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UTA Day at the Rodeo

January 22, 2017


Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to UTA Day at the Rodeo. What better way to celebrate our being Tarrant County’s only R-1 university than to meet with alumni, friends and supporters in Fort Worth – a city with which our university has significant ties – from our faculty and staff who live here, to the many students who come to UTA from Fort Worth Schools and TCC and, of course, two great public servants and our alumni – Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

As you all have heard we are increasing our engagement with the city – from the signing of the E-TIP agreement with TCC to enable smoother pathways for students, to our hosting of a joint workshop with the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington on a SMART cities initiative, to the agreement we will be signing this month with BRIT – the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, one of Fort Worth’s gems enabling greater research collaborations between the institutions and sharing of personnel, and the discussions between UTA and the UNT Health Science Center to enable greater collaboration and joint projects. Due to UTA’s increased excellence and expertise in the health sciences, we are increasing our engagement with, and impact on, the city of Fort Worth.

Add to that the educational programs at the Fort Worth Center including the internationally acclaimed Fort Worth MBA that enables students to spend a period of time in China as part of their curriculum, and the tremendous translational and applied research and development work ongoing at UTARI with corporations such as Lockheed. We are increasing our presence in this city and expanding the UTA footprint.

2016 was a landmark year for UTA and 2017 is already shaping up to be even better. Allow me to share a few highlights and numbers – aspects that reflect the growing excellence and reputation of your university and advancements of which you should be very proud:

  • 57,000 – that’s the total number of degree seeking students that we expect to serve at UTA through on-line and on-campus degree programs by the end of this academic year (of which over 42,000 are based in Texas) making us one of the largest campuses in Texas – and yes we are already larger than UT Austin;
  • 11,526 – that’s the number of degrees awarded at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels in the last academic year – an 8.8% increase over the previous year, making us the third largest generator of highly skilled intellectual capital in the state.  And, yes, we awarded about a thousand degrees more than the total student population of TCU. In addition, PayScale.com in its 2016-17 report noted that on average UTA students earn about $3,700 more at the early career stage and almost $6,000 more at the mid-career stage than TCU students – not bad for a public university that perhaps was and is not as well known in Fort Worth;
  • 3,854 – that’s the number of degrees awarded by The College of Nursing and Health Innovation last year, continuing to be the largest producer of nurses in Texas and educating 64% of all RN-to-BSN students in the state;
  • 1,794 – that’s the number of degrees awarded in our nationally ranked College of Engineering, now the 3rd largest in the state and with the 39th ranked graduate aerospace engineering department in the country;
  • 200 – that’s the Tier-1 metric for doctoral degrees awarded in a year – a target we have now exceeded for the third year in a row;
  • 86 – as in $86 million in research expenditures, a 9% increase from last year, fueled by the pioneering work of our faculty;
  • 25 – as in the number of faculty, including those recruited in the last year, who are focused on cancer research, making UTA one of Texas’ drivers in advances in understanding and curing this disease;
  • 20 – that’s the number of graduate programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the nation’s top programs;
  • 20 – that’s our national ranking by Military Times in the “Best for Vets” list and #1 in the State of Texas;
  • 17 – that’s the number of our faculty in the National Academies of Engineering, Inventors, and Science– the highest level of academic recognition in the United States. We have one member in the National Academy of Science, two in the National Academy of Engineering, and 14 fellows in the National Academy of Inventors. I note with pride that in the area of innovation, exemplified by being named to the National Academy of Inventors, UTA accounts for fully one-third of all fellows in the state of Texas;
  • 5 – We are ranked fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity, according to U.S. News & World Report, the highest profile Hispanic-serving institution in North Texas, and the top institution in the state and 10th in the nation for Bachelor’s degrees awarded to African-American students, and No. 1 in Texas and No. 31 in the nation for total master’s degrees conferred to minorities.
  • 4 – as in the number of new buildings being constructed on campus. From the new Science and Engineering Innovation Research building at the south end of our campus which will house our efforts in the Health Sciences, to a new 516-bed residence hall next to the MAC with a new dining and student affairs facility, to a new 1500 slot parking garage on the west campus, the university is moving aggressively on its campus master plan building facilities to accommodate our growth and further accelerate our march to pre-eminence;
  • 3 – the ranking of our School of Social Work in the Graduate Programs.com list of the top 25 Social Work Schools in the Country;
  • 2 – as in the number of MBA programs in the College of Business listed by CEO magazine in its exclusive International Tier-1 list;
  • 2 – our ranking in a recent U.S. News & World Report list for the lowest debt at national universities, between Yale and Princeton;
  • 1 – as in the highest ranked university in the Metroplex for Social mobility; and
  • 1 – as in R-1 – our inclusion in the highest research doctoral university group in the Carnegie Classification – the elite list of 115 of the top research universities in the nation placing us in the same group as Stanford, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins.

UTA is a tremendous institution. Our faculty are among the very best in their fields receiving national and international awards and recognition. Highlights from the last 50 days include:

  • Sedrick Huckaby who just this week won the prestigious Meadows Museum’s Moss/Chumley award,
  • Kytai Nguyen who was named a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and was awarded the inaugural Embracing Challenge Award from Materials Today magazine and the Elsevier Materials Science Council in Dec 2016,
  • Purnendu Dasgupta who was named recipient of the 2016 Eastern Analytical Symposium’s highest award for Outstanding Achievements in the Fields of Analytical Chemistry; and
  • Frank Lewis who in December was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a very prestigious award that is often a precursor to being elected to the National Academy.

This is UTA – diverse, innovative, excelling in all we put our minds to, and first-choice. This is who we are, and this is who we aspire to be – one of the best-of-the-best setting standards that others will follow.

And we do this on the shoulders of our alumni and friends. It is through your support that we are able to provide the scholarships that enable our students to reach for the stars and accomplish great things. It is through your generosity that we are able to have endowed chairs and professorships to attract and retain the very best faculty, and it is your support that will, in an era of decreasing state funding, enable us to provide buildings and facilities that make us the very best. On behalf of all of us at UTA let me thank you for your support and ask that you continue to invest in our future and that of the community we serve.

This is an exciting time and I hope you will not just attend this one event with UTA this year, or just watch as we accelerate to preeminence, but that you will also join us on our journey as a participant and active stakeholder, joining the new UTA Fort Worth alumni chapter, serving as a mentor and providing internships for our students, employing our graduates in your companies, donating to build excellence, and through your faith and trust enabling a bright future for generations of students yet to come. 

Thank you for being here. Thank you for your support and for all you do.  Please enjoy the lunch and the rodeo.