From the President
Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim
From the President
There has never before been as exciting and optimistic a time at UT Dallas. Having served as chief academic officer for almost half of the institution's history and having studied what I have not experienced personally, I attest that the fundamental character of UT Dallas has remained constant: a total priority on intellectual excellence, in studying, teaching, and research.
What has changed is everything else. As we prepare to welcome a new president, after enjoying the benefits of 10 years of David Daniel’s dynamic leadership, we are experiencing annual, large increases in the numbers of ever-more outstanding students choosing UT Dallas, and with their arrival, the hiring of many outstanding new faculty to serve them.
This spring we are moving into the spectacular new Bioengineering and Sciences Building, while work continues vigorously on the Callier North building, the Student Services Building, our third, four-story parking garage, and the public-private housing and retail collaboration Northside. Later this spring we will commence construction of the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center and next summer will begin on a $100 million new engineering building.
And, most visibly, major portions of the second phase of the Peter Walker Partners-led, reimagined and reconstructed campus landscape enhancement have been completed, to the further pride and enjoyment of the entire UT Dallas community.
We remain focused on our ambition to become, conclusively, one of the nation’s best, most impactful, public research universities. Some quantitative markers on our progress this year are our 6 percent increase in enrollment — to 24,500 students— more than 40 percent higher than five years ago, led by a continuing increase in the size and quality of our freshman class. This year's 2,700 freshmen, again characterized by standardized test scores ranking with the elite of America's public universities, include 102 National Merit Scholars, bringing our total enrollment of this elite group of young people to 332.
Of course, recruiting remarkable intellectual capital to the University is only the first step. The real work is in developing and enhancing that student capital through academic programs and personal interactions led by our outstanding faculty. This is accomplished by the great teaching of our faculty who form the core of our UT Dallas culture. This faculty, whose excellence attracts national research funding and sparks the dreams and ambitions of our students, is the foundation of our present and future aspirations. Such student dreams are best exemplified by Dr. Aziz Sancar PhD'77, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for chemistry this year. We can all dream that he is the first of many UT Dallas alumni who will receive such high recognition.
Alumni will play an increasingly critical role in the long-term future of UT Dallas. While there have been outstanding instances of such support recently, from alumni Chuck and Nancy Davidson and Naveen Jindal, it is critical that more such partnerships are developed. Support from The University of Texas System Board of Regents and the state of Texas alone is not sufficient for UT Dallas to reach our, and your, ambitions. These pages contain a glimpse of the impact that alumni can have, exemplified by their role in the now completed Realize the Vision fundraising campaign: Alumni gifts accounted for 40 percent of the 26,066 individual gifts made.
You should feel the same pride that I do in what UT Dallas students, faculty, staff and alumni have accomplished these last few years. We are at a momentous point in our history. We have a lot to celebrate and much to look forward to.