August 27, 2019

Over the last few weeks, Dallas Morning News education reporter Corbett Smith has been researching our story, talking with President Mong and many others. On Tuesday morning, he brought our story home with an in-depth article on the front page, weaving the Grand Opening of the Student Center on Monday with our overarching mission of making a college degree accessible and affordable for urban Dallas students.

Below is an excerpt from Smith's story. To read the article in its entirety, click here; And if you missed WFAA reporter Teresa Woodard's excellent news report from Saturday's Move-in Day, you can catch that here.

Nearly two decades ago, state Rep. Helen Giddings and state Sen. Royce West helped lay the groundwork for a new four-year university in the heart of southern Dallas. 

Seeing that dream come into focus, Giddings said, has been thrilling. On Monday, Giddings and West took part in the grand opening of the University of North Texas at Dallas' $63 million student center.

“I could not be more excited,” Giddings said. “As I drove up today, I couldn’t even imagine this hill, this building and all the students, all the excitement when we started years ago.” 

The new 131,000-square foot building -- well-appointed with a new library and fitness center, and housing the school’s advising, tutoring and financial aid offices -- is yet another signpost that the university in southeast Oak Cliff is finding its way.  

UNT-Dallas boasts of one of the most diverse student bodies in Texas: 85% of its students are Latino or African American, more than 70% of UNT-Dallas students are first-generation college students. Most come from middle- to low-income households, and most are from Dallas County. 

Enrollment at the school, which officially gained its independence as a four-year university in 2009, has topped 4,100 across its undergraduate and graduate programs for the first time. 

That growth has made the institution the fastest-growing public university in the state.

“Now, we’re involved in the conversation in this city; we’re at the table,” UNT-Dallas President Bob Mong said. “It’s a very different era.”