LIKE MANY NEW SCHOOLS OF ITS DAY, THE TEXAS Normal College and Teachers Training Institute was established to produce teachers for a state that badly wanted respectability. Unlike many of these young institutes that closed their doors within a few years, though, Texas Normal not only survived -it prospered and grew.

A half-dozen name changes have transpired since the first students assembled hopefully on the second floor of a Denton hardware store in September 1890, so Texas Normal College is no more. They call it the University of North Texas these days, and Channel 2 will help celebrate its 1990 centennial with University of North Texas: Forever Green, a half-hour KDTN-produced documentary.

“This has been a fascinating program to research” says producer Suzanne Dooley. “One thing that stands out clearly is how closely linked UNT and Denton are.” Together, the university and its hometown have experienced a century of phenomenal growth and increased sophistication, and Forever Green explores the effect each has had on the other’s success.

“There is a long list of notable UNT alumni,” Dooley says, “from journalist Bill Moyers and Pulitzer-winning author Larry McMurtry to Phyllis George and ’Mean’Joe Green. In addition to famous names, though, Forever Green looks at the educational force that the university has become.”

The special features interviews with many of UNT’s leaders, including chancellor and president Alfred Hurley. Forever Green also looks at what it was like in the early days of the school -and of Denton, which was only 30 years old when Texas Normal College was founded.

“This really is a celebration,” Dooley says, “It’s a celebration of the largest college in North Texas, of its world-famous music school, of the dedicated research and development being done in such areas as environmental protection, nuclear energy and education, and of the spirit that made it all possible.”


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