University Honors President Emeritus Franklyn Jenifer with Street Name
Former Presidents Frank Johnson, Bryce Jordan Also Were Recognized with New Signs on 2 Campus Streets
The University of Texas at Dallas has renamed one of its campus streets to honor the legacy of the University’s third president, Dr. Franklyn G. Jenifer, who served from 1994 to 2005.
Franklyn Jenifer Drive is the new name for the section of Drive A that runs eastward from Waterview Parkway to Rutford Avenue.
On June 22, Jenifer joined invited guests and University faculty and administrators for ceremonies, which included the unveiling of the new street sign and a campus tour that highlighted major changes since Jenifer last visited UT Dallas in 2009.
“When I came here I thought that this was the kind of place that was uniquely positioned to be one of the very best,” Jenifer said. “Let me tell you, my friends, you have done a wonderful job. The University looks so spectacular I would get lost if I came back again. It has gone on to achieve many of those great things that we had in mind for it.”
Jenifer said it will still take the ongoing commitment of faculty, students and administrators to continue the University’s strides toward becoming a nationally recognized institution.
Three streets on campus were renamed last month, honoring the legacies of three former UT Dallas presidents.
When Jenifer assumed the presidency, UT Dallas had an enrollment of nearly 8,500. By the time Jenifer was named president emeritus in 2005, the University's enrollment had grown 61 percent, and the campus had added three major buildings — for the School of Management, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.
Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim, praised Jenifer’s “deep love and respect for the institution of a university” and unwavering focus on academic excellence.
“He persistently and courageously pursued his and our shared ideal of the great university that UT Dallas could, should and would become,” Wildenthal said. “The progress that commenced under Frank’s presidency — the result of his steady and strong commitment to what we call simply academic excellence — has led to the more visible progress that we enjoy today.”
Before he came to UT Dallas, Jenifer was president of Howard University in Washington, D.C., the first Howard alumnus to serve in that capacity.
Jenifer earned bachelor's and master's degrees in microbiology from Howard University in 1962 and 1965. He earned a PhD in plant virology from the University of Maryland in 1970, and worked with a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in plant virology in Beltsville, Maryland.
He later served as associate provost at Rutgers University-Newark as well as chancellor of the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education.
“The progress that commenced under Frank’s presidency — the result of his steady and strong commitment to what we call simply academic excellence — has led to the more visible progress that we enjoy today”
Jenifer has been a member of many distinguished educational, scientific, civic and corporate organizations, and has published numerous articles, ranging from writings in scientific journals about plant viruses to newspaper commentaries.
He was appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush to the Texas Science and Technology Council, and he served on the Board of Directors of ChevronTexaco Inc., and the Board of Trustees of the Texas Health Research Institute, as well as the Public Advisory Committee of the Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project.
He and his wife, Alfleda, now reside in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
UT Dallas also has renamed two other campus streets in recognition of two other former presidents. The section of Drive L that runs eastward from Waterview Parkway to Drive H is now Frank Johnson Drive. Dr. Francis “Frank” Johnson, a distinguished space scientist, was one of the first individuals hired by Lloyd Berkner as he created the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, the predecessor of UT Dallas. Johnson was acting president of UT Dallas from 1969 to 1971.
Maurine Johnson visited campus recently to view the new street sign bearing her late husband’s name. “I sure wish Frank could have seen this. He would be so thrilled,” she said.
Dr. Bryce Jordan, the University’s first president, has been recognized with the renaming of the section of Lookout Drive that runs westward from Floyd Road to Parking Lot G. This original main entrance to campus is now Bryce Jordan Drive. Jordan, a well-known UT Austin and UT System administrator, was president of UT Dallas from 1971 to 1981, and concluded his career as president of Penn State University. He died in April.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].