First Graduates Help Launch Campaign for Future
Scholarship Honors First 3 Students to Earn Diplomas at UT Dallas
Apr. 9, 2012
As Ron Hawkins arrived at UT Dallas to take part in the launch celebration of the University’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, he surveyed the entrance to the campus – the tree-lined reflection pools, the glassy Visitor Center and the cranes towering over the construction site of the University’s latest addition to its academic infrastructure.
“When I was here, there was only one building,” he said.
Hawkins MS’73 was among UT Dallas’ first graduating class. It consisted of three students: Hawkins, Susan Doe MS’73 and Wang Kong Lam MS’73. During the March 29 evening kick-off event, their early achievement was celebrated with the announcement of The First Graduates Scholarship, a permanent endowment created in honor of the class of 1973 by a $25,000 gift from Mrs. Rita Crocker Clements.
Doe received her master’s degree in biology, Lam and Hawkins both in physics.
Doe was present at the campaign event as well. “I never imagined I would have a scholarship named after me,” she said.
A native of Cooperstown, N.Y., Susan Doe is married to Frank Doe, a geneticist and college professor at the University of Dallas, and resides in Irving. She has two grown daughters. A former math teacher, she now enjoys spending time in the mountains and reading.
As UT Dallas President David E. Daniel introduced Doe, he explained that one of her daughters lives down the street from campus. “How cool is it to live next to a University where your mom was one of the first graduates?” he said.
Doe described the changes she saw as “incredible progress.”
“The founders had a vision to build a scientific and intellectual community, a think tank, and it’s clear that their vision is still being realized today,” she said.
Hawkins hadn’t seen the campus since graduation in 1973.
“When I was here, there was the Founders Building, and that was surrounded by cotton fields. I want to take a tour and see all the new buildings,” he said.
Hawkins studied atmospheric physics and space science during his time at UT Dallas, but life took him down a different path than that of a physicist.
“I began to realize, due to the winding down of the Vietnam War, the end of the Apollo lunar landings, and the increase in social programs spending, that funds for paying guys in the field of physics were going to dry up,” he said.
In addition to working on his master’s thesis at UT Dallas, Hawkins took organic chemistry and microbiology courses at North Texas State University, now known as the University of North Texas, to prepare to apply to dental school.
Hawkins was accepted to Baylor College of Dentistry and went on to establish his own practice in Lubbock, where he has been for over 30 years.
“I was blessed enough to build a great practice that has allowed us to travel the world, build our dream home, raise two sons and send them to college,” Hawkins said.