In mid-May, I had the honor of congratulating more than 1,100 new graduates of our programs, the culmination of their years of hard and outstanding work. A few days later, we began welcoming the Class of ’14 as we launched the first of 13 new student conferences for our newest Aggies and their parents. The excitement of seeing the smiles on the faces of our graduates as they launch their careers and our newest Aggies as they begin their studies reminds me why this is my favorite time of the year.

Then, the economic downturn that has affected many universities around the country came to Texas A&M. Like all public universities and agencies, the Legislative Budget Board has directed us to plan for a significant potential budget cut that would take effect September 2011. While the university will announce its final plans to meet the budget reductions next month, we will not know with certainty what will need to be implemented until the Texas Legislature passes the final state budget, which will likely occur in late spring 2011.

If these planned cuts become reality, very difficult choices will be made, both at Texas A&M and at Mays. It would be an easier task if Mays had underperforming programs or unnecessary frills. We do not. Mays is a lean organization, it will not be easy, and our faculty, staff, and students will be impacted.

How will this affect us if these cuts are implemented? Our focus must be on minimizing the impact on the educational experience of our students and the research of our faculty and I assure you we will do the best we can. As I met with my colleagues last week to discuss this, it became clear to me that their dedication and passion for our students will make a difficult situation a bit easier for us to handle. I truly feel blessed to be surrounded by such individuals.