Posted by & filed under 2010's.

In August 2014, the University of North Texas at Dallas welcomed the inaugural class of its new law school. Out of 600 applicants, 152 students—88 full-time students and 64 part-time students began a new law curriculum focused on practical application of the law over theoretical exercises.

At a time when law school applications were declining nationwide, and with nine other law schools already established in the state of Texas, UNT envisioned a program focused on making the law profession accessible to previously underrepresented groups and emphasizing comprehensive testing and student-teacher interactions over a traditional end-of-term exam. [1] Admissions for the inaugural class focused less on grades and LSAT scores and more on life experiences and recommendations. [2]

That inaugural class of the UNT Dallas College of Law was the culmination of more than ten years of planning and an investment of $5 million from the Texas legislature in 2011. The school’s first and current dean is Judge Royal Furgeson, a former federal judge for the Western District, and later the Northern District, of Texas. Judge Furgeson left the bench in 2013 to oversee the founding of a law school with a different vision: a vision of “lawyers as public servants.”[3]

— by Robert Lay, Special Collections Librarian

[1] Samantha McDonald, “Turning a Blind Eye to Law School Recession,” NT Daily, 4 September 2014, p. 4.

[2] “New Law School Only Accepts Students Who Want to Be Lawyers for ‘Right’ Reasons.” Huffington Post, last modified 18 April 2014, accessed 31 August 2015.

[3] Ibid.

Royal Furgeson, advocate in chief, UNT Dallas College of Law (Photo credit: NT Daily)

Posted by & filed under 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's.

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded in 1966. The school’s beginnings were based on a project that UNT President Calvin Cleve “C.C.” Nolen had originally started when he was involved with Texas Christian University as vice chancellor. Twenty students started classes in Fort Worth Osteopathic Hospital. Its beginnings were small, with administrators occupying a neighboring house with four rooms and a gross anatomy lab set up in a garage apartment. The facilities were growing, though, along with the number of students, and a local bowling alley was eventually converted for use by the school.

In 1971, during a Coordinating Board meeting and visit to the TCOM campus by allopathic and osteopathic professionals, members of the Texas State Legislature, as well as the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. G.V. Brindley proposed the idea of TCOM partnering with another academic institution. TCOM’s Board of Directors chairman, Dr. George Luibel agreed, and so it was that Dr. J.K.G. (Joseph Kean Gwynn) Silvey established contact with TCOM at the Annual Convention of the American Osteopathic Association in November of 1971. In December of that same year, Luibel, Nolen, Dr. Henry Hardt (dean of TCOM), and Dr. Silvey met in Fort Worth to discuss the possibility of North Texas State University offering instructional services to TCOM.

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Posted by & filed under 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 2010's.

Merrill Ellis’ story at North Texas echoes many recurring themes in the 125-year history of the university: humble beginnings, ingenuity, and innovation. The Electronic Music Center (EMC) he founded in a house at 1721 Mulberry Street in 1963 (near Avenue D) laid the foundation for what is now the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI) in the UNT College of Music’s Division of Composition Studies. The Merrill Ellis Music Collection (1960-1981) is held by UNT Music Special Collections and is available for use by special arrangement.

Born 99 years ago in Cleburne, TX, Ellis studied clarinet as a child, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1939, and a Master of Music in 1941. He also studied composition privately with Roy Harris, Spencer Norton, Charles Garland, and Darius Milhaud. He joined the faculty of what was then North Texas State University in 1962, after teaching band, orchestra, and choir in high schools in Texas and Missouri, and a variety of subjects including music education and music theory at several colleges in Missouri. At North Texas, Ellis taught music theory and composition in addition to directing the Electronic Music Center. During the 1960s, Ellis persuaded Robert Moog to build a synthesizer — the second “Moog” ever made — for North Texas.

The Electronic Music Center grew in stature under Ellis; a new Intermedia Theater was established in 1979, and now bears his name. Ellis, who died in 1981, was succeeded as director by Larry Austin and Phil Winsor, who continued to raise the profile of the EMC, particularly in the 1981 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), which hosted 400 scientists and composers of computer music at North Texas, including guest composers John Cage and Lejaren Hiller.

