President David E. Daniel

June 2015

 

84th Texas Legislature – Positive Results for UT Dallas

Over the past decade (and five legislative sessions), this letter has often described the smart investments made by the state of Texas in UT Dallas and higher education overall. This report on the just-concluded 84th legislative session is also my last President's Viewpoint. On July 1, my work will broaden to cover all of the institutions within The University of Texas System, where I will serve in Austin as deputy chancellor and chief operating officer.


Enrollment growth — averaging 9 percent annually for the past four years — spurred an increase in state appropriations during the just-concluded 84th legislative session.

From this new perspective as a current university president and future system officer, I am pleased at the elevated focus on higher education during this session. The best solutions to our state's most pressing issues will be found at institutions like UT Dallas. Texas citizens rely on us to provide them with quality education informed by research that drives innovation and economic development.

As one of the fastest growing universities in Texas, UT Dallas relies on the state for approximately 20 percent of its budget. So the 84th Legislature's increase in formula funding, key research funds and tuition revenue bonds is very important and greatly appreciated.

Some highlights from this session:

  • A 12 percent increase ($31 million) for core operations at UT Dallas, including appropriations for enrollment growth averaging 9 percent annually for the past four years.
  • A $1 million increase for the highly effective Academic Bridge Program.
  • A major facilities package for public universities. Approximately $70 million will go toward a new engineering building at UT Dallas — critically important in light of the University's 82 percent growth in engineering enrollment since 2010.
  • New funding for the Texas Research Incentive Program to match private donations for research at the state's eight emerging research universities — UT Dallas will receive a $40 million match over the next two years. We thank our donors for their vision, leadership and generosity, now made more impactful by matching funds!

I want to especially acknowledge and thank those who directly represent the institution in the Legislature — Sen. Van Taylor, two of our alumni, Rep. Angie Chen Button MS'80 and Rep. Linda Koop MA'85, and Rep. Jeff Leach. I also express gratitude to Rep. Helen Giddings for support of our Academic Bridge Program.

Civic and corporate partners also work with the University to improve the economic vitality of the region through legislative measures. I would especially like to thank the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, the Plano Chamber of Commerce, the Metroplex Technology Business Council, the Dallas Citizens Council, the North Texas Commission, the City of Richardson, the City of Dallas, The Dallas Morning News and Texas Instruments for taking a consistent interest in and supporting the University's work to become a top-tier research university and greater contributor to the community.

It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve as UT Dallas president. Much has been accomplished by working together toward shared goals. I am grateful to our legislators and community partners for their help in bringing attention and support to UT Dallas during the last 10 years. I look forward to seeing that partnership continue as the University moves toward its Tier One destiny. Whoosh!

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About This Newsletter

The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.