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Athletic center

Jim McIngvale, Houston businessman and philanthropist and a former North Texas football letterman, is giving the UNT athletic department $1 million toward construction of the new athletic center being built on the Eagle Point Campus.

Owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, McIngvale was a two-year letterman on the North Texas football team in 1972 and 1973, playing linebacker for coaches Rod Rust and Hayden Fry. The gift, which was formally announced during a halftime presentation at the Feb. 12 men's basketball game in the Super Pit, provides significant funding for the center.

"I believe in UNT and what it does for the youth of Texas, and has done for literally hundreds of thousands of students over the years," he says. "Because I have fond memories of my time as a football player there and am a big supporter of Coach Darrell Dickey today, I wanted to do something to help the athletic department. I am hoping this donation will spark other people to help finish the facility."

In a special teleconference Feb. 27, the UNT Board of Regents authorized the completion of the center for a project cost not to exceed $7,010,394. Last August the board authorized $3,675,000 in institutional reserves to be used for the project, and athletic department projections indicate that gifts, gift pledges — including McIngvale's $1 million gift pledge — and advertising revenues to 2013 will provide more than $3,493,000. The board approval provides for an advance in the form of a capital obligation loan not expected to exceed $1,313,759.

The 45,000-square-foot facility will include a state-of-the-art training and rehabilitation center, a strength and conditioning area nearly double the size of the current weight room, team and position meeting facilities, rooms for study and tutoring, an 1,800-square-foot multipurpose auditorium, an equipment room for all UNT sports, offices for the entire athletic department and a North Texas Athletic Walk of Honor to recognize and showcase the school's athletic history.


UNT alumnus Jim McIngvale (center) was recognized at the Feb. 12 Mean Green men's basketball game for his $1 million contribution to the university to help fund a new athletic center. Rick Villarreal, athletic director, and members of the North Texas Dancers presented McIngvale with an artist's rendering of the building.

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Thailand trip

UNT presented King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand with an honorary doctor of music composition and performance March 17 in a special ceremony in Huahin in Prachuabkirikan Province. The degree recognizes the king's skill in composition and performance in all genres of music, but particularly jazz and blues. An accomplished player of saxophone, piano, clarinet and guitar, he has performed with such legendary musicians as Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and Stan Getz.

During the presentation of the degree, the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band performed a private concert with the king featuring his jazz compositions Love at Sundown, Friday Night Rag, Oh I Say, When and Lay Kram Goes Dixie, as well as a selection of standards.

The band also performed a public concert in Bangkok in celebration of the anniversary of the king's birth and presented a daylong workshop on jazz for Thai university students studying music at Chulalongkorn University.

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Lifetime award

Ronald E. Marcello, director of UNT's oral history program, is the recipient of the Thomas L. Charlton Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Oral History Association. The award recognizes an individual whose research produced oral history tapes that are preserved and made available for research in an archive or library; who has used professional standards in oral history research over an extended period of time; and whose work is a model for the use of oral history in research.