The EMC was renamed the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia in 1983, reflecting the expanded scope of activities which was a legacy of Ellis’ leadership. Martin Mailman, a fellow composer and longtime member of the College of Music faculty said in 1986: “Merrill was a valued colleague and friend who was a true pioneer in electronic and multimedia music. His works express, far more eloquently than any words of mine could, his unique contribution to the music of our time. Indeed, his creative vision was a cornerstone in the establishment of CEMI. It has been a privilege to have an opportunity to celebrate his memory in this environment that he inspired with his work and spirit.”

— by Maristella Feustle, Music Special Collections Librarian

View a 2014 video celebrating the 50th anniversary of CEMI and Ellis’ legacy:

Listen to a 1969 recording of Ellis’ “Kaleidoscope”:

Watch a 2013 CEMI performance of Ellis’ 1972 piece “Mutations”:



41st International Computer Music Conference 2015, “Home” (, accessed December 7, 2015.

Elsa Gonzalez, “Ellis, Merrill” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 7, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 26, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

UNT College of Music, Division of Composition Studies, “The History of CEMI” (, accessed December 7, 2015.

UNT Music Library, “Merrill Ellis” (, accessed December 7, 2015.

Posted by & filed under 1970's.

In 1972 the regents and President of North Texas State University dedicated the new library on campus. When construction for the new library began in July 1969 began on the site of the university’s original football field, the building was meant to be the latest in modern, modular design—a colorful, bright and open building of the future designed to be both a meeting place and a haven for quiet study. After numerous delays, including a legal battle over carpet, the building was occupied in 1971.

For its first years the building was simply known as “The Library.” In 1978 it was renamed the A. M, Willis, Jr. Library in honor of the long time university regent. The original plans by architects Caudill, Rowlett, and Scott called for a building to be built in three phases, all within the decade. The design consisted of a four story central building, with a wing on each side, but the two wings were never built because of budget concerns. The building cost, including furnishings and landscaping, was $21.09 per square foot for a total cost of just over $3.6 million. This was paid for with a federal grant and the sale of bonds.

The interior design team of Del and Carol Hermanowski chose a different bold, bright color for each floor so people would know which floor they were on by simply looking at the colored shelving, upholstered furniture, and bright graphics painted on the walls. The colors couldn’t have been much brighter than the ultra-shamrock, ultra-fuchsia, marigold, primary red, and primary blue. The library very quickly began outgrowing the central building. It was designed to seat 1,850 people and shelve 762,450 books. Much of the public seating very quickly was sacrificed to provide more bookshelves and staff offices for new departments, such as the University Archives, opened in 1977.

Visitors to the library were greeted by an enormous kinetic sculpture suspended above the stairwell. Unfortunately, this had to be removed several years later as university engineers said it was too heavy and in danger of falling. The library had an extensive card catalog that took up a large section of the first floor which was the only way to locate materials. Books were arranged into subject areas, rather than strictly by call number. This practice was later abandoned in favor of a call number arrangement. In December of 1973 the first computers were installed for staff use, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the card catalog was installed on computers for public use.

— by Lisa Brown, Discovery Park Library Circulation Manager

Posted by & filed under 1960's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's.

In 1967, the University of North Texas’s One O’Clock Lab Band, was invited to the White House to play for Bhumibol Adulyadej. Adulyadej is also known as King Rama IX, the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty. He is the longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thailand’s history, having served since 1946. He is also an accomplished jazz musician and received an honorary music degree from UNT in 2003. Adulyadej, an accomplished player of saxophone, piano, clarinet and guitar, has performed with such legendary musicians as Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, and Stan Getz. Trombonist and UNT alumnus Carl Murr was in involved with creating an arrangement for two pieces written by Adulyadej. Murr orchestrated the pieces for the One O’Clock Lab Band, who performed a private concert for Bhumibol Adulyadej when the University of North Texas presented him with a doctor of music composition and performance honoris causa on March 17, 2003.

In the spring of 1995 Charn Uswachoke from Bangkok, Thailand donated $1 million to UNT. Uswachoke is an alumnus who received his master’s degree in Business administration from UNT in 1973. His donation was the largest cash gift given to the university at the time. Charn Uswachoke was the chief executive officer of Alphatee Electronics Public Co. Ltd, Thailand’s largest assembler of integrated circuits. Former UNT Chancellor and President Alfred F. Hurley and his wife traveled to Bangkok to accept the gift from Uswachoke in person. The $1 million donation provided a boost to UNT International’s programs.

