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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY–KINGSVILLE. Texas A&M University–Kingsville was originally projected in 1913 as a state teacher training school to be located in South Texas. A law passed in 1917 to authorize a normal school was suspended because of World War I. In 1923 the Texas legislature changed all normal schools to state teachers' colleges and authorized a new school to be located west of the 101st meridian and south of the twenty-ninth parallel. The locating board chose Kingsville for the site of South Texas State Teachers College, which opened in June 1925; Robert B. Cousins was president. In 1929 the school was changed from a teachers' college to a technical school, and the name was changed to Texas College of Arts and Industries. Originally four divisions of instruction were authorized: liberal arts, industrial arts and commerce, education, and military science. By 1946 teacher training in agriculture and kindergarten had been added, and laboratory facilities in gas engineering were provided. In 1949 the buildings and dormitories were valued at $5 million. The former Naval Auxiliary Air Station east of Kingsville had been adapted to house returning World War II veterans, both students and faculty, and also to provide facilities for model farming and a stock farm. The faculty had 150 members in 1949, and 60 percent of the 2,000 students were male.

In 1967 the name of the institution was changed to Texas A&I University, and the university was organized into six schools: engineering, teacher education, agriculture, arts and sciences, business administration, and graduate studies. In 1989 the school offered majors in more than fifty fields of study, seventeen bachelor's degrees, nine master's, and one doctorate in bilingual education. In spring 1989 the enrollment was 5,783, and the faculty numbered 300 on a campus with thirty-five buildings and 1,000 acres. Texas A&I was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. In 1977 Texas A&I, the upper-level Corpus Christi State University, and Laredo State University were consolidated into the University System of South Texas, governed by a chancellor and board. On September 1, 1989, the University System of South Texas was dissolved, and the three universities became members of the Texas A&M University System. In 1993 Texas A&I's name was changed to Texas A&M University–Kingsville, and the institution was one of a number of South Texas state universities that would receive additional funding under the South Texas Initiative passed by the Texas legislature.

The James C. Jernigan Library had 779,132 volumes, 352,044 microform units, and extensive audiovisual holdings in 2001. It subscribes to some 8,946 periodicals, including electronic subscriptions. The Learning Resource Center provides video and film viewing rooms, teleconferencing, and photographic services. By 1989 the university was a member of AMIGOS and of PAISANO, computer networks that allowed the identification and sharing of resources. The John E. Conner Museum, specializing in local and natural history, is on campus but is open to the public. The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, established in 1981, provides information for enhancing the conservation and management of wildlife in South Texas and related environments. The university also operates the Texas A&M University–Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco. Texas A&M University–Kingsville had 231 faculty members and 6,415 students in the 1992–93 regular term and 6,176 students in the 1992 summer session. In 1994 the university published the Journal of South Texas for the South Texas Historical Association. Enrollment in 2000 was 5,949, of which 4,823 were undergraduates; the institution had a faculty of 432. Marc Cisneros was the president in 2001. The university's academic offerings were divided among six colleges: agriculture and human sciences, arts and sciences, business administration, education, engineering, and graduate studies.

Floy Ashmore Benson, The Founding of the South Texas State Teachers College, The First Name of the Texas College of Arts and Industry (M.A. thesis, Texas A&I University, 1951). Joseph L. Clark, Texas Gulf Coast: Its History and Development (4 vols., New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1955). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Why Texas A&I University? (Kingsville: Texas A&I University, n.d.).
Jimmie R. Picquet

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Handbook of Texas Online, Jimmie R. Picquet, "Texas A&m University-Kingsville," accessed January 18, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.