Have you noticed the proliferation of U of H campuses in our neighborhood?  We're getting ready to have U of H Houston and U of H Victoria to go with the U of H Cinco Ranch.

Your tax dollars at work.

You can thank Ann Hodge of the Katy Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Bill Callegari, and Sen./Comptroller Glenn Hegar for the presence of this university in our midst.

In 2009 a task force was created by the Texas Legislature to address the need for "expanding opportunities for higher education in the community (Katy)."

Before this "task force" began, A. D. Muller and I had met with Senator Hegar to talk about higher education in the Katy area. 

At that time, I suggested that the Katy area needed the presence of an extension of a major university.  Sen. Hegar posited that we already had the U of H here.

My argument was that most people (students, teachers, businessmen) in the Katy area were pretty partial to Texas A&M University.  I knew from my time as a KISD school board member that Texas A&M was the school of choice for most high school students in the area.  I suggested that an extension of that university in our midst would help to insure that KISD students could gain entrance to the campus in College Station if they could get a leg up at an A&M campus in Katy.

I later also wrote a letter to the president of that university, asking that the Katy area be considered as a site.

No one listened to me. 

Too bad.  So instead of having entre' into a major premier Texas university, Katy is stuck with the U of H!

I'm not buying the "Tier One" status of the U of H.  This designation is provided by the Carnegie Foundation, and anyone who doesn't understand that the Carnegie Foundation is a player in the dumbing down of our populace, hasn't been paying attention. That designation means absolutely nothing.

Obviously Senator Hegar, former State Rep. Bill Callegari, and Chamber of Commerce President Ann Hodge are all in on the deal as well.

The U of H is not Texas A&M.


Sometimes I'm disappointed with the failure of our local leaders to plan adequately for the future with regard to the economic welfare of our area.

The first time that happened was when I discovered that the Mayor of the City of Katy gave away the ETJ of all the land between Houston and Katy in exchange for land on the other side of Katy for an airport.  The airport never made it, and now all of us who live in the former ETJ of Katy have a future with the City of Houston instead.

A few years ago, I learned of Senator Glenn Hegar's interest in focusing an effort to establish one large higher education facility in Katy.  Nothing appears to have happened with that idea, and Lone Star College has snapped up most of our high school graduates who were looking for a community college.

The day after I visited with Senator Hegar, I wrote a letter to the President of Texas A&M concerning the prospect of bringing a full branch of Texas A&M to Katy.  I copied Senator Hegar, but I never heard back from either the Senator or the President of Texas A&M.  (Gone are the days when State Representative Culberson was my Representative and would have made certain that a state employee responded to my letter!)

Here is my letter.  See if you don't think my idea was a good one that deserved some attention.

Now, all of Katy's high school graduates can go not only to the Lone Star College in the Cy Fair area, they can also choose to go to the University of Houston in Sugar Land!

So much for "economic development" measures and keeping Katy at the center of things!

Here is my letter:

Katy, TX 77450

October 24, 2009



R. Bowen Loftin, Ph.D.

Office of the President

1246 TAMU

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX 77843-1246


Dear President Loftin:


My reason for writing has to do with a local issue in my part of Texas.  I realize you are the interim President, but this issue cannot wait!


Currently a task force headed by Senator Glenn Hegar has been established for the apparent purpose of influencing which college, university, or community college should prevail in the Katy area.


If you are not familiar with Katy, there are no large cities in the area, the small City of Katy is surrounded by the ETJ of the City of Houston, and the prevailing government is the Katy Independent School District.  Thus there is no compelling centralized force to direct future planning for a population of over 300,000 people. Senator Hegar has taken it upon himself to begin such needed planning as he represents the area in the State legislature.


The dilemma is that ideally, one collegiate force needs to prevail in our area, but selecting just one is not an easy task.


In a discussion with Senator Hegar yesterday, we touched on the influences on the Katy community of the Houston Community College, Wharton Junior College, Blinn Junior College, the University of Houston, and the Lone Star Community College. 


Speaking only for myself, I tend not to want any of those organizations to prevail in our area as I believe the quality of instruction, the level of academics, and the politics and associations that those colleges have with our school district are not the best.


So I am writing to suggest to you that the Katy area would be a perfect place for a Texas A&M University-Katy to emerge.


Obviously the school district is looking to compete with private enterprise with regard to vocational instruction, and such instruction to continue that effort would have to be a part of what such a school would have to offer. But a branch of Texas A&M in this location would also enhance the academic endeavors of Katy ISD graduates.  It is my belief that over time, that sort of opportunity would better serve our loosely organized community. Katy Texas is a bedroom community with a diverse population.  There are many up-scale homes, but there are just as many middle class enclaves as well. Ninety-two percent of the children coming from these homes, when asked, state that they want to go to college, but precious few of them are able to do so.  Obstacles for them include the education being delivered by the public schools, the economy, and the distance necessary to travel to access a good university.


There are many teachers here who would benefit from a nearby university as well as thousands of students who are graduated from Katy, Cy Fair, and Fort Bend school districts each year. Of course a site in Katy could also serve the entire Houston area. No other site would provide such a strong attraction for both students as well as  economic development.


When asked, many of those people would like to attend Texas A&M.  While they perhaps cannot gain admission to the main university in College Station, having a local branch might give them the opportunity to do so at a later time in their college careers.


As a former Katy ISD school board member, I have often lamented the dearth of universities that are close to our area. 


I see that you also attended Rice University as did my husband and two sons. You and I both know the benefits of attending great universities. Texas A&M enjoys a marvelous reputation, and I feel a branch of your university would be welcome here, and it would certainly serve to decrease the obstacles facing our students with regard to a quality post-secondary education.


If you can direct me to someone who might be interested in discussing such an opportunity for our local area, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.






Mary R. McGarr

(Mrs. Gary L.)


CC:  Senator Glenn Hegar