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President James D. SpanioloEvery new semester at UT Arlington abounds with promise. But this fall is special. So much is happening at your alma mater. It’s an exciting time to be a Maverick.

Our MavsMeet New Student Convocation highlighted an expanded first week of events, including Move-in Day and the Activities Fair, that we’ve named Maverick Stampede. More than 1,000 faculty, staff and students attended MavsMeet, which had a more traditional academic tone than in years past. About the same number stopped by the concert afterward featuring the band Hellogoodbye.

Much more is taking place on campus than we have room to discuss, but let me offer a few highlights.

This fall we launched OneBook (see Q&A). Freshmen are reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner as part of their curriculum, and we’re encouraging the entire campus community to do the same and to participate in the events, lectures and conversations that will focus on the theme of power.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Said T. Jawad, recently spoke on campus about changes in his home nation and called The Kite Runner “a soul-searching book.” You can learn more about OneBook at

Oct. 27-28 is our second annual Parents Weekend. All UT Arlington parents should plan to join us. See for information.

If you live in Tarrant County, you can vote in November’s state and national elections right here on campus. In fact, we’re supporting Student Congress President Zac Sanders’ efforts to make UT Arlington a permanent voter precinct.

Throughout the year, we’re encouraging alumni to return to campus to hear speakers such as actor/commentator Ben Stein, journalist/author Joe Klein, Oscar-winning screenwriter Horton Foote and Internet ethics expert Jeffrey Chester. Check for details.

To enhance our academic offerings, we’ve upgraded the technology in classrooms across campus. Elsewhere, work has begun on the $32 million expansion and renovation of the Maverick Activities Center, formerly called the Activities Building. We’re adding more than 80,000 square feet of fitness center space, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a computer café and much more and expect to have Phase I completed next fall. Alumni may continue to use this top-notch facility. Visit and please join us Oct. 10 for the groundbreaking.

Earlier this semester, a Wells Fargo bank branch and one of the largest Starbucks at any university opened in the University Center. Wanda Herndon, the company’s executive vice president for worldwide public affairs, spoke at the dedication and called our outdoor patio area “one of the best I’ve seen in any of our stores, not just campus stores.” Come see for yourself!

Later this year, dining options will expand with a Panda Express and Smoothie King in the UC and an Einstein Brothers Bagels in the Fine Arts Building. While you’re on campus, check out our new merchandise in the UT Arlington Bookstore and at The Market in the UC. Then head over to The Parks at Arlington mall to see a new kiosk that sells only UT Arlington apparel. It’s on the second floor near the food court.

I’m excited about all this semester has in store, and I hope you are, too. But this is only the beginning. Please sign up for the Alumni Association’s new e-newsletter at, or come experience what’s happening for yourself.

If you haven’t seen UT Arlington lately, then you haven’t seen it at all.

As I said, this is a great time to be a Maverick!

— James D. Spaniolo

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