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Alan Petsche and Bonnie Smith Petsche

Bonnie and Alan Petsche

Giving With Spirit

The transformational College Park Center opened to rave reviews in February 2012 thanks in large part to a $1 million commitment from alumni Alan Petsche ’80 and Bonnie Smith Petsche ’86. UT Arlington recognized the gift by naming the basketball court Petsche Court in their honor.

The couple chose to support College Park Center because of the role UT Arlington has played in their lives and the impact the new events venue will have on the downtown Arlington area.

“This moves the University up to the next level,” Alan says. “You have to have something to rally around, and I think the basketball program can be a center of the UT Arlington experience.”

Alan earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UT Arlington in 1980. Bonnie Smith Petsche earned her BBA from the University in 1986. Alan is the former chief operating officer for the A.E. Petsche Co., an aerospace distribution company that his family sold to Arrow Electronics in 2009.

He credits his UT Arlington education for helping shape his entrepreneurial spirit and preparing him eventually to direct operations for the company his father, Arnold Petsche, founded in Arlington in 1966.

It was during college that Mr. Petsche joined a popular local band, The Pengwins, as lead guitarist and where he met many of the people who would become his lifelong friends. UT Arlington was also the place where he met his future wife through a mutual friend at a Sigma Nu fraternity party.

Bonnie says her UT Arlington education, including her service through the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, was a life-shaping opportunity.

“I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I was truly blessed to have a four-year university in this community,” she says. “We are just so lucky to have this fine university—a member of The University of Texas System—in our backyard.”

Alan says he was thrilled in 2008 when the UT Arlington men’s basketball team earned its first NCAA tournament bid and fully expects a future appearance, now that the team plays in a world-class center.

In addition to providing a home court for the Maverick basketball and volleyball teams, the 7,000-seat, state-of-the-art College Park Center provides a landmark venue for world-class concerts, speakers, commencement exercises, and other high-profile events.