In winter 1995, Charn Uswachoke surpassed his previous donation by donating $1.2 million to UNT. The donation benefited three UNT departments: the College of Music received $1 million, UNT International received $100,000, and the College of Business Administration received $100,000.

The third time was a charm for Usawachoke. In the summer of 2011, the alumnus, announced to UNT supporters via video conference from Bangkok about his plans to donate $22 million. This donation was to be used to aid UNT in becoming a top-tier research school. Uswachoke’s donation is the largest in UNT history.

Former UNT President V. Lane Rawlins met Uswachoke in Thailand and began discussing some areas he might want to support. Uswachoke expressed interest in music, engineering and business. President Rawlins returned with proposals from each college. Instead of picking from the three proposals, Uswachoke chose them all. The College of Engineering received $6.5 million, the College of Music received $10 million, and the College of Business received $5.5 million.

Bhumibol Adulyadej and Charn Uswachoke have made a huge impact in the Thailand and UNT communities. Like Uswachoke, many other Thai students have crossed an ocean to attend UNT. So many, in fact, that in 2013 UNT opened an office in Bangkok, Thailand to serve potential international students throughout Southeast Asia and more than 1,000 UNT alumni living in Thailand. The colleges at UNT each select an alumni ambassador who graduated from that college and now lives in Thailand, to reach out to prospective Thai students.

— by Amanda Montgomery, Assistant Processing Archivist

Knopp, Joshua. October 4, 2013. “University Opens Bangkok Office.” NT Daily. Retrieved from .Accessed November 8, 2015.

UNT News. March 25, 2004 “King of Thailand treated to jazz Texas style”. Retrieved from Accessed November 17, 2015.

University of North Texas. The North Texan. Volume 45, Number 1, March 1995. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. Accessed November 8, 2015.

University of North Texas. The North Texan. Volume 45, Number 4, Winter 1995. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. Accessed November 8, 2015.

University of North Texas. UNT Inhouse. September 19, 2013.“UNT to boost Thailand, ASEAN recruiting with new office in Bangkok.” Retrieved from Accessed November 8, 2015.

Zabel, Matthew. August 16, 2011 “Thai Man Sets UNT Donation.” Denton Record Chronicle. Retrieved from Accessed November 8, 2015.

Zabel, Matthew. August 17,2011. “Thai businessman donates $22 million to University of North Texas.” Denton Record Chronicle. Retrieved from Accessed November 8, 2015.

Posted by & filed under 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, 2010's.

The second Union was not yet ten years old when the university started to plan an expansion of the building. The new structure would encircle part of the 1960s structure and more than double the space. According to Dr. Dorothy Pijan, the Union director at the time of the planning and construction of the 1976 facility, “As a union we provide for the social, educational, and recreational life for the members of the university community.”

The plan to expand the Union Building was approved by the Board of Regents in 1973 and the work on the expansion started in May 1973. However, the opening of the third union, planned for Fall 1975, was delayed due to labor strikes. It would was dedicated on March 7, 1976 and was called the North Texas State University Union. Built on four levels the new structure included new dining facilities, meeting rooms, a 300 seat theater, and a suite of offices for student services. An arts and crafts room was provided on the lower level. Instructors were on hand to provide expertise on ceramics, metalworking, and other creative pursuits.

One of the striking visual elements in the new union was the fiber art that hung on the wall in the main indoor courtyard. The work, Tensile Ten, was the creation of artist Francoise Grossen. It combined over 1,500 pounds of rope. The sculpture was built using one over hand knot as the only structural element to create the 30 feet by 16 foot fiber work. It was named Tensile Ten because there were five points at the top and five at the bottom where the artwork was attached to the wall of the Union. This was the second work Ms. Grossen created for an institution in Texas. The first was for the Bank of Texas in San Antonio.

The rooms in the new union received names that reflected the history of the university:

The Campus Chat was named after the first campus newspaper, first published in 1916. This area served as a food service area. There were two lines of options for dining: The Station which served breakfast and lunch and the Grill which was open for lunch and dinner.

The Corner was named after the shopping area on Hickory Street and Avenue A (known to today’s students as the Fry Street area). Although the original corner was the place for students to go to buy text books, art supplies, have a meal, or buy a new outfit, the Union’s Corner provided snacks to hungry students. The food options included ice cream, soft drinks, fruit, sandwiches, and candy.

The Rock Bottom Lounge was a part of the second Union. Both areas provided a bar/pub atmosphere in a gathering space for the members of the university.

