RICHARDSON , Texas (March 22, 2006) — The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will hold its first-ever investiture ceremony on Wednesday, March 29, to formally install Dr. David E. Daniel as the fourth president of the 37-year-old institution. Daniel, who became president of the university in June 2005, will be granted the authority and symbols of his office by representatives from The University of Texas System and will unveil the university’s new strategic plan.
The event, which is open to the public, will begin at 2 p.m. in UTD’s Activity Center, located at 800 W. Campbell Road in Richardson. A reception will follow in the Galaxy Room of the Student Union.
Daniel’s investiture ceremony will feature a keynote speech by Tom Luce, assistant secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. Luce’s speech is titled “The University of Texas at Dallas — An Essential Element of Competing in the Global Economy.”
Other special guests will include Mark Yudof, chancellor of The University of Texas System and Rita Clements, vice chairman of the Board of Regents of the U.T. System.
After his formal installation as president, Daniel will discuss for the first time in public UTD’s new strategic plan, which was developed by Daniel and members of the university community over the past nine months. The plan, titled “Creating the Future,” provides a bold vision of what UTD can, and Daniel believes will, become: one of the nation’s best public research universities and one of the great universities of the world.
The strategic plan builds on UTD’s current strengths and articulates specific targets for growth and achievement over the coming five-year, 10-year and 20-year periods. According to Daniel, developing the “roadmap for UTD’s future” was a consultative process, involving several hundred faculty, staff, administrators and students.
Prior to joining UTD, Daniel was the Gutgsell Professor of Civil Engineering and dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and served on the faculty there from 1980 to 1996.
A noted scholar, in 2000, Daniel was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the nation’s highest recognition for engineering achievement. His research interests include engineered containment systems for waste disposal and the cleanup of contaminated waste disposal sites. Last fall, he was appointed by the American Society of Civil Engineers to chair an external review panel charged with examining the failure of the flood protection levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
UTD was established by visionaries Eugene McDermott, Cecil Green and J. Erik Jonsson, who also launched the company that later became Texas Instruments. The founders saw that Texas needed highly educated minds if the state was to remain competitive in the decades to come. They wrote at the time, “To grow industrially, the region must grow academically; it must provide the intellectual atmosphere, which will allow it to compete in the new industries dependent on highly trained and creative minds.”
By law, the university, which was formally bequeathed to the State of Texas in 1969 by the founders, offered only graduate degrees until 1975, when the addition of juniors and seniors jumped enrollment from 408 to 3,300 students. In 1990, the university admitted its first freshman class of only 100 students. By the fall of 1977, enrollment reached more than 5,300. From those humble beginnings, UTD has grown to be a highly regarded educational and research institution, with nearly 14,500 students enrolled in a wide array of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. The university has more than 50,500 alumni, many of whom work and live in the Dallas- Fort Worth area.
Another highlight of the investiture ceremony will be the introduction of two important new university symbols — the mace and the chain of office.
The mace is the ceremonial staff of authority that administrators and faculty at universities around the world carry at the head of academic processions, such as commencements and convocations.
The UTD mace was carefully handcrafted by local woodworkers with wood from the 600-year-old Treaty Oak Tree in Austin, which is said to have shaded Stephen F. Austin as he signed the first boundary agreement between American Indians and settlers in 1824. The four-foot, 10-pound instrument includes the university’s seal and is embedded with a metal wafer containing integrated circuits and made at the university. This particular piece of metal was part of an experiment that flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1995. The mace will stand in the president’s office when not in use.
Resembling a massive necklace, the chain of office is a traditional symbol used to recognize the authority and responsibilities of a university president. The links of the UTD chain of office are engraved with the names of the current president and his predecessors, with Daniel’s name on the link directly above a medallion in the form of the university’s seal. The chain of office, which is worn around the neck and shoulders, will be used at commencements and other occasions when academic regalia are appropriate.
Daniel succeeds Dr. Franklyn Jenifer, who retired after serving as UTD president since 1994. Jenifer’s predecessor, Dr. Robert H. Rutford, served as head of the university from 1982 until 1994. The first president of UTD, Dr. Bryce Jordan, led the university for more than a decade, until 1981.
For more information about UTD’s investiture ceremony, please visit http://www.utdallas.edu/investiture/ or call 972-883-2203.
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 nearly 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.