This year begins the next round of preparation for the 2013 Texas Legislative session, which will again grapple with many issues, including financial support for public higher education. While the sales tax revenue for Texas has been greater than projected, many agencies and organizations will be seeking additional funding for their operations. For Angelo State University, we have made adjustments to manage the 10 percent loss of funding from the last legislative session. While these measures have not been painless, we are now recognizing some financial benefits from the intensive review of our operating costs as a response to those budget cuts. My most important faculty and staff priority for our Sept. 1 budget remains a merit-based raise. All of our efforts to ensure a high-quality academic experience for our students – while looking closely at our spending and operating costs – are needed to accomplish that goal. I firmly believe that together we can accomplish that result.
We also have made significant inroads in our development efforts. In our 84-year history, ASU has never had a comprehensive capital campaign, so we did not know what to expect when we announced our goal of $25 million by 2013. As you know, we recently announced that we already had surpassed that goal and now will focus our development efforts on the new goal of $35 million by the end of 2013. Although external grants do not count toward the campaign, our faculty and staff have been energetic in their efforts to seek new awards. The recent award of nearly $1.2 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is but the latest example of these efforts.
Finally, the reason I was in Indianapolis was to develop plans to increase the competitiveness of the Lone Star Conference for our athletic programs. As you know, last year all but one of the Oklahoma schools left the LSC, and we believe two Texas schools will soon leave to join a Division I conference. As LSC presidents, we affirmed our commitment to the future of the LSC with several specific steps including contracting with Fox Sports to broadcast various athletic events and hosting signature events with the ability to market the LSC to potential students, alumni and community members. As part of that initiative, ASU will play perennial D-II powerhouse Valdosta State University at Dallas Cowboys Stadium at noon on Sept. 15th in Arlington.
Let me extend my best wishes for a great spring semester, and I look forward to another exceptional year on our campus.
Joseph C. Rallo