University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington
Motto Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis (Latin)
Motto in English
"The cultivated mind is the guardian of democracy"
Type Public
Established 1895 as Arlington College
Endowment $127.3 million[1]
President Vistasp Karbhari
Academic staff
Students 39,714[3]
Undergraduates 26,549[3]
Postgraduates 13,165[3]
Location Arlington, Texas, United States
Campus Urban, 420 acres (1.7 km2) on main campus[4]
Colors Orange, Blue[5]
Athletics NCAA Division ISun Belt
Nickname Mavericks
Mascot Blaze[6]
Affiliations UT System

The University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington or UTA)[7] is a public research university located in Arlington, Texas. The campus is in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, and is adjacent to downtown Arlington. The university was founded in 1895 and was in the Texas A&M University System for several decades until joining The University of Texas System in 1965.

In fall 2016, the student population of 39,714 was the second-largest in the UT System and the fourth largest in Texas.[8] The Carnegie Foundation in 2016 classified UT Arlington as one of 115 universities in the category of "R-1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity." [9] Times Higher Education ranks UT Arlington #123 (tie) in its list of best universities in the US for 2016.[10] The Center for World University Rankings places UT Arlington at #175 in the US for 2016.[11] The Chronicle of Higher Education named UT Arlington one of the fastest growing public research universities in the nation.[12] The university offers 85 baccalaureate, 74 masters, and 26 doctoral degrees.[13]

UT Arlington participates in 14 intercollegiate sports as a Division I member of the NCAA and Sun Belt Conference.


Establishment (1895–1916)

An undated image of the first building on the campus of Arlington College

The university traces its roots back to the opening of Arlington College in September 1895. Arlington College was established as a private school for primary through secondary level students, equivalent to the modern 1st–10th grades. At the time, the public school system in the city of Arlington was underfunded and understaffed.[14] Local merchant Edward Emmett Rankin organized fellow citizens of the city to donate materials and land to build a schoolhouse where the modern campus is now located.[15]

Rankin also convinced the two co-principals of the public school in Arlington, Lee Morgan Hammond and William H. Trimble, to invest in and hold the same positions at Arlington College. In the first few years, between 75 and 150 students were enrolled in the college. The public school began to rent space at Arlington College, and was eventually sold to the city in 1900. The public school building became so unsafe that all of the space in Arlington College was rented for the 1901–1902 school year until the creation of the Arlington Independent School District in 1902. Although the public education system was set to improve, Arlington College was closed and the property was sold to James McCoy Carlisle.

Bird's-eye painting of Carlisle Military Academy, 1911

Carlisle was already established as a respected educator in the North Texas region, and he opened the Carlisle Military Academy in the fall of 1902. His program consisted of a balance between course work and military training. Enrollment increased to 150 students by 1905, and he began a large expansion of the campus. Baseball, football, basketball, and track teams were begun between 1904–1908. Around the same time, new barracks, a track, a gymnasium, and an indoor pool were built. The academy became known as one of the best at its level in the country.[15] Unfortunately, enrollment did not continue to increase with the expansion in facilities and Carlisle ran into serious financial problems.

Lawsuits for the mortgages on the property were filed in 1911, and Carlisle Military Academy was closed in 1913. In the fall of 1913, H.K. Taylor moved from Missouri where he was president of the Northwest State Teachers' College to set up another military academy called Arlington Training School.[16] He also was required to manage the finances and campus for the property owners. By the 1914–1915 school year, the campus contained 11 buildings on 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land with 95 students enrolled.[17] The school was incorporated in 1915 in order to raise funds to make improvements to the existing buildings, but more financial problems arose and another series of lawsuits were filed. Taylor left Arlington, and the property owners hired John B. Dodson to establish a third military academy for the 1916–1917 school year called Arlington Military Academy. Enrollment was apparently very low,[15] and Arlington Military Academy closed after one year.

