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Dan Dipert lends name, support to new UT Arlington Welcome Center

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Friday, October 28, 2011

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

A new University Welcome Center that will greet prospective students, their families and visitors to The University of Texas at Arlington will be named for an icon in the North Texas travel industry.

Dan Dipert, chief executive officer of Arlington-based Dan Dipert Travel & Transportation Ltd., and his wife Linda have committed $400,000 toward construction of the University’s first, free-standing visitors center. The 7,000-square-foot, high-tech center will open in summer 2012 at South Center and East Second streets in the College Park District, UT Arlington’s new residential and retail development that includes the world class College Park Center.

The visitors center will be named the Dan Dipert University Welcome Center in honor of Mr. Dipert, a prominent civic and business leader, and Mrs. Dipert, marketing director for Dan Dipert Travel.

Mr. Dipert is a past chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Mrs. Dipert earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing from UT Arlington in 2001 and serves on the University’s Development Board.

The Diperts said they chose to support the Welcome Center to help fuel the momentum that University President James D. Spaniolo has established since joining UT Arlington in 2004.

Enrollment is at an all-time high of 33,421, making UT Arlington the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. Research expenditures have nearly tripled over the past six years to $63.6 million in 2010. The College Park District is bringing new campus residences, restaurants, retail outlets and other activity to more than 20 acres that seamlessly connect the University and the central business district.

“With all that has been going on at UT Arlington over the past few years, it wasn’t a question of whether we were going to do something – it was what could we do if we really stretched ourselves,” Mr. Dipert said.

Mrs. Dipert added: “We hope this will spur more people to do things to help the University, which contributes to the revitalization of downtown and benefits the community as a whole.”

President Spaniolo said the Diperts embody the spirit of community and outreach that will be evident throughout the new Dan Dipert University Welcome Center.

“It makes perfect sense to have their name attached to the marvelous, new Welcome Center,” Spaniolo said. “This center will serve new and prospective students and their families, but it also will serve all visitors who want to know more about the University. It’s our entrance to the world of UT Arlington.”

The center will feature a 40-seat, circular theater with retractable glass walls that can be closed for special events or opened for presentations. It will have a 360-degree imaging board for electronic displays as well as state of the art electronic displays and exhibits that tell the UT Arlington story.

Other amenities include a visitors’ coffee bar, tour guide stations and a shared courtyard with the adjacent Tom J. Vandergriff Hall for students. The Dan Dipert University Welcome Center is expected to attract more than 20,000 visitors a year.

Mrs. Dipert said her ties to UT Arlington were cemented when, after successful careers in the cosmetics and travel industries, she enrolled in the University’s College of Business. She graduated first in her class.

“The Honors College gave me the opportunity to study in Italy and France, and it was through the Honors College that we met people who are still our closest friends,” she said. “I knew I had to work harder, and I liked that. The Honors College made the difference for me.”

Mr. Dipert’s first experience with the University came in 1964 when he served as youth and recreation director for First Baptist Church of Arlington and worked with the Baptist Student Center at what was then Arlington State College.

The Dipert family will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their business in 2012, as the College Park District fully opens. Mr. Dipert recalled how he bought a small travel agency from a local bank in 1972 and quickly migrated into the tour business when a group asked him to take them to see the then-new Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum in Austin.

Since then, Dan Dipert Travel has evolved into a thriving charter coach and tour business. The company is now managed by Mr. Dipert’s son, Dan W. Dipert, who is president; and his daughter Autumn Dipert Brown, who serves as chief operating officer.

For more about philanthropic opportunities at UT Arlington, please contact the University’s Office of Development at www.uta.edu/giving/ or by phone at 817-272-2584.

To learn more about retail and booking opportunities within the College Park District, please visit www.uta.edu/collegepark/.

For more about UT Arlington, please visit www.uta.edu.

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

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