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The University of North Texas
By D Magazine |

The Spirit of North Texas

There’s a special spirit at North Texas that has to be experienced to be understood. A tradition of friendliness and informality helps students feel right at home. The students say it best:

“You couldn’t ask for a better location- outside the city of Dallas, yet close enough to take advantage of what it has to offer. I also appreciate the aesthetics of this beautiful campus. Students are allowed to play a big role in the inner workings of the campus. The atmosphere is great-very communal. The administration is cooperative and willing to hear from students.” Grace Hargis, president, Student Association; senior, radio/television/film.

“The standard of education at North Texas keeps getting better. There is a quality that you can guarantee. People here try to be your friends, your family; they make North Texas a home away from home.” Philip Chukwuma, graduate student, computer sciences,

“The classes aren’t too big, yet they aren’t too small. I feel that the professors care and want to help their students with problems. North Texas was convenient, but it has come to be the particular type of education I was looking for.” Angela Pilgreen, junior, general studies.

’The jazz studies program is one of the best in the world. Actually, the big band program is the best. The school is big enough so that there are always new people to meet but not so big that you would feel lost in the crowd.” M.G. Enad, junior, jazz studies.

“The university’s close proximity to the metroplex provides me with many opportunities to establish a career in my field.” Kenneth Wood, graduate student, voice.

“North Texas works hard to accommodate commuters and students who work full-time by offering night classes, weekend classes and off-campus classes in Dallas.” Laurie Givens, graduate student, counseling.

“As an older student, I was surprised that North Texas faculty and staff were friendly and helpful.” Jan Hillman, graduate student, counselor education.

“North Texas has the closeness and friendliness of a small school. You can get individual attention from faculty and staff, or walk across campus and recognize faces of friends or people you’ve met. Yet North Texas has the sophistication and reputation comparable to that of larger schools.” Payton Padgett, sophomore, secondary education.

Countdown to the Centennial

When North Texas celebrates its Centennial in 1990, the university will be celebrating a century marked by growth, change and a dedication to serving the needs of the region and state.

North Texas, in the city of Denton, sits at the apex of the 1-35 triangle linking Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton. The campus is located 30 minutes from the D/FW International Airport and is only a 45-min-ute drive from downtown Dallas or Fort Worth. The tree-studded 412-acre campus is a delightful surprise to first-time visitors.

Founded as a private institution in 1890, Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute was first located in temporary headquarters over a hardware store on the Denton town square. Founder Joshua C. Chilton set the tone for the institution when he said: “It will be our aim to become leaders in the education of the young men and women of Texas, fitting them to creditably fill the most important positions in business and professional circles. We desire the cooperation of all who believe in higher education and who want to see our state in the very front of intellectual as well as material progress.”

North Texas began offering master’s degrees in 1935 and doctoral degrees in 1950. In 1961, North Texas officially became a university and, in 1964, was one of five major state universities designated by the Governor’s Committee on Education Beyond the High School. The Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education designated the university as a Class I Doctorate-granting Institution in 1977.

Between 1980 and 1984, enrollment at North Texas grew by nearly 25 percent. In 1986, with more than 21,000 students, North Texas was the sixth largest university in Texas. The Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System, projects that the university will be fourth in size in the state and the largest in the region by the year 2000.

New admission standards, increased each year since 1985, have improved the quality of students admitted to North Texas. The fall 1986 freshman class had the highest average SAT score in the history of the school. By 1990, when North Texas celebrates its Centennial, it is anticipated that the average entering freshman will rank in the top quarter of his or her senior high school class.

North Texas has one of the largest percentages of graduate-to-undergraduate enrollment in the state. Approximately 28 percent of the student body are graduate students, with graduate education and research becoming increasingly important to the university’s role as a major institution of higher education in the region and the state. In recognition of that role, the Select Committee on Higher Education recently proposed that North Texas be designated one of the major research and graduate universities in the state and an emerging national research university.

Academic Leadership

Beyond professional accreditation, certain programs are distinguished because of their leadership in anticipating the needs of the region, state and nation.

The College of Business Administration, with an undergraduate enrollment of more than 5,600 students and almost 900 master’s and doctoral students, is the largest and most comprehensive in the region, as well as one of the largest in the nation. The accounting department in the college has a national reputation for its programs in tax accounting and oil and gas accounting. Graduates of its five-year accounting program are sought by major corporations across the United States.

The university has one of the country’s largest centers of instructional computing, encompassing computer sciences (one of the first such programs to be nationally accredited), business computer information systems and library and information sciences. The Information Systems Research Center, one of a number of new or planned interdisciplinary centers, directly ties industry needs and academic expertise together for the benefit of the region. The only university in the region that offers bachelor’s through Ph.D. degrees in computer sciences, business computer information systems and information sciences, North Texas will be a major source of the projected 2.250 computer scientists needed in the metropolitan area by 1990.

