On and Off: Trinity and the Instituto Teconologico de Monterrey Exchange Program (1961-1963)

Letter to Dr. Greene from Carrolle from Tecnologico de Monterrey, 1959

When in 1951 the Trinitonian announced a Summer School opportunity with the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, it was the first time that a study abroad program happened without the intervention of Trinity faculty or staff. This also became the first step of what can be interpreted as an on-and-off relationship between Trinity University and the TEC in Monterrey where one side or the other tried to create an exchange program without permanent success.

With the suspension of the Language School, Monterrey became an obvious choice to send Trinity students. There is no clear evidence that after 1951 this continued, but some kind of relationship still was on when in 1959 new conversations about a student exchange program started to happen. Multiple stakeholders are part of these conversations: Dr. Col. AA Greene from the TU Foreign Languages Department, Ing. Macias Rendon from the TEC, TU President Laurie, TEC President Roel, TU Dean of Students Bruce Thomas, TEC Assistant from Public Relations, Mr. Carole, State Department International Exchange representative Saxton Bradford, and US Embassy Mexico representative, Ing. A flurry of correspondence was exchanged between 1959 to 1961 in which the programming was negotiated, funding was requested, and ratification of the program was expected.

Letter from Ing. Mancillas to Dr. Johnson to revive the Trinity.Monterrey relationship. 

The plan was simple: In its first iteration, Trinity and the TEC would exchange 10 students during the summer. All students would pay their regular tuition, but, in order to balance the fee payments -students from Monterrey were paying less- funding from the International Exchange office under the US State Department was procured. Due to changes in management and maybe because the plan did not communicate well that the balance was not for the Mexican students but for Trinity, the State Department delayed many times the funding and ratification of the program. In one instance or another, the implicated faculty, Dr. Greene or Ing. Macias Rendon, would visit the State Department and talk to different staff to clarify and make sure the ratification was done as soon as possible. Finally, in 1961, some funding was granted -$4000, around $40,685 in 2023- and plans for registration for that summer started. The program ran until 1963.

Monterrey wanted to continue the program as a letter from December of 1965 sent by Ing. Francisco A. Mancillas affirmed that “el programa puede desarrollarse por sí solo, esto es sin tener que solicitar ayuda económica a ningún gobierno o institución.” [the program can be developed on its own, meaning that is not necessary to request any funding from any government or institution.”] He also included a standard proposal if Trinity wanted to participate again in the exchange program already established in other institutions. The Dean of Students, in the end, decided not to run the program as the expectations from Monterrey were not able to be fulfilled by Trinity. 


Mrs. Virginia Mounce, University Archivist and Head of Latin American Collections, 1972

After a few years, under the leadership of faculty under the Latin American Studies major in 1971, Monterrey was again part of the conversation for an exchange program. Mrs. Virginia Mounce, University Archivist and head of the Latin American Collection, sent letters requesting information about the exchange program at the University of Colorado and the University of Kentucky both with longer relationships with the TEC in Monterrey. It seems as if there was no institutional memory of the previous relationship with the TEC. The responses received from these partner institutions detailed a relationship very similar to the one negotiated in 1961. Still, Mrs. Mounce had hesitations. In a report of her travelings through Monterrey in search of archival materials and visiting the Instituto Tecnológico, her statements on this matter were very brief and just declared that some relationship was viable but needed funding and resources, disregarding or not knowing what Ing. Mancillas mentioned in his 1965 letter. In 1972, Mrs. Mounce received a similar plan to the one executed in 1961. After these discussions, there is no evidence that the program restarted.

Report from Virginia Mounce regarding the trip to Monterrey, 1971.