UT Dallas Magazine

Happy Founders Day, Comets!

UTD co-founders Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott and Cecil Green on the steps of Founders Building on Oct. 29, 1964.

Happy Founder’s Day, Comets! Join us as we tip our hats to our founders — Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green.

Their vision began as a research institution — the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest — which would help create more scientists and researchers qualified to work in area industry or teach in nearby universities.

What they surely couldn’t have imagined was that after gifting the center and its lands to the UT System in 1969, the University would grow into an institution that would one day be named the No. 1 United States university younger than 50 years old by Times Higher Education.

Here’s to our founders! Whoosh!

Did You Know…

Oct. 29 was selected as the date on which to celebrate all things UTD because the Founders Building — the first permanent facility on campus — was dedicated on that day in 1964.

(Fun fact: In 2016, Founders Building was named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology in recognition of the significant research conducted there.)

Take a look below at the making of our old friend.

A stretch of blackland prairie in Richardson, Texas, was selected as the site for the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which later became UT Dallas.

An architect’s model of Founders Building.

Construction began on the building in 1963.

The Founders Building opened in 1964. Five years later,  the research center it housed had morphed into a university.

Erik Jonsson speaks at the dedication ceremony for Founders Building on Oct. 29, 1964.