UTA Magazine
1895 Society

Back in 1895, Arlington’s population was around 1,000. One ill-equipped, underfunded county public school served 365 students. But business leader Edward Emmett Rankin, the town’s first justice of the peace, had a better idea for his children’s education.  

Mustaque Ahmed
Gifts from 1895 Society member Mustaque Ahmed support the "Festival of Ideas".
A private school called Arlington College opened that year near where the E.H. Hereford University Center now sits. Not a college as the term is defined today, it had 75 students in grades one through high school and was housed in a frame building with no indoor plumbing. 

The little school would grow into The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive, 25,000-student institution of higher learning that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has placed in the Doctoral/Research Extensive category, its highest classification. The University is still young, however, and lacks the sizable endowments many older universities enjoy.

“The need for private philanthropic support for the University is an issue people are just becoming aware of,” said Vice President for Development Gary M. Cole. “Establishing a strong donor base to support the mission-critical programs is imperative if we are to attain the future we all visualize for UT Arlington.”

The 1895 Society, established last year, recognizes those who invest in the University, often in ways as unique as the donors themselves. Members have endowed lecture series, established faculty positions and begun scholarships.

Mustaque Ahmed, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1981, supports the College of Liberal Arts’ “Festival of Ideas,” which focuses on creating interaction between audiences and event presenters. Last fall’s Music of the World event featured a concert by the UT Arlington Symphony followed by a discussion led by conductor Sergio Espinosa.

“The intention is to enhance the opportunity to expand minds through creative ideas and expressions,” Ahmed said. “My support is merely a little step toward that direction.”

Many members of the 1895 Society, like Ahmed, have made annual gifts totaling $1,000 or more. Others have included UT Arlington in their estate plans or have established endowments. Members are recognized at an annual 1895 Society reception, receive exclusive invitations to special events and get strategic updates from President James D. Spaniolo.

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