October 2010

Creating a Sense of Place Where We’re Creating the Future

Respected as we are in the arenas of research and teaching—and feared in chess circles around the world—the UT Dallas community has long felt the need for something more in terms of the University’s physical presence. Last month, we officially celebrated the arrival of that “something more” with the dedication of a collection of new elements referred to as the Campus Enhancement—a new outdoor gathering plaza, 600 feet of reflecting pools, more than 5,000 new trees, acres of new hedgerows and more.

Intellectual enterprises have always formed the core of UT Dallas, the culture of research and learning our founders created when they envisioned this place. Now we have enhanced that enterprise with water, cooling shade and fragrant magnolias, re-clothing the original hard machinery of the UT Dallas “think tank” in garb suited to what we have become: a welcoming and vibrant campus, home to bright young people learning both in and out of class from our brilliant faculty and our steadfast and supportive staff. The additions that shape our home to please the eye, soothe the ear, and shade the brow also suggest the welcome that lies within and hint at the mysteries that will be broached and perhaps solved within the walls of these laboratories and classrooms.

Campus Enhancement Dedication, September 29

From now on, every high school student who tours campus and contemplates a future here, every potential faculty member and graduate student who considers joining us, and all of the people who work here, visit, or live in our surrounding neighborhoods will see physical evidence of the excellence that UT Dallas embodies. The thousands of trees selected to flourish in the Texas heat, hardy vines clambering up a giant trellis built to cool and beautify, and a new main entryway that conveys both grandeur and welcome—these features tell visitors they have arrived at a special place.

The project received critical leadership from Mrs. Margaret McDermott, who understood the need for UT Dallas to create a sense of place while our students and faculty create the future, and who helped bring the University into a relationship with world-renowned architect Peter Walker. Mrs. McDermott’s vision and the dedication of Provost and Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal were and are integral to the continuing transformation of UT Dallas into a unified space of meaning, welcome and beauty. The entire UT Dallas community owes them a debt of gratitude. This approximately $30 million project has been privately funded, starting with a very generous anonymous gift augmented by another $1 million gift designated for the care of the trees. More than 15 other donors have made naming gifts totaling more than $200,000. This starts a tradition we hope to see continued through class gifts and other giving to support the campus.

We are becoming a premier research university in our state and nation—achieving enrollment gains while building even greater excellence, recruiting stellar faculty, and growing our research efforts exponentially. With last month’s dedication we began to meet our declared goal of being a place with looks that measure up to its brains. The dedication signaled a “new arrival” for UT Dallas—indeed, a new era.

UT Dallas

About This Newsletter

The President’s Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, President of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.