State of the University 2019 Answers the Question: Is College Worth it?

By Luisa Buttler | Published: October 08, 2019

State of the University 2019 Answers the Question: Is College Worth it?

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Student success, award winning programs, community partnerships, and intellectual capital were celebrated during the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi State of the University. The luncheon, presented each fall to share the impact of the Island University, was held Oct. 2, and hosted a sold-out crowd.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla, President and CEO of the Island University. President Quintanilla shared highlights about each of the institution’s academic colleges, which included exceptional initiatives and national rankings. She also touted the academic and athletic success of the University’s student-athletes, along with the University’s research initiatives which provide data and innovative technologies for economic and ecological benefit. Special thanks was given to local legislators for their work during the Texas 86th Legislative Session.

During her speech, Quintanilla posed a question to the crowd: “Is college worth it?” “Yes,” Quintanilla said. “It is totally, completely, and absolutely worth it.”

Quintanilla noted that tuition increases have been held to the rate of inflation, that the University’s guaranteed tuition program holds rates unchanged over four years, and that $5 million of institutional funding is set aside for students in need, while another $3 million in University funding is earmarked for scholarships. Additionally, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was recently ranked 5th lowest for average student debt upon graduation among Texas schools, with an average debt of $18,078.

“When you talk about the lifetime earnings of a college graduate versus someone with only a high school diploma, we think the $18,000 investment is worth it,” she said.

Quintanilla also noted the value Texas A&M-Corpus Christi brings to the community.

“The economic benefit of having A&M-Corpus Christi in your backyard is more than just dollars,” Quintanilla said. “What A&M-Corpus Christi offers is immeasurable. We provide intellectual capital, innovative thinkers with innovative solutions, and data driven research which support many decisions and project that happen in our community.”

Quintanilla stressed the true mark of A&M-Corpus Christi’s success is not just graduating highly educated professionals, but those also committed to leadership.

“To have an educated workforce of engaged leaders, people who lead in their professions and give back to their communities in so many ways… that is what builds the greatest communities. That is what will take Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend beyond potential, beyond possibility, and beyond promise.”

Quintanilla ended her address by echoing the sentiments of civil rights pioneer, Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

“Education is our freedom,” she concluded. “To be educated… to learn from the lessons of history, to think critically and communicate effectively… to be a lifelong learner, to move yourself and your family to a new and better position in this world, to create the change that makes this world a better place – that is freedom. That is the true worth of higher education and that is worth everything.”

The luncheon was emceed by two Islanders – Loren Walker, a senior working toward a Bachelor of Science in Geochemistry, and Brayton Amidon, `15, `19, who also works as the simulation lab coordinator in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Additional Information

This year’s State of the University Islander sponsors included Corpus Christi Athletic Club and Affiliated Bank, Mr. David Engel and Mr. Joe Hornblower, the Devary Durrill Foundation, Frost Bank, Fulton* Coastcon General Contractors, the Jessie Frances Neal Foundation, Kleberg Bank, Dr. Mary Jane Garza, Port of Corpus Christi, Rock Engineering and Testing Laboratory, Inc., Synder and Associates, and Turner | Ramirez Architects & Victory Building Team.