Published by: Brenda Brown - Texarkana Gazette
Staff photo by Jerry Habraken • New Texas A&M University-Texarkana President Dr. Emily Cutrer, left, laughs with her husband, Dr. Thomas W. Cutrer, during her investiture ceremony Monday morning at Perot Theatre.
Texas A&M University-Texarkana’s president said Monday she doubts few people alive today would recognize the local university a hundred years from now as she predicted many successes and much growth in its future.
Dr. Emily Fourmy Cutrer told the crowd of well-wishers gathered for her investiture ceremony at Perot Theatre that looking at the university now made her think of her grandmother quoting a centuries-old proverb: “Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.”
While recently leafing through her grandfather’s 1906 University of Texas yearbook and memorabilia from her grandmother’s time at Southern Methodist University, she noted, “Neither school looked so impressive back then. My grandparents wouldn’t recognize those places now.”
Cutrer expects the same will be true of A&M-Texarkana a century from now as it continues to grow into a mighty oak, so to speak.
The formal ceremony in which Cutrer was officially installed as president was celebrated by more than 200 faculty, staff, students, dignitaries and members of the community. John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, presented the Presidential Medallion to Cutrer and lauded her “impressive credentials.”
“We are very pleased to have someone of her caliber,” Sharp said.
Before coming to Texarkana, A&M-Texarkana’s fourth president in its 41 years served about seven years as provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University San Marcos. She also held a variety of administrative positions at Arizona State University from 1990 to 2006, culminating in her being dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences from 2001-06. From 1986-1990, she was a member of the faculty and also served as associate director of the American studies program at University of Texas at Austin.
The Texas native earned her bachelor’s degree in American studies in 1973, her master’s in American civilization in 1978 and her doctorate in American civilization in 1986, all from UT.
During the presentation of the president speech, Judy Morgan, a Texarkana businesswoman and member of Texas A&M System Board of Regents, said about 132,000 students are enrolled in A&M’s 11 universities across the state, with 2,000 students enrolled at A&M-Texarkana. A two-year university when it began as a branch of East Texas State University in Texarkana, A&M-Texarkana became a four-year university in fall 2010.
“The A&M System is proud of Texarkana,” Morgan said. “We’re proud of its tremendous growth, its campus, its new dorms and athletics.”
Morgan said true leaders have vision and can put that vision into reality—and she believes the university’s new leader fits that profile.
“Undoubtedly, Dr. Cutrer is the right person at the right time,” Morgan said. “She has already done a lot of good in a short time.”
U.S. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, presented Cutrer with an American flag flown over the Capitol in Washington and praised A&M-Texarkana for its past successes and its successes to come.
Texas Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, noted he met all four of the final candidates during the nationwide search for A&M-Texarkana’s president.
“Dr. Cutrer was the best of the best,” Lavender said, explaining she hit the ground running and she has already met with members of the state Legislature in Austin to promote the university.
Lauren Hyman, an Army veteran who represented A&M-Texarkana students during the investiture, complimented the new president for embracing “the family atmosphere” at the school and for taking the time to get to know students and attend student events.
James Henry Russell, president of Texarkana College, welcomed Cutrer to Texarkana on behalf of the “regional educational community,” which he said is more like a “regional education family.”
The two college presidents already have a good working relationship and have the same goals in mind when it comes to promoting higher education in the Red River area, he said.
During her presidential address, Dr. Cutrer said she had never experienced a more supportive community and she thanked everyone, especially students, for the warm welcome she has received since coming to town. She also thanked her late parents, “who encouraged curiosity and creativity,” past teachers and professors, and her family, including her husband of 35 years, Dr. Thomas Cutrer, professor emeritus at Arizona University.
Dr. Doris Davis, regents professor, called the academic convocation to order, and Dr. Rosanne Stripling, provost and vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, gave the welcome and introduced special guests in the audience.
Dr. Peter Racheotes, president of the university’s Faculty Senate, served as mace bearer for the ceremony, and Dr. Tom Wagy, regents professor, greeted the new president on behalf of the faculty and staff. Terence Washington, an A&M-Texarkana graduate student, gave the invocation, and Danny McNeely, an undergraduate student, sang the national anthem and the school’s alma mater.
Pianist Mary Scott Goode played “Trumpet Tune” for the processional of dignitaries onto the stage and “Important Event” for the recessional.
Following the investiture at the Perot, everyone was invited to a reception at Texarkana Regional Arts Center.