$5 million engineering grant has everyone smiling at Schreiner University

The university will expand its engineering offerings with federal grant for Hispanic-serving institutions

In many ways, Friday's announcement by Schreiner University exceeded expectations. After all, it's not every day an institution receives $5 million to advance its mission in science, technology, engineering and math.

And that's exactly what Schreiner University received Friday — a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the Kerrville institution. The money will specifically enhance and expand Schreiner's emergent engineering programs, providing greater access to Hispanic students, who now make up a significant segment of the student body.

"Today, you can go to a small college; you can go to a Hispanic-serving institution, and you will have the opportunity to study a variety of engineering and applied sciences fields," Schreiner University President Charlie McCormick told the audience on Friday afternoon.


Before Schreiner received the notification of the grant award, students who wanted to have a small college or university experience, along with one that served Hispanic students, would have been hard to find in Texas. Most of those offerings are at larger universities.

The grant award allowed universities to spend it on a wide range of programs, but McCormick wanted to expand the offerings to students.

Schreiner University President Charlie McCormick was all smiles on Friday as he announced the university had received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Education.

The announcement drew plenty of applause from those who watched.

"We said we wanted to expand our academic offerings to give students throughout Kerrville, the Hill Country and really the entire state of Texas to attend a small college and complete degrees in engineering with tracks in mechanical, civil engineering and with the possibility to add additional tracks," McCormick said. "We wanted to give students the opportunity to earn degrees in computer science, cyber security and game design. We wanted to give students the opportunity to earn degrees in agricultural science — both in traditional agriculture and craft agriculture."

It was a fast-paced process — along with competitive — with about 96 universities expected to be earn grants under the Department of Education's guidelines. The specifics were: "Projects designed to increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; and to develop model transfer and articulation agreements between two-year Hispanic-serving institutions and four-year institutions in such fields."

The announcement attracted a large crowd on the Schreiner University campus.

Schreiner's award is the largest award available in the funding pool of approximately $91 million. Twelve Texas colleges or universities, including Schreiner and Texas State, were granted awards.

The university had teased the announcement earlier in the week. Schreiner's messaging throughout the month set the stage for Friday's announcement, which drew community leaders, faculty, the board of trustees and students.

On Thursday, the university announced that Ramzi Taha was named an assistant professor of engineering and the Demmie G. Mayfield Endowed Chair in Science and Undergraduate Research — all critical elements of advancing the program.

In another announcement about enrollment, Schreiner outlined its commitment to being a Hispanic-serving university, which showed that 38% of students are Hispanic, many of them first-generation college students.

Still, the grant award is so big for the university that it allows flexibility to be nimble and adaptable.

"A grant award of this size gives us the opportunity to launch a variety of new applied sciences programs that are just on the horizon," McCormick said.

Schreiner University Vice President and Provost Travis Frampton was honored for his work in assisting a broad team getting the grant.

Ross Rommel, chairman of the board of trustees, was on hand for the announcement.

Some of the faculty of the engineering program.

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