The law school at private Texas Wesleyan University is being purchased by Texas A&M in order to establish a public law college in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The deal was announced by both schools on Tuesday after officials from Texas Wesleyan approved the sale on Monday night. The purchase price being paid by Texas A&M is $20 million and a 40-year lease will also be signed by Texas A&M in order to use the law building at the Wesleyan campus in Fort Worth. The purchase should be approved by regents of Texas A&M on Friday.
The new school will be called the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University. It will offer a concentration in intellectual property and business law beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. R. Bowen Loftin, the President of Texas A&M, said that the addition of the law school is the “next step in Texas A&M’s dramatic evolution from its beginnings as a regional, military-focused institution into one of the largest and most prestigious comprehensive universities. If you look at the top universities — our peer institutions — most of them have a law school.”
The deal must also be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said will happen. He also said that officials from Texas A&M have kept the board informed of the process as it occurred. Officials from the school have been trying to obtain or create a law school for some 40 years. Sharp said that creating a law school from the ground up would have cost Texas A&M over $100 million.
A rivalry for law students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area surely will occur now that there will be three law schools in the region. In 2009, state lawmakers approved a law school for the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University has a law school in Dallas. The law school for North Texas will open in Dallas in 2014.
“We’re not going to compete with anybody on a regional basis,” Sharp said. “We will draw students from 254 counties (in Texas) and all 50 states … and produce a world-class law school.”
The remainder of Texas Wesleyan will stay independent from Texas A&M. The law program at Texas Wesleyan began in 1989 and the school was founded in 1890. All of the Wesleyan law school faculty and staff members will be moved under Texas A&M. Dual-degree programs will be created for Wesleyan students who wish to accelerate their undergraduate and law degrees or earn a master’s degree in business while studying law at the same time.