Texas A&M University (Texas A&M or A&M) is a coeducational public research university in College Station, Texas, United States. It is a state flagship university and since 1948 is the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. The Texas A&M system endowment is one of the 10 biggest in the nation. Texas A&M's student body is the largest in Texas and the largest in the United States. Texas A&M's designation as a land, sea, and space grant institution–the only university in Texas to hold all three designations–reflects a range of research with ongoing projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumni—over 450,000 strong—and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.
The first public institution of higher education in Texas, the school opened on October 4, 1876, as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas under the provisions of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts. Originally, the college taught no classes in agriculture, instead concentrating on classical studies, languages, literature, and applied mathematics. After four years, students could attain degrees in scientific agriculture, civil and mechanical engineering, and language and literature. Under the leadership of President James Earl Rudder in the 1960s, A.M.C. desegregated, became coeducational, and dropped the requirement for participation in the Corps of Cadets. To reflect the institution's expanded roles and academic offerings, the Texas Legislature renamed the school to Texas A&M University in 1963. The letters "A&M", originally A.M.C. short for "Agricultural and Mechanical College", are retained as a link to the university's tradition.
The main campus is one of the largest in the United States, spanning 5,200 acres (21 km2), and is home to the George Bush Presidential Library. About one-fifth of the student body lives on campus. Texas A&M has over 1,000 officially recognized student organizations. Many students also observe the traditions, which govern daily life, as well as special occasions, including sports events. Working with agencies such as the Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M has a direct presence in each of the 254 counties in Texas. The university offers degrees in over 150 courses of study through ten colleges and houses 18 research institutes.
As a Senior Military College, Texas A&M is one of six American public universities with a full-time, volunteer Corps of Cadets who study alongside civilian undergraduate students.