By Scott Cason and Mary Grace Rodriguez
COMMERCE, TX—On March 10, Texas A&M University-Commerce will celebrate its centennial as a public institution of higher education. The small, private college originally known as East Texas Normal College began as a privately funded teacher’s college in Cooper, Texas. Through the visionary efforts of founder William Leonidas Mayo, the college’s appeal to become a state institution was granted by the state legislature in the spring of 1917. Professor Mayo’s long-held dream of making a college education an affordable reality for Texans was realized, but Mayo did not live to learn of his triumph. The telegram announcing the good news arrived minutes after Mayo’s passing.
We will honor our 100 years of history as Lions with a number of events designed to celebrate our institution’s history and how we are going to make our next 100 years even more inspiring. Please join us at 9:30 a.m. on the lawn of Heritage House for a morning rich with new music, fun and an exciting look at where our great university has been and what the future holds for our next century as Lions.
Our Century as Lions schedule of events
8:30 a.m.: Welcome Reception on Heritage House lawn, coffee and continental breakfast
9:30 a.m.: Celebration opening, original fanfare performed by the Student Brass Ensemble to celebrate our 100 years as Lions;
Welcome and introduction by President Ray Keck;
Presentations and proclamation by Sen. Bob Hall and Rep. Dan Flynn;
Proclamation by Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus, read by Noah Nelson;
Guest Speakers: Student Body President Will Horton and Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp;
Our Century as Lions retrospective by President Emeritus Dr. Keith McFarland;
Connecting with our Century as Lions and a look forward, Vice President for Media Relations and Community Engagement, Noah Nelson;
The Texas A&M University-Commerce Fight Song performed by the Student Brass Ensemble
10 a.m.: Procession along walking mall to Groundbreaking at Gee Lake, self-guided tour of the Our Century as Lions light pole banners
11 a.m.: Nursing & Health Sciences Building Groundbreaking, Gee Lake at University Drive:
Connecting our past and our future, Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams;
Looking forward to our next 100 years, President Ray Keck;
Remarks delivered by Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, Rep. Dan Flynn and Sen. Bob Hall;
Perspectives on the New Nursing and Health Sciences Building, with a timeline given by Alicia Currin: Dr. Tara Tietjen-Smith, Health and Human Performance; Dr. Barbara Tucker, Nursing; Dr. Larry Lemanski, Biological Institute for Regenerative Research;
The memorial garden project, Vincent Phillips, class of 2016;
Alma Mater performed by Brass Choir and Chorale;
Closing remarks by Noah Nelson.