UT Dallas Teams Compete With Area Businesses for a Cause

UT Dallas helped raise more than $160,000 for Special Olympics of Texas this year through its participation in the city of Richardson’s Corporate Challenge 2012.

Corporate Challenge gathers Richardson-area businesses for 10 weeks of sports, recreation and fitness while raising money for a cause.

This year, UT Dallas teams battled within Division BB, garnering 10 medals in 22 contests to finish in fourth place.

UT Dallas  Corporate Challenge Swim Team

Members of the UT Dallas Corporate Challenge team practice throughout the year for the swimming part of the competition.

UT Dallas won the top prize in its division for best T-shirt design by graphic designer Michelle Long of the School of Arts and Humanities.

Special Olympics Texas offers year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The organization says 47,000 volunteers make its activities possible.

The University has been involved in Corporate Challenge for 14 years of the event’s 15-year history, and a number of UT Dallas staffers sign up to compete annually. 

“Corporate Challenge allows UT Dallas to be a good corporate citizen by helping to raise money for an important cause,” said Vice President for Administration Calvin D. Jamison. “At the same time, it aligns with the University’s wellness initiatives.”

For UT Dallas police officer Oscar Sanchez, the wellness aspect is most appealing.

“It’s a way to stay physically fit and better myself. Each time I compete in Corporate Challenge, I try to better my times. I stay motivated by motivating others to do some type of activity,” he said.

UT Dallas retiree Carol Lanham, a former administrative assistant in Facilities Management, has participated in Corporate Challenge for 13 years.

“We have a lot of fun representing UT Dallas. Many of these competitions are held near campus immediately following our shifts,” Lanham said.

Lanham brought home the bronze medal in miniature golf this year.  “Ultimately I do it for the camaraderie, but I am also competitive, so it’s always fun to win,” she said.

Some staffers had to get over their initial fears about competing in order to get involved.

UT Dallas Corporate Challenge T-shirt winner

UT Dallas had the winning design (above) in the Corporate Challenge T-shirt design contest.

Alexey Root, a senior lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, has been a member of the Corporate Challenge swim team since fall 2000, but said she hesitated to participate at first.

“I thought I was too slow a swimmer. It turns out that Corporate Challenge is not as competitive as high school varsity sports,” Root said.

Swim team captain Dr. Nick Valcik, associate director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis, has been involved with Corporate Challenge since 1998, the year UT Dallas first enrolled in the competition.

“I find it very rewarding to represent the University in a positive way to the community and to work with UT Dallas employees on improving their swimming techniques or even just teaching them how to swim,” he said.

The swim team has amassed 43 individual medals, including 19 golds, 10 silvers and 14 bronzes, and nine team medals, including three golds, four silvers and two bronze.

“There is so much diversity of talent on our Corporate Challenge team, but we unite as one to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Tracy Dorsey,
chair of UT Dallas’
Corporate Challenge committee

Valcik, a former certified Red Cross swim instructor who taught Plano Parks and Recreation swim classes from the mid-'80s to mid-'90s, said year-round practices help unify the team.

“We reserve lanes in the Activity Center natatorium for practice on Mondays and Wednesdays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Some of us swim in addition to these reserved times,” Valcik said.

“We have great talent on our teams,” said Tracy Dorsey, assistant director of Human Resources and chair of UT Dallas’ Corporate Challenge committee.

“We have a high-rolling bowler who struck a perfect game of 300 during competition. We have a badminton team that has brought home the gold six years in a row (2007-2012).  There is so much diversity of talent on our Corporate Challenge team, but we unite as one to make a difference in the lives of others,” Dorsey said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].