Arkansas State University Chancellor Tim Hudson will travel to Querétaro, Mexico to continue due diligence on a project to expand the Jonesboro campus south of the border.
Hudson’s trip will include a helicopter flyover of potential campus sites, meetings with possible land and scholarship donors, a summit with the Governor of Querétaro Jose Calzada, and planning for a national event to inaugurate the project.
ASU’s board of trustees approved the potential expansion at its last meeting on Dec. 7.
“Arkansas State University will change the trajectory of higher education in Mexico with a partnership in Querétaro that will help A-State fulfill its mission of preparing students to be global citizens,” said Hudson. “The benefits to all students will be far reaching.”
In addition, he said the project offers great potential for faculty and student exchange and enrichment experiences.
“We feel very comfortable, with conservative enrollment and financial projections, that this would easily be a self-sustaining program based solely on tuition revenue,” said ASU System President Dr. Chuck Welch.
Numerous multinational corporations have expressed interest in hiring student interns, graduates and making use of faculty expertise to improve their business processes, Welch said.
“Located in the highlands two hours north of Mexico City, Querétaro is a very progressive, prosperous state, and one that is safe,” Welch said. “More than 800 multinational companies operate there including Unilever, Nestle, Bombardier, Gerber, Eurocopter and New Holland. Our faculty and other representatives who have visited Querétaro say corporate connections will be available there that don’t currently exist at Arkansas State.”
Arkansas State officials have been working with the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Education (AIEM), a non-profit corporation, and private investors from Grupo Proyectos who have indicated their investment could total more than $30 million to provide facilities and start-up costs associated with the new campus.
Mexican officials say that the demand for higher education is increasing in Querétaro as industries relocate in the region.
“We are doing very well, but we are missing one important key factor – that is education,” said Querétaro Gov. Jose Eduardo Calzada on a recent visit to Jonesboro. “Only three in 10 students have access to higher education, so we are missing one of the key parts not only for economic growth but also for Mexico’s social development.”