Building further on a solid reputation of educational excellence, community and college leaders came together on April 26, 2012, at the Midlothian Conference Center to celebrate the official formation of the Midlothian Higher Education Center (MHEC).
Thanks to hard work and collaboration between public and private officials, the MHEC becomes just the ninth educational campus in Texas to be given the Multi-Institutional Teaching Center (MITC) status. The last MITC to be established was the University of Houston System in 2000.
The MHEC will present students with a broad array of courses and programs through the partnerships of Navarro College and Tarleton State University.
"The presence of the MITC means that students in Midlothian, Ellis County, and the surrounding area will have access to a baccalaureate and graduate degree within a reasonable distance and at a reduced cost," said Dr. Richard Sanchez, district president of Navarro College located in Corsicana, Texas. "By attending Navarro College for the first two years and [Tarleton State] ... for the next two years, higher education opportunities will be financially feasible for both students and parents."
Sanchez added that the approval of the MITC also places Midlothian in an advantageous position relative to economic development and future growth.
A major catalyst behind the success of this project, Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, tapped the MITC unveiling as the highlight of his political career. In 2011, Pitts was appointed to the joint oversight committee on higher education in Texas and was key in securing funding for the MHEC.
"The Midlothian Higher Education Center will serve students from Ellis County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, and beyond," said Pitts. "Quite simply, this is one of the larger projects I have been involved in and one that I think will have a tangible and lasting impact. It has been so incredible to watch a project like this go from being the dream of forward-thinking leaders in Midlothian to a reality.
"I am of the mindset that affordable and accessible higher education is one of the keys to prosperity. Indeed, our colleges and universities are the breeding ground for the next generation of leaders, thinkers, creators and doers that will continue the economic growth here in Texas. Investing in education is one of the surest ways to ensure future success for a community, a state, or a nation. With the introduction of the Midlothian Higher Education Center to Ellis County, we are making that investment in our future that will pay dividends for years to come."
Not only will the MHEC be a substantial driving force for higher education opportunities in the decades to come, it also is expected to set the stage for significant economic growth, similar to that which has occurred around the MITC in Round Rock, Texas, which was authorized in 1998.
"In Midlothian, we dream big, we plan big and we finish strong," said Danny Rodgers, chairman of Midlothian Economic Development. "We do this because it's the right thing to do."
Bill Houston, mayor of Midlothian, echoed Rodgers' sentiments.
"Midlothian has a history of having the vision to accomplish great things," said Houston. "We plan to make this the greatest four-year campus in the state of Texas."
Tarleton is currently offering degrees in business, psychology, criminal justice, manufacturing, industrial management, and more. Current enrollment figures at the Navarro Campus in Midlothian are nearing 10,000.
About the Midlothian Higher Education Center
Following the Texas Legislature’s allocation of approximately $3 million in the university’s budget to help fund its development, the MHEC will serve as a multi-institutional teaching center in partnership with Navarro College and Tarleton State University. The institutions have collaborated to develop a plan for the MHEC, which will provide a seamless transition for students from Navarro College and bring baccalaureate and graduate degree programs to residents of the Ellis County area.
About Midlothian Economic Development
Midlothian Economic Development is a nonprofit industrial development corporation with the purpose of promoting economic development — increasing the wealth of stakeholders within the city of Midlothian. The corporation was established in February 1999 under the Development Corporation Act of 1979, as amended, Article 5190.6 and is a Type A corporation under the Act.
310 North 9th Street, Suite A, Midlothian, Texas 76065
Phone: (972) 723-3800