Tarleton State University

Tarleton State University is a public university in Stephenville, Texas. It is a founding member of the Texas A&M University System.[4] Located just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, Tarleton offers programs including agriculture, nursing, music, medical technology, mathematical data mining, and teacher education programs.[5] The university's public school improvement programs are active in over 50 area school districts. In fall 2012, the university enrolled over 10,000 students for the first time.

Tarleton State University
Former names
John Tarleton Agricultural College
Parent institution
Texas A&M University System
Endowment$42 million (2016)[1]
PresidentJames Hurley
Students13,176 [2]
Location, ,
United States
Campus1,973 acres (8 km²), Urban
Fight song"On Ye Tarleton"[3]
ColorsPurple & White
AthleticsNCAA Division IWestern Athletic Conference


John Tarleton Agricultural College was founded in 1899 with an endowment from settler John Tarleton. The college became a member of the Texas A&M University system in 1917. In 1949 it was renamed Tarleton State College then became a four-year degree-granting institution in 1959 and gained status as a university in 1973. In 2003 it began offering doctoral programs.[3]

Located one hour from Fort Worth in Stephenville, Texas, Tarleton serves as the educational and cultural center of the Cross Timbers Region. With a population of around 17,000, is included in Norman Crampton's The 100 Best Small Towns in America published by Prentice Hall.[6]

A new 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) sports recreation center, complete with weight rooms, track and gym, opened in fall 2007. The two-story building holds four racquetball courts, a weight room, cardio equipment as well as multi-purpose rooms, classroom and office space. The new facility is also home to a climbing wall and an "outdoor pursuit" area, allowing students the opportunity to sign up for such outdoor items as kayaks, tents, and camping equipment.

A new $13 million, 42,000-square-foot (3,900 m2) dining facility opened in Fall 2008. The new building is an extension of the student center and has two floors, a convenience store, executive meeting rooms and a cafe with a wireless network.

Other recent additions include a new $30.8 million science building complete with a 64-seat planetarium and a new observatory at Tarleton's Hunewell Ranch, which houses a fully robotic 32-inch-diameter (810 mm) research-grade telescope. The old science building went through an extensive $13.5 million renovation and expansion upgrading laboratories and classrooms. Tarleton's recent progress also includes expansion and renovation of the Dick Smith Library and new housing facilities.

The Dick Smith Library is a three-floor facility that houses materials including print books, periodicals, curriculum collection, audio-visual material, e-books, streaming media, and special collections. The library provides over 200 computers for student use, including laptops, desktops, and collaborative spaces. There are two study rooms available for reservation, and twelve first come, first served rooms, as well as a meeting room, practice presentation room, and library training center. The library also has a Learning Commons, Tech Spot, and Study Grounds Cafe. More recently, the library has added a Maker Spot, which offers camera equipment available for checkout, a wide-format scanner, 3-D printer, 3-D scanner, and more. The Dick Smith Library participates in the TexShare program, which enables sharing of materials to and from many different libraries across the state of Texas. [7]

Students come from around the world–33 countries and 49 states in the United States–to attend Tarleton. Students have the opportunity to choose from 65 undergraduate, 21 graduate, two associate degree programs and one doctoral program.

The largest non-land grant agriculture university in the United States, Tarleton is a leader in teacher education. It has one of the largest and oldest public school improvement partnerships in the United States, benefiting more than 50 area school districts. The university also is a national leader in educating agricultural education teachers.[8]

Data mining and data warehousing research at Tarleton is improving crop insurance for farmers. At the Center for Agribusiness Excellence (CAE), researchers seek to improve the integrity of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency’s delivery of services to farmers. Data mining research has identified patterns and schemes for cheating the system that are then reported to the Compliance Branch of the agency. In addition, systematic mistakes causing farmers’ claims to be underpaid are reported for corrective action. To date, more than $300 million in cost savings has been attributed to CAE research.

Bachelor's degrees in nursing, environmental engineering, engineering physics, international agriculture, interdisciplinary business, and communications, as well as a master's degree in environmental science and a doctoral degree in educational administration, have been added to the curriculum.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently approved an Associate of Applied Science degree and Advanced Technician Certificates in both Medical Laboratory Technology and Histotechnology for Tarleton (April 2004).

