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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Personal Comments Highlight K. C. Hall Groundbreaking Ceremony

June 27, 2003

More than 150 people gathered at the site of the future Kalpana Chawla Hall, a living/learning community, for groundbreaking ceremonies Thursday, June 26. Highlights of the event included touching comments from friends and associates on the dynamic personality and lifetime accomplishments of the UTA engineering alumna, plus a presentation of traditional Indian dance and a ceremonial blessing of the building project.

NASA Astronaut Kevin Kreger, commander of Chawla’s first flight into space aboard the Columbia, recounted examples of her leadership abilities, her attention to detail and her sly humor. Jean-Pierre Harrison, Chawla’s husband, told of their first meeting here at UTA and her enthusiasm for her research; and Dr. Don Wilson, chair of UTA’s Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department, described her arrival here as a shy student and her return visits to speak with and encourage young women to pursue careers in engineering.

UTA Interim President Dr. Charles Sorber led the proceedings, presenting comments on UTA’s growth and introducing the speakers. Other speakers included Robert A. Estrada of the U.T. System Board of Regents; Dr. Dawn Remmers, Director of Student Success Programs; Josh Warren, President of UTA’s Student Congress; and Ms. Shabnam Modgil, President of the India Association of North Texas. Attendees included UTA administrators, faculty and staff members, local government representatives, four NASA engineers, representatives of the hall’s architect and construction firms, and local media.

Kalpana Chawla Hall will house 421 students in 16 learning communities, clustered according to learning themes or major disciplines. Construction is expected to be completed by August 2004. More information about the hall and the living/learning concept may be found at