UT Dallas to Celebrate Start of New Era on Campus
Public Invited to Dedication of Redesign Project Led by Architect Peter Walker

UT Dallas celebrates a milestone in its life as an education and research institution with the dedication of a central campus redesign on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Open to students, faculty, staff and the general public, the dedication ceremony will start at 10:30 a.m. at the trellis plaza adjacent to the McDermott Library

Campus Enhancement

For more details on the project’s design, see the UT Dallas Campus Enhancement website.

“UT Dallas was the ambitious dream of individuals who created a place where young researchers and future leaders would find a first-class education,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel.  “This project is an external expression of the confidence and commitment that imbued our founders, and that we share today.  The University must be excellent in all it does, and that should be reflected in the way our campus physically welcomes those who join us here.”

The two-year project has been led by landscape architects Peter Walker and Partners (PWP), a world-renowned design firm chosen for its understanding of Dallas and for its record of visionary work in venues ranging from university campuses to corporate headquarters to private gardens.

The PWP plan for UT Dallas involved reforesting the main entrance along University Parkway with more than 5,000 trees and native plants, leading to a mall with rectilinear ponds, an innovative columnar misting system and walkways lined with magnolias.  The space is distinguished by a pavilion-sized trellis plaza between the McDermott Library and the Student Union.  A new entrance, featuring a crescent stand of oak trees, welcomes visitors to the transformed campus.

When complete, special features of the project will include:

  • A circular pool with a columnar fog system.  On calm days, fog can crawl as high as 200 feet from the column.  A sensor turns the fog off on windy days, and at night the column is illuminated.
  • A series of 33 needlepoint holly hedgerows along Campbell Road.  Each hedge is 120 feet long and will be maintained at a maximum height of 5 feet.
  • A wide variety of trees, including magnolias, bur oaks, Caddo maples and others.

PWP was recently chosen to carry out the design of the World Trade Center Memorial in New York. The firm is also responsible for the United States Embassy in Beijing and the 1,000-acre Millennium Parklands in Sydney, Australia.  The firm has frequently worked with other architects on landscape projects, including the Nasher Foundation Sculpture Center in Dallas, which was designed in collaboration with the Renzo Piano Workshop.

With oversight from the Office of Business Affairs and Facilities Management, construction was managed by Austin Commercial L.P. and coordinated by the University of Texas System’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction.

“Campus environments are an important place to teach about the built environment,” Walker said.  “For many students, a campus is their first experience of a place designed and built with an eye towards community, order and design.  It is important for campus environments to be forward-looking, world-class and beautiful, as they house the future leaders of our cities, planning departments and corporations.”

The $30 million project was made possible by private philanthropic support.  The University is particularly grateful for the Eugene McDermott family’s nearly 50-year commitment to UT Dallas.

Eugene McDermott, along with the late Cecil Green and Erik Jonsson, founded Texas Instruments and the research institution that became UT Dallas in 1969.  In 2000, Mrs. Margaret McDermott initiated the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program in honor of her late husband.  That program provides select UT Dallas students with a rigorous and personalized education as well as intensive extracurricular activities such as research opportunities and foreign travel.

“It is impossible to know what we would have become as a University without the unwavering support of the Eugene McDermott family,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, provost and executive vice president of UT Dallas.  “The effects of this project will reverberate for years to come.”   

For additional details about the enhancement, including downloadable photos and collateral materials, visit  For information about naming opportunities, visit

Reflecting pools are the central design element of the mall, stretching most of the length of the mall.

The entrance road opens at a large circle planted in turf and surrounded with matched trees.

The project includes bur oaks, Caddo maples and rows of tall magnolias.

The pool bottoms have been designed to resemble rocky Texas creek beds.

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