September 22, 2018

September 22, 2018


New Center To Be Home for Alumni, Hub for Students, Resource to All

On Founders Day, a time to celebrate and honor the contributions of UT Dallas founders  — J. Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott and Cecil H. Green  — the University also held a groundbreaking ceremony for the future Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center.

Creating a place of return and a bond among alumni past and future is the primary purpose of the center. The facility also will provide expanded University meeting spaces that can host large events. 

The center is named for Nancy Gundy Davidson BS’80 and Charles “Chuck” Davidson MS’80, who made a gift of $15 million to support its construction. Located north of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, between the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building and Parking Structure 1, the center will accommodate rentals for meetings, weddings, conferences and more. It is scheduled for completion by summer 2017.

Celebration of Support parking map

The Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center will be built north of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, between the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building and Parking Structure 1.

“We are so pleased to be able to mark this year’s Founders Day with a groundbreaking celebration for the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center — a home for UT Dallas alumni and what promises to be a place for all of us in the community to use and enjoy,” said Susan Rogers, vice president for university advancement.

“There are two people whose vision and devotion to UT Dallas gave us the idea that this was possible: Nancy and Chuck Davidson. They’ve been deeply involved in building the School of Management and the University through their support, and we’re so grateful,” Rogers said. “They set a wonderful example that we hope many others will also follow.”

During the celebration, Chuck Davidson told the audience gathered, “This is not just about a building. It’s about the incredible students that we have and the fantastic 90,000 alumni, including our recently announced first alumnus Nobel Laureate,” he said. “This center will be a gateway to the future, and it’s about all of us — alumni, students, faculty, staff — walking through that door and experiencing the incredible future of this University. It’s just another element of the puzzle that’s helping bring the University closer to becoming truly Tier One.”

The center’s architect, Overland Partners in San Antonio, was named by Architect Magazine as one of the Top 50 Design Firms of 2015 and has been part of notable projects including the UT Austin Liberal Arts Building, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Texas A&M Bonfire Memorial.

Before architect Rick Archer completed a design for the upcoming Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center, he first consulted an astrophysicist to fully understand the characteristics and qualities of comets.

He told a crowd of about 200 students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered for a recent groundbreaking that his team aspired to create a building that represented the Comet spirit of UT Dallas.

Naming Opportunities

Naming opportunities for the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center are available to those who want to show their support for this "gateway to the future." Gifts may be pledged over a number of years. Donors may choose to permanently endow their gifts for long-term support of the Alumni Relations program, or they may allow their gifts to be fully expended. More information about giving opportunities is available online, or by contacting Melinda Mendoza-Ellis at 972- 883-2445 or [email protected].

One of the center’s features — a scrim, which is a screen of perforated aluminum mesh covering three sides of the building — will be designed to catch sunlight and create the illusion of comets moving through the cosmos.

Archer described the Davidson-Gundy as a building within a park. Approximately 33,000-square-feet of outdoor space will envelop the new alumni center. A shaded grove will offer a relaxed atmosphere for seated outdoor gatherings. Twenty-five existing trees, new ornamental trees and decorative grasses will frame the green — a large outdoor event space with an open lawn for private get-togethers, student activities and other special occasions. An expansive patio off the green will provide an extension of event space inside and out. 

The first floor of the Davidson-Gundy will offer a ballroom suitable for lectures, banquets, conferences, career fairs and other programming. The space is expected to accommodate up to 800 people in a lecture-style setting, approximately 500 in a seated banquet setting, and will be immediately adjacent to a spacious pre-reception area that connects to outdoor spaces. The Davidson-Gundy also will include executive meeting space, and several more casual meeting rooms, as well as office space for alumni relations, events and operations staff.

Michelle Janssen Adams BA’87, MA’88, PhD’95, a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and a member of the advisory board for the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences is looking forward to visiting the center and showing off the changed campus.

“When I was a student, this was a commuter school, but there have been incredible changes since then,” Adams said. She’s excited to bring her son, who will be applying to college soon, for a campus visit. “Now, just thinking about the rankings and how UT Dallas looks relative to other schools, it’s definitely a best buy and we alumni are the best disciples of this information.”

It’s so important to have engaged alumni who care about the future of the school ... and really help shape it. I think that today is a manifestation of that, a very important step for The University of Texas at Dallas.

Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano

As a member of the Davidson Management Honors Program, student Casey Sublett, who is also a Student Ambassador and Student Government secretary, sees first-hand the impact that the Davidsons are making on UT Dallas. At the groundbreaking, she was excited to visit with the couple.

“The Davidsons are both so warm,” Sublett said. “Mrs. Davidson was inspiring to talk to. I’m so grateful that she and Mr. Davidson are creating a place that we, as alumni, can go after we graduate. The Davidson-Gundy will be a home base for all alumni.”

The Davidsons met during their time on campus. Chuck earned a master’s degree in management and administrative sciences, and Nancy completed a bachelor’s in business and public administration, both in 1980. Chuck’s work as an executive in the oil and gas industry, and Nancy’s as a CPA, instructor and in community activities and volunteerism, formed their thinking about the role of the new facility.

“It’s so important to have engaged alumni who care about the future of the school ... and really help shape it,” said state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.I think that today is a manifestation of that, a very important step for The University of Texas at Dallas.”

As alumni of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, the Davidsons support the University in a multitude of ways. Their giving has made possible the creation of a number of endowed chairs and scholarships. The Davidson Management Honors Program is named in their honor. Both also served as members of the Realize the Vision Campaign Council, and Chuck is a member of the Development Board. They were honored as School of Management Distinguished Alumni in 2002 and UT Dallas Distinguished Alumni in 2008.

“Fifty years from now, we will be evermore guided and driven and supported by our alumni and I think that is the vision Chuck and Nancy had when they conceived of the center,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim.

To discuss giving and naming opportunities associated with the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center, contact Melinda Mendoza-Ellis at (972) 883-2445 or [email protected].

Media Contact: Sara Mancuso, UT Dallas, (972) 883-6507, [email protected],
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]

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