New Residence Hall to Honor Former Mayor
When it came time to pick a name for the residence hall under construction in the College Park District, the choice was easy. Scheduled to open in August 2012, Tom J. Vandergriff Hall will pay homage to one of the most influential figures in UT Arlington history. The former Arlington mayor, congressman, and Tarrant County judge died Dec. 30, 2010, at age 84. He played a pivotal role in transforming Arlington State College from a two-year institution into the four-year research university that UT Arlington is today. As mayor from 1951 to 1977, Vandergriff helped secure the land necessary for ASC to expand to its current 400-acre footprint. He then lobbied Texas lawmakers to approve a bill granting four-year institution status. In later years, he helped move ASC from the Texas A&M System to the UT System and also championed legislation that created UT Arlington’s Institute of Urban Studies, now part of the School of Urban and Public Affairs. Vandergriff even served as the announcer at football games from the 1950s until the program was disbanded in 1985. The 500-bed residence hall will be part of College Park, Arlington’s first mixed-use, residential and retail center. The project includes apartments to house another 100 students and street-level retail space just north of College Park Center, the new 7,000-seat events venue nearing completion.