One O’Clock Lounge was named after the premiere lab band in the College of Music. It was an open lounge with terraced seating that was located next to the south east door. The space was used by speakers, bands, events, and as a place to meet by students.

The Syndicate was named after the group of Denton businessmen who organized the founding and acquired the land for UNT in 1890 – 1891. This area was a game room with billiards, eight ball tables, foosball, table tennis, pinball machines and table games.

The Avesta was named for a student literary publication that was first published in 1917. Originally the Avesta was the name of a first floor lounge for study and music listening. The lounge was altered into seating for a food court and the name was moved to a dining facility on the second floor of the Union.

The Lyceum, the theater in the Union, was named for the first fine arts programs presented by UNT in the early part of the 20th century which were known as “lyceum numbers.” The theater was equipped to show movies as well as have live performances.

The Golden Eagle Suite was named for the alumni of the university. The Golden Eagles, alumni of 50 years, meet every year at Homecoming. This was a banquet and meeting room which would accommodate up to 140 people.

The Silver Eagle Room honored the alumni that had reached their 25th anniversary.

The Denton Suite, a cluster of three rooms, were named for men important in the early history of the University. These individuals were part of the Syndicate. The rooms were named after: W. A. Ponder, John A. Hann, and T. W. Abney.

The Studio was an arts and crafts studio that provided tools and work areas for ceramics, metal-working, and leather work. Courses and workshops were also available.

The Balcony was formal dining facility on the second floor. The room was decorated with cane back chairs, oak wood and thick carpets.

— by Perri Hamilton, Assistant to the Archivist

For more information about the North Texas University Union, see the University Union Collection, 1947 – Present.

Posted by & filed under 1960's, 1970's.

In 1949, when the first Union was dedicated, the student population was 5,282. By 1961, the student population had grown to 8,835 and the first Union was no longer large enough to comfortably accommodate the growing student population. Plans were made to build the new Union in two stages. By the time the structure was complete the student population had grown to 11,878.

The Slab was broken up and removed in 1963 to make way for the construction of the first wing of the new Union. When that wing opened in 1964 the first Union was torn down to make way for the construction of the second wing of the new Union. The limited space and services due to the construction caused some frustration as can be seen in this entry in the 1964-1965 Student Handbook:

“The Union Building is the center of relaxation at North Texas State. In 1964-65 it’s also the site of construction and overcrowding. The south wing of a new structure has been built, and the old building site will become the location of the main front section of the new union. In its incomplete stages the student may find some features a little inconvenient, but he’ll have access to the University Post Office, the University Store, a snack bar and lounge.”

The building was a three stories with a brick veneer. The Post Office was the first part of the Union to open. The Post Office boasted 7,621 mail boxes. The Union had a trophy room, a lounge, a cafeteria, and the University Bookstore. By 1969, six pool tables moved into the main lounge on the third floor. This was also the time when the trophy room was altered into a TV lounge.

— by Perri Hamilton, Assistant to the Archivist

For more information about the North Texas University Union, see the University Union Collection, 1947 – Present.

Posted by & filed under 1940's, 1950's, 1960's.

A central place to rest, meet friends, and have fun was the wish of students for many years. This wish was delayed due to the Great Depression and the Second World War. Following the war the UNT campus entered a building boom to better serve the increased enrollment due to the returning soldiers. A union building was one of the structures added to the campus. The structure filled the need for a gathering place. The Union also served a more somber function as a memorial to the students who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars. It was named the Student Memorial Union Building.

The structure was first used as an army service center at Camp Bowie, before being moved to campus and rebuilt into a student union building. The building was financed with the proceeds of the Building Revenue Bonds Series in 1948 and local funds. The structure faced West Chestnut and was two stories with a brick veneer. The building had a large veranda in the center of the south (back) side. The interior had a mezzanine floor. The building boasted a snack bar, cafeteria, dance-lounge area, club rooms, an auditorium, game rooms, a U. S. Post Office, and offices for the director and staff.

The Union was dedicated on March 31, 1949, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the legislation that made UNT a state institution in 1899. UNT Alumnus Lieutenant General Roger M. Ramey, U. S. Air Force, spoke to the gathering of administrators, faculty, and students at the ceremony. A bronze plaque was erected in the main foyer. It listed the names of the former students who died in military service.

