Connections to Past, Present Will Come Together for Founders Day
From left: Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green.
Founders Day, an annual University of Texas at Dallas tradition honoring the vision and legacy of its founders, Eugene McDermott, Cecil Green and Erik Jonsson, is set for Tuesday, Oct. 29.
The UT Dallas community is invited to come together to reflect on the University’s past and present in a campuswide celebration complete with food, fun and festivities.
Social Media Photo Challenge
A photo challenge leading up to Founders Day will inspire the campus community to create memories in a distinct way. Participants are encouraged to dress in clothing reminiscent of when UT Dallas was founded. Here are the rules:
- Posts must be tagged #UTDFounders.
- Prizes will be given for Most UTD Spirited and Best 1960s Theme.
- The photo must contain a contestant who is a current UT Dallas student.
- It must include an object/building related to the founders.
- It must be tasteful.
- Winners will be announced during Founders Day.
- The deadline for submission is Oct. 28.
The event marks the day in 1964 when the Founders Building, the first building constructed on the present-day campus, was dedicated. All three founders attended the dedication of the building.
Founders Day activities will take place at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center between 1:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on the lawn and patio areas. Attendees are invited to take part in a group photo commemorating the celebration. Guests from Texas Instruments Inc. also are expected to attend the event.
“Today, UT Dallas is a rising teaching and research powerhouse with eight schools and more than 140 academic degrees, including top-ranked programs in business, engineering, science, audiology, and arts and technology,” said Kyle Edgington PhD’13, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We celebrate Founders Day because none of this would be possible without the collaboration and contributions of the University’s three visionaries.”
UT Dallas’ story began in the early 1940s when McDermott, Jonsson and Green founded Geophysical Services Inc., which eventually became Texas Instruments. Wanting to hire locally and retain the best and brightest to benefit their firm, the trio discovered they had a problem: Talented young minds were leaving the area to pursue higher education elsewhere.
To address this issue, the three men created the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest (GRCSW) in 1961. At the time, the campus was little more than a cluster of small nondescript buildings bordered by acres of cotton fields and undeveloped land. The institution joined The University of Texas System as UT Dallas in 1969.
Adding another layer to this year’s Founders Day celebration is the 50th anniversary of UT Dallas’ founding. To mark the occasion, the University will display an early artifact of its history: a recently unearthed time capsule that was originally placed in the foundation of the Founders Building in 1963. The lead capsule contained items including a small disk of a cesium isotope as well as a copy of the GRCSW charter on microfilm.