Texas A&M University System (1917–1965)

The Science Building at the North Texas Agricultural College in 1941. The building was constructed in 1928 and has since been renamed Preston Hall. It is one of the oldest surviving structures on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington.
NTAC Corps of Cadets on the campus quad, 1920s.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the prospects for turning the campus into a public, junior vocational college had been discussed. By 1917, the Texas A&M University campus was overcrowded and had only one affiliate school. Vincent Woodbury Grubb, a lawyer and education advocate, organized Arlington officials to lobby the state legislature to create a new junior college.[18] The campus in Arlington was established as a branch under the authority of Texas A&M University and was called Grubbs Vocational College.[19] Myron L. Williams was appointed as the first Dean. Students were either enrolled in a high school or junior college program, and all men were required to be cadets.[20] Its name changed again in 1923 to the North Texas Agricultural College (NTAC). Edward Everett Davis replaced Williams as Dean in 1925 and held that position for 21 years.[15]

Davis continually worked to improve the quality of students, faculty, and facilities.[21] The Great Depression resulted in major cuts to funding and a decline in students, so more general college courses were gradually introduced at NTAC instead of vocational classes. During World War II, the college trained students with a 'war program' focus[22] and participated in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, offered at 131 colleges and universities in 1943, which gave students a path to a Navy commission.[23]

In 1948, the Texas A&M System was restructured and Dean Ernest H. Hereford was named the first president of the college. However, NTAC was still subordinate to the Texas A&M campus at College Station.[24] The name was changed to Arlington State College (ASC) in 1949 to reflect the fact that agriculture was no longer an important part of the curriculum. Efforts were begun to turn ASC into a four-year institution, but the Texas A&M administration refused to consider the idea since it was possible that ASC could grow to be larger than College Station.[15][25][26] The growth of the city of Arlington in the 1950s led to a major expansion of ASC. The student population increased from 1,322 in 1952 to 6,528 in 1959,[15] which led to land acquisition and construction of many buildings. Jack Woolf was named president in 1959 as serious efforts began to make ASC a four-year college.[27] The Texas legislature approved the four-year status on April 27, 1959.[28] Enrollment reached 9,116 students in the fall of 1963, a larger total than the Texas A&M College Station campus.[15] Although Texas A&M proposed a reorganization for the system to recognize ASC's growth, President James Earl Rudder resisted developing ASC into a university with graduate programs.[29] Rudder and the Texas A&M board of directors remained focused on the College Station campus, and funding for ASC construction was not to be made available.[15]

University of Texas System (1965–present)

Chemistry & Physics building with planetarium.

The decision by the Texas A&M University governing board to focus on the College Station campus led officials of Arlington State College and a number of Arlington citizens to enlist the support of Governor John Connally and key members of the Texas Legislature to separate Arlington State College from the Texas A&M University System and to join The University of Texas System.[15] As part of a plan that reorganized several university systems in Texas, Arlington State College officially became a part of The University of Texas System on September 1, 1965.

Joining the UT System was of immediate consequence. In 1966 the Graduate School was established with an initial slate of six master's degrees and new construction projects were started.[30] The university adopted its current name in 1967.[31] The 1969 approval of the first PhD program, in engineering, was a landmark event which set a precedent for other units on campus to follow.

Controversy erupted in the late 1960s over the use of a rebel theme, including Confederate symbols, that had been established around 1950. After several years of efforts by President Frank Harrison to let students pick another theme, the UT System abolished the rebels.[32] The Maverick theme was adopted after a student vote in 1971.

