texas A&M University-Commerce

The campus is located approximately 15 minutes from Interstate 30 and an hour from Dallas,[32] Texas State Highway 24 dissects the campus into two separate sections. The majority of the campus is located on the east side of Highway 24, and a smaller portion is located on the west side of Highway 24. A picturesque lake named after former University President James Gilliam Gee is located near the main campus entrance. There is a range of newer and older buildings on campus with the oldest building being Ferguson Social Sciences Building, which opened in 1926 with classrooms and a large auditorium.[33][34] The newest building on campus is Phase II residence hall which was constructed in 2013.[35] The university also owns and operates a 1,800 acre farm and ranch with an equine center located near the main campus.[31]

Gee Library[edit]

James Gee Library

The Gee Library is named in honor of Dr. James Gilliam Gee, a former president of the university that served from 1947 to 1966. The library is open 24 hours on weekdays during the fall and spring semester.[36] There is also a laptop kiosk in the library where students can check out laptops for their studies. Many services for students and faculty are available in the library including, book renewal, a 24-hour computer study area known as the nexus, research assistance, and study carrels providing quiet study areas for students.[37][38]

Morris Recreation Center[edit]

Morris Recreation Center

The Morris Recreation (rec) Center opened in 2003. The rec center is named in honor of Dr. Jerry D. Morris who served as the President of the University from 1987 to 1997. The universities intramural sports programs are organized by the staff of the rec center. The rec center features a 45-foot climbing rock, a 3-lane jogging track, 4 racquetball courts, 2 basketball courts, a large fitness room with cardiovascular and weight equipment, an aerobics room, classrooms, a snack area, and locker rooms on the inside, the outside of the rec center includes a pool, 2 basketball courts, and 2 sand volleyball courts, currently an outdoor futsal court is being constructed.[39] The rec center also operates the Cain Sports Complex for the intramural sports, the complex includes 4 multipurpose sports fields, multipurpose green space, horseshoe pits, barbecue grills, and picnic tables. Outdoor Adventure operates the rock wall inside the rec center and the outdoor adventure facilities on the west side of campus. Many trails for hiking are available near the campus for outdoor adventure as well an 18-hole disc golf course.[40] A challenge course is available on the grounds of outdoor adventure.[41]

Rayburn Student Center[edit]

Sam Rayburn Student Center

The Rayburn Student Center (RSC) serves as a focal site for activities and events on campus. Many university organizations are located in the RSC. The RSC also includes the student dining room, the primary student dining facility. There is also a bookstore located on the first floor of the building that also offers supplies, school spirit merchandise and other items related to the University. The Club, an entertainment/gathering area, is also in the RSC where various student oriented events take place. The Club features a drink and snack bar, a game room, and a stage with a panoramic television screen.[42] The RSC is named in honor of Samuel Tallieferro Rayburn, the longest tenured Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and a distinguished university alumnus (Class of 1903).[1]


McDowell Administration Building

TAMUC has a historical commitment to making higher education affordable to all in need. The university has established an "in tuition" program; allowing students to "lock-in" their incoming freshmen tuition rates for the total duration of their undergraduate study, regardless of potential future tuition increases.[43] Moreover, the university stands as the least expensive research institution in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as well as one of the least expensive universities in the State of Texas. For the 2014–2015 academic year, in-state tuition rates for freshmen students taking 15 credits each semester averaged approximately $7000 per year or $236 per credit hour.[44] As of 2015, the university has an endowment of $20 million.[2]

Student body[edit]

Located less than an hour's drive from downtown Dallas, Texas A&M-Commerce attracts a majority of its students from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex; as of fall 2016, over 500 students each from Collin County, Dallas County, Hunt County, Rockwall County, and Tarrant County attended the university.[3] However, in the last decade the number of out-of-state students has considerably grown; while the nearby border states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana are the most common states of origin, A&M-Commerce has attracted a substantial number of students from geographically distant states such as Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. Many of the university's student–athletes come from California.

As part of the university's quality enhancement plan, the university has focused on diversifying its student body with goals of becoming a more globally competitive university. As a result, persons from all racial backgrounds and many ethnic groups call TAMUC home. The university has a strong Indian community as well as a large Korean presence. Recently, the institution has also seen a substantive growth in its Nigerian students. In fall 2016, international students comprised 6.8% of the student body. In fall 2015, the university's acceptance rate was 45%.[2]


Heritage House on the campus of Texas A&M University–Commerce

Ranked from highest to lowest.

  • Female: 60.75%
  • Male: 39.25%
  • White: 46.92%
  • Black or African American: 20.10%
  • Hispanic: 16.84%
  • International: 6.80%
  • Biracial or multiracial: 4.77%
  • Asian 2.51%
  • Not specified: 1.38%
  • Other/Unclassified 1.35%
  • Native American or Alaskan: 0.55%
  • Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.13%

Note: Based on fall 2016 enrollment[3]

Student life[edit]

Due to the exponential growth in student enrollment experienced over the last decade, the university has witnessed a substantial increase in the number of student organizations. Currently, there are over 150 student groups and organizations registered on campus. Each year the various organizations host an array of events to include; art displays, cultural shows, dance-offs, concerts, comedy shows, taste fests, poetry readings, and step shows to name a few.

