Dr. Richard Benson, president of UTDallas, presented the fascinating history, dramatic progress and future of the school as it celebrates 50 years of history.
Dr. Richard Benson, president of UTDallas, presented the fascinating history, dramatic progress and future of the school as it celebrates 50 years of history.
   The school became UTD after eight years as  the Graduate Research Center of  the Southwest (later Southwest Center for Advanced Studies) which was organized by Texas Instruments founders Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green. Their objective was to create "the MIT of the Southwest."  
   He said "No, we don't have football but we have chess" -- 16 times they have been in the final four of national chess matches is the past 19  years. Additionally the school has a large Esports program.
  The school is the second fastest growing public doctoral university in the country and has a total enrollment of almost 30,000 this year. I'ts rated the third best business schools in the state behind UTAustin and Rice, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  The student body includes 45% who are at risk, 25% who are first generation attendees, 68% who receive merit and needs based financial assistance and the school body is in the top 25 for ethnic diversity.
  The campus has grown dramatically. In 2007 there were 83 buildings with 2.7 million square feet, compared to 2017 when they had 158 buildings with 8.8 million sf.
  Dr. Benson gave significant credit to his predecessor, Dr. David Daniel (who joined the UT System leadership two years ago) when he set the goals for UTD: That the school must be nationally competitive in its institutional reputation, attract the best students, attract the best faculty and staff and secure research funding and having research impact.
   He noted that funding for research continues to grow and reached $130 million last year. Biomedical engineering and science is  a major part of the research portfolio, thanks, in part, to their strong ties with UT Southwestern.
  Although 90% of the school's programs are STEM focused, the school is expanding its role in arts, having acquired the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the Carolyn Brown Collection of Photographs and the Barrett Collection of Swiss Art.