Posted by & filed under 1970's, 2000's, 2010's.

Today’s post will introduce two notable UNT alumni on Capitol Hill: Congressman Michael C. Burgess and former Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives Lorraine C. Miller.

Congressman Burgess graduated from North Texas State University in 1972. He graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 1977 and spent the next several years as a practicing OB/GYN.

In 2002, Burgess ran to succeed the retiring incumbent Dick Armey as the representative from Texas’s 26th Congressional district, which includes most of Denton County. Burgess faced a tough primary race against Congressman Armey’s son, Scott. After defeating Scott Armey in the primary, Burgess went on to win the general election by a handy margin. He has been re-elected six times since then by wide margins.

His achievements in Congress include introducing legislation to adjust Medicare payment rates for physician services, to authorize federal funding for public and private trauma care, and to repeal efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs. He is also known as a staunch pro-life advocate, having spoken in favor of a complete ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Lorraine Miller, who graduated from North Texas State University in 1975 with a degree in political science, is most well-known for being the 35th Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives (2007-2011). She is the first African-American to hold the position of House Clerk, and only the third woman to serve as an officer of the House. View a 2007 State of Texas Senate Resolution congratulating Miller on her appointment to US House Clerk in the Portal to Texas History.

The House clerk is a position of enormous responsibility. The clerk is one of the nonpartisan officers of the House, primarily responsible for keeping records of legislative proceedings to preserve continuity between the adjourned Congress and the newly-sitting Congress. As such, the Clerk opens the first meeting of each new Congress and presides over the body while the House adopts rules and elects a new Speaker. The Clerk also keeps the roll, notes questions of order, prepares the House Journal after each session, certifies bills and resolutions passed by House members, delivers messages from the House to the Senate, and manages the offices of any Member whose seat is vacant (for instance, if the Member resigned, died while in office, or was expelled from Congress for some reason).

Prior to her tenure as House Clerk, Miller served in various advisory positions for members of the House. She was director of intergovernmental relations for then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. She also served under Speakers Tom Foley and Jim Wright, and worked for Congressman John Lewis. During the 1990s she held a number of positions in the Executive Branch: Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs to President Clinton, Director of Government Relations for the Federal Trade Commission, and later Bureau Chief of Consumer Information for the Federal Communications Commission.

Her public service has not just been limited to Capitol Hill, though. She has previously served as president of the Washington D.C. chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 2008 she became a member of the national board of directors of the NAACP and served as interim president of the organization from 2013-2014. Miller’s tenure as House Clerk came to an end in 2011, and she now works as a commercial real estate broker.

— by Robert Lay, Special Projects Archivist

Posted by & filed under 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1960's, 1980's, 2010's.

For many students, dorm living is an integral part of the college experience. Some make friends during their dorm years that stick for life. Others fondly recall their early years of college as a time of increased freedom, responsibility, and ownership over their academic and social lives in their “home away from home.” When Rawlins Hall opened in 2015, The University of North Texas raised its dorm count to fourteen, but did you know our University didn’t even have its own dormitory until it was 45 years old?

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Posted by & filed under 1940's, 1950's.

From 1949 to 1952 the North Texas Golf Team accomplished a string of wins at the NCAA Championships, defeating larger schools with more established golfing programs. The four man team won this golf tournament for four years and put larger schools on notice that the Eagles competed to win. The team’s winning streak placed them alongside schools like Yale, Princeton, and University of Houston, where each school’s team won more than three tournaments in a row.

A large part of the success of the golf team was due to the thoughtful coaching of Fred Rayzor Cobb. Coach Cobb originally joined North Texas State Teachers College as an assistant football coach in 1940. He began working with the golf team that same year. His golf teams would go on to win all three of the major college golf tournaments: the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Southern Intercollegiate, and the Rocky Mountain Collegiate.

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Posted by & filed under 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1980's.

Francis Edwin Stroup attended North Texas State Teachers College from 1925 to 1929, when he earned a degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. During those 4 years, Stroup lettered in basketball, ran track, and played football. He was also an accomplished swimmer and diver. Besides his athletic talents, Stroup came from a family known for their music, and he began writing music for fun as a student at NTSC.

After graduating in 1929, Stroup landed his first teaching job in Golden, Texas. In 1939, Stroup had moved on to other teaching jobs in the Denton area, including working on campus as a swim coach.

