ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington is on a mission to become a nationally-recognized research institution, and the legislation giving the University a boost highlighted a year of milestones.
The signing of House Bill 51 was lauded by Gov. Rick Perry as a historic moment in the effort to create more Texas national research universities, often referred to as "Tier One" universities. Perry signed the bill June 17. More than $680 million can now be allocated to seven emerging state research institutions, including UT Arlington.
The bill signing tops the list of UT Arlington news stories in 2009. Other highlights making our list include the record-breaking fall enrollment of 28,084 and the final design approval for the new $78 million Special Events Center.
Here is the list of top UT Arlington news stories in 2009:
1. Gov. Perry signs House Bill 51, directing new funds to UT Arlington and six other emerging research institutions to boost research activities and encourage academic excellence.
2. UT Arlington breaks enrollment record with more than 28,000 students, a 12 percent gain over the previous fall.
3. The skull of a 100-million-year-old crocodile is identified by UT Arlington geoscience faculty and students at the Arlington Archosaur Site.
4. UT Regents green light a $78 million Special Events Center for UT Arlington and approve the final design by HKS Inc. architects.
5. UT Arlington launches its Regional Nursing Education Center supported by a one-time $5 million state appropriation. The center aims to double the number of undergraduate nursing students by 2012 in response to the state's nursing shortage.
6. UT Arlington enrolls 969 military veterans, a 35-percent increase from veteran enrollment in fall 2008. Enrollment is boosted by the Post-9-11 GI Bill, which covers tuition at any institution, college-related expenses and housing costs.
7. The expanded Engineering Laboratory Building opens, kicking off 50th anniversary of the UT Arlington College of Engineering.
8. UT Arlington launches "College Town, UTA," a new community outreach initiative to connect a revitalized downtown, performing and visual art venues, historic neighborhoods, libraries, parks, retailers and restaurants with the University.
9. UT Arlington announces it will be tobacco-free campus by August 2011.
10. The Planetarium at UT Arlington adds Digistar 4 technology, which allows for 3-D programs, the only system in Texas and one of few in the nation.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.