It was a year of milestones and achievement at the University of North Texas at Dallas. We became a residential campus, celebrated the accreditation of our downtown law school, were awarded new scholarship funds, broke ground on a student learning and success center and set a record for enrollment, among other memories as we reflect. Here’s a collection of some of the biggest stories from campus this year.

UNT Dallas Opens First Residence Hall

UNT Dallas celebrated the opening of its first residence hall on Aug. 3 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by local officials, community members, residents and their families.

The 27,000-square foot, 120-bed facility includes 12 double-occupancy rooms and 96 single-occupancy rooms, as well as ample study space, a kitchen, social area, multi-purpose space for classes and workshops, and a workout facility. Each of the four floors is staffed by a resident advisor.

The residence hall also ushered in another first, with the university enrolling its first out-of-state students. Students from Nebraska, Oklahoma, and California chose to make UNT Dallas their home thanks to the opportunity to live on campus.

Student Center Groundbreaking

The campus celebrated the groundbreaking of its Student Learning and Success Center on March 9, a building that will provide much-needed space and resources for the growing campus. The $63 million building will be open Fall 2018.

The 132,000-square foot facility will include a variety of indoor and outdoor space that will transform the UNT Dallas campus, and provide greater capacity to hold university and community events. At the heart of the building will be the Student Access and Success Division located on the first floor. Students will enjoy a “one-stop shop” experience that provides all student services from enrollment and advising to financial aid and career services in one location.

The building also will include: a larger Veterans Success Center, a TV & radio studio for students, a digital design lab, a new library and Learning Commons tutoring facility, and an event space with the capacity to hold 500 guests. The event space will open up into a courtyard and an outdoor amphitheater.

UNT Dallas College of Law Celebrates Accreditation

The UNT Dallas College of Law celebrated its ABA accreditation with a reception August 14, on the first floor of the College of Law building in downtown Dallas.

Twenty-one of the College’s first graduates led a celebratory champagne toast following remarks from Dr. Betty Stewart, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at UNT Dallas; Royal Furgeson, Dean of the UNT Dallas College of Law; and UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson.

The UNT Dallas College of Law earned provisional approval for accreditation from the American Bar Association. The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar announced its decision following a positive recommendation from the ABA Accreditation Committee and a review of documents and testimony provided by the College of Law’s leadership on June 3, 2017. As is the case for all new law schools, UNT Dallas College of Law opened its doors as an unaccredited college in 2014. Once its first students enrolled and began classes, the College of Law worked closely with the ABA to reach this historic milestone.

The full accreditation statement can be read here

Dr. Betty Stewart Named Provost After Nationwide Search

Betty H. Stewart, became the provost and executive vice president at the University of North Texas at Dallas in February 2017. She was selected following a nationwide search after serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Midwestern State University and a biochemist.

Stewart, who earned her Ph. D. in protein biochemistry and biological sciences from Carnegie-Mellon University, was vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Eckerd College in 2010 after serving as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Midwestern State University for four years beginning in 2010.  Dr. Stewart was recruited back to Midwestern State as provost in 2012. 

“Dr. Stewart is a scientist and academic leader who brings a wealth of experience to UNT Dallas and is well-suited to help us realize our strategic vision,” UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said.  “I was drawn to Dr. Stewart because of her strong academic credentials, her remarkable experience and her keen interest in our mission of service at UNT Dallas.”

UNT Dallas Announces Record Enrollment Exceeding 3,500

In September, President Mong announced record enrollment of 3,513 students for the fall semester at Dallas’ only public 4-year university. This new record comes one year after UNT Dallas exceeded 3,000 students for the first time last fall and marked the third straight semester for record enrollment at UNTD. In addition, UNT Dallas raised its retention rate to an all-time high of 77% for freshman students in 2016-2017 -- up from 65.9% in 2015-2016.

“Our growing enrollment numbers are really a product of all UNT Dallas has to offer its students – we have dozens of quality degree programs designed with career opportunities in mind, we just opened a new residence hall, a new student center is under construction, our law school was recently accredited and we were recently ranked No.2, nationally, for lowest student debt among public universities,” Mong said. “We are Dallas’ emerging urban university and our enrollment numbers reflect the hard work of our students, faculty and staff to make UNT Dallas special.”

UNT Dallas Vice President for Student Access and Success Stephanie Holley leads enrollment efforts for the university and praised her team.

UNT Dallas Is First Four-Year University to Join Dallas County Promise

The recently-launched Dallas County Promise is a scholarship program offered by the Dallas County Community College District Foundation. All students who are seniors at participating Dallas County high schools who meet the Promise deadlines will receive sufficient funding to pay the full cost of tuition for up to three years or degree completion at any DCCCD college. From there, Promise students may transfer to UNT Dallas – the first four-year university to join the Promise by offering to match the tuition-free guarantee for Dallas County students who attend participating high schools. In December, 6,900 of 9,200 students across 31 high school campuses have already signed the Promise pledge cards. A percentage of early college high school students who are graduating with associate degrees this May could be on the UNT Dallas campus in Fall of 2018.

UNT Dallas Awarded Grant from Dept. of Education for TRIO Programs

UNT Dallas was awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Education for the Federally-funded TRIO programs, which identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The University has hired Nakia Douglas, a longtime leader in DISD, as Executive Director of TrIo and Precollegiate Programs, and his early focus has been on Upward Bound and supporting participants in their high school performance as they pursue higher education.

Raise Your Hand Texas Awards UNTD’s Emerging Teacher Institute 20 Full Scholarships

The University of North Texas at Dallas is one of 10 universities in Texas to be honored with an award from the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation as part of a $50 million Raising Texas Teachers program that is designed to elevate the teaching profession. The investment in UNT Dallas is part of H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt's continued philanthropic commitment to public education in Texas and includes 20 full scholarships of $8,000, annually, for students of UNTD's Emerging Teacher Institute.

“Being selected as one of just 10 universities in Texas to be honored by Charles Butt and Raise Your Hand Texas is really a historic milestone for our young university, as we work to fulfill our mission to empower students, transform lives and strengthen communities,” said UNT Dallas President Bob Mong. “UNT Dallas will be awarded 20 full scholarships over the next four years to support two cycles of transfer students heading into the teacher preparation program of our Emerging Teacher Institute.”

Over $15,000 In Scholarships Awarded in Inaugural Ethics Day Competition

In late September, UNT Dallas hosted the Inaugural Nicholas D. and Anna G. Ricco Ethics Day Student Scholarship Contest. More than 260 undergraduate, graduate, and law school students applied to participate, and 88 were selected based on essay prompt responses. The day included remarks from the Riccos, a keynote speaker, and two ethics-based contests (one written, one team-based). The event concluded with the awarding of 12 student scholarships totaling $15,000. The scholarships and event were made possible by the generosity of Nicholas D. and Anna G. Ricco.

UNTD Named A “Best Regional University” By U.S. News & World Report

UNT Dallas was proud to be one of three North Texas universities named a “Best Regional University in the West” by U.S. News and World Report.