Texas A&M University System employee John Barton was named Thursday as the associate vice chancellor and director of the RELLIS Campus.

Barton was hired by the A&M System in January to participate in various strategic initiatives ongoing in the system, but will now be narrowing his focus to developing the upcoming research campus west of Bryan.

"We are making so much progress so quickly that it is important John concentrate on the development of RELLIS," said A&M System Chancellor John Sharp in a release. "I am excited that he has agreed to devote all of his energies to this important task."

The Texas A&M Class of '86 graduate will join Jim Nelson, who was named director of special academic initiatives in June.

Barton previously retired as deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation before accepting his position with the A&M System earlier this year.

The A&M System expects to break ground on the campus' first new building -- The Center for Infrastructure Renewal -- next month.

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