UTD logo

The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release

For Immediate Release


News contact:

Jon Senderling, UTD, (972) 883-2565, jsender@utdallas.edu

President Franklyn G. Jenifer To Deliver
Commencement Address at UTD on May 8

University Has Gained In Prestige During His Tenure


President Franklyn G. Jenifer RICHARDSON, Texas (April 8, 2004) – Dr. Franklyn G. Jenifer, the charismatic, nationally respected educator who announced last October that he planned to retire as president of The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) but would stay on until a successor was named, will deliver the commencement address at UTD’s spring graduation ceremonies May 8 in the Activity Center on campus.

Although Jenifer, the former president of Howard University and chancellor of higher education in Massachusetts, is known as an excellent and inspiring speaker and has spoken on graduation day at UTD as well as at other universities, this is the first time he will give the formal commencement address at UTD.

Jenifer, who has been a popular figure on campus during his 10 years as president of one of the most selective universities in Texas, will speak at all three of UTD’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 8 – at 9 a.m. for the School of Management, at 11:30 a.m. for the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of General Studies and at 2 p.m. for the schools of Arts and Humanities, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Social Sciences. UTD expects to confer more than 1,500 degrees that day.

The speaker at UTD’s commencement exercises last spring was astronaut Dr. James F. Reilly II, who received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geosciences from U. T. Dallas before joining NASA.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents currently is conducting a national search for President Jenifer’s successor, and Chancellor Mark Yudof has said that he and the regents hoped to have that person in place by the beginning of the 2004-05 academic year.

Jenifer, who turned 65 last month, joined U. T. Dallas as president in 1994. The university’s enrollment has increased more than 61 percent during his tenure – from less than 8,500 students to nearly 14,000 -- and the campus has undergone a dramatic physical transformation as major new facilities have been constructed – including buildings for the School of Management, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders as well as the Student Activity Center, athletic facilities and hundreds of student apartments.

The university also has grown in prestige during Jenifer’s presidency: In recent years, UTD has developed a national reputation in a number of academic disciplines and has garnered recognition outside Texas for its burgeoning research capabilities, its champion collegiate chess team and such academic innovations as the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program and the Academic Bridge Program.

“I am honored to have been selected to be the commencement speaker this year,” Jenifer said. “I am going to work hard on my speech and hope perhaps to have some small amount of wisdom to impart to the graduates as their lives enter another phase. It will be both a happy and a sad day for me, because I love UTD and its students, and this could be my last major speech at UTD.”

Jenifer also served as vice chancellor of the New Jersey Department of Higher Education, a system composed of 32 public institutions of higher education with an enrollment of nearly a quarter-million students.

Last fall, when he announced his plans to retire, Jenifer said he and his wife, Alfleda, most likely eventually would move back to the northeastern part of the United States to be closer to their three grown children and their grandchildren. He said they probably would settle in New Jersey.

Jenifer received his Bachelor of Science degree and his Master of Science degree, both in microbiology, from Howard University. He was awarded his Ph.D. in plant virology from the University of Maryland and then went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pioneering Laboratory in Plant Virology in Beltsville, Md.

Jenifer began his career in academia at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He started as an assistant professor of biology at the Livingston College campus in New Brunswick in 1970, became an associate professor the following year and a full professor in 1976. He also served as chairperson of the biology department and as chairperson of the university senate. Later, he served as associate provost at Rutgers’ Newark campus.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,700 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit its web site at www.utdallas.edu.


Other Press Releases & Announcements
This page last updated
August 03, 2013