MCALLEN, Texas – McAllen optometrist and community leader Fred Farias, III, is chairman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Farias contacted the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service to say, with some pride, that THECB is the recipient of the 2023 Exceptional Agency Award from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).
Each year, SHEEO gives out awards recognizing leadership, dedication, and innovation in higher education. The Exceptional Agency Award is presented to a member agency whose work advanced student success in their state.
Farias, pictured above, said THECB was selected to receive this national recognition based on its new strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas, and other efforts on data modernization, student tools such as My Texas Future, and once-in-a-generation investments from the Texas Legislature.
Farias said the recent launch of the new THECB data website, the My Texas Future website, the establishment of the Texas University Fund, and the unveiling of the state’s new community college funding plan through House Bill 8, show the continued focus on achieving the goals laid out in Building a Talent Strong Texas.
“The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is honored to have received this special recognition from SHEEO,” Farias said. “Texas has set out to achieve bold new goals in Building a Talent Strong Texas and in doing so, more Texans will be able to achieve greater economic mobility and prosperity.”
THECB was created by the Texas Legislature in 1965 to represent the highest authority in the state regarding matters of public higher education.
According to its website, then-Governor John Connally’s charge to the THECB still applies today:
“The greatest risk you face is an institutionalized system, with each college or university grasping for its own ends without regard to the needs of the people of the whole state, and perhaps without being aware of those needs. But over the years in Texas, we have come to regard each college or university as a separate institution, striving independently for success. In many cases regarded locally as a boon to the economy, it struggles to be all things to all people, willing to do almost anything that will assure its getting larger – larger in enrollment, larger in buildings, larger in number and level of degrees offered, larger in number of graduates, larger in number of alumni. And it remains in constant danger of mediocrity…”
The commissioner for higher education in Texas is Harrison Keller. Speaking of the 2023 Exceptional Agency Award, Keller said:
“Texas is raising the bar for higher education opportunities, and I am proud we are being recognized with SHEEO’s Exceptional Agency Award. Texas is making a strong commitment — in policy and funding — to help more Texans achieve credentials of value so they can contribute to, participate in, and benefit from our world-class economy. I’m proud of the achievements we’ve made over the past several years and look forward to what we will continue to accomplish.”
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