Many students are aware of Texas State’s slogan—the Rising Star of Texas—but few know the true impact of that statement on the university’s prestige and recognition in the San Marcos community, throughout the state and on a national level.
In the past when Texas State was known as Southwest Texas, the university had a relatively well-known reputation as a “party school,” but in the eyes of the public, that image should have changed significantly. The university is growing in population each year, with more and more incoming freshmen making up the top 25 percent of their high school classes. The university is on its way to becoming a tier one research institution and is currently classified as a Tier Two Emerging Research Institution.
Several programs, including psychology, anthropology and engineering, are conducting groundbreaking research recognized worldwide. In 2012, officials opened the Science, Technology and Research (STAR) Park in an attempt to draw high-paying tech jobs to the San Marcos area. According to the Texas State website, “Faculty members are engaged in 531 independent funded research projects totaling more than $35 million in expenditures.” Increased research opportunities and expenditures are pushing students, faculty and staff members to achieve more extensive strides in their fields, furthering Texas State’s prestige in the community.
Texas State’s degree programs are some of the best in the country. Nationally, Texas State has one of the largest undergraduate geography programs. The department of anthropology operates the largest outdoor forensic laboratory in the world at Freeman Ranch. Texas State’s sound recording technology program is the only one of its kind in the southwestern U.S.
Texas State’s departments would be nothing without award-winning professors working diligently to educate students. Nearly 20 faculty members have been honored as Piper Professors for superior teaching, second to only one other Texas university. Numerous other professors have been honored and recognized on a national level.
Just as departments would be nothing without professors, students play just as much of a vital role. Texas State students have won awards from national organizations including the American Marketing Association, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. In addition, Texas State was recognized as a “top-producing institution” of Fulbright Scholars in 2012-13 and 2010-11 by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.
Texas State academia, to put it quite simply, is incredible. However, to have a truly great school, the athletic program must match the prowess of the academic programs. Many universities are not taken seriously until they have a winning football season and receive an invitation to a bowl game.
All in all, Texas State’s athletic programs are on the rise and standing out among the Division I crowd. The athletes at this school are gaining national recognition in nearly every sport. For example, football, volleyball and soccer are all currently ranked in the top half of the Sun Belt Conference.
The football team is one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time ever. Last year, the track and field team won the Women’s Indoor WAC Championship, and both the men’s and women’s team won the Outdoor WAC Championship. The baseball and softball teams are very competitive and attend NCAA championship tournaments often. The women’s golf team has been to the NCAA tournament three out of the last four years. Texas State men’s basketball gained the winningest coach in the state for the past six years in Danny Kaspar. Most importantly, many of these programs are achieving this success with young, underclassmen players. The fresh, new talent Texas State is acquiring through recruitment helps put the program on top.
In addition to great academic and athletic programs, a top university must have a beautiful, state-of-the-art campus, which is exactly what the construction projects at Texas State are leading to. The Bobcat Stadium expansion, the Performing Arts Center, new parking garages, two new housing projects, the Undergraduate Advising Center, dining hall and Psychology renovations, a possible Strahan Coliseum expansion and more are just a few of the ways the campus is improving. The natural beauty of San Marcos and Sewell Park in combination with campus construction and renovations are drawing more students, faculty and staff to Texas State.
The university has the potential to become tier one within the next 15 to 20 years. With its highly ranked academic programs, steadily improving athletic programs, a visually appealing campus and changing public perception, Texas State really is the Rising Star of Texas.