Opened on October 4, 1876, as Texas's first public institution of higher education, Texas A&M University was originally the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. In the succeeding decades, the College evolved into a major research institution and a Southeastern Conference school. Today, Texas A&M brings together a broad diversity of race, culture, and nationality with a special dedication to tradition and spirit that make it one of the more unique educational institutions in the nation. Ranked 21st among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report, 5th in 'best values,' and chosen by Barron's as one of the best buys in college education, Texas A&M has an enrollment of more than 53,000, including 12,000 graduate students, and some $550 million in research funding, placing the University among the top 20 universities nationally. A&M is also among the top 20 universities in enrollment of National Merit Scholars and ranks among the top U.S. universities in attracting international students, with more than 3,500 from 130 countries currently enrolled.
The University has formal agreements for collaborative research and faculty/student exchanges with more than 130 institutions in 52 countries, has active research programs on all seven continents, and operates branch campuses in Galveston, Texas, and the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, as well as centers in Mexico City and Castiglio Fiorentino, Italy. One of a select few universities with Land Grant, Sea Grant and Space Grant status, A&M is a leader in agriculture, engineering, and scientific research. The establishment of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service in 1997 moved the University into the forefront of public policy research as well.
Texas A&M is the first university in Texas to provide audio/video material-lectures, interviews and audio books-to the general public and students, including major speeches given at the George Bush Presidential Library and Bush School. In addition to resources of the Bush School, students have access to the extensive facilities, libraries, and other amenities of a major research university. For example, the University provides a sophisticated and extensive computer networking environment and impressive on-line library services, as well as state-of-the-art recreational and physical fitness facilities.
In addition to its outstanding academic reputation, Texas A&M is renowned for its commitment to selfless service, traditions, and school spirit. For the past 25 years, Aggie students have participated in the annual "Big Event," the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation. Each spring, students show their appreciation to the surrounding community by completing service projects to “give back” with such projects as household maintenance and landscaping. Hallowed traditions such as the 12th Man, Aggie Muster, and Silver Taps are some of the sacred activities that unite Aggies and create bonds among students who remain fiercely loyal to the University long after graduation. The University provides many opportunities for cultural enrichment. In addition to the various speaker series offered by the Bush School and the University, various campus organizations and MSC OPAS bring world-renowned orchestras and musical groups, ballet companies, and Broadway touring companies to the campus.