John Tarleton’s dream was to create an institution of higher education for students of modest means.

Today, that dream is real. Tarleton State University offers an affordable, quality education and boasts graduates whose accomplishments would leave its founder proud.

This monthly column, by an anonymous university author, looks at the school’s progress, issues of our time, achievements and challenges through the eyes of John Tarleton—a dreamer’s point of view.

Expressing appreciation. Giving back. It’s why Thanksgiving exists.

When I count my blessings, I count Tarleton twice. Once because it’s a personal dream come true. Twice because it offers a university experience second to none.

From a rural college to educate farmers, ranchers, business leaders and teachers in Erath County to one of the fastest growing universities in Texas, Tarleton improves quality of life and promotes student success.

In the spirit of the holiday, there are countless reasons to be grateful for a Tarleton education. Here are four.

Academic Excellence

Destined to become the premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond, Tarleton offers degree programs that address the changing needs of the 21st century.

This year the university added several degree options to meet the growing demand for a professional workforce in North Texas.

New undergraduate programs in engineering technology enable students with an associate of applied science degree to apply workforce credits toward a bachelor’s of applied science. You’ll find a similar program in business and psychology.

An accelerated MBA gives graduate students the opportunity to complete the degree in 12 months, and there’s an online master’s in nursing as well as online completion courses for RN to BSN entry to Tarleton’s undergraduate nursing program.

Earlier this month A&M System Board of Regents gave us the green light to seek final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create two new graduate degree programs that will help meet the growing demand for professionals in geoscience and animal science. 

Beautiful Campus

From landscaped pedestrian malls — Texan Trace dedicated this fall and Rudder Way last year — to state-of-the-art academic facilities and an expanded and renovated stadium, Tarleton is a mecca for serious scholars.

Look in any direction, and you see construction — testament to Tarleton’s growing reputation as a first-choice learning destination and its commitment to provide students, faculty and staff with up-to-date facilities and technologies.

We celebrated topping out our new School of Engineering in April. Set to open next spring, the 97,000-square-foot facility will provide space for engineering programs currently housed in several facilities across the Stephenville campus.

We’ll also open the Animal and Plant Center at the Agricultural Center next year. It will include state-of-the-art laboratories and a livestock observation area and teaching arena, as well as a sales center for meats, produce and plants.

Texas A&M University System Partnership

It has been 100 years since Tarleton joined the Texas A&M University System — a partnership that should make any Texan thankful — giving Tarleton international prominence and the resources to create an exemplary educational experience.

Supportive Hometown Community

Stephenville is more than a college town. It’s home for students from just down the road to halfway across the globe. Guests comment on the friendly, family feeling they experience in our community and on our campus.

That’s because Stephenville and Tarleton leadership, past and present, have worked together to turn my dream into a reality.