This is a press release from Arkansas State University.
An inaugural class of 214 students moved into residence halls at Arkansas State University Campus Querétaro this week to prepare for the first-ever day of classes on Monday.
About 250 students total have enrolled in classes at the first American-style university campus in Mexico, which incorporates the A-State brand and Red Wolves logo, and are participating in orientation activities. The official enrollment count will be determined on the 11th day of classes just as it is calculated in Arkansas.
A-State CQ also welcomed 17 faculty and 9 academic support staff among its 71 total employees.
Arkansas State University CQ, A.C., (ASUCQ), a private foundation led by Mexico businessman Ricardo González, invested $100 million to build 800,000 square feet of academic and residential buildings and recreational facilities in the first phase of the 200-acre campus and a 2,000-acre community development plan. State funds are not being used to build or operate the Mexico campus, and all of A-State’s startup personnel and travel costs are reimbursed with funds from private gifts.
A grand opening celebration is planned on Thursday, Sept. 21. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Querétaro Gov. Francisco Domínquez Servién and the ASU Board of Trustees will be among the dignitaries attending the event.
“It’s hard to describe how excited we are that this day has arrived for our Querétaro campus,” ASU System President Chuck Welch said. “An enormous amount of planning, commitment and private investment has culminated with an eager group of freshmen who are ready to experience an American-style college education that they couldn’t have imagined in Mexico. We have persevered through many challenges, and in particular I want to commend our leadership team, faculty and staff in Jonesboro who have gone the extra mile to ensure a successful launch of this world-class project.
“Ricardo’s financial commitment is an extraordinary, transformative gift and investment that will positively change generations in Mexico while strengthening relationships between his home country and the United States,” Welch added. “Arkansas State is honored to be part of this development and extend its brand as all of our students prepare to compete in a global economy.”
Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, who visited A-State CQ for the first time recently after becoming chancellor on July 1, said the campus was “more impressive than I ever imagined.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome the Querétaro students, faculty and staff into the A-State family,” Damphousse added. “Ricardo, Vice Rector Brad Rawlins and the entire team in Mexico have worked hard to build a stunning campus, hire a strong group of faculty and recruit an impressive inaugural class of students. Our partnership is incredibly unique, and it will serve Arkansas State and its constituencies well in the years to come.”
A-State CQ’s academic requirements are the same as the main campus in Jonesboro, Ark., Rawlins said. During the first year, general education and introductory courses will be taught to the inaugural students. All coursework at A-State CQ is delivered in English, and the students are considered members of the general student body of Arkansas State. The initial degree programs cover three major subject areas: business and communications, engineering and technology, and science. Eight undergraduate degrees and two graduate degrees are available for A-State CQ students, and diplomas will be valid in both the United States and Mexico.
“This has been an exciting week as the dreams, efforts, time and investments dedicated to creating the first U.S. university in Mexico are finally yielding an amazing result,” Rawlins said. “The entire faculty was on campus to help students move into the residence halls. We had convocation on Sunday with students, parents, faculty and staff and the excitement was palpable. Many parents came up to us and said ‘thank you for bringing this university to Mexico and helping realize the dreams of our son or daughter.’ The arrival of students and faculty has transferred a beautiful campus into a real university. They are excited about the opportunity to be trailblazers for future generations. They all had on t-shirts that said, ‘First today, first forever.’"
The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees on Feb. 24 approved an updated collaboration agreement with A-State CQ that outlined operations, including financial matters, personnel, academics and safety.
ASU System President Chuck Welch said cumulative revenue to A-State could total $140 million over 20 years assuming flat enrollment after 10 years. Payments to A-State will be based on a commission rate based on students enrolled. Projected annual revenue with 2,100 students is $1.39 million and with 5,100 students is $8.87 million.
Construction on six buildings has been substantially completed, with four more expected to be complete by the end of the year. Four additional residence hall buildings will be added next year and a second academic building will be added in year three to support a projected 5,000 students in the first phase.
The ASU Board of Trustees authorized negotiations for the campus in December 2012, and in February 2014 more than 2,000 leaders in government, education and business gathered at the Centro de Convenciones in Querétaro to celebrate plans for the campus and comprehensive land development plan near Querétaro. The A-State campus is the focal point of the project, which will include commercial, residential and recreational components.