The main gathering space, The Howdy Room, was in the center of the Union. It was decorated in a western theme with wagon wheels, ropes, and barrel shaped lamp bodies. Students would gather to play the piano, listen to the One O’clock Lab Band, dance, and watch TV.

A cement slab was adjacent to the Union. It served as the location for classes, a place to hold dances, and an informal gathering spot for students. Alumni still recall Wednesday night dances, the Howdy Dance, and other events held outside on the Slab.

— by Perri Hamilton, Assistant to the Archivist

For more information about the North Texas University Union, see the University Union Collection, 1947 – Present.

Posted by & filed under 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's.

You may hear her work every day and not even know it: Julia Smith composed the University of North Texas’ alma mater, “Glory to the Green,” which rings out from the clock tower every day at noon.

Born in the town of Caldwell in Burleson County, Texas on January 25, 1905, young Julia Smith took piano lessons with Mary Anderson, a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Leipzig, Germany, and an instructor at what was then North Texas State Normal College. In her teens, Smith studied with Harold von Mickwitz at St. Mary’s Institute of Musical Art in Dallas. Her father, James Willis Smith, was a professor of mathematics at North Texas, and an amateur musician. Smith herself graduated from North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, but was clearly active as a musician during her undergraduate years.

She earned a master’s degree from New York University in 1933, and continued her studies in piano, composition, and orchestration at the Juilliard School of Music, studying under Carl Friedberg and Virgil Thomson, among others. She credited Friedberg with advising her that “the woods are full of good pianists,” but “there are few really good American composers.”

She served as pianist for the all-women’s ensemble Orchestrette Classique of New York, and took on ambitious composition projects, including her first opera, Cynthia Parker. She intended for that work to coincide with the Texas centennial celebrations of 1936, but the work was finished in 1939. That opera, and another, The Stranger of Manzano, were premiered at North Texas.

Smith composed a number of works on Texan themes, including Cynthia Parker, and Remember the Alamo!, which was inspired by William B. Travis’ famed “Victory or Death!” letter of 1836, and composed for the inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. Her compositions are said to “incorporate folk melodies and dance idioms within a relatively conservative, tonal harmonic palette, although she was not afraid of dissonance.”

She also became known as an early biographer of composer Aaron Copland through the 1955 publication of her doctoral dissertation (Ph.D., NYU, 1952), Aaron Copland: His Work and Contribution to American Music. The Julia Smith Collection at the UNT Music Library also contains a number of scores of Copland’s compositions which she had copied by hand.

Julia Smith died in 1989 after a career as a composer, writer, and advocate for women in music which covered most of the 20th century, and is buried in the International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Cemetery in Denton.

— by Maristella Feustle, Music Special Collections Librarian


Buehner, Katie. Accessibility and Authenticity in Julia Smith’s “Cynthia Parker.” MM thesis, University of North Texas, 2007.

Buehner, Katie, and Maristella Feustle. Julia Smith Papers Finding Aid. University of North Texas Music Library.

“A Guide to the Julia Smith Papers, 1965-1967.” Texas Archival Resources Online.

Duffie, Bruce. “Composer Julia Smith: A Conversation with Bruce Duffie.”

Taubman, Harold. “Scored for Americans” The New York Times, January 1, 1956.

Wolz, Larry. “Julia Frances Smith.” Handbook of Texas Online.


Posted by & filed under 1960's, 1970's, 1980's.

A mere glance at the webpage of UNT international reveals the vast scope of our University’s engagement on the international scene. For the past few decades, UNT has been deeply involved in global academic and cultural exchanges and has been committed to providing a wealth of opportunities and services for American students who wish to study abroad and to facilitate their exposure to international organizations and businesses. Equally important for this international engagement is the recruitment of international students and scholars, and the securing of the environment in which they can feel at home and successfully carry out their academic plans. That means assisting prospective international students with applications, helping them with living arrangements, offering programs to improve their English and to hone their study skills, and providing them with information about on-campus employment and future job opportunities abroad. It also means counseling the students, sponsoring their extra-curricular activities, exposing them to American culture on and off-campus, and making them feel part of the campus community. The result of these efforts is clear: with over 3,000 international students from over 120 countries currently enrolled at UNT, and 20 very active student organizations of international interest, international student life at UNT is rich and vibrant.

But what was it like forty, fifty years ago, in the pre-Internet age, when North Texas was still a local rather than a regional and national academic institution?

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