Wendell Nedderman served as acting president from 1972–1974 and president from 1974–1992. His tenure was characterized by increased growth and aspirations. In these years, the graduate student population increased from 936 to 4,200 and the overall university enrollment reached 25,135 students. Faculty research and publishing was emphasized along with the addition of doctoral programs in science, engineering, business, social work, and public and urban administration.[15] The Texas Select Committee on Higher Education recognized UT Arlington as an emerging research institution in 1987.[33]

The first of several new on-campus and edge-of-campus residence halls was constructed in 2001 which significantly increased the residential character of the campus.[34] Several more construction projects followed, including a Chemistry and Physics building with 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) of space[35] and an expansion of the activities center.[36] Under the administration of former president James D. Spaniolo and current president Vistasp Karbhari, the university has been characterized by rapid growth in both student population and research activity. Between 2006–2010, total research expenditures rose from 4.9 to, 3.6 million (+82%) while enrollment rose from 24,824 to 32,975 students (+33%). A 234,000-square-foot (21,700 m2) engineering research building opened in 2011.[37]

The College Park District was completed in 2012, and significantly expanded the campus eastward. The district has an arena with seating for 7,000 spectators, dormitory, student apartments, retail space, an 1800 car parking garage, and park.[38]

The UT Arlington campus sits above the Barnett Shale formation and has earned the university millions of dollars from natural gas production since 2008. These funds are used for scholarships, faculty recruitment, and campus infrastructure upgrades.[39]



The 420 acre campus is at the southern edge of downtown Arlington. City Hall, library, churches, Theatre Arlington, Levitt Pavilion, and numerous business are downtown. The Texas and Pacific Railway line, around which the city was established, runs through downtown.[40]

Johnson Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River, runs along the southern portion of the campus. Cooper Street (which forms a part of Farm to Market Road 157) runs through the campus and provides access to Interstates 20 and 30. AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park, and the Six Flags Over Texas theme parks are two to three miles to the northeast.

Campus and architecture

The campus is organized on the town's former street grid. The topography generally slopes to the south and east to landscaped creeks. Decades of prodigious tree-planting and deliberate attention to landscape design have resulted in a shaded campus that is a pleasing pedestrian experience. Most streets in the campus core are closed and converted into pedestrian malls. The predominant east-west walk is the Second Street Mall, and the most important north-south passageway is Arlington Walk, extending from the Engineering Research Building on the north to the future Science and Engineering Innovation Research Building on the south.

The oldest buildings on campus, Ransom Hall, Preston Hall, College Hall, and Brazos House are on the Second Street Mall and date to 1919.[41] The architecture of these pre-World War II buildings is traditional. Later buildings from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s are typical of much campus construction of the period: modern, functional, and not especially noteworthy.[42] An exception is the Architecture Building (designed by the respected Dallas firm, Pratt, Box, and Henderson) [43] which forms an intimate and visit-worthy courtyard. Texas Hall is a contributing building with its front portico, and Nedderman Hall is a contributing structure with its large atrium. An admirable feature of the campus is the aesthetic consistency of limestone and UTA-blend brick. Metal panels have appeared in recent construction.[44]

The Central Library, designed by prominent 20th century architect George Dahl (most notable contributions are the Art Deco buildings at Dallas Fair Park), forms one side of a Library Quad which may be regarded as the heart of campus.[45] Attention to building design and the definition of outdoor spaces is evident in recent years with the postmodern additions of the Chemistry & Physics Building (Perkins + Will), Maverick Activities Center (Hughes Group with Page Southerland Page), Engineering Research Building (ZGF Architects with Page Southerland Page), and College Park Center (HKS, Inc.). The Chemistry & Physics building contains one of the largest and most advanced planetariums in the state.[46] Located in various regions of campus are fiberglass horse statues with uniquely colored blue and orange patterns known as "Spirit Horses".[47]

The north and east sides of campus have defined edges, being bounded by UTA Blvd. and Center Street, respectively. The south and west sides tend to blend more irregularly into the city. Cooper Street is a major artery that runs through campus and is partially depressed and spanned by three pedestrian bridges. Almost all academic buildings erected over the last three decades have been on the east side of Cooper Street (defined by signage as "east campus").

Surface parking has been pushed to the outer edges of campus, particularly south of the academic core, resulting in students getting more exercise than they may want during peak periods. The addition of present and planned parking structures provides some relief. Green spaces, or outdoor rooms, have increased in recent years most notably with the creation of the Greene Research Quad, the Green at College Park, a sunken courtyard at Davis Hall, and the Davis St. west campus edge.

