‘Topping-Off’ Ceremony at UTD to Honor Human Resource Teams from Local Businesses
$40-Million School Of Engineering & Computer Science Expansion Is Targeted for Completion Next Summer

Officials of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will pay tribute to local human resource representatives and commemorate an important construction milestone Oct. 25 when workers hoist the final steelwork on the school’s new 152,000 square-foot building, which is expected to be completed next summer.

To observe the “topping-off” of the building, students, faculty and staff will attend a noon ceremony designed to pay tribute to scores of human resource representatives from companies in Richardson’s Telecom Corridor for their continuing support of the university. There are more than 900 high-tech companies within a five-mile radius of the UTD campus, and many of them have backed UTD with monetary donations, involvement in cooperative work programs and internships, research collaborations and, of course, by hiring UTD graduates and sending their employees to UTD for advanced education.

“We have had tremendous support from the local business community, and we work very closely each year with members of the various human resources departments, trying to fulfill their needs for highly qualified employees and trying to place our graduates in good positions with strong potential. These HR professionals are our partners in many ways, even in these tough economic times, and we wanted to use this occasion to thank them for their support and to pay tribute to them,” said Jonsson School Dean William P. Osborne.

The brief ceremony at the construction site will feature remarks by Osborne and Ken Meyers, vice president of human resources at Ericsson, and will be followed by a luncheon reception.

The expansion to UTD’s highly acclaimed Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, 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 6,000. The school, named for the late Dallas mayor and co-founder of both Texas Instruments and the research institute that in 1969 became UTD, provides programs in electrical and software 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.

Osborne said the “topping off” of the three-story new building signifies an important milestone in the school’s expansion and that the addition would enable the school and the university “to help satisfy the requirements of Texas Senate Bill 353, which the Legislature recently passed into law, to attract more high-quality students and, in turn, to produce more high-quality graduates to work in both the public and private sectors in Texas.”

Senate Bill 353 was designed to address the growing shortage of high-tech workers in Texas by increasing the number of electrical engineering and computer science graduates from Texas universities. Under the bill, the state commits up to $5 million annually, to match $5 million raised annually from the technology industry and other private sector sources, to increase the pool of high-tech workers.

The $40-million building will be 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.

The “topping-off” ceremony dates back to the 8th or 9th century. In medieval times, ironworkers would celebrate the completion of a building’s frame by placing a fir tree on top of the final beam. The practice was brought to America and today often incorporates the autographing of the final beam by those involved with the construction process.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s Web site at

Media Contact: (972) 883-4431 [email protected] , or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].