Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taking the Plunge: Texas A&M-Galveston Turns 50

Did you know Texas A&M University at Galveston was designated a special purpose institution in 1971, in part to fulfill the Sea Grant mission of Texas A&M University? The campus, however, officially opened as the Texas Maritime Academy in 1962, with students studying aboard the Texas Clipper -- then, a rehabbed World War II attack transport vessel. 

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the Texas Sea Grant College Program housed at Texas A&M.

What does a sea grant do? It accomplishes many things, primarily focusing on areas in outreach, research and education. In the past, TXSG has participated in research on pollution, endangered sea turtles, hurricanes and costal development. It also began the predecessor to the Texas Adopt-A-Beach Program. By funding and housing TXSG, Texas A&M contributes to helping Texans learn more about their beaches through research and education.

In his book Aggies by the Sea (Texas A&M University Press, 2005), Texas A&M University at Galveston historian Stephen Curley offers a unique, historical record of the sea grant campus's humble beginnings. The campus now enrolls more than 1,600 students.

Curley is also author of the definitive history of the Texas Clipper, The Ship That Would Not Die (Texas A&M University Press, 2011). The Clipper was a ship with many lives; from its service as an attack transport used in World War II, to a trading ship for the American Export Lines, to a marine training vessel in Galveston, and finally to its current status as an artificial coral reef/floating classroom in the Gulf of Mexico.

Add these books to your summer reading list, and learn more about maritime history and Aggie involvement. It will give you one more reason to take pride in Texas A&M.
By: Madeline Loving

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