In recent years, the College of Education has established the highest teacher education admission and exit standards in the state and among the highest in the nation.

The NTSU/Meadows Excellence in Teaching Program was established in 1983 through an $850,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation of Dallas to create a program designed to have a maximum effect on Texas classrooms. A new grant of S1.75 million from the Meadows Foundation in 1987 continues the unique program, which is helping to create an elite corps of master teachers who will serve Texas schoolchildren for years to come.

To underscore its commitment to produce qualified teachers, in 1986 the college instituted the Quality Assurance Program, which guarantees that new teachers have the skills to perform ably in the classroom. The college, which counts numerous school superintendants among its graduates, also created the innovative Executive Educators Roundtable, a forum for high-level school administrators.

A proposed Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science would address the critical shortage of bright, well-trained young people in Texas who could help the state meet its technological needs in the years to come. Based on models already in existence in several other states, the academy would provide high school juniors and seniors living on the North Texas campus with a rigorous academic program in science and math, and a strong humanities curriculum.

North Texas also has a long-standing commitment to a strong liberal arts base. The Classic Learning Core, a new approach to liberal arts education that is catching the attention of educators across the United States, is funded by a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a $137,142 grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. A second NEH grant for $166,000 will allow expansion of the program for non-traditional students-those age 25 and above who rely on night classes.

Based in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Classic Learning Core exposes students to the type of liberal arts education normally associated with small, elite private colleges. Students who are enrolled in the program take approximately 20 integrated courses based in the liberal arts. While this approach to a liberal arts education isn’t for everyone, 100 students enrolled in the program its first semester, and gradual expansion is planned.

Other interdisciplinary efforts combine specific program strengths to better serve students and the business community. The Center for Marketing and Design combines the resources of art, business, human resource management and industrial technology to train students in all aspects of the fashion industry. The innovative hotel and restaurant management degree program, using facilities such as the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center at North Texas for training, is the only program of its kind in the region. The industrial technology program was instrumental in the site selection for a new regional Boeing Electronics plant near Denton and was an important factor in the decision of Texas Instruments to construct a plant in Denton.

North Texas has been a leader in meshing program strengths with its public service and outreach mission. The Center for Texas Studies is the only clearinghouse in the state devoted solely to Texas life and culture. Under the center’s auspices, North Texas sponsored the largest literary conference ever held in Texas, the Governor’s Sesquicentennial Conference on the Literary Arts.

The Professional Development Institute (PDI) offers training programs throughout the United States and abroad that allow businesses to take advantage of the univer-sity’s expertise in accounting and business

computer information systems. The Center for Studies in Aging, now in its twentieth year, was one of the first programs established in the United States to specifically address aging-related issues. The Emergency Management and Planning program offers the only degree in the nation that addresses disaster management.

Nowhere has the academic leadership and innovation of North Texas been more evident than in the fine arts. North Texas has long been recognized for its outstanding music and art programs. The School of Music is internationally known for the One O’clock Lab Band, Symphony Orchestra, Grand Chorus, A Cappella Choir and Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia. The school was the recipient of the 1986 Yamaha Award, only the second such award given to a university music school. The school’s jazz program celebrates its fortieth anniversary in 1987. The North Texas art department is one of the best and largest in the Southwest, and boasts a faculty of international stature.

Science, Technology and Research

University research accounts for some 50 percent of the basic research, and a growing amount of applied research, done in the United States. It is integral to a graduate institution and provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate creative and problem-solving talents in a unique but complementary way to the organized classroom experience.

North Texas has an active research effort supported by state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. The university has invested more than $10 million in mainframe and micro computing facilities and hardware and has one of the top university computing complexes in the state. The campus computer network allows for the easy interchange of data throughout the university. Computer laboratories for student use. which are spread throughout the campus, are among the best in the nation.

The 60,000-square-foot Science Research Building, opened in 1985, provides state-of-the-art facilities dedicated solely to research in physics, biology, biochemistry and applied sciences. The work in biochemistry is jointly accomplished with Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, the sister institution to North Texas.

Other new facilities include a $1 million particle accelerator that can detect a wide range of material properties at the parts-per-billion level. Such capabilities are useful to Texas’ high technology industry, particularly to producers of semi-conductors. The particle accelerator is the only such university facility in the nation.

The libraries contain more than 1.7 million volumes housed in five buildings throughout the campus. Several unique and/or outstanding research collections are part of the North Texas libraries, including the Music Library, the Rare Books Room and the mathematics collection, one of the largest in the Southwest.

In 1986, the university experienced a 71 percent increase in research expenditures over the previous year.

