UT Dallas Magazine

Hindsight: Philip Jonsson on the beginnings of UT Dallas

Philip Jonsson (right) is pictured with his father, UTD co-founder J. Erik Jonsson (second from left), mother, Margaret (center left), and daughter, Suzanne (second from right) outside the Philip R. Jonsson Basic Science Research Building at UT Southwestern Medical Center, which was completed in 1972. Image courtesy of DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Erik Jonsson papers.

Founders Day Remarks from Philip Jonsson: “Dad [J. Erik Jonsson] saw that the technical brains that were necessary for [the success of Texas Instruments] were going to Stanford or MIT, to be in the frontiers of discovery.

“With Dad’s love of Dallas, he tried to reverse that. He had the idea, along with Green and McDermott, to start the high-tech Graduate Research Center, which was privately funded for quite a few years.

“We shared offices, and I remember the fight to create what is now The University of Texas at Dallas. I think my dad would have foreseen the leadership position this university would take. I’m very proud, as he would have been, for what’s been accomplished here.

“I come back at least once a year, and each time, the University has changed. It’s bigger, taking more of a leadership role. UT Dallas is something to be very, very proud of. It’s affecting Dallas; it’s affecting the whole United States.”