University Will Celebrate Its Founders with Day of Food, Fun

From left: Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green established the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which became UT Dallas in 1969.

On Monday, Oct. 29, the campus will honor the vision and legacy of the founders of The University of Texas at Dallas: Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green.

UT Dallas students, faculty and staff are invited to enjoy food truck snacks, lawn games, and T-shirt and sunglasses giveaways from 1 to 3 p.m. at Chess Plaza. Radio UTD will provide entertainment.

To mark the occasion, the University community is encouraged to participate in a photo salute to the founders during the event along the fountains on the south end of the mall, near Chess Plaza.

The annual Founders Day event marks the day in 1964 that the Founders Building was dedicated. Surrounded by acres of cotton fields and undeveloped land, it served as the central facility of the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, a private research institution that in 1969 became UT Dallas.

McDermott, Jonsson and Green established the center because they wanted to retain and cultivate the engineering talent at their firm, Texas Instruments. They had witnessed bright young people moving out of the region to pursue advanced education elsewhere and aimed to create an institution that would foster learning, further research and attract the most influential minds of the day.

“Our University was founded by visionary entrepreneurs who recognized the great potential for this institution,” said Kyle Edgington PhD’13, vice president for development and alumni relations. “That foresight led UT Dallas to where it is today, and it’s important that we celebrate not only our founders, but also the students, staff, faculty, alumni, leaders and supporters who have played key roles in the University’s many accomplishments.”

At last year’s event, approximately 250 Comets donned orange, green and white T-shirts and formed “U,” “T,” “D” across Chess Plaza, in the shape of the University’s monogram. The image was captured with a drone camera.


Student Treasure Hunt

A treasure hunt leading up to the Founders Day event will offer students a chance to win prizes, including a $100 gift card to the University Bookstore plus an Oreo cookie jar and a 5-pound Hershey’s chocolate bar; a Coca-Cola mini-refrigerator; a FitBit Flex activity tracker and Coca-Cola bicycle; and a set of Apple Beats Solo3 Bluetooth headphones.

The contest will run Wednesday, Oct. 24, through Friday, Oct. 26, and on Monday, Oct. 29. For more information, follow @Official_Temoc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All food and giveaways are offered while supplies last.


Students will have plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate Founders Day as they did last year.

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