In open competition with other state-supported Texas universities, North Texas received five Texas Advanced Technology Research Program (TATRP) grants totaling $1.855 million in 1986. These grants support research in genetic engineering for biodegradation, signal processing in mammalian nerve cell networks, ion beam modification and characterization of materials, applied enzyme technology and refuse derived fuel. In other areas:

●The Center for Applied Quantum Electronics is internationally recognized for its laser research.

●The Center for Organometallic Research and Education houses projects that study bonding characteristics of organic and metallic molecules to produce new materials.

●Research in the Center for Materials Characterization encompasses the synthesis, characterization, modification, use and testing of materials.

●The Institute of Applied Sciences aggressively seeks solutions to Texas water quality and pollution problems.

●The Center for Networks Neuroscience is pioneering research into how neural networks process and store information. The research and public service missions of the university will be enhanced further with the establishment of new interdisciplinary university centers over the next several years. Centers for applied life sciences; computation, information and mathematical sciences; economic development; humanities and social sciences; public and international affairs; research and innovation in the arts; and the scientific basis of learning are in the developmental stage.

The Undergraduates

In 1986, 2,663 freshmen were members of the Centennial Class-those who will graduate as North Texas celebrates its Centennial in 1990 if they complete their degrees in the traditional four years. These entering freshmen, including six National Merit Scholars, were admitted to North Texas under the most rigorous entrance standards in the university’s history. Seniors comprised the largest group of undergraduates, reflecting North Texas’s popularity as the institution of choice for many community college transfers.

What do undergraduates study? North Texas offers 88 undergraduate majors leading to 97 different degrees. The most popular majors are art, computer sciences, accounting, music, elementary education. finance, marketing, business computer information systems, psychology, health/ physical education/recreation, human resource management, biological sciences, secondary education, radio/TV/film and journalism. At least 300 students are enrolled in each of these 15 majors.

The Graduate Students

Among the five Texas institutions recommended by the Select Committee on Higher Education as recognized or emerging national graduate and research universities of the state, North Texas has the largest proportion of graduate students. Graduate enrollment in 1986 included 4,071 master’s students and 1,796 doctoral and post-doctoral students.

What do graduate students study? North Texas offers 97 majors at the graduate level leading to 203 different degrees. Many of the popular undergraduate majors also have large enrollments at the graduate level, including art, computer sciences, psychology, music, biological sciences, accounting, business computer information systems, elementary education, health/ physical education/recreation and secondary education.


North Texas is proud of its 80,000 alumni, more than half of whom have chosen to live and work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. North Texas alumni serve the region. state and nation in many ways, through leadership roles in business and industry, education, government, the sciences and the arts.

Journalist Bill Movers, television personality Phyllis George, Metropolitan Opera star Timothy Jenkins and professional athlete and coach Charles Edward “Joe” Greene are included in that list.

State House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Stan Schlueter, House Higher Education Vice Chairman David Hudson, Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, State Representatives Robert Earley and Barry Telford, and State Senator O.K. “Ike” Harris serve the state ably in their political roles.

Other alumni who have been singled out to be honored as Distinguished Alumni include:


Dr. Brooks, professor of pediatric surgery and special assistant to the president on ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from North Texas.

The state’s first woman pediatric surgeon, Dr. Brooks’ dedication to her profession resulted in the creation of the Foundation for Children in 1971. The foundation, established by the families of children who were patients of Dr. Brooks, provides support systems for the parents of children undergoing major surgery and will soon present an endowed chair in pediatric surgery in Dr. Brooks’ honor to the UT-Houston Health Science Center.

Dr. Brooks received the national Horatio Alger award and was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.


Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Larry McMurtry began his first book shortly after graduating from North Texas in 1958. That critically acclaimed first novel, “Horseman, Pass By,” began a prolific career capped with the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for the epic “Lonesome Dove.”

Also the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Texas Institute of Letters, McMurtry is only the second Texan to win a Pulitzer for fiction writing.

McMurtry has just published a novel entitled “Texasville,” a sequel to his also-acclaimed “The Last Picture Show.”


Inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985, Grace W. Cartwright of Weatherford graduated from North Texas in 1929 and was the first woman to serve on the university’s board of regents.

A longtime conservationist, Mrs. Cart-wright was the 1984 recipient of the Lady Bird Johnson Award, the most prestigious award given by Keep America Beautiful Inc. Her conservation efforts also have been recognized by the Ford Foundation, the Sears Foundation and the state of Texas, which presented her the Texas Conservation Award for Distinguished Service. During terms on the Texas Water Quality-Board, Mrs. Cartwright initiated the creation of the Brazos Valley Association and helped set antipollution rules for state waterways.


A 1951 graduate of North Texas, Tom Hughes has been producer and managing director of the Dallas Summer Musicals since 1961. During that time, he has built a reputation for the DMS as one of the finest musical theaters in the country.