A doctoral degree in educational administration and online master's degrees programs are offered. GetEducated.com named three of Tarleton's online master's programs as Best Buys for affordability and quality: Tarleton's online MBA (regionally accredited);[9] its master of science in information systems;[10] and its master of science in human resources (which placed first).[11]

Tarleton was recognized for its Tarleton Model for Accelerated Teacher Education (TMATE), which received special notice from the Association of Teacher Education for program excellence. Through the TMATE program, Tarleton is the provider of alternate teacher certification for Fort Worth ISD.

The Computer Information Systems Department was selected by the International Data Processing Management Association as the outstanding four-year program in North America in 1989, 1996 and 2003 making Tarleton the first university to be a three-time award recipient.

Tarleton's Laboratory for Wellness and Motor Behavior houses a unique training machine called "The Psycle" for individuals with quadriplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, or other mobility impairments that require special training. Research showing the importance of moving paralyzed body parts is ongoing.

The Department of Animal Sciences oversees the Tarleton Equine-Assisted Therapy (TREAT) program that is designed to utilize horseback riding as a form of physical, emotional and recreational therapy. Hippotherapy (physical therapy on horseback using the horse as a therapist) has developed as a medical field recognized by most major countries.

The Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research on the Tarleton campus plays a national leadership role in environmental issues related to water quality. This program provides the university, the dairy and beef industries, environmental control agencies and governmental policy groups with water pollution data for the 230,000-acre (930 km2) Upper North Bosque River watershed.

In fall 2002 the W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas opened at a site located near Thurber, a ghost town located approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Stephenville and about one hour west of the DFW Metroplex. Funded through a $1.2 million grant from the Texas Department of Transportation and a private gift from Mrs. W.K. Gordon Jr. Center is located on 4.1 acres (17,000 m2) near the site of Texas' first coal mine and adjacent to New York Hill along Interstate 20. The Center is dedicated to the preservation, research and recording of Texas industrial history including coal mining, brick making and oil and gas exploration.

Tarleton operates two radio stations. KXTR-LP 100.7 FM is a student-operated rock station, while KTRL 90.5 FM is a public radio station broadcasting news, classical music, and jazz. Both are operated by students of Tarleton State University out of the radio station located in the Mathematics building on the TSU campus. Tarleton State University is one of four universities in the state of Texas to own and operate two radio stations; the other institutions being the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas Tech University.[12]

Most university activities take place on Tarleton's centrally located, 150-acre (0.61 km2) main campus. A 700-acre (2.8 km2) university farm and the 1,170-acre (4.7 km2) Hunewell Ranch provide additional educational facilities. Tarleton also offers specialized programs at its Dora Lee Langdon Cultural and Educational Center in Granbury and select programs and courses at McLennan Community College in Waco, Weatherford College in Weatherford, and in Fort Worth. Upper-level courses were offered at Tarleton-Central Texas in Killeen until 2009 when Texas A&M University-Central Texas was formed as a separate institution.


Fort Worth
Tarleton State University campuses


Tarleton's main campus is located in Stephenville, the county seat of Erath County. With a population of 19,374, Stephenville provides a combination of small-town security and proximity to Dallas–Fort Worth. Most university activities take place on Tarleton's centrally located, 173 acre (700,000 m²) main campus. A 600-acre (2.4 km²) university farm and the 1,200 acre (4.8 km²) Hunewell Ranch provide additional educational facilities.

Fort Worth

Tarleton–Fort Worth is a branch campus located in Fort Worth, Texas. The university has maintained a presence in the city since assuming control of the C.C. Terrell Memorial School of Medical Technology in the 1970s. In 2019, the university opened the first dedicated academic building on an 80–acre campus is located adjacent to the Chisholm Trail Parkway in southwest Tarrant County. The campus is projected to enroll over 9,000 students by 2030.[13]


Tarleton State University athletics currently competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Lone Star Conference. Their admission into the conference in 1995 marks their second period of membership, having previously participated from 1968 to 1975. They were a founding member of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) in 1976 and remained in that league until 1990. From 1991 to 1994 Tarleton played as an Independent.

