Ribbon Cutting for the UNT Diamond Eagles Family Patio

Ribbon Cutting for the UNT Diamond Eagles Family Patio

On the first of September, a few hours before players and fans filled Apogee Stadium for the 2018 football season opener, an energetic crowd gathered on the brand-new Diamond Eagles Family Patio at the UNT Alumni Pavilion — the very first project for UNT’s innovative giving society.

The Diamond Eagles Society, co-founded in 2017 by Debbie Smatresk and Cathy Bryce (’91 Ph.D.), utilizes a venture capital model to select and support campus projects that positively impact the UNT community. In its inaugural year, 77 founding members generated more than $80,000 to build the Diamond Eagles Family Patio, an open, communal space that was designed with the goal of rallying former students.

The patio provides additional space for UNT Alumni Association members and guests to enjoy complimentary food, live music and Mean Green celebration before home football games and at other events. The patio nearly doubles the square footage of the Alumni Pavilion and includes additional seating, a permanent stage and a flood-preventing drainage system.

"This expansion allows us to welcome more of the Mean Green Family to participate in game day and connect with the university," says Rob McInturf, executive director of the UNT Alumni Association. "We are grateful to the Diamond Eagles Giving Society, as well as Virgil Strange ('68) and Axiom Commercial Co., for making the expansion possible."

One year in, the Diamond Eagles have established a culture where members give enthusiastically to meet the university’s immediate needs, while growing their impact as donors over time. Cathy Bryce hopes this opportunity to contribute $1,000 and make a $100,000 difference might open the door for young alumni and other new donors to get involved.

“I just want all alums to reflect on how their life is different in better ways because of their experience at the university, and then each of us find our own way — that fits for us — to give of our time, our expertise and our resources to pay it forward,” says Bryce.