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Texas’ Cowboy College Towns

In college towns, there’s always something going on. Universities are hubs of activities and attractions, and students supply plenty of youthful energy.

Visitors need only to look to the college to find theatrical productions, live concerts and basketball games. Meanwhile, planners can reserve conference centers, student unions and auditoriums on campus.

In these Texas college towns, people are just as loyal to their alma maters as they are to the Lone Star State.


The University of Houston-Victoria and Victoria College share a campus in the city of Victoria.

The Victoria College Conference and Education Center opened its doors in 2015 and, in the two years since, has had more than 74,000 attendees through its doors for 317 reservations by over 90 different individuals and organizations, said Tempi McLeod, manager of the Emerging Technology Complex, which comprises the center and the neighboring Industrial Training Center.

“We’re using both facilities to accommodate different kinds of events,” McLeod said. An association of owners of Model A cars recently used the conference center for gatherings and the training center for car judging, demonstrations and workshops.

The IACC-certified conference center has 15 meeting spaces ranging from boardrooms to the 6,800-square-foot Meeting Hall, which can seat groups of 500 for banquets or be divided into four smaller rooms. The center also offers a variety of conference rooms and classrooms, including a tiered classroom with fixed seating for 120 people, as well as a full catering kitchen.

The college also owns and operates the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, which seats 476 people. Groups can also use the downtown center’s rehearsal hall and lobby. On the college’s main campus, planners can use the “beautiful quad area” or have receptions and dinners at the Museum of the Coastal Bend, McLeod said.

College Station and Bryan

Texas A&M University “plays a huge role” in the sister cities of College Station and Bryan, said Madeleine Russell, marketing coordinator for Experience Bryan College Station. “Everything is super Aggie-centric.”

And everyone is an Aggie, whether they went to A&M or not. On football Saturdays, “if you’re not going to the game, you’re probably in hibernation,” Russell said with a laugh.

Experience Bryan College Station has a preferred access agreement with A&M that allows it “to go after larger groups that we possibly couldn’t fit into the hotel space,” said Mai Perez, the bureau’s convention business development director. The agreement allows the CVB to promote six school venues to planners and potentially waive up to 80 percent of the facility fees under certain criteria. Venues include the 14,000-square-foot Zone Club overlooking Kyle Field and the 27,000-square-foot Hall of Championships, also at the stadium, which offers guided group tours.

The Memorial Student Center has a 15,300-square-foot ballroom and more than 40 additional breakout spaces; Reed Arena has 12,989 seats, and Penberthy Recreational Sports Complex has an outdoor pavilion for 200. The Rudder Theatre and Event Complex has a 2,500-seat auditorium, a 750-seat theater and 19,000 square feet of meeting space.

“There are some really wonderful things we can do with this preferred access agreement,” said Perez, who is working with a large event that was too big for the city’s largest meeting hotel and will use campus venues. Experience Bryan College Station is also looking to add two new venues to the agreement, Perez said.