Semester Off to an Exciting Start
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Semester Off to an Exciting Start
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
I hope your semester is off to a great start. Judging from the excitement and participation we experienced with Welcome Week activities, I’m confident that’s the case. Move-In Day, Success U, MavsMeet Convocation, the Maverick Cookout and Activities Fair, and other events have been extraordinarily successful.
On behalf of the entire University community, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to all of our students, faculty, and staff who are new to UT Arlington this fall. We’re glad you’re here. We look forward to helping you get settled in and ensuring your success in Maverick Country.
I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be at UT Arlington. The University is experiencing unparalleled growth in almost every respect—but most dramatically in enrollment, student quality, faculty accomplishments, and campus development.
You’ve probably sensed this already, but now it’s official: UT Arlington has set a new record, welcoming its largest and most talented group of students ever this fall. Enrollment reached 33,449, which is impressive. But even more impressive, and ultimately more important, is the quality of our incoming students. About 27 percent of entering freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class, and 70 percent were in the top 25 percent.
We also welcome several outstanding individuals to the leadership team this fall. Dr. Ronald Elsenbaumer, currently vice president for research and federal relations, will become our new provost and vice president for academic affairs at the end of October. He succeeds Dr. Donald Bobbitt, who has served with great distinction for the past three years and who has been named president of the University of Arkansas System. And Dr. Jean-Pierre Bardet, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Southern California, joins us as dean of the College of Engineering. Dr. Bardet, who will arrive on campus full time in January, is a renowned engineering researcher and an accomplished academic administrator who will lead our College of Engineering to new heights.
Our faculty continues to excel—in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the community. Just last month, for example, nine UT Arlington professors were honored by The University of Texas System for their excellence in the classroom. While this is a tremendous honor for these faculty members—and the many more like them who receive similar honors day in and day out—it is also a great distinction for UT Arlington to have so many individuals receiving these prestigious awards.
Our campus continues to undergo a major physical transformation and is the nucleus of a rapidly emerging College Town community in downtown Arlington. New restaurants, off-campus student housing, and retail are springing up all around downtown, influenced and buoyed by our own 20-acre College Park District. Phase one of College Park, the 1,100-space north parking garage, opened on schedule in time for the fall semester. The final phase of the College Park mixed-use development is on schedule for completion next summer. It will include the recently named Tom J. Vandergriff Hall student residences, The Lofts apartments, a new university welcome center, an additional campus police station, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants.
The centerpiece of our unparalleled construction initiative, the long anticipated College Park Center, is on schedule for completion in December. We anticipate playing our first basketball game at College Park Center on Feb. 1, 2012. As our way of saying thanks to the University community for its patience during construction, we will offer free admission to all regular season men’s and women’s basketball games played in College Park Center in spring 2012. You’ll be hearing more about this, but mark your calendars now!
A dramatic new Gateway Tower serves as a welcoming beacon to campus at the corner of Cooper Street and UTA Boulevard. And numerous upgrades and enhancements were made all around campus this past summer to student computer lounges, classrooms, the University Center, and the library.
As we embark on this new academic year, we will make every effort to keep you well informed. Two important sources of news and official information are distributed to your email inboxes each week. Students receive TrailBlazer every Tuesday, and faculty and staff receive MavWire every Monday and Thursday. These e-newsletters are an excellent way to keep abreast of the latest news, events, and activities at UT Arlington. You also will receive periodic emails from me on issues of importance to the campus community.
I wish each of you an exciting, productive, and fulfilling year at UT Arlington, and I look forward to seeing you around campus.
James D. Spaniolo