As a crowd gathered inside the conference room at Collin College’s Preston Ridge campus in Frisco on Tuesday, Neil Matkin gave a brief history lesson of the campus.
The Collin College president recalled a time in the early 1990s when a bond election to build the campus in Frisco failed as residents questioned why a college would be built where nothing was around but an empty field.
Ultimately the campus was built in 1995, and today it serves 9,134 students.
And now its reach will expand even further.
Tuesday officials from Collin College and Texas A&M University-Commerce celebrated an accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges that will allow A&M Commerce to serve as a full off-site campus at the Preston Ridge campus.
This means A&M-Commerce students who attend Preston Ridge can stay at that campus and earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in general business, a Bachelor of Business Administration in business analytics, a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work.
Matkin said in 2015 he and former A&M-Commerce President Dan Jones talked with former Mayor Maher Maso about bringing four-year programs to Frisco.
Fast forward to the spring of 2017 and the first classes for a four-year degree through A&M-Commerce were available at the Frisco campus.
“The next step is introducing those four-year degrees, fully accredited and creating a pipeline not only for Collin College but for all the high schools in the region through this area,” Matkin said. “All centered right here in Frisco, Texas.”
A&M-Commerce officials said the partnership between the two colleges has always been strong.
“I knew after my first meeting with … Dr. Matkin that we were having discussions with the right people regarding moving higher education ahead, moving workforce development forward within Collin County and the greater Dallas Metroplex area,” said Mark Rudin, president of A&M-Commerce.
Included in the crowd Tuesday were Collin College business management students.
“These are the students and our future that we hope to retain and help them pursue their baccalaureate degrees here,” Rudin said. “In order to continue this growth in Frisco and the surrounding areas, we need a pipeline of talent. We feel like this partnership between Collin College and A&M-Commerce will continue to fill that pipeline with highly qualified and talented students that are going to be successful in the workforce.”
Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said partnerships with educational institutions like Collin College and A&M-Commerce are important for the city’s continued job growth. He said corporate officials want to know how a city is going to train their future workforce and where is the pipeline of talent.
“Today’s announcement is going to help Frisco’s economic development team put an exclamation point on those types of conversations,” Cheney said.
In addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Collin College’s McKinney campus beginning in the spring of 2020, the Frisco campus will offer a Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) degree in cybersecurity at the Preston Ridge campus, giving the campus five bachelor’s degrees.
“Not bad for this little farm land in this part of the county,” Matkin said.