The newest groundbreaking for Texas Tech University was lacking the typical West Texas backdrop.
Instead, a volcano surrounded by the jungle was off in the distance as university officials joined with Costa Rican officials to break ground on the Texas Tech University Costa Rica campus, the university's first international campus that will allow students to earn degrees from an accredited U.S. university. The ceremony marked another step on Texas Tech's path to extending its global presence.
“We are delighted Texas Tech University has selected Costa Rica as the site to open a campus for students in the region,” said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís in a released statement. “This represents a recognition of the political and economic stability, and a reputation in the field of education, with prestigious academic centers with national recognition.”
Ana Helena Chacon Echeverria, Costa Rica's second vice-president; Alexander Mora, Costa Rica's minister of foreign trade; Jorge Sequeira, managing director of Costa Rica's Investment Promotion Agency; Robin Matthewman, deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in San Jose; and Texas Tech University representatives spoke at the groundbreaking.
The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the expansion to Costa Rica in August. The campus in San Jose will offer students in Central America an opportunity to earn undergraduate or graduate degrees. Programs will be offered by the Rawls College of Business Administration, Whitacre College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Hospitality and Retail Management within the College of Human Sciences. All courses will be taught in English.
Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell and regent Tim Lancaster attended the groundbreaking ceremony. The day's events also included meetings with industry and business leaders to discuss strategic trends and education needs.
“The groundbreaking represents the culmination of two years of cooperation and planning and also provides a great sense of excitement about the possibilities of what can be achieved through our partnership in Costa Rica,” Schovanec said. “We recognize the benefits that Texas Tech University Costa Rica will bring to our students by preparing them for an increasingly diverse and globally competitive workplace. In addition, our location in San Jose is especially rich in opportunities for collaboration between our faculty and industrial partners.”
The Texas Tech University Costa Rica University Plaza will be located in the capital city of San Jose and represents the first of three phases. Phase I will consist of classrooms, laboratories, a library and media center, administrative offices, an amphitheater and student services.
Construction on the 10,000-square foot Plaza facility is expected to begin in December with the first class of students scheduled for enrollment in spring 2018. Texas Tech University Costa Rica will be self-sustaining and self-supported through revenue generated by student enrollment and revenues collected from Promerica Group, a highly reputable multinational conglomerate of companies operating throughout Central and Latin America.
“In Promerica, we believe the future of Costa Rica and Central America requires vision, leadership and 21st-century skills in order to take our region to the next level,” John Keith, director of Promerica Group, said at the official signing in August. “The Texas Tech campus in Costa Rica will be a catalyst for progress, development and innovation. U.S. higher education engaging in Latin America can have a significant impact on the future growth of our emerging economies. We see Texas Tech as a leader in this regard and we are proud to be their partner.”