In 1994 I began my relationship with UT Dallas as a student attending evening classes while working full-time during the day for a rapidly-growing software services company. I had enrolled in the business degree program at UT Dallas after earning an associate degree from Richland Community College, and I was looking forward to taking courses that would help me make a positive difference in business. Like many of my classmates, I valued the opportunity to learn from other students and from experienced professors like the late Dr. Frank Bass. Many of my classmates had full-time day jobs, and we shared a common goal of bettering our careers. My experiences at UT Dallas working in teams on projects, studying in small groups for exams, and sharing lessons learned from work experiences all left a lasting, positive impression on me. The emotional bond that was formed by my challenging academic experiences at UT Dallas prompted me to consider ways in which I might try to give something back. Over time those ways have included contributing ideas, volunteering for service, and eventually sharing in leadership.
Since receiving my MBA in 1997 from UT Dallas, I have been very blessed. I have a loving and supportive spouse, Christine, two wonderful daughters, Natalie (6) and Allison (3), excellent health, and a great professional home at NEC Unified Solutions where I am currently a Director in the National Sales Assistance Center. My volunteer activities with UT Dallas started in 2004 with service on a couple of alumni committees followed by participation in a few social events sponsored by the school. In recent years I have helped on UT Dallas alumni weekend events and a few graduation ceremonies as Chairman of the Alumni Association.
Many of our school's greatest traditions were started by students and alumni who wanted to make a difference. I am grateful that UT Dallas was a positive part of my life as I was preparing for my career, and it is an even more positive part of my life as my sense of community continues to grow. More of my life now involves sharing and giving in creative ways along side others who care about our community. I have found that the more I share with others and the more I give, the more I get back in return from unexpected sources. It is a very satisfying experience.
We have many ambitious students, dedicated faculty, caring administrators, and creative volunteers at UT Dallas. There are countless ways in which we can make a positive difference in our community through our University: attend one of our social or sporting events as a spectator, visit one of our favorite professors, play a round of disc golf, support our chess team, participate in a seminar, or just take time to walk around the campus and say "Hello" to some current students. I hope that your experience with UT Dallas was as positive as mine was, and I pray that you find a way to share your wisdom in a way that helps our community. You are always welcome at UT Dallas.
-Joseph A. Lanners (BS '95, MBA '97)