RICHARDSON, Texas (Sept. 20, 2006) — The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has initiated a major effort to enhance the appearance and functionality of its campus. The project has been inspired by a lead gift, designated for this purpose, from long-time UTD supporter Mrs. Eugene McDermott. The first phase of the project, funded with gifts and internal university resources, has a budget of $10 million and has the goals of making the campus more attractive and user-friendly to students, staff, faculty and visitors and the creation of “special places on campus,” according to UTD President Dr. David E. Daniel.
“We are so very grateful to Mrs. McDermott for this important gift that will improve the look and feel of U.T. Dallas to reflect and be consistent with the high level of quality that characterizes the people and programs here,” Daniel said. “In beautifying the grounds, we hope to create places of grace and inspiration, where lifelong memories are made, pictures are taken, friendships are formed and where we take our friends and relatives to show off the campus.”
University officials approached several international architectural agencies about developing long-range plans for the project, and, with the help of the U. T. System Office of Facilities Planning and knowledgeable members of the Dallas community, selected the internationally acclaimed landscape architectural firm Peter Walker and Partners (PWP). Most recently lauded for their designs for the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City, the firm will be responsible for the entire improvement process at UTD, from initial planning to implementation of detailed designs.
A newly formed committee that includes UTD faculty, students and administrators, along with members of alumni and community support groups, will work with PWP and UTD Facilities Management staff in guiding the development of plans for the project. The campus enhancement project will have its “kick-off” this Friday, Sept. 22, with a presentation by PWP to the campus community at 9 a.m. in the Davidson Auditorium in the School of Management building.
The first of several enhancements to be made will involve UTD’s campus perimeter and entrance roads, as well as the central plaza, where the major north-south and east-west pedestrian routes meet. Additions to the campus perimeter and entrance roads could include planting, fencing, landscaping, lighting and signage.
“One important objective of this project is to make the entire campus more pedestrian-friendly,” Daniel added. “More students walking the grounds, more park-like areas — those are the features of a great, thinking university, a university for the ages.”
Founded in 1983, PWP works worldwide on a variety of projects including urban design and planning and the design of landscapes that range in size from parks and university campuses to corporate headquarters, plazas and private gardens. One of their largest is the 1000-acre Millennium Parklands in Sydney, Australia. PWP also has joined with renowned architects to create significant projects, such as the gardens of Dallas’ Nasher Foundation Sculpture Center. The firm has received many honors and awards and won numerous design competitions.
In 2000, Mrs. McDermott instigated the creation of the prestigious Eugene McDermott Scholars Program in honor of her late husband with a $32-million bequest — the largest in the university’s history. Eugene McDermott, along with Cecil Green and Erik Jonsson, all of whom are deceased, founded Texas Instruments and, later, founded the research institution that in 1969 became U.T. Dallas.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.