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New book illustrates UT Arlington’s transformation, entrance into the UT System

Friday, February 13, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: alumni, Arlington, history, staff, students

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Arlington in the late 1800s was a rough western town with saloons, gunfights, rowdy cowboys, and sadly, an underfunded school that did not offer a decent education.

Recognizing that a good school was the foundation for a good town, a local pioneer merchant convinced Lee Hammond and William Trimble to found a private school in 1895, which would become known as Arlington College.

Over the course of three different centuries and under eight different names, The University of Texas at Arlington evolved into the research institution that now educates nearly 48,000 students globally, and is the basis for “University of Texas at Arlington,” a new book of historic photos compiled by UT Arlington Librarians Evelyn Barker and Lea Worcester.

Impressive black and white images chronicle the construction of buildings and transformation of the campus.

Many moving images, however, are of the people who supported efforts to build young leaders and the individuals who changed their community and the world.

"Our intention is to make students, faculty, staff and others more aware of our University’s rich history, but on a more personal level,” said Worcester, who along with Barker co-authored a 2011 book about the city of Arlington.

In their new book, one photo features female students learning to use rifles as the college faced declining enrollment due to male students and faculty enlisting for military service during World War II.

Worcester and Barker

A photo on page 51 shows former Texas Gov. Price Daniel signing the bill making Arlington State College a four-year institution.

There are troubling images such as one of sorority girls dressed in blackface to participate in Old South Days, as well as photos representative of UTA’s journey to equality regarding race, gender and disability.

An intimate picture captures a football player alone in the locker room saddened over the imminent demise of the football program. Page 58 features students sipping free tea and jubilant over UT Arlington exiting the Texas A&M System and joining the University of Texas System.

“This April marks the 50th anniversary of UT Arlington joining the UT System. When the transition happened, it was a time of great celebration,” Barker said. “Once we became part of the UT System, we received support and funding that allowed us to undertake a massive building boom.”

Worcester added that as enrollment increased, several academic departments became schools and colleges thereafter.

UT Arlington students in 1965 celebrated the University's exit from the Texas A&M System and move to the University of Texas System. 

Former Library Dean Gerald Saxon wrote the book, “Transitions: A Centennial History of The University of Texas at Arlington,” in 1995.

“Dr. Saxon’s book was more administrative and his research focused on the institution. We hope that people will see themselves in the photos in our book and connect with the individuals,” Worcester said. “Also, a lot has happened in the past 20 years since Dr. Saxon’s book came out and the stories and photos needed to be shared.”

Most of the images used in the book are from UT Arlington Special Collections. Other images are from various campus departments, University Communications, and Tarleton State University, with whom UT Arlington shared a spirited sports rivalry in the 1930s.

“University of Texas at Arlington” will be available Monday, Feb. 23, at local booksellers and through Arcadia Publishing.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of almost 48,000 students around the world and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.