Hart to Hart
Family’s UTA legacy spans three generations

By Sherry Wodraska Neaves

 

From left: Larry Hart, Jerry Hart, Peggy Hart Lofland and Janet Lofland have all made UTA their university of choice.

 

A lifetime of globe-hopping has taken Larry and Jerry Hart to more than 116 countries. But they always come home to Arlington, where their roots are firmly planted in the community and at UTA, their family alma mater.

The family’s multigenerational ties with UTA began in 1971, when Larry, fresh off a 29-year stint in the U.S. Marines, enrolled in summer classes.

“The Texas Education Agency said I needed some refresher courses in order to teach school,” he said. That fall, thanks to the UTA courses, he went to work on an emergency teaching certificate. For years afterward, Larry spent his days teaching high school math and his nights teaching economics at UTA and Tarrant County Junior College.

Jerry began classes at UTA in 1971, pursuing a degree in geology that she began when the couple were posted in New Mexico and Virginia. After graduating in 1974, she followed her husband into the public schools, teaching earth science for 11 years in Grand Prairie middle schools.

With two scientists in the family, it was only natural that the Harts began an annual donation to scholarships in the College of Science.

After Larry and Jerry got things started, a steady stream of Hart family members flowed into the University for the next three decades. Four of their eight children attended UTA, with two—plus a couple of in-laws—earning degrees.

Daughter Peggy Hart Lofland came home to Arlington and to UTA following her divorce. As a single parent, she needed a college degree—and she needed it fast.

“I’d always been in school in one way or another,” she said. “It was kind of my hobby. But when I came here, I needed to get the fastest degree I could earn, using the hours I had already taken.”

She graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Graduate school seemed unattainable, but with the help of a Public Service Fellowship, she earned a master’s degree in urban affairs in 1985.

Shortly thereafter, Peggy began working as an administrative assistant for UTA Student Publications. She chose the job for very practical reasons.

“I still had children at home who were not even kindergarten age,” she said. “Most urban affairs jobs required night and weekend work, and I needed a regular day job. I also felt good about giving back to UTA.”

Today, Peggy’s youngest, daughter Janet, continues the family’s UTA tradition. She’s working on a degree in communications technology and following in her grandparents’ globetrotting footsteps. In 1998, she interrupted her college education to spend almost a year in Europe, working and touring.

The journey began in New York, where she became friends with several British girls during a summer camp counselor job. Soon she was off to London, where she eventually found work as a nanny for an Australian family. That connection later led to a month in Australia and New Zealand as well. But, like her grandparents, Janet always comes home to Arlington and UTA.

This summer Larry and Jerry will venture into yet another new place, spending six weeks in Tibet. In the fall they plan to do genealogy research in the Czech Republic. They travel light, taking their knowledge and memories with them, but only one backpack each for clothes and supplies.

As Jerry says, “If it doesn’t fit in that backpack, it doesn’t go.”

 


Multimedia

Springing forward
Graduate students lead the way in spring enrollment increase
Graduate students like Ruby Ruperto and her Contemporary Science classmates significantly boosted University enrollment for spring 2001, the fifth consecutive semester of enrollment increases.

Writing for the Digital Age
New  tools and technologies are taking one Honors English class online and into the future
When students in Martin Danahay’s Honors English class get ready to work, they don’t pull textbooks out of their backpacks. Instead, they each slide a thin, black Toshiba laptop onto their desk, flip up the cover and log in to UTA’s first completely wireless class.

Worldwide welcome
International recruitment efforts are expected to pay long-term dividends
New faces, from places all over the world, keep coming through the UTA front door. And, with continuing international recruitment efforts, the University is keeping the welcome mat on the doorstep.

 



 
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