To Ralph Hawkins, architecture
is the fabric of people’s lives, and he notes a favorite Winston Churchill
quote: “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
Before Hawkins became chairman
and chief executive officer of HKS Inc. – one of the nation’s most celebrated
architectural firms – he was a student at The University of Texas at
Arlington’s School of Architecture.
Since then, HKS Inc. has
developed a worldwide reach and has designed prominent sports venues across the
globe, including Cowboys Stadium and the 7,000-seat College Park Center at UT
Arlington. The special events venue is a LEED Gold building that has been
recognized for its sustainable design, including the use of natural light,
recycled materials and many energy-saving features.
Now, Hawkins is giving back.
Hawkins and his wife, Susan, have made a $1.5 million commitment to UT Arlington in support of the School of Architecture, funds that in part will be used to develop a strategic vision for the School’s future. A portion of the gift has been doubled in value through the University’s Maverick Match program, which leverages natural gas royalties to attract new commitments to the UT Arlington endowment.
“I received a tremendous opportunity at UT Arlington, and I want others to share those opportunities,” said Hawkins, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1973.
President James D. Spaniolo said Hawkins is an inspiring example for other leading alumni and UT Arlington supporters. Ralph Hawkins serves as chairman of the University’s Development Board and has long been a supporter of the University.
“This gift to the UT Arlington School of Architecture will influence many lives for years to come,” Spaniolo said. “Ralph and Susan are an integral part of the UT Arlington family, and Ralph truly embodies what it means to be a loyal alumnus.”
Donald F. Gatzke, dean of the School of Architecture, said support from alumni like the Hawkins family, helps distinguish the UT Arlington program and increase its reputation. Some of the funds will support research, he said.
“We are in a strong position now, but need to be nimble to stay current with practices of the future,” Gatzke said. “We need to look at who we need to be. We need to be a focal point for architectural issues in the future.”
One current and future issue is sustainable design.
Hawkins said architecture touches everyone, especially in light of how important sustainability has become.
“Sustainability becomes more and more relevant as we progress,” Hawkins said. “Architecture research must embrace that theme. There’s a greater amount of energy used by buildings than all that of travel combined. We must become more sustainable and schools are the knuckle of what we bring to practice.”
The UT Arlington School of Architecture offers professionally accredited and internationally recognized degrees in Architecture, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture. The School also offers a graduate-level Certificate in Property Repositioning and Turnaround Strategies.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 33,500 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.