John Tarleton’s dream was to create a college opportunity 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, and challenges through the eyes of John Tarleton—a dreamer’s point of view.

Giving is what the holiday is all about: Giving thanks and giving back.

When I count my blessings, I count Tarleton State University twice. Once because it’s a personal dream come true. Twice because it offers an educational experience par excellence.

From a rural college to educate farmers, ranchers, business leaders and teachers in Erath County to one of Texas’ fastest growing universities with more than 90 degree offerings and students from around the globe, Tarleton improves the quality of life and promotes success.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, there are countless reasons to be grateful for Tarleton. Here are six.

Academic Excellence

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

This year, the university added the College of Health Sciences and Human Services to focus on improved health and wellness across Texas, to better serve 1,600 students already enrolled in successful, established programs—like social work, counseling and nursing—and to meet growing workforce demands.

Hands-on Learning

Recognized world over as experts in their fields of study, Tarleton faculty provide a transformative learning experience that combines traditional classroom instruction with innovative, real-life activities, inspiring students to put their talents and ideas to work.

Recently, a faculty and student research team expanded the number of recorded plant species along the Colorado River, and a graduate soil science major returned from an International Scientific Symposium in Poland with the Grand Prix Award for best research presentation.

Diverse Student Body

Tarleton enjoys a reputation as a university that supports and empowers every student—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or age.

Tarleton leaders understand that a student body, as culturally rich as the society that graduates will go on to lead, increases the value of a university education. That’s why they constantly look for ways to celebrate diversity, embrace differences and support all students.

Beautiful Campus

From new living-learning communities to state-of-the-art academic facilities, Tarleton is a home away from home and a mecca for serious scholars.

Look in any direction, and you’ll find new construction—a 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 to do their best work.

Texas A&M University System Partnership

It’s been almost 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.

Last month, Tarleton and Texas A&M AgriLife received a $1 million grant from the Chancellor’s Research Initiative—established by System Chancellor John Sharp—to expand the study of producing energy from animal waste. A great partnership!

A Supportive Hometown Community

I have known Stephenville for more than a century and am truly thankful for the positive support offered to Tarleton students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. This is not just a college town, it is home; guests are made to feel at home here. Just ask any of the thousands of families who visit campus every year – “friendly” is the term used to describe our community and our university.

Additionally, I am thankful to the leadership of this community, past and present, who have fostered a fledgling educational institution. Without these partnerships, Tarleton could not be what it is today.