Tarleton will leave the LSC and Division II in July 2020 to join the Division I Western Athletic Conference. Because the WAC does not sponsor football, Tarleton football will play as a Division I FCS independent.[14]

The teams are known as the "Texans". Athletes were known as the "Plowboys" before the college because a four-year institution in 1961.

When women's sports were introduced in 1968–69, those teams played under the "Texans" nickname, but due to the desire of that day's female athletes to play under a distinctive nickname, the women's nickname was changed the next school year. "Texanns", "Tex-Anns", and "TexAnns" were used interchangeably until 1972–73, when "TexAnns" was officially settled on. Following a campaign initially led by two players and a (female) student manager in the women's basketball program, Tarleton returned the "Texans" nickname to women's teams in 2019–20.[15]

The basketball and volleyball teams play at Wisdom Gym.[16] The football team plays at Memorial Stadium. The baseball team plays at Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex. The softball team plays at the Tarleton Softball Complex.

Tarleton State University fields six men's varsity sports and eight women's varsity sports in the Lone Star Conference:[17]

FootballCross Country
Cross CountrySoftball
Track & Field[lower-alpha 1]Tennis
Track & Field[lower-alpha 1]
  1. Tarleton fields teams in indoor and outdoor track for both sexes. The NCAA classifies indoor and outdoor track as separate sports, holding indoor championships in its winter season and outdoor championships in its spring season.


The music program at Tarleton State University is fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of the Music (NASM). It is housed in the elegant Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center, one of the top performance venues among colleges and universities in the Southwest. This multi-purpose fine arts complex contains three theatres: a 243-seat recital hall, an 805-seat auditorium, and the workshop theatre. There is a 16 keyboard piano lab and computer lab. The instrument collection includes two nine-foot concert Steinway grand pianos, the Waggener Memorial Organ – a tracker two-manual pipe organ, a Richard Kingston harpsichord, and several Steinway grand pianos that are designated for piano majors to practice. The Music department at Tarleton State University currently offers three degrees, which are Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Music in Music Education (with all-level certification) and the Bachelor of Music in Performance. It currently offers one online graduate degree, Master of Music in Music Education. The program has over 150 full-time enrolled students with 80% of the majority being instrumental studies and 20% being vocal studies. The Tarleton music department hosts many festivals and clinics throughout the school year, including Brass Day, TMEA All-Region Band clinics, Jazz Festival, Invitational Band Festival, TMEA Area Choir clinics, and the Let All Men Sing! [18][19]

The Tarleton Band program offers many ensembles, which are open to both music majors and non-music majors:

The Sound and the Fury, The Texan Marching Band, Foul Play Basketball Band, Chamber Winds (audition required), Wind Ensemble (audition required), Symphonic Band, Jazz Band 1 & 2 (audition required), Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Chamber Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble, and Flute Choir.[20]

Texan Corps of Cadets

The Texan Corps of Cadets was founded in 1917 when John Tarleton Agriculture College joined the Texas A&M University system. The Corps of Cadets was initially known as "Johns Army".[21] The Corps of Cadets survived through the end of the 1950s. Until 2016 the school had only an Army ROTC program. However, in 2016 the Texan Corps of Cadets was brought back to the university.

The Texan Corps of Cadets offers students an opportunity to obtain a minor in Leadership Studies. All cadets live together in a residence hall at Tarleton called Traditions. All cadets wear their uniforms to class every day and must abide by the regulations set forth in the "Chisel". [22]


Oscar P.