The on-campus resident population is over 5,000, creating a lively 24/7 environment.[48] Large numbers of students live in Arlington Hall, Kalpana Chawla Hall, Vandergriff Hall, and numerous on-campus apartments. The Dallas Morning News editorialized on June 23, 2012, that "UTA suddenly offers a new sense of place that surprises people who haven't taken a look for a few years."

Shown below are: Nedderman Hall, Engineering Research Building, Arlington Hall, Texas Hall, Jack Woolf Hall, and Kalpana Chawla Hall.

Academic profile

University rankings
Forbes[49] 611
U.S. News & World Report[50] RNP
Washington Monthly[51] 92[52]
Times[53] 501-600
U.S. News & World Report[54] 427

UT Arlington is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a "Highest Research Activity" institution and a "Next Generation University" by the New America Foundation.[55][56]

As of 2016, UT Arlington has 13 professors as fellows in the National Academy of Inventors which is the highest number of any institution in Texas and second highest in the nation.[57]

The Princeton Review named UT Arlington a “Best in the West” university in its 2016 Best Colleges: Region by Region list.[58]

UT Arlington leads all University of Texas System institutions in baccalaureate degree production ratio.[59]

The College of Engineering offers 10 baccalaureate programs, 14 master’s and 9 doctorates. It is the third largest engineering college in Texas, with over 7,000 students.[60] The engineering faculty includes over 50 Fellows in professional societies.[61] U.S. News & World Report ranked the engineering school among the 100 best in the country.[62]

The School of Social Work offers three main academic programs: the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW), and the Ph.D. in social work. The BSW and MSSW programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.[63]

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation is a nationally recognized program and one of the five largest public nursing programs in the U.S. with over 125 faculty members and 8,000 nursing students in the BSN, RN‐to‐BSN, MSN, Post‐MSN, DNP, and PhD programs.

The College of Business is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the nation through the graduate level, offering a Ph.D. in six fields. The College ranked 131 out of 472 ranked programs in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list. The part-time MBA program ranked 82 out of 470 programs and among the top 50 for public universities in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings.[64] The College has one of the largest executive MBA programs in China, and offers a U.S. executive MBA program that features a study trip to China.[65] The endowed Goolsby Leadership Academy is a cohort program for high achieving undergraduate students and distinguished faculty.[66]

The College of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. The College offers over 50 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs, including fast-track programs in select departments which allow students to earn advanced degrees in a shorter period of time than traditional degree programs. The College's faculty includes members of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, as well as Fellows in various professional organizations and recipients of numerous national, state and UT System teaching awards. Faculty in every department are engaged in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research, supported by millions of dollars in federal, state and private funding annually. Students can engage in hands-on research from their first semester on campus. The College's High Energy Physics group is heavily involved in ongoing experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and made major contributions to the discovery of the Higgs boson particle in 2012, working on detectors and computational data analysis.[67] The College's Center for Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research is one of the world’s best collections of specimens from Central and South America and is used by herpetology researchers from around the world.[68] The UTA Planetarium is one of the largest and most sophisticated in the state, and features a 60-foot diameter dome and the latest in digital software.[69]

The College of Education had a 95% pass rate on the Texas state licensure examination during the 2014-2015 academic school year.[70]

The College of Liberal Arts provides unique programs such as Southwestern Studies, Mexican-American studies, and African-American studies.

The Interdisciplinary Studies program, a department in the School of Urban and Public Affairs, is one of the largest and fastest growing programs on campus. The INTS program allows students to custom build their own program of study resulting in either a B.A.I.S. or B.S.I.S. degree. Interdisciplinary studies is a thirty-five-year-old academic field and the thirteenth most popular major across the United States. Nationally, almost 500,000 students graduated with an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary degree in Spring 2007. There are 652 interdisciplinary programs nationwide, along with 215 interdisciplinary masters and 65 doctoral programs. The INTS program at UTA is the largest program of its kind in Texas. In building custom degree plans, students mix the required core components with various disciplinary components to meet the academic and professional needs of the student.