Music Building

There also exist numerous honor societies and scholastic fraternities that have members based on major or course of study. Furthermore, social fraternities and sororities play a major role at Texas A&M Commerce, where there are 11 registered fraternities and 10 sororities.[45]

Many religious organizations also call the campus home with the presence of the Baptist Student Ministry, Wesleyan Ministry, Catholic Student Association, Episcopal Student Association, Lions for Christ, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, and the Muslim Student Association amongst others.[46]

McFarland Science Building

The state-of-the-art planetarium located within the science building, is where students, faculty and visitors may view movies and astronomical programs on the planetarium ceiling while seated almost fully reclined. The planetarium is considered one of the most significant and modern planetariums on a university campus in the Southwestern United States.[47]


A 100,000-watt FM public radio station, KETR, is licensed through the university. Founded in 1974, KETR serves the communities of Northeast Texas as well as A&M-Commerce. The station offers a variety format. KETR broadcasts locally hosted presentations of National Public Radio (NPR) news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. During middays, KETR broadcasts Notably Texan, a multi-genre music program featuring new releases from Texas musicians or music with a Texas connection. KETR also broadcasts A&M-Commerce football and basketball games as well as football games for Commerce High School.[48]

KETR's 40th anniversary celebration in April 2015

The East Texan is the weekly student newspaper for Texas A&M-Commerce and was ranked one of the Top 10 college newspaper in the state of Texas at TIPA in April 2015.[49] Established in 1915, it is part of the department-based Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, headquartered in the Journalism Building and is one of the oldest student collegiate publications in the nation. Circulation for the campus newspaper is 1,000 and the weekly publication was ranked as the No. 1 album reviewer in Texas at the TIPA Press Convention in April 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Newscenter 3 is a weekly news broadcast produced by the students of Radio and Television.

Study abroad[edit]

Students wishing to enrich their education and undergraduate experience may choose to participate in the University's study abroad program. As of Fall 2014 the institution offers nearly 20 different programs, with some lasting a semester and others an entire year. Australia, Austria, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, England, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, and Spain are currently countries where students may undertake foreign study.[50]

Housing and dining services[edit]

A&M-Commerce offers housing to students year round with prices ranging from around $2000 to $3000 for each fall and spring semester.[51] Every residence hall and campus apartment is Co-ed with the exception of F-Halls, which are the women and sorority housing on campus. In an effort to increase the University's student retention rate, traditional freshman sign a contract to stay on campus for a minimum of two years or four semesters. Sodexo serves as the student dining vendor for students with meal plans as well as at athletic events and a number of catered events on campus throughout the year.[52] The university recently made shuttle services available to students on campus, this shuttle is used to augment student mobility on campus and points nearby.

Pride Rock residence hall at A&M-Commerce
Samuel H. Whitley Hall
  • Residence Halls restricted to Traditional Freshmen:
    • Pride Rock
    • Whitley
  • Residence Halls restricted to Upperclassmen and Non-traditional Freshmen:
    • Berry
    • Phase II
    • Smith
  • Campus Apartments restricted to Upperclassmen and Non-traditional Freshmen:
    • New Pride
    • West Halls (Bledsoe, Craddock, Fling, Neu, Webster, and Wray)
  • Other University-operated residences:
    • F-Halls (restricted to women and Sorority Housing)
    • Leberman Hall (restricted to married couples with or without children, and single students with children)
    • Prairie Crossing (restricted to Honors College students)

Samuel H. Whitley Hall[edit]

The most visible landmark of the university is Samuel H. Whitley Hall, a 12-story (146 foot tall) building named after former University President Dr. Samuel Whitley (1924–1946).[citation needed] Whitley Hall serves as a dormitory for traditional freshmen on campus.


TAMUC football players pose with the Chennault Cup in 2014 after defeating TAMUK in the Lone Star Conference Football Festival

The university is a part of the Lone Star Conference of NCAA Division II athletics. The LSC is a 10-member league that has schools in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. A charter member, Texas A&M University–Commerce remains from the original league formed in 1931.[53]

A&M-Commerce offers five men's sports: football, basketball, golf, cross country, and track and field; as well as seven women's sports: basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball, golf, cross country, and track and field.[53]

A&M-Commerce has won two national football championships; 2017 NCAA Division II Championship and 1972 NAIA Championship.[54]

Alumni association[edit]

The Alumni Center at TAMUC

The alumni association for Texas A&M University–Commerce, having been organized only one year after the founding of the University in 1890, serves as a liaison between the university and over 100,000 alumni and friends. Each year the non-profit organization hosts various workshops, seminars and other career related events aimed at enhancing job prospects of students and graduates. The Texas A&M University–Commerce Alumni Association is housed in the new Alumni Center completed in 2009.[55][56][57][58][59]

Alumni include: Donovon Lewis Radio Personality KTCK "The Ticket" and Brandon Jones from Commerce, TX


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Reynolds, Donald E. (1993). Professor Mayo's College: A History of East Texas State University. Commerce, Texas: East Texas State University Press. ISBN 0963709208. 

External links[edit]