To help feed the planet in the future, University of North Texas biology students are working with plant scientists to develop drought-resistant plants with high crop yields.
The university's renowned College of Music is helping to launch the world-class concert career of a young violinist who is attracting national attention as a rising star.
These are just a few examples of how gifts to UNT's comprehensive fundraising campaign are transforming lives. After working quietly behind the scenes, UNT announced Monday the public phase of the campaign, The light is green. The time is now. The Campaign for UNT, before an audience of 1,000 alumni and supporters at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. The occasion was the Emerald Eagle Honors, a fundraiser for UNT's Emerald Eagle Scholars program, which supports primarily first-generation college students from families with limited means. Hosted by two prominent UNT alumni — Melissa Rycroft Strickland (’05), who won Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars, and actor Peter Weller (’70), who is best known for starring in RoboCop and will be in this summer's Star Trek Into Darkness — the event honored alumni and future graduates and celebrated the transformative power of a UNT education.
Alumni honored at the event included Dallas City Manager Mary K. Suhm, "Mean" Joe Greene and the late Roy Orbison, a rock 'n' roll icon.
"When you support a rising UNT, you lift the entire North Texas region," UNT President V. Lane Rawlins said. "That's because we provide the intellectual and creative capital that fuels the Dallas-Fort Worth area and supports its momentum as one of the nation's largest and most economically vibrant metropolitan areas."
The campaign has raised 85 percent of its $200 million goal to support initiatives for scholarships, student life programs, faculty positions, research and facilities.
The campaign's successes so far include:
- Attracting the largest gift in UNT's history of $22 million from alumnus Charn Uswachoke
- Raising more than $27 million in new scholarships and more than 160 new endowed funds
- Increasing endowments to retain and attract the best faculty members in their fields
- Supporting new initiatives to spur student entrepreneurship with business idea competitions and mentoring opportunities
- Soliciting new gifts and sponsorships for the Ernie Kuehne Basketball Practice Facility, Mean Green Athletic Village and Apogee Stadium
- Doubling membership in the UNT Alumni Association
- Organizing a group of influential alumni and donors to lead the campaign with more than 100 volunteers who are raising money on behalf of UNT's 12 colleges and schools, athletics, and other programs
The Campaign for UNT has three goals:
- Engaging alumni and supporters beyond the campus community
- Developing a strong culture of philanthropy at UNT
"A comprehensive campaign is about building long-term relationships with people and engaging them in the life of the university, whether they are coming for a UNT football game or serving on an advisory committee in one of the colleges," said Michael Monticino, UNT vice president for advancement. "It's not only about raising money, but also about deepening relationships with our alumni and other supporters."
Conveying UNT's impact on one of the nation's largest and most thriving regions has been an important goal of the campaign. With 36,000 students and 8,500 degrees awarded annually, UNT is the largest and most comprehensive institution of higher education in the region. UNT boosts economic activity in the North Texas region by $1.7 billion annually, and 227,000 of its nearly 350,000 alumni live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"I'm living proof of the transformative power of a UNT education. I came to the university with an old Buick and $300 and ended up starting my own company," said G. Brint Ryan, campaign co-chair and vice chair of the UNT System Board of Regents who is founder and CEO of one of the nation's leading tax services firms. "No other university in our region offers more paths to personal success than UNT."
The campaign’s leadership includes four co-chairs:
- Janet and Frank Bracken, retired president of Haggar Clothing Co.
- Ryan, founder, chair and CEO of Ryan LLC
- Gayle Strange, president of Axiom Commercial Co. and former chair of the UNT System Board of Regents
"For me, this campaign is all about our students, uplifting them to give them the best chance for lifelong success by improving the quality of their educational experience," Strange said.
To learn more about the campaign or to make a gift, visit thecampaign.unt.edu.