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Couple commits support to UT Arlington's new home court

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Friday, September 23, 2011

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Media Contact: Kristin Sullivan, Office:817-272-5364, Cell:817-706-9811, kristinsul@uta.edu

A couple with a passion for their alma mater, athletics, entertainment and the revival of downtown Arlington have committed $1 million to College Park Center, the $78 million events venue that UT Arlington will open early next year.

The University of Texas at Arlington will recognize the generosity of Alan and Bonnie Smith Petsche by naming the new College Park Center basketball court “Petsche Court.” The UT Arlington men’s and women’s basketball teams are expected to take to Petsche Court for the first time Feb. 1 against UT San Antonio.

The Petsches said they chose to support College Park Center because of the role UT Arlington has played in their lives and the impact that the new events venue will play in the downtown Arlington area.

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

UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo said the Petsches typify the best qualities of successful alumni who are committed to giving back to their community and their University.

“Thousands of people will have the opportunity to enjoy Petsche Court at College Park Center,” Spaniolo said. “This extraordinary family has helped ensure that others will be able to share their enthusiasm for a University on the rise.”

Alan Petsche earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UT Arlington in 1980. Bonnie Smith Petsche earned her BBA from the University in 1986. Mr. Petsche 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.

Mr. Petsche recently acquired the historic Candlelite Inn on East Division Street and is refurbishing the restaurant near Cowboys Stadium with plans to reopen with the original menu soon. An avid musician, he also plans to open an instrument rental business downtown and a separate studio that he said will be suitable for symphony-quality musical recordings.

Mr. Petsche 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, he said.

Bonnie Smith Petsche said 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,” Mrs. Petsche said. “We are just so lucky to have this fine university – a member of The University of Texas System – in our backyard.”

Mr. Petsche said 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 will be playing in a world-class center.

The 218,000-square-foot College Park Center was designed by HKS Inc., which also designed Cowboys Stadium. The center will be the first true home court for UT Arlington basketball and volleyball. The teams historically have played on an adapted theater stage at Texas Hall.

College Park Center is the focal point of the 20-acre College Park District, which is being developed between Pecan and Center streets and will include student residence halls and apartments, retail outlets and restaurants and parking for the campus community and visitors.

For more information about philanthropic opportunities at UT Arlington, please contact the Office of Development at 817-272-2584 or visit us online at http://www.uta.edu/giving/.

To book an event at College Park Center, please contact Jeff Davis at 817-272-5584 or by email, jmdavis@uta.edu.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,449 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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