It was a ‘blue letter day’ for Texas A&M University-Kingsville as campus faculty, staff, and students gathered at Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center to celebrate something historic.
A press conference lead by university president Dr. Steven Tallant announced a $16.5 million gift from the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation to fund the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. The gift is the largest donation the university has ever received, according to university officials.
“To be able to create a great facility, you need great faculty and great students,” Tallant said. “We have the best wildlife research institute in the country, and it’s because we’re able to support [faculty and students] through these generous donations.”
Recent TAMUK graduate Stephanie Shea says the award will not only benefit the research being conducted currently at the institute, but will also further the international outreach of the CKWRI.
“There’s representation from almost every state in the country and this award will ensure that more students are able to come here,” she said. “We can really dream big here at this institute and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg, a trustee of the CKFWC, said the donation served to honor the dedication of the program’s scientists and students. Having helped establish the institute with a grant from the CKFWC in 1981, Kleberg says it is important to not only do something of importance, but also of significance.
“I say that with a lot of pride because it’s something Caesar [Kleberg] would look at and say, ‘Job well done.’”
The gift is to be used through 2020 and will be dedicated to the Dr. Fred Bryant General Endowment, general support of the research institute, as well as to support the Tio and Janell Kleberg Research Park, according to a university press release.
Originally Published by Corpus Christi CallerTimes by Raul Altamirano, Managing Editor of The South Texan Newspaper, also now an intern for Caller Times.