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Founded in 1991, the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute (RESI) was established to highlight Texas A&M University’s strengths and academic leadership in research relating to the study of race and ethnicity and their various dimensions (e.g., intersections with class, gender, and sexuality; past, present, and future relevance to issues of education, immigration, politics, culture, and health).

RESI was founded by Dr. Gail E. Thomas (1991-98) and Dr. Mitchell F. Rice (1999-2004). Dr. Thomas is Professor of Sociology, Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, California and Dr. Rice is currently Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University. In 2006 Dr. Joseph Jewell was named interim director until his departure in 2008. Dr. Sarah N. Gatson, Associate Professor in Sociology served as interim director until Dr. Verna M. Keith became the director in January 2010, serving until 2018.  In October, 2020, Dr. Troy Harden became the Director of RESI into the foreseeable future.