One Saturday night, Stroup attended the movie and Stage Show on campus. During the stage show, Floyd Graham, known as ‘Fessor Graham, announced a contest for a marching song. The contest was for the lyrics to match a melody Graham had composed a few years earlier. It was normal for a small college to adopt a well-known tune and provide the words in order to enhance spirit and school identification. For example, North Texas, along with Harvard, Rice and others adapted FE Bigelow’s “Our Director March” as a spirit song, with each college providing unique identifying words. However, Graham envisioned NTSTC with its very own song and hoped the 1939 contest would provide one.

At the time Stroup had been out of school for a decade and during that time he had been writing songs. Stroup entered his song after a couple of weeks of other entries being sung. One night his song was played with a band arrangement by Gene Hall. After the band finished, Graham stated, “Can’t you just imagine the band marching down the field playing that.” Stroup thought: “Oh, boy, I think he likes it.”

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Posted by & filed under 1970's, 2010's.

“Art is one of the things that might save us, save humanity.” -Jesús Moroles

Born on September 22, 1950 to poor Corpus Christi cotton farmers, renowned sculptor Jesús Bautista Moroles created a name for himself through expert manipulation of granite and a unique perspective on humanistic and natural harmonies within the world. He passed away in June 2015.

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Posted by & filed under 1890's, 1900's, 1910's, 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's.

On September 16,1890, as the doors opened to the Texas Normal College and Teacher training Institute, President Joshua C. Chilton stated that it was the school’s aim “[…] to become leaders in the education of the young men and women of Texas […].” With the president’s words, a seed of loyalty and spirit was planted in the ethos of North Texas. Through every name change, the mean green spirit evolved into deep-seated traditions that are known and loved by the university community.

“North Texas” has been in every one of our institution’s names since 1894, signaling a tradition of faithfulness to our regional heritage. This devotion is evident in the college yell from 1911 which proclaimed “Who are we? We are the students of T.N.C.” Today’s UNT students inherited this fierceness and pride for the university. Many traditions we see today in celebration of athletic events and university-wide festivities were begun decades earlier, providing continuity between generations of green and white clad students. Read more

Posted by & filed under 1970's, 1980's, 1990's.

In this story, hailing from Lake Dallas, Texas, the University of North Texas’ heavyweight champions, the immortal Von Erich Family!

One of the storied names in professional wrestling, the members of the Von Erich dynasty have been in the ring since 1953, when patriarch Fritz Von Erich (real name Jack Adkisson) made his debut in Dallas. Eight members, three generations, of Adkissons have wrestled under the Von Erich name. Though Fritz himself had attended Southern Methodist University, two of his sons—Kevin and David—attended North Texas State University during the 1970s.

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Posted by & filed under 1900's, 1910's, 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's.

Over the 125 year history of North Texas many buildings have served the needs of the faculty and students. A few, such as Curry Hall and the Power Plant, have stood on campus since the 1900s. Others are remembered by alumni and faculty, but they ceased to grace the campus as new and larger structures took their place. Below is a list of buildings that exist only in photographs and the memories of those that passed through them.

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Posted by & filed under 1950's.

The Administration Building (now known as the Hurley Administration Building) was constructed at the north end of the original football field in 1955-1956. The structure was placed on Chestnut Street and Avenue B, just west of the Union Building. President Emeritus McConnell took great pleasure in the construction of the new Administration Building. President Matthews stated that McConnell “watched this longtime dream of the college come true-and looked upon it as an accomplishment which he, faculty members, students, and ex-students had long anticipated.”   

Dr. McConnell started as a faculty member at the North Texas State Normal College in 1916. McConnell rose to become a dean in 1923 before becoming the school’s president in 1934. He would serve until 1951. President McConnell died on November 24, 1955. His administration was noted for the expansion of the campus with the construction of 22 new buildings. Some of the structures that were built during McConnell’s time in office were: Marquis Hall, the Library (now known as Sycamore Hall), Chilton Hall, Terrill Hall, Bruce Hall, the Journalism Building (also known as Scoular Hall), and the Chemistry Building (also known as Masters Hall). McConnell was the President Emeritus from 1951 until his death.

In January, 1956, while the Administration Building was under construction, an announcement was released that the administration and the Board of Regents would name the building’s tower the President W. Joseph McConnell Memorial Tower. Matthews went on to say that “it is fitting that one who has had so much to do with developing the physical plant of the college should be memorialized in this symbol of the college’s growing stature. The administration and Board of Regents felt it uniquely fitting that the tower should be named the W. Joseph McConnell Memorial Tower.”

