The University of Texas at Dallas Breaks Ground for New Engineering and Computer Science Building
$40 Million Expansion Fueled by Grants From Key North Dallas Donors
In a move that could lead to a significant increase in the pool of highly skilled technical talent available in Texas, The University of Texas at Dallas, one of the fastest-growing public universities in the country, today broke ground for construction of a 152,000-square-foot addition to its highly acclaimed Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
The expansion, made possible in part by private contributions from several key North Texas donors, will nearly double the capacity for engineering students at the school to 5,000. The Erik Jonsson School, named for the late Dallas mayor and co-founder of Texas Instruments (TI), provides outstanding programs in electrical engineering, awards more computer science degrees than any other university in Texas and was the first school in the country to offer a degree in telecommunications engineering.
Contributors to the expansion program include the Texas Instruments Foundation, Zyvex and Mrs. Eugene McDermott, widow of another TI co-founder, $2.5 million each; Alcatel Americas and Ericsson Corporation, $1 million each; Fujitsu Network Communications, $500,000; and the Meadows Foundation, $350,000. Those donations were matched by grants from the University of Texas Board of Regents and supplemented by other fund-raising efforts by UTD, bringing the total available for the expansion to $40 million.
“UTD has become a jewel in the crown of the economic development of North Texas by providing some of the area’s most outstanding engineers,” said Tom Engibous, TI chairman, president and CEO. “The grant from the Texas Instruments Foundation builds on our longstanding relationship with the university. We view this as an investment not just in UTD, but in the long-term economic growth of Texas.”
UTD President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer said that the addition to the engineering and computer science school would enable the university “to attract more high-quality students and, in turn, to produce more high-quality graduates for both the public and private sectors.”
“UTD’s genesis was the result of the creativity and generosity of local leaders who believed we needed a top-flight engineering program. That foresight led us to where we are today – a unique public/private partnership that benefits this region and the entire state,” Dr. Jenifer said.
Between 1993 and 1998, employment in technology-related fields jumped by 48 percent in Texas, and more than 132,000 new jobs were created that required advanced skills. Yet during that period, the number of high-tech graduates from public universities in the state grew by less than 10 percent. Today, there are an estimated 34,000 vacancies in skilled positions in Texas’ technology sector.
The Telecom Corridor(, the defined geographic region near UTD, is expected to add 40,000 jobs by 2010, according to the North Texas Council of Governments. The Corridor, which has one of the highest concentrations of telecommunications and technology companies in the world, has been key in developing leading-edge broadband technologies that are critical to higher speed connections to the Internet and increasingly mobile connectivity. UTD’s research and partnership efforts have been important factors in the region’s success.
The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science currently has an enrollment of 3,000 students, of which 63 percent are undergraduates. While most engineering schools have had flat or declining growth rates in recent years, UTD has increased its number of engineering graduates at an annual compounded growth rate of 17 percent over the past five years.
UTD is attractive because of its high-quality faculty, mentoring program, research efforts and internships with local companies. Of the 356 freshmen enrolled in the fall 2000 semester at the engineering school, 40 percent scored in the 1400 range on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The new building, which will be completed in July 2002, will be a three-story structure that is architecturally compatible with the existing engineering facility and will contain state-of-the-art classrooms and equipment. The first floor will house a student services center, a 150-seat computer lab, classrooms and an auditorium. Upper floors will contain offices and labs.
Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott and a third co-founder of Texas Instruments, Cecil Green, established the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest (later renamed the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies) in 1961. That center provided the foundation for the establishment by the state of The University of Texas at Dallas in 1969.
The University of Texas at Dallas provides outstanding education and research programs from the freshman through doctoral level and ranks among the top Texas public institutions in terms of student achievement and faculty research. For more information, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].