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Tarleton State University is a public, coeducational, state university located in Stephenville, Texasmarker. It is the largest non-land-grant university primarily devoted to agriculture in the United Statesmarker.

Founded in 1899 as John Tarleton Agricultural College, the institution became a member of The Texas A&M University System in 1917. By a 1959 act of the Texas Legislature, Tarleton became a four-year degree granting institution, the first class graduating in 1963. Accredited as a senior college in 1966, Tarleton initiated many new programs, including graduate courses in 1970. Since Tarleton offered a broad liberal arts education within undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Texas Legislature recognized the institution as a university in 1973 when the name officially changed to Tarleton State University. On September 1, 1999 Tarleton opened its Central Texas location in Killeen, Texasmarker, and the location currently offers undergraduate degrees in 38 areas and graduate degrees in 26 areas.

Tarleton continues to break new ground in many academic arenas, including water quality and other environmental science topics. Students come from more than 220 Texas counties, as well as 45 states and 17 foreign countries. Tarleton offers an MBA program at Fort Hoodmarker and a Clinical Laboratory Science Program in Fort Worthmarker. On April 30, 2009, Texas A&M agreed with the Army to offer classroom space to the military in exchange for donating 662 acres for the campus of a new Texas A&M University-Central Texas. As a result the Killeen and Fort Hood campuses of Tarleton will become an independent university.

Located near the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Tarleton is a growing institution, known for its internationally recognized horse production program and innovative teacher education programs. The university has one of the largest and oldest public school improvement partnerships in the United States that benefits more than 50 area school districts. In the Fall of 2006, the university had 9,462 students enrolled at two campuses up from 8,540 in 2004 making it one of the fastest growing universities in Texas and the second largest university in the A&M system.


Founded in 1899 as a private, agricultural college known then as John Tarleton Agricultural College, the institution became a member of The Texas A&M University System in 1917, a four-year degree-granting institution in 1959 and gained status as a university in 1973. Tarleton State University is now one of the state's fastest growing institutions with an enrollment of approximately 9,500 for fall 2007.

Located one hour from Fort Worth in Stephenville, Texas, Tarleton serves as the educational and cultural flagship of the Cross Timbersmarker Region. With a population of 17,000, Stephenville is known as one of the country's most desirable places to live and is included in Norman Crampton's The 100 Best Small Towns in America published by Prentice Hall.

Upgraded campus facilities and affordable tuition, combined with Stephenville's economical cost of living, make Tarleton one of the best university values in Texas. A new 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, dining facility opened in Fall 2008. For student convenience, 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, 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 a remarkable expansion and renovation of the Dick Smith Library and comfortable new housing facilities.

Students come from around the world–26 countries and 49 states in the United States–to attend Tarleton. Students have the opportunity to choose from 64 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.

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).

Tarleton also offers an innovative horticulture/landscaping program in golf course management.

A doctoral degree in educational administration and online master’s degrees programs are offered. named three of Tarleton's online master's programs as Best Buys for affordability and quality: Tarleton's online MBA (regionally accredited)[93562]; its master of science in information systems[93563]; and its master of science in human resources (which placed first)[93564].

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 Upper North Bosque River watershed.

In fall 2002 the W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas opened at a site located near Thurbermarker, a ghost town located approximately northwest of Stephenville and about one hour east 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 near the site of Texas' first coal mine and adjacent to New York Hill. The Center is dedicated to the preservation, research and recording of Texas industrial history including coal mining, brick making and oil and gas exploration.

Most university activities take place on Tarleton's centrally located, main campus. A university farm and the 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 are offered at Tarleton-Central Texas in Killeen.


Tarleton is located southwest of Fort Worth, Texasmarker in Stephenvillemarker, the county seat of Erath Countymarker. With a population of 14,900-15,500, 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. Recently, Tarleton also began offering programs at its new Granburymarker location, the Dora Lee Langdon Cultural and Educational Center.


Tarleton State University athletics compete 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.

Nicknames for the men's and women's teams are "Texans" and "TexAnns", respectively. Prior to becoming a four-year institution in 1961 they were known as the "Plowboys".


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.

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

Texan Rider, 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.

Silver Taps, a ceremony held to honor Tarleton's faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have died over the past year and marks the beginning of Homecoming week.

John Tarleton Spirit Award, originated in 1988, and has since become the most highly-coveted award at TSU, and is given to up to twelve 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.

Notable alumni


Some students at Tarleton State University threw a what many people believed to be a racist “MLK Party” on Dr Martin Luther King's birthday in 2007. It featured students mocking African Americans stereotypes including buckets of fried chicken, malt liquor, kerchiefs, fake gold teeth, fake gang paraphernalia, afro wigs, hand guns, and even a female dressed like Aunt Jemima (while holding a bottle of malt liquor). Weeks later the KKK held a rally in Stephenville to show KKK support of these students. Only a handful of students actually attended the rally, which was held on spring break.

Tarleton State University, or TSU, were featured players in an episode of "Battleground Earth", a reality show sponsored by the Planet Green, a cable/satellite television network. The episode was filmed in Dallas, Texas, and showed the hip-hop artist Ludacris and Mötley Crüe's drummer and infamous rock star Tommy Lee making renewable fuel. The TSU band and cheerleaders helped hard rocker Tommy Lee win the shows weekly challenge.


  1. Retrieved 2009-0706.
  2. Texas A&M University System

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