Dallas native Larry Jobe distinguished himself while at North Texas, graduating summa cum laude from the College of Business Administration in 1961. Since then, he has distinguished himself in the business world as well, rising to the position of regional managing partner for the international CPA firm of Grant Thornton.

Jobe went to work for Grant Thornton after graduation and was promoted to the firm’s Chicago office in 1967 He served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration in Washington, D.C., from 1969-71, when he became vice president of Dart Industries Inc. in Los Angeles. He returned to Grant Thornton in 1973 and has been in Dallas ever since.

In addition to his work with Grant Thornton, Jobe is a director of Allied Bank-Dallas and the Dallas Citizens Council. He also serves as chairman of the President’s Council and is on the board of directors for the Professional Development Institute, both at North Texas.

Shaping a University of Excellence

The university recognizes its obligation 1o provide undergraduate and graduate students with the educational experiences they will need, regardless of their majors, to become useful, productive citizens. At the heart of that effort is the faculty.

Individually, North Texas faculty have been singled out for contributions to their teaching fields through national and international awards including the prestigious Queen Marie-José Prize for music composition presented in Geneva, Switzerland and the Order of the Palms, the French nation’s highest award to educators.

Collectively, the faculty has contributed significantly to research and scholarship within their fields. In 1986, for example, North Texas faculty members had 876 publications, made 888 research presentations at scholarly conferences and gave 908 concerts, recitals, exhibitions and performances. These scholarly achievements are balanced by a long-standing tradition of excellence in teaching and concern for students.

Because of faculty leadership in teaching, research and service activities, North Texas has been able to build a number of academic programs within its eight schools and colleges that have national and international reputations for excellence. The list of nationally accredited professional programs has grown to include business, journalism, clinical and counseling psychology, counselor education, elementary and secondary education, public administration, interior design, music, library and information sciences, social work, communication disorders, chemistry, computer sciences and rehabilitation studies.

Student Life

One stated mission of the university is to provide an “environment conducive to academic achievement” and “a campus life supportive of the highest personal development of intellect, spirit, body, and social concern.” An able faculty, strong academic programs and student support services and activities help fulfill this mission. Support services and activities include counseling and testing, study skills, academic retention, career planning and placement and programs for ethnic minority, international and older-than-average students.

From the longstanding traditions of Freshman Orientation and Howdy Week to the newer traditions of the Chancellor’s Coffees and his Advisory Board on Student Life (comprised of student leaders), NT students know that their involvement and opinions are important.

Interested students are encouraged to participate in one or more of the 156 Greek, service, honor, religious, or special interest organizations on the campus. The University Union offers everything from special fine arts and speakers’ series to arts and crafts, movies and a wide variety of food service. The residence halls even provide a pizza delivery service.

Politically and socially minded students can become involved in the Student Association, North Texas Leadership Training, or one of the partisan or social issue organizations. Those interested in athletics, both by participation and instruction, can choose from extensive recreational sports and intramural programs.

Men’s and women’s varsity athletics are an important part of university life. The university’s affiliation with the Southland Conference presents an exciting challenge for athletes and fans alike. Affiliation with the conference presents the opportunity for an automatic bid to NCAA playoffs in football and basketball, while nonconference scheduling includes Southwest and Big Eight Conference teams. Major improvements to the athletic complex and the addition of a sports medicine facility underscore the university’s commitment to its athletic program.

The Student Body

The makeup of the fall 1986 enrollment of 21,271 reflects the increasing diversity of North Texas.

The student body was divided into 15,404 undergraduate students and 5.867 graduate students. Women slightly outnumbered men except at the doctoral level More than half of the students were traditional college age. 18 to 22. The 48 percent who were 23 and older reflected not only the large number of graduate students but also older undergraduates who have returned to complete their educations.

Those North Texas students primarily were Texas residents, with 13,704 coming from the nine counties that comprise the North Texas region. However, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. trust territories were represented among the 1,422 out-of-state students. In addition, 2,004 international students came from almost 100 foreign countries. Some 10 percent of the students were members of U.S. ethnic minority groups.

Currently, almost 4,000 students, primarily but not exclusively undergraduates, live in university residence halls. An estimated 11,500 live in nearby private apartments, in the city of Denton and in nearby communities. Thus. while North Texas enjoys an excellent geographic position that makes it attractive to urban commuter students, it has many hallmarks of a traditional residential campus and, indeed, is the largest residential campus in the region.

While tuition at state-assisted universities remains a bargain, many students do require financial assistance to attend college. North Texas wants to ensure that a college education is within the reach of every qualified student. In 1986, academic and need-based scholarships, as well as financial aid, helped keep the dream alive for 4.342 students. Also. 886 graduate students received teaching or research assistantships from their academic departments. The Cooperative Education program helps students who qualify to earn salaries while gaining work experience and college credit in their chosen fields. In 1986, more than 1,200 students were placed in full- and part-time jobs through Cooperative Education.