Hundreds Gather for Campaign Finale
Realize the Vision Exceeds Goal with Unprecedented Support

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Hundreds of donors, faculty, staff and students recently gathered in the heart of campus, turning their eyes upward as orange and green pyrotechnics blazed across the night sky and whooshes and whoops ushered in the finale of the first comprehensive campaign at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Support for Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One and Beyond has eclipsed the $200 million goal, so far raising more than $263 million to help students, boost research and strengthen the endowment. The five-year effort will continue through its planned conclusion on Dec. 31.

James Huffines, co-chair of the University Campaign Council, Patty Huffines and Dwight Clasby, interim vice president for development and alumni relations at UT Dallas.

James Huffines, co-chair of the University Campaign Council, Patty Huffines and Dwight Clasby, interim vice president for development and alumni relations at UT Dallas, celebrated the success of the campaign so far.

Two events held on Oct. 29 celebrated the achievement. As the sun set, a student orchestra played to an audience of donors and friends gathered under the Trellis. Meanwhile at the campus roundabout, students celebrated with food trucks, disc jockeys and dancing. As night fell, Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” accompanied colorful pyrotechnics launched from campus rooftops and the reflection pools running through the center mall. A laser show projected on the side of the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building rolled out the campaign’s tally so far: $263,172,529.

“The world will reward and recognize the most brilliant minds,” President David E. Daniel told the crowd at the Celebration of Support. “If we are to remain the great city we are today, North Texas needs us to become a top tier university. With your help, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Nothing short of the future of this region hinges on our success.”

Donald and Karen Trost named a student lounge in the Edith ODonnell Arts and Technology Building for their children, Kathryn and Kyle (center), who are both students in the Universitys  Arts and Technology program.

Donald and Karen Trost named a student lounge in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building for their children, Kathryn and Kyle (center), who are both students in the University’s Arts and Technology program.

Giving by alumni and friends set a record during this final year of the campaign, reaching an annual total for Fiscal Year 2014 of $78.9 million. During the campaign, donor support helped double the University’s endowment to $387 million as of Aug. 31. More than 200 new endowed funds were established. These funds support student scholarships and fellowships, faculty chairs and professorships.

James Huffines, co-chair of the University Campaign Council and president and chief operating officer of PlainsCapital Corp., said that Tier One universities generate research that benefits the surrounding community by generating startup companies, more skilled graduates entering the workforce and greater venture capital dollars.

“The end of our campaign is a transformational moment, not only for UT Dallas, but for the entire Dallas region,” said Huffines, the former chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “This marks the next big step in becoming a Tier One university, which I am certain is right around the corner.”

Rodney Thomas, president of the UT Dallas Chess Advisory Board, spoke with Student Ambassadors Aaron Dotson, Nicolette Doan and Raheel Ata during the Celebration of Support.

Rodney Thomas, president of the UT Dallas Chess Team’s Advisory Board, spoke with Student Ambassadors Aaron Dotson, Nicolette Doan and Raheel Ata during the Celebration of Support.

Since Realize the Vision started quietly in 2009 and launched publicly in 2012, it has gathered supporters including corporations, foundations, faculty, staff and friends of the University. The number of alumni who give annually more than doubled during the campaign.

Distinguished Alumna Susan Fleming PhD’87 remembers when she was a student and the campus was in the middle of a wind-swept prairie. When she comes to campus now, Fleming is amazed by the energy of the leadership and students.

“I am immensely impressed by the students who I meet,” she said. “This is a place where you feel safe, your integrity is honored and where you learn to think beyond yourself.” 

Karen Trost proudly displayed a University “MOM” shirt under her black jacket at the campaign celebration in honor of her son Kyle, a senior, and daughter Kathryn, a sophomore. She and her husband, Donald, named a student lounge for their children, both of whom are enrolled in the Arts and Technology (ATEC) program.

“Being involved in such a young university is new and energizing,” Karen Trost said. “This is the next step in recognition of UT Dallas as one of the best universities in Texas.”

The Trosts are members of the Love Jack Society, one of UT Dallas’ giving societies. Individuals and corporations who contribute to the University at certain levels are recognized as members of one or more of the five giving societies. Each year, members are honored at the annual Celebration of Support event.

Rodney Thomas is president of the UT Dallas Chess Advisory Board and a member of the Love Jack Society. “Beyond the funds raised, the pulling together of the community to support UT Dallas is the biggest victory of this campaign,” he said. “Because that’s what’s going to continue to benefit UT Dallas and the Metroplex for a long time.”

Annual Giving

UT Dallas Campaign Chart


The University’s first comprehensive campaign continues through its scheduled end Dec. 31. read more

Students Celebrate University Milestone

UT Dallas students joined in on Realize the Vision campaign finale festivities at a spirited event on the south end of the mall.

While disc jockeys pumped fun and rhythm into the crowd, lines of students wound across the mound near the roundabout at the entrance of the campus, eager to try the creative offerings from several food trucks.

Carolyn Nguyen, a health care studies freshman and a Terry Scholar, said she thought the events brought everyone together to commemorate the end of the campaign.

“I think it’s really encouraging for the students to be here and celebrate this as a community,” Nguyen said. “It’s giving us a modern-day celebration of an important, historical thing at UT Dallas, and you feel good about being at UTD.”

Under bumping music and flashing lights, students eagerly obliged when DJs yelled “make some noise!” Some students showed off dance moves, while others sat back and relaxed on the grass.

Senior Julian Kila attended with a group of friends who were happy to partake in the festivities.

“We’re one step closer to becoming the Tier One school we’re trying to be,” Kila said, as he waited in line for a taste of Trailercakes’ sweet treats. “It’s important to attract more money and attract more students.”

Freshman Lalaina Alvarez called the accomplishment a milestone for UT Dallas.

“UTD has only been around since 1969. It’s so young, and it’s great how much it’s improved,” Alvarez said. “I’m happy to come here. I know by the time I graduate, it will be even more well-known.”

When the pyrotechnics and laser light show began, many lifted their smartphones to the sky for photos and videos, as the mall lit up in streams of orange, green and white.

Chris Driskill, a neuroscience senior, befriended fellow Comets enjoying the food, music and giveaways. He said when he first came to UT Dallas three years ago, many of his friends hadn’t heard of the University. Now, that’s changed, he said, and donations toward the campaign help with that awareness among the community.

“The amount of growth that we’ve seen on campus and in UTD’s reputation is outstanding,” he said. “I want to see what it will be like in 10 more years.”

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