Transformation - 2008 President's Report

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The Urgency of Now - 2008 President's Report

A Star on the Court and in the Classroom

Anthony Vereen

Leading scorer Anthony Vereen, right, earned Academic All-Southland Conference honors.

Forward Anthony Vereen's dazzling play in the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament impressed millions watching in person and on television.

It also impressed the opposing Memphis Tigers, who described the 6-foot-7, 240-pound left-hander as somebody they had trouble guarding. He scored a team-high 20 points for the Mavericks, who fell to top-seeded Memphis in first-round action in Little Rock, Ark.

Vereen averaged a team-leading 13.8 points per game last season as UT Arlington finished 21-12 and set a school record for victories. An 82-79 win against Northwestern State earned the Mavericks their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. He was named the Southland Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player and scored 25 points in the championship game.

By the end of the season, in my opinion, he was the best post man in the league, head coach Scott Cross said.

Vereen, a senior in 2008-09, is equally skilled in the classroom. An exercise and sports studies major, he earned Academic All-Southland Conference honors last year.

The prospect of returning to college basketball's biggest stage motivates him.

We did something last year that had never been done at UT Arlington, he said. It makes everybody want to work even harder to get back there.

Students Show Commitment to Serve

a student plants flowers during the Big Event

The 2008 Big Event community service day was the biggest ever at UT Arlington. About 560 volunteers participated in more than 30 service projects benefiting area communities. But it was much more than a statistical success. The Big Event is about people that have such a remarkable experience helping others that they start putting community service into their weekly or monthly routines, says nursing major Allison Bailey, president of UTA Volunteers. Projects included painting houses, cleaning creeks, building wheelchair ramps, planting landscape beds, composting, and organizing food, clothing, furniture and household items for families in need.

Greeks Donate Time and Money

Giving back is not Greek to UT Arlington's fraternities and sororities. The Greek community completed nearly 14,000 hours of service and donated more than $66,000 to charitable organizations last year. Projects included working at Mission Arlington as well as volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Arlington, the Big Event community service day and children's hospitals. The involvement is so rewarding when you see the children smile or the joy in the adults or the positive transformation you had on an entire community, says senior Timothy Brown, vice president of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Greeks also conducted food and clothing drives and participated in various other philanthropic initiatives.

OneBook Program Teaches Life Lessons

Students warmly embraced Maus: A Survivor's Tale as the 2007-08 OneBook selection. In the graphic novel, Art Spiegelman writes and illustrates his own story of interviewing his father about the Holocaust. Students overwhelmingly reported that they loved Maus and that they learned a great deal about critical reading, said Margaret Lowry, director of first-year English. UT Arlington hosted several events in conjunction with the OneBook program and its prejudice theme, including a lecture by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker. The OneBook selection for 2008-09 is The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

Muddy Mavericks Promote Scholarships

students pose, grinning and muddy, after oozeball tournament

Voted by students as their favorite tradition, the Oozeball Mud Volleyball Tournament annually attracts more than 100 teams to the muck on Greek Row. Playing volleyball in the mud is like trying to play volleyball carrying about 30 extra pounds and in slow motion, international business major Kristen King says. Your feet are about a foot deep in mud, so you just have to hope the ball comes near you. Co-sponsored by the Student Alumni Association and Campus Recreation, the Maverick-style mudfest raises money for scholarships.