UT Arlington has the only accredited architecture program in the North Texas region.[71] The architecture program in conjunction with the College of Engineering is the first and only to offer an architectural engineering bachelor's degree in the region as well.[72]

Colleges and schools

The university contains 11 colleges and schools, each listed with its founding date:[73]

The Library

A photo of a black and white hand drawn map from 1880 showing Fort Davis and the Chinati Mountains used during military campaigns against the Apache Indians led by Victorio
Fort Davis Campaign Map
A hand drawn military map from the 1880 campaign against Victorio and his Chiricahua Apaches. Image from the Special Collections of The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

UT Arlington Libraries have three locations: Central Library, the Architecture and Fine Arts Library, and the Science and Engineering Library. Central Library is open 24/5 during the fall and spring semesters.

The Libraries Collections includes historical collections on Texas, Mexico, the Mexican-American War, and the greater southwest. An extensive cartography collection holds maps and atlases of the western hemisphere covering five centuries. Also included is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo archives, a collection representing over 100 years of North and West Texas history. All together, Special Collections holds more than 30,000 volumes, 7,000 linear ft. of manuscripts and archival collections, 5,000 historical maps, 3.6 million prints and negatives, and thousands of items in other formats. Some of the Library's more rare and interesting materials are available online in their digital collections.[75]


The Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies (SIRT) at UT Arlington is a centralized research resource focused on providing access to instrumentation and expertise to support research in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, cognition, engineering, geoscience, material science, nanotechnology, and neuroscience.[76]

UT Arlington is home of a university-based nanotechnology research facility, NanoFab Research and Teaching Facility.[77]

The UT Arlington Research Institute (UTARI) is a research and development unit of The University of Texas at Arlington specializing in applying cutting-edge technologies to real-world engineering problems.[78]

The Genomics Core Facility (GCF) provides UT Arlington with one of the top interdisciplinary research facilities in North Texas.[79]

The Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research (LINK) Research Lab is a research laboratory where researchers, educators, and graduate students connect, share, and collaborate in advancing social and technological networks, designing future learning models, and exploring the future of higher education.[80]

The Science, Engineering, Innovation and Research (SEIR) building is a state-of-the-art, six-story, 220,000-square-foot building set to be completed in 2018 for $125 million. The SEIR building will house research laboratories and 900 teaching seats in lecture halls and classrooms.[81]

According to the university's Research Administration, research expenditures for the FY 2016 totaled $85 million.[82]

Student life

Student profile

UT Arlington has a student population of nearly 40,000. The U.S. News & World Report ranked UT Arlington fifth (5th) in the nation for achieving the most ethnically diverse undergraduate student body.[83] Females account for about 55% of the total population. The top three countries of origin for international students are India, China, and Taiwan.[84]

Demographics of Fall 2014 student body[85][86]
UTA Texas U.S. Census
African American 15% 13% 13%
Asian American 10% 5% 5%
Non-Hispanic White 40% 44% 62%
Hispanic American 22% 39% 17%
Other 2% N/A N/A
International students 11% N/A N/A

Residential life

The campus has six residence halls with a total capacity of at least 5,300 students.[87] The university also has 18 on-campus apartment complexes and a limited number of houses for students with dependent children. The six halls are Arlington Hall, Brazos House, Kalpana Chawla Hall (KC Hall), Lipscomb Hall North, Lipscomb Hall South, Trinity House and the newest Vandergriff Hall at College Park. In 2016, construction of new residence halls was approved by university officials to accommodate the growing demand for on-campus housing.[88]


Greek life

The fraternity and sorority community at UT Arlington consists of 31 national and local organizations with four governing councils.[99] Eight percent (8%) of undergraduate students participate within the councils.[100] The year indicates the original charter date:

College Panhellenic Council

Multicultural Greek Council


UTA logomark
The UT Arlington College Park Center.

