Robert Mong recently completed his first year as President of the University of North Texas at Dallas.
Under his leadership, UNT Dallas has set forth on a journey to be a pathway to social mobility for its students. The school also has deepened its role as a community leader in its urban setting in southern Dallas and nearby suburbs.
UNT Dallas’ hilltop campus looks out over downtown Dallas 12 miles to the north. The school also includes a College of Law in center city Dallas. Both focus on empowering under-resourced students.
To further its mission, the school is broadening its offerings in health care, business, arts and science, education and human services management. The school is headed toward enrollment growth in the fall semester.
The university and its law school are embarking on more than $120 million in building projects. The university recently broke ground on its first residence hall, scheduled to open in the summer of 2017. Early in 2017, construction will begin on a large student learning and success center, followed by an amphitheater that will look out on UNT Dallas’ beautiful wooded campus. In late October, a Dallas Area Rapid Transit station will open on the south end of campus, providing rail access to much of the rest of North Texas. The College of Law is also set to move into the former Municipal Building in downtown Dallas where a multi-million dollar restoration project is under way and scheduled for completion in late 2018.
Before joining UNT Dallas, Mong worked as a journalist for 44 years, most of it at The Dallas Morning News where he served as the paper’s managing editor and later as editor in chief. During his time in news leadership, the paper won nine Pulitzer Prizes and named Pulitzer finalist 16 other times. He also gained significant business experience as the paper’s general manager and before that as CEO and publisher of the then company-owned Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Inquirer.
Throughout his business and journalism career, higher education was Mong’s principal outlet for volunteer activities. He developed volunteer ties to UNT Denton, UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas, SMU, Austin College, UT-Austin and LSU – among other institutions.
Since 2000, Mong has chaired the board of visitors at the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU. He has been active at UNT Denton since the presidency of Al Hurley. Mong helped start the Mayborn Literary Non Fiction Conference at UNT and was an active member of the school’s latest journalism dean search.
Mong also was a national leader in developing joint teaching and reporting appointments with universities. He was instrumental in putting together joint appointments between The News and SMU, UT-Dallas and UT-Arlington. He also worked closely with UT-Austin to create fellowships for promising journalism students at The News’ Washington and Austin bureaus, and he helped establish a permanent Dallas Morning News Professional in Residence in the UT-Austin school of communication.
While serving as The News’ managing editor, Mong chaired the Minorities Committee of what is now the American Society of News Editors. He also chaired the society’s Human Resources Committee.
As a Pulitzer Prize judge, Mong chaired the committee for Meritorious Public Service one year, and chaired the Photography categories another year.
In 2014 Mong attracted a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to create the Hispanic Families Network. The network trains Hispanic parents in three Dallas neighborhoods to report on early childhood education issues. The News partnered with SMU to train participating parents.
Mong served as chairman of The Dallas Morning News Charities from 1998 to 2015, raising money for the hungry and homeless in North Texas.
In 2004, he won the national Empathy Award, sponsored by the Volunteers of America. The award each year recognizes a journalist who has helped make their community a better place to live.
He also served on the executive board of the American Press Institute, chairing its marketing and program committees.
Mong helped create the Dallas Festival of Ideas and was on its original steering committee. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Southern Dallas Task Force, a group that engages in specific projects intended to promote the Southern Sector as a business location.
A 1971 graduate of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, he attended on a Scott Paper Company scholarship. He received the Archibald Macintosh Award for scholarship, integrity and academic achievement. He captained both the school’s football and baseball teams and his .357 batting average ranks 10th all-time at Haverford.
He attended Stanford University’s Executive Program in the Graduate School of Business.
Mong is married to former Los Angeles Times reporter Diane Reischel, and they have two adult children – Eric, 26, who attends medical school, and Elizabeth, 23, a divinity school student.