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UTA Annual Retiree Dinner

June 4, 2016


Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen – it’s always a privilege to be with our retirees at the University of Texas at Arlington.  You have through your years of dedicated service given us generously of your time, your intellect, passion, and commitment.  Our students continue to succeed and our reputation, as an institution, continues to soar because of what you have worked on tirelessly in the past, and because of your continued engagement with, and pride in the institution.  Events such as this not only offer us a means of staying in touch, a venue where I can update you on the exciting initiatives ongoing, but more importantly for us to sincerely thank you for all you have done, and continue to do for this great institution. 

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Rita Thompson, President of the Retiree’s Club, and the members of the Retiree Club Committee.  Without their leadership we would not be able to enjoy the close relationship we have with all of you who are integral, loved and honored members of the UTA family. 

Could I please ask all the members of the Retiree Club Committee to stand so that we can recognize you and thank you for your service.  THANK YOU

This year has been one of great achievements and successes, all attributable to our talented faculty, dedicated staff and wonderful students.  Let me share some numbers with you

  • 53,000 – we crossed that number as the total of on-line and in-seat degree-seeking students served by UTA in the 2015-2016 academic year;
  • 38,650 – that’s our Texas-based student population in Spring 2016
  • 10,586 – that’s the number of students we graduated in the ’15-’16 academic year at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels making us the third largest generator of intellectual capital in the state of TX – and this year promises to be as productive. Just think of the impact that these young women and men will have on the Metroplex, the North Texas region and the nation.  It’s also inspiring to consider that the number of students we graduate annually almost equals the total enrollment of each of two highly regarded private universities in the DFW area and to whom we are constantly compared.  Their total population – our graduating numbers – I’m not sure there’s even a comparison any longer. 

Just think of it – this University previously largely known as a small, commuter school is a national powerhouse, one of the fastest growing research universities in the nation, named an R-1 institution in the Carnegie classification earlier this year, joining an elite group of 115 of the top universities across the nation, one of only 2 in the State of Texas to have its College of Nursing designated as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, and one where every college and school has at least a graduate program ranked among the nation’s best by US News & World Report, emphasizing that we are a true comprehensive university focused on excellence across the board.  Our graduate rankings are led by the Aerospace Engineering Program at No. 39, third in the state behind UT Austin and Texas A&M.  And yes – both the aerospace and mechanical engineering programs are ranked higher than their counterparts at UT-Dallas.  UTA does lead the Metroplex.

We are the third ranked institution in the nation as related to the number of transfer students, ranked best in Texas and 16th in the nation for veterans by military times, and the highest profile Hispanic Serving Institution in North Texas. 

UTA faculty members are among the very best in their disciplines.  We have one member in the National Academy of Sciences, two in the National Academy of Engineering, and 13 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. That last number is fully one-third of all fellows in the National Academy of Inventors across the State of Texas and the second highest concentration at any institution in the nation.  This excellence is attracting some of the very best in the nation and among the 50 new faculty recruited or currently being recruited this year are some of the very best from institutions such as Penn State, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Rice, UC Davis and the Ohio State University.  Excellence attracts excellence and the attractiveness of UTA as a place for the best is clearly seen.  Research expenditures continue to grow and we should end this year at close to $85 million, bringing us one step closer to the magical figure of $100M. 

This is UTA – diverse, innovative, and first-choice.  This is who we are, and this is who we aspire to be – the best of the best – setting standards that others will follow. These are indeed exciting times for the University of Texas at Arlington. 

The French poet, journalist, novelist and Nobel laureate Francois Anatole Thibault wrote that “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

We, as an institution are dreaming, planning, and acting – we believe in our destiny and we hope you do too.  I hope many of you see your fingerprints and hard work in the advances that we have made and in the initiatives that are now progressing.  The University is built on your shoulders and on the tremendous foundation that you have provided and with your continuing help we will get to levels that others did not even dare to dream.  I know that Michael Kingan and his staff are in contact with each of you.  Your continuing support is invaluable to ensure that the momentum you initiated continues to grow.  Your support through scholarships, fellowships and the endowment will ensure that UTA is not just good, but great, no longer a secret but an internationally acclaimed university – one of the very best and second to none.

Thank you again for your contributions to what UTA is today, and for what it is destined to become – the model 21st Century Urban Research University, and the urban flagship of the UT System.  Its been an honor and privilege speaking to you this evening.