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 familys 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
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
With two scientists in the family, it was only natural that the
Harts began an annual donation to scholarships in the College of
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 twoplus a
couple of in-lawsearning degrees.
Daughter Peggy Hart Lofland came home to Arlington and to UTA following
her divorce. As a single parent, she needed a college degreeand
she needed it fast.
Id 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 bachelors degree in political
science. Graduate school seemed unattainable, but with the help
of a Public Service Fellowship, she earned a masters 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
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, Peggys youngest, daughter Janet, continues the familys
UTA tradition. Shes 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 doesnt fit in that backpack, it