Oscar P. was, according to legend, John Tarleton's pet duck who went everywhere with him. The two were so close that the duck is supposedly buried with Mr. Tarleton. During athletic events, a common sight is students chanting to raise the spirit of Oscar P.[23]

Purple Poo

TTP – Ten Tarleton Peppers (1921) and TTS – Ten Tarleton Sisters (1923) are the two oldest spirit organizations on campus, also in the state of Texas, and are precursors of the Purple Poo, a secret organization which promotes school spirit. The members in this organization keep their identities secret by appearing in public in costume. The still-secret organization gathers to make "Poo Say" signs each Monday night. The "Poo Say" signs appear on campus every Tuesday morning and occasionally comment on campus political life and student life. The "Poo Say" signs are nailed to the trees on campus and most are designed to promote school spirit.[24]

The Plowboys

The Plowboys, originally the mascot for Tarleton athletic teams, but more recently known as a spirit organization, are recognized by the purple and white shirts, cowboy hats and maroon chaps.[25]

Texan Rider

Texan Rider is Tarleton's current mascot that at one time rode a horse during the football games (tradition was discontinued due to the renovated stadium), and is also recognized by his/her purple chaps. The Texan Rider has been the mascot of Tarleton since 1961 when the student body chose the Texans and TexAnns to represent its athletic teams.[26]

Silver Taps

Silver Taps, a ceremony held to honor Tarleton's faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have died over the past year, is held in the spring during Founder's Week.[27]

Special awards

John Tarleton Spirit Award

The John Tarleton Spirit Award originated in 1988, and is given to up to 12 students annually at the Leadership and Service Awards Banquet. Recipients are chosen based on campus involvement through organizations, special projects, and activities that contribute to the overall growth of the individual.


During the 1980s, the Student Government Association added the Yell Contest to Homecoming Week, and it quickly established itself as a traditional component of the celebration. Student organizations perform step and dance moves to original chants and lyrics; a panel of judges selects the top two teams. The winning team has the honor of beating the drum immediately following the Plowboys.[28]

Notable alumni


  1. https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/tarleton-3631
  2. https://public.tableau.com/profile/oir3494#!/vizhome/QuickFacts_15734946976160/AboutUs?publish=yes
  3. "404 Error - Tarleton State University" (PDF). www.tarleton.edu. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  4. Texas A&M University System "Tarleton University web site". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  5. "Undergraduate Academic Programs | Tarleton State University". catalog.tarleton.edu. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  6. "Stephenville, Texas Chamber of Commerce - Information about local businesses, organizations, attractions, entertainment, and hunting".
  7. "University Libraries - Tarleton State University". www.tarleton.edu. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  8. "Overview - Tarleton State University".
  9. "Top Ranked Best Buys in Online MBAs – Regionally Accredited". GetEducated.com. Retrieved 2/5/2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. "Top Ranked Best Buys – Online Master's Degrees in Computer Science". GetEducated.com. Retrieved 2/5/2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. "Top Ranked Best Buys – Online Master's Degrees in Human Resources". GetEducated.com. Retrieved 2/5/2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  12. "List of all Texas Radio Stations". Texas Music Office. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  13. Stokes, Prescotte (28 December 2017). "Coming to southwest Fort Worth: New campus, engineering school for Tarleton State in 2018". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  14. "Tarleton State University to Join Western Athletic Conference in 2020-21" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. November 12, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  15. "All Tarleton athletic teams to unite as 'Texans' this fall" (Press release). Tarleton State Athletics. January 26, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  16. "404 Error - Tarleton State University". tarleton.edu. 20 May 2015.
  17. "Tarleton State Athletics". Tarletonsports.com. 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  18. "Festivals and Clinics". tarleton.edu. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  19. "Vocal Studies". tarleton.edu. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  20. "Music - Tarleton State University". Tarleton.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  21. "R.O.T.C. at Tarleton - Tarleton State University". www.tarleton.edu. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  22. https://www.tarleton.edu/cadets/documents/handbook.pdf
  23. "Traditions - Tarleton State University". Tarleton State University. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  24. "Purple Poo, TTS/TTP - Tarleton State University". Tarleton State University. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  25. "History of the Plowboys–Tarleton State University". Tarleton State University. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  26. "History of the Texan Rider - Tarleton State University". Tarleton State University. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  27. "Silver Taps Ceremony - Tarleton State University". Tarleton State University. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  28. "Homecoming - Tarleton State University". Tarleton State University. Retrieved 2013-10-22.

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