UT Arlington's athletic teams are known as the Mavericks (the selection was made in 1971 and predated the Dallas Mavericks choice in 1980). UT Arlington was a charter member of the Southland Conference.[102] UT Arlington won the Southland Conference's Commissioners Cup three times since the award was first instituted in 1998. The Commissioners Cup is awarded to the athletics program with the highest all-around performance in all conference events, including all men's and women's events.

UT Arlington's basketball and volleyball teams play at College Park Center, which opened with a women/men basketball double header on February 1, 2012. The new arena seats about 7,000 fans for sporting events and cost an estimated 78 million dollars. Athletic director Jim Baker began work on the same date.

UT Arlington’s Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team won seven national championships. They have a rich history of leading the nation in intercollegiate wheelchair basketball, exemplified by offering full athletic scholarships to team players. Team members are consistently being named to the First-Team All-American squads, and participating in the Paralympics.

UT Arlington became a member of the Western Athletic Conference on July 1, 2012.[103] After a single season in the WAC, the Mavericks joined the Sun Belt Conference on July 1, 2013.[104] The switch comes after continued shake-ups in college conference membership.

Varsity sports

UT Arlington fields teams or competitors in 14 NCAA Division I events, including baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, track and volleyball.

Volleyball achieved the greatest team success of all sports in the history of the university by advancing to the 1989 NCAA Volleyball Final Four. The women's basketball team played in the 2005 and 2007 NCAA tournaments; the men's basketball team made its first appearance in the 2008 NCAA tournament, losing in the first round against No. 1 seed Memphis, who was later forced to vacate this and all other wins from the 2007–2008 season. The men's basketball team set a school record for wins during the 2011–12 season, including a 16-game win streak, and advanced to the National Invitational Tournament before falling to the Washington Huskies in the opening round.[105]

UT Arlington fielded a football team, playing out of Maverick Stadium, until it was discontinued after the 1985 season. The university administration noted major financial losses of about $1 million per year and low average attendance (5,600, the student body at the time was 23,100). The program was funded by the university's auxiliary enterprise income while the other 14 sports were under-funded, as football accounted for half the total athletic budget.[106] Discussions take place periodically about restarting football but have not gained traction as an institutional priority.[107]

UTA Cheer

UTA's small coed cheerleading team has become a perennial power in Division I competitive cheerleading. The team has been crowned National Cheerleaders Association Collegiate National Champions in 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016.[108]

Sports rivalries

The Texas State Bobcats, from a Central Texas peer institution, are a primary in-conference rival dating back to 1987 with concurrent memberships in three different conferences. As of March 2015, UTA leads the all-time series volleyball (42–31), men's basketball (32–31), softball (59–51), and football (2–0), and the Bobcats lead in women's basketball (28–38), and baseball (40–59).

UTA also maintains a relatively heated non-conference rivalry with the North Texas Mean Green. Periodic sporting events between the two are among the best attended for each team due to close geographic proximity and status as large, peer universities. The longest standing sport rivalry is men's basketball which began in 1925.[109]

One of UTA's most anticipated baseball rivalries is with the TCU Horned Frogs. The two Tarrant County teams play annually in games that generate high attendance from both universities. 4,015 saw the UTA/TCU match-up at Globe Life Park in Arlington in 2013. Four of the top eight most attended games at Clay Gould Ballpark feature TCU as the visiting team.

With UTA beginning Sun Belt membership in 2013, conference rivalries were resumed with the Arkansas State Red Wolves, Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, and Louisiana–Monroe Warhawks, who were all members of the Southland Conference at various points during UTA's tenure.

Notable people

University leaders

Presidents, deans, and other heads of UT Arlington and its predecessor institutions:

Former students

See also


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Coordinates: 32°43′52″N 97°06′54″W / 32.731°N 97.115°W / 32.731; -97.115

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