A tower in the center of campus, with chimes, had been a long time dream of the North Texas community. The first proposal, in 1928, called for chimes to replace the curfew bell and the installation of an electric clock in a tower. Other proposals failed to find funding. Money raised for the tower and carillon were used instead for the building and decoration of the first union building. Plans for a new administration building would finally bring the dream to reality. Friends of President McConnell, students, and alumni were encouraged to donate toward the purchase of a carillon for the tower. The first contribution was made by the chairman of the Board of Regents, Ben Wooten. Mr. Wooten, president of the First National Bank of Dallas, had studied under Dr. McConnell as a student at the college.

The clock face was installed in October of 1956. Originally only one face, measuring 6 feet 2 ¾ inches in diameter, was installed on the north side facing the campus. The minute hand measured 36 inches with the hour hand at 24 inches long. The hands and letters are cast in bronze. Four floodlights were installed to illuminate the tower at night.

The carillon is a 32 note Deagan Celesta Chime. The source of the tone is a series of slender metal rods which sound by electronically activated strikers. Microphones enhance the sound and carry it across campus via loudspeakers. The carillon can be played manually or with record rolls. Plans originally called for the carillon to be played each evening and for special events. Westminster chimes provide notice of the time every hour on the hour.

The dedication of the tower, which rises 189 feet above ground level, and carillon was held on December 16, 1956. President J. C. Matthews presided at the ceremony. Ben Wooten dedicated the tower. Dr. A. M. Sampley, vice president of the college, delivered the invocation. June Albright, of the J. C. Deagan Company, performed as part of the dedication ceremony. Recognized as one of the top carillonneurs in the nation, she performed “Adeste Fideles,” “What Child is This?”, and “In Dulci Jubilo” among other songs. The performance ended with the college alma mater.

During his speech Wooten stated, “He [McConnell] was a great administrator, and the Board of Regents thought it was fitting that this tower, standing as it does at the center of the campus overlooking the 22 major buildings which were built during his administration representing the culmination of a dream of student, ex-students, faculty, and Board of Regents, should bear his name.”

— by Perri Hamilton, Assistant to the Archivist


Posted by & filed under 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's.

The Texas Academy of Math and Science program, popularly known as “TAMS,” began in 1987 when a bill was signed by Governor William B. Clements, Jr. that established the program at North Texas State University. The early admission program offers students in high school the opportunity to get a head start in college during their last two years in high school. Students receive two years of college credit for participating in the tuition-free program. The last two years of high school and the first two years of college are completed simultaneously.

The program has been ongoing since its inception, with over 3,500 graduates who specialize in math, science or related courses. Only two hundred applicants are allowed into the program every year in accordance with their college entrance examination scores, grades, interviews, reference letters, as well as their level of commitment and motivation. A 1990 TAMS pamphlet stated that students were expected to score at least 1000 total on the SAT, with a minimum of 550 in math. Students are selected as sophomores to attend college beginning their junior year of high school and as one might imagine, getting into the academy is very competitive.

TAMS was created to address a shortfall in the math and science test scores of American students, who fell below international averages in the 1980s. The program has been an effective means of preparing students for the more accelerated college or university-based math and science courses.

Through the program, students are encouraged to seek out science and engineering-based studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The academy is structured this way to address a growing technological infrastructure across the state which requires knowledgeable individuals in these fields as the number of jobs increases. TAMS also addresses the need for more math and science teachers in the state of Texas. Students are also encouraged to take humanities courses in addition to other offerings during this time for a broader educational experience.

In 1992, TAMS received the Excellence in Higher Education Award from the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities. That same year, Elizabeth Morales, an El Paso graduate, was selected for the National Science Foundation Youth Scholars Program on an Antarctica research expedition during the summer.

Students from the program get accepted into advanced programs at other universities, like Harvard, Rice, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Boston University, New York University, as well as Texas A&M and others. Many students involved in the TAMS program have also received scholarships and other honors, which have enabled them to further their studies at UNT or elsewhere.

In 2013, TAMS celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first class. 79 students were part of the first program with 67 of these students graduating in the academy’s first class of 1990.  Today, TAMS graduates 170 students annually.

— by S. Ivie, Associate Processing Archivist