November 18, 2019

November 18, 2019


Anniversary Now a Day Dedicated to Founders

Oct. 24, 2014

UT Dallas founders

From left: Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson and Cecil H. Green.

On Oct. 29, 1964, the directors of the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest joined business and elected leaders to dedicate the Founders Building  — the first facility built on the campus that would become The University of Texas at Dallas.

Dignitaries from Dallas and across the state were on hand to dedicate the building and honor the institution’s founders, Cecil H. Green, J. Erik Jonsson and Eugene McDermott. According to records marking the dedication, distinguished guests seated on the platform included Richardson Mayor and Mrs. Herb Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. A. Earl Cullum Jr., Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Tatum Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus. President Lyndon B. Johnson officially dedicated the building via telephone circuit.

“The Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, under the leadership of Dr. (Lloyd V.) Berkner, helps to fill a very vital need for the vigorous future of Texas and the Southwest,” Johnson said. “It has long had my admiration and my support.”

Half a century later, UT Dallas is honoring the vision and legacy of its founders with a special Founders Day celebration at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Founders Building.

Upon the dedication of the original facility, Gov. John Connally said to the crowd, “The Graduate Research Center of the Southwest is one important response to the challenge of change. In the years ahead, we will honor the day that the seed for this institution was planted by people who recognize the true destiny of Texas.”

It was Green, Jonsson and McDermott, three scientific entrepreneurs who deeply valued education and were dedicated to the future of Texas, who paved the way for a world-class university in North Texas.

Before World War II, the three founded Geophysical Services Inc., a company focused on seeking out natural resources. Corporate priorities shifted to creating instruments to help locate enemy planes and submarines during the war, and Texas Instruments was born. While growing the company, the leaders were forced to recruit engineering talent from outside the state as they watched bright young minds leave the region to pursue their education elsewhere. Identifying a need to develop highly educated resources at home and provide a competitive edge for Texas businesses, the men envisioned an institution that would foster learning, further research and attract the most influential minds of the day.

With this vision, Green, Jonsson and McDermott established the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest in 1961, which was renamed the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies (SCAS) in 1967. The founders transferred the assets of SCAS to the state of Texas in 1969, allowing for the transition to The University of Texas at Dallas.

“We would not be where we are today as a university if not for the innovative ideas and determined energy of our founders those many years ago,” said Dwight Clasby, interim director of development and alumni relations. “We look at this occasion as the first of many to continue recognizing the creative minds who laid the groundwork for UT Dallas.”

The Founders Day ceremony will feature remarks from UT Dallas President David E. Daniel and special guests, including Philip Jonsson, son of J. Erik Jonsson, who will speak about the founders’ vision for the University. Alumni and Texas Instruments employees Bill Krenik PhD’93 and Fern Yoon Ghouse BS’07, MS’08 will also speak.

Henceforth, UT Dallas will celebrate Founders Day on Oct. 29.

Media Contact: Jill Blevins, UT Dallas, (972) 883-5386, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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