UNT Dallas Peter Stewart

The University of North Texas at Dallas mourns the loss of a beloved and dedicated supporter in Peter Stewart, an iconic figure in Dallas and internationally. The lead visionary of one of Dallas’s most well-known downtown landmarks, Thanks-Giving Square, Stewart passed away Jan. 11 at the age of 97. 

“Peter Stewart’s generosity and leadership in our city are legendary,” said Bob Mong, President of UNT Dallas. “He embraced the potential of the students at our young university. On behalf of UNT Dallas, I offer my deepest condolences to Peter’s family, friends and colleagues.” 

Stewart’s life was filled with noteworthy accomplishments, including forming the Thanks-Giving Foundation. This organization provides resources so that citizens from diverse backgrounds can use thanksgiving and gratitude as ways to heal divisions and enhance mutual understanding. Stewart, who received the first Spirit of the United Nations Award for Youth Outreach in 2012, made his most recent visit to UNT Dallas last October. 

In celebration of United Nations Day, Stewart presented diplomat and international affairs scholar Hugh Dugan as part of The Stewart Speakers series at UNTD. Dugan touched on his career in diplomacy and related it to “The Golden Rule” – the famous, half-ton mosaic that was presented to the U.N. in 1985 as a gift of the United States and is based on the work of American artist Norman Rockwell. The Stewart Speakers were established by The Peter Pauls Stewart Fund at The Dallas Foundation. It was another way for Mr. Stewart to ensure that thanksgiving was promoted locally, nationally and globally. 

“He would make people like Dugan available to us,” said Mong. “We’ll miss that. We are committed to continuing the great work we started with Peter in memoriam of his great contributions to our city, state and world. We celebrate the idea that Peter’s work will live on beyond his own life.”

UNT Dallas Vice President of Advancement Dr. Monica Williams agreed that the humble, generous Stewart brought an international reach to the urban Dallas university campus.

“When he was here, he was like a ray of sunshine,” she said. “It was an opportunity for our students and the university community to benefit from his years of work and bringing outstanding diplomats to Dallas. His global touch and the impact that he brought locally really did resonate deeply with our community.” 

Stewart was preceded in death by Elizabeth May Exall “Betty May” Stewart, his wife of 67 years, who passed away in 2009.