Sam Houston State University has a rich history supporting the agricultural sciences sector. The School of Agricultural Sciences traces its roots back to 1909 and was one of the first programs in the nation authorized to train teachers in agriculture. Today, with more than 1,000 undergraduate majors, SHSU has one of the largest non-land-grant agriculture programs in the U.S.

In Spring 2022, the university broke ground on a $22.9M phase 1 Agricultural Science Education and Research Complex at Gibbs Ranch that includes:

  • Academic Learning Center
  • Meat Science Technology Center
  • Equine Science Center
  • Multi-Purpose Agricultural Science Center
  • Plant and Soil Science Center

The university is seeking funding to minimize the cost of student fees associated with these new facilities.


  • #1 Best General Agriculture Master of Science Degree for College Veterans in Texas
  • #2 Best School for General Agriculture in Texas
  • #1 Best School for Master of Science in General Agriculture in Texas and in the Southwest Region
  • #2 among non-land grant plant science schools in Texas
  • #3 Best Value Bachelor's Degree for General Agriculture in Texas
  • Agriculture enrollment growth of 33% over the past 10 years
  • 6th largest department at SHSU
  • 25:1 Student/Faculty Ratio
  • Ranked among the top colleges/universities for social mobility in U.S. News & World Report


Sam Houston State University has contributed to the well-being and quality of life in Texas for more than 140 years when the university was established to help raise the state's educational standards through teacher training. Today, SHSU continues that mission through targeted academic programs that strengthen the state's economic prosperity while supporting the basic and critical needs of Texans.

No other industry is more essential than agriculture. Not only do the state's farms, ranches and other agribusinesses serve as a valuable resource for food, clothing and any number of other products, the agricultural sector employs 14% of working Texans.

In an industry heavily dependent on cutting-edge technology, science and research, facilities with innovative academic classrooms and laboratories that provide enriched active-learning environments are needed to expand programs in leading areas of agricultural specialties and prepare workforce-ready graduates.

To continue serving this industry and meet the needs of the state, it is imperative that the School of Agricultural Sciences provides the pathways and tools needed to expand the boundaries of agriculture science, today and for future generations..

The History of Gibbs Ranch

Wilbourn Sandford Gibbs, “W.S.”, acquired his property from his family as a young man in the late 1930s. Over the next four decades, W.S. improved this ranch to be a beautiful showplace in Walker County and the surrounding area. He also added a spacious ranch house, barns, pens, and other amenities to serve the ranch. His pride and joy were the herd of registered Brahman cattle and their prize-winning bulls.

Due to his untimely death in 1982, the future of this ranch became an important concern. His will provided that the ranch and its improvements would be jointly owned by Sam Houston State University, The Lawrenceville School, and the Schreiner Institute. W.S., like his grandfather, and other family members, was dedicated to SHSU and hoped that the university would eventually acquire the entire Gibbs Ranch.

As fate would have it, the university had the opportunity to sell its Country Campus property. With the sale of that property, the university negotiated a buy-out of the other two beneficiaries. When these transactions were completed, it was estimated that Gibbs Ranch cost the university one dollar.

Today, W.S. would take immense pride in the university's unwavering commitment to nurturing and enhancing this ranch. He would be especially proud of how it will perpetually enrich the lives of numerous SHSU students and bolster the esteemed agricultural programs.