UT Dallas to House Urban Policy Research Institute
Founder Says University Can Further Organization's Growth
Oct. 17, 2008
Thanks to a generous donation from Trammell Crow Chairman Emeritus Don Williams, the community-based research organization he founded, the J. McDonald Williams Institute, is moving to The University of Texas at Dallas where it will become the Institute for Urban Policy Research.
“The University of Texas at Dallas is a better home for the institute. It is a major research university that will be here long after we are gone, and it has the resources to attract the best scholars,” said Williams.
The institute will be housed in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. EPPS professor Dr. Timothy Bray will remain director of the institute and will lead the transition.
“Although our address and name will change, our mission remains the same: to improve lives by changing the conversation about the policies necessary to create prosperous, equitable and sustainable communities,” said Bray.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert joined Williams, UT Dallas President David Daniel, EPPS Dean Brian Berry and Bray for the formal announcement of the move at the institute’s annual conference Oct. 16. They also released the 2008 Dallas Wholeness Index, an important product of the institute’s research.
Dr. Daniel expressed appreciation to Williams for his confidence in the University and accepted the “challenge and tremendous opportunity to bring thoughtful, sustainable, inclusive growth through the institute.” He said that the institute’s mission falls in line with the University’s strategic initiative to make a great city even greater.
The institute will maintain its commitment to distressed neighborhoods in the City of Dallas. Bray’s team is already working to create a South Dallas office. The backing of UT Dallas will also enable it to broaden its reach to address the regional dynamics affecting quality of life.
The diverse, interdisciplinary team of professors and graduate students from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences is one of the many strengths the University brings to the institute. Williams touched on the importance of having scholars who are committed to research that can change lives. “At UT Dallas they have the best research professors who are interested in the local community; we’ve found a heart partner,” he said.
Participating faculty include:
- Dr. Timothy M. Bray.
- Dr. Nathan Berg.
- Dr. James Murdoch.
- Dr. Paul Jargowsky.
- Dr. Danielle Lavin-Loucks.
Dallas Mayor Leppert, recognized at the conference as a “mayor who has taken the concept of wholeness to heart,” said that he is excited about UT Dallas’ involvement with the institute and recognized the value of strong research data about the city. “This is important work,” he said. “Sometimes we spend too much time on anecdotes rather than getting the facts straight first.”
The J. McDonald’s Williams Institute formerly operated as the research arm of the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE), also founded by Williams. Under the direction of President and CEO Marcia Page, the FCE will continue its mission to serve as a catalyst to mobilize people, data, ideas and resources to help distressed neighborhoods become vibrant, thriving places, making Dallas a whole city. The Institute for Urban Policy Research will retain a strong partnership with the FCE.