Celebrating 10 Years

Release Date: Thursday, Jun 20, 2019
On a sunny, clear sky morning of June 18th, 2009; the Soltis Center officially opened its doors to start facilitating research, academic and outreach activities in Costa Rica, specifically in community of San Juan de San Ramon. Ten years have already passed since Mr Ambassador E.M. Bost, together with Bill, Wanda and all the Soltis Family, Dr E. Flores, Ministry of Science and Technology and representing the Costa Rica government, simultaneously cut the maroon ribbon to let those special guests present there and beyond, that the Soltis Center was ready to start operating. From that moment on, we started honoring Mr. Soltis’s vision of promoting the Aggie spirit while preserving the Costa Rican environment through a multi-disciplinary Center, encouraging the development of research activities, service projects, and study abroad courses from all Texas A&M University System colleges and beyond.

Today, after those 10 successful years of service, over 6500 people have visited and stayed at the Solti Center. Students and professors from all main higher education disciplines; engineering, law, liberal arts, social sciences, agriculture, just to mention some, have already used the Soltis Center as their alma mater for their abroad classes, research activities or community service. Additionally of those experiences, visitors have enjoyed the nature and biodiversity, cultural richness and hospitality that Costa Rica offers.

The trails of rainforest of the Center have witnessed the visits of students and faculty, and its biodiversity and complexity have inspired, from paints and poems to Master and Ph.D dissertations. Its biological functionally for ground mammals, say wild cats, along with its closest neighbor the Ethernal Rain Forest of the Children and the Biological Corridor El Paso de las Nubes, was studied by Ms. M. Wood, being this the very first Ph.D dissertation coming out the Center. Equally, more than 20 peer-reviewed papers resulting from research conducted at the Center have made it possible for the international research community to learn and know about this outstanding and extraordinary tropical ecosystem.

The support of the local Communities has been fundamental for the Center to accomplish its mission. Almost half of the visiting programs visit and interact with locals; from Counseling and Communications programs, to sport and cultural activities, among many. The computer lab at the elementary school of San Juan was one of the very first projects where visiting students, local Education Board and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Costa Rica engaged in a joint effort to provide internet access to local school children and the entire community. Examples like this are many, and still more to come in this mutualistic relationship between the Center and local communities.

The Aggies, and all visitors from all U.S. and local universities, have made possible for the Center to honor the vision of Bill Soltis: to promote the Aggie spirit through research, education and community service activities. Thanks to all the University authorities, faculty, students and friends for supporting the Soltis Center. Thanks to the staff and all the partners we have in Costa Rica for advocating their efforts to make this a very successful Center.