[UTA Magazine]



Ocean view
Cruise reveals UTA's far-flung presence

UTA alumni are indeed everywhere—including the high seas in mid-November.

On one of two cruises sponsored this year by the UTA Alumni Association, former students of North Texas Agricultural College, Arlington State College and UTA were among the travelers who bused to Galveston to board the Carnival Line’s Jubilee cruise ship bound for the Mexican ports of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.

O.K. Carter, Marvin and Betty Willis, and Daniel Kauth
From left: UTA doctoral student O.K. Carter
and former students Marvin and Betty Willis
join alumnus Daniel Kauth ('84) on the deck
of the cruise ship Jubilee bound for Cozumel
and Playa del Carmen.

On board the ship, in the Cozumel marketplace and even on a catamaran miles off the coast of Playa del Carmen, alumni who noticed UTA clothing worn by some of the cruisers didn’t hesitate to inquire if the shirts and hats represented The University of Texas at Arlington and then proudly acknowledged that they, too, were graduates or former students.

Walking across the deck of the mammoth ship to breakfast one morning, a member of the UTA group was stopped by a fellow diner and asked what the “UTA” on her shirt stood for. What do you know, John Carver of Houston said, he, too, is a UTA alumnus.

At one of the world-famous reefs off Cozumel, another traveler sailing over the crystal waters, Bill Edwards, eyed the UTA hat worn by a woman across the deck and just had to ask. Turns out the woman had started at Arlington State College, then a semester later it became UTA.

Edwards is now retired from Texas Utilities and lives with his wife, Karen, in Euless.

Once the connections were made, many of the alumni exchanged addresses and phone numbers. Among those on the cruise were retired Star-Telegram national ad manager Ralph Ray of Fort Worth, who attended NTAC (now UTA) in 1942, and retirees Betty and Marvin Willis, who both attended in 1948 (when she was Betty Booker).

Former Alumni Association presidents Daniel Kauth (’84) and Donna Darovich (’71); Christine Zarate (’91); O.K. Carter, a current graduate student in UTA’s School of Urban and Public Affairs; and Jeanne Echols of the UTA Business Office and her husband, Wayne, were among the UTA contingent that dined together each day and explored the Mexican coast during the six-day trip.

Conversation often turned to remembrances of their time on campus. Ray said he could count on one hand all the buildings when he was an undergraduate in 1942, and the Willises recalled that they were high school sweethearts before they came to NTAC in 1948.

Stories about favorite professors and athletic accomplishments (a Junior Rose Bowl football victory and UTA swimmer Doug Russell winning Olympic gold medals) enlivened mealtime.

Adding to UTA’s recognition among the 1,500 cruise ship passengers was Vicky Garza of the UTA Financial Aid Office, who participated in the ship’s passenger talent show. After her performance, Garza was interviewed on stage and announced that she is employed at UTA and was with a group from the University, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd.

– Donna Darovich (’71)

shim shim shim shim shim shim shim