Rising alumni influence serves as catalyst for state’s growing workforce.
Alumnus Wayne Watts understands a thing or two about conducting business in Texas. As senior executive vice president and general counsel with Dallas-based AT&T, he handles legal matters for the communications giant.
“The University is a hotbed of talent, and companies like ours recognize it.”
He sees firsthand the impact UT Arlington graduates have on the Texas workforce.
“I know several alumni personally who hold key positions at major companies in our area, such as Exxon and Energy Transfer. AT&T is no exception,” says Watts, a 1976 graduate and member of the University’s Development Board. “We’ve hired a number of UTA alumni into our management development programs, especially over the last few years. The University is a hotbed of talent, and companies like ours recognize it.”
A recent study found that UT Arlington has a $13.6 billion annual economic impact on Texas and generates almost 132,000 jobs. In North Texas alone the impact is $12.8 billion and more than 122,000 jobs.
Of the University’s more than 163,000 alumni, about 127,000 live in Texas and provide a stream of employees for high-demand fields like nursing, information technology, and bioengineering. UT Arlington graduates hold leadership positions at all 52 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Texas.
“UT Arlington is strategically positioned to provide the entrepreneurial ingenuity to keep the Texas economy competitive and thriving,” Provost Ronald Elsenbaumer says.
The University conferred a record 9,052 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in 2011-12. Most alumni live and work in the state’s major population centers, with North Texas (106,000), Houston (5,900), Austin (3,700), and San Antonio (2,000) boasting the largest number of graduates.
Like many UT Arlington students, Watts was the first in his family to attend college, and he paid for his education himself. He believes that by providing a good education at a reasonable cost, the University gives students the tool set to succeed professionally and strengthen the Texas economy.
“UTA’s location is central to the Metroplex and is a great geographic launching pad, as demonstrated by the large number of alumni who continue to live and work here and throughout Texas,” he says. “UTA offers great value, a high-quality education, and great support for all kinds of students. Taken together, this translates to the University of Opportunity.”
And Texas is reaping the rewards.