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The University of Texas at Dallas
August 2015
Continuing the Essential Task: Transforming UT Dallas
I have been leading UT Dallas as president ad interim since July 1, and look forward to continuing this service until The University of Texas System Board of Regents appoints our next president. This assignment is an honor that also carries an immense responsibility, that of assuring we continue steady progress toward becoming a recognized major force in American higher education and remain a powerful asset to the people of Texas.

Students kick off the school year at the Welcome Back BBQ after the University's convocation.

UT Dallas is a very different university from the one I joined in 1992. Among the most profound influences in our evolution has been the presence on campus of resident undergraduates. The freshman class of fall 1992 numbered 93, none of whom resided on-site. That campus, described in a national magazine as resembling "an abandoned Wal-Mart," was essentially deserted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., stirring to life when our part-time students arrived after work for evening classes.

The UT Dallas of today is welcoming a class of 2,800 freshmen, our largest and most accomplished incoming class yet. Almost 5,000 students reside here, living amid vastly enhanced and expanded facilities for teaching and research on an ever more impressive, dignified and beautiful campus. Underpinning these changes has been a steady increase in faculty numbers and a related external recognition of the stature of our faculty members, individually and collectively, as manifested in the rankings of our academic programs and units.

UT Dallas was created with the right DNA, that of high scholarly standards. These standards are the key to attracting outstanding faculty, staff and students. This growing quality drives external recognition for UT Dallas and its programs. Our name and location benefit from the international reputation of Texas and Dallas, and our historical and still-dynamic links to Texas Instruments. We have the optimum mix of academic offerings for today's world, with programs in management, engineering and computer science rapidly moving to international prominence.

As it has moved along this path of growth and increased stature, UT Dallas has partnered with government and industry, and has engaged in the pursuit of support through private philanthropy. Such partnerships are an important ingredient in generating the resources to increase the numbers and quality of our facilities, to continue to enhance our campus surroundings, and — critically important — to attract private financial support in the form of endowments that support the work and scholarship of the faculty and students.

It will not be easy to sustain this progress into the future. Resources are scarce. There are many competitors, and we are being flattered by imitation of the strategy that has brought us this far. However, I think that our focus and our fundamental strengths continue to be well aligned to propel us rapidly higher into the ranks of the best public research universities in America.

While UT Dallas today is a very different place physically from the campus of 25 years ago, our deep values are unchanged. In particular, our commitments to faculty and student excellence remain absolute. Without the students, there is no University and without the faculty, there is no University. In this time of transition, we will be guided by the University's fundamental purposes: to provide an environment where both faculty and students thrive, and to create greater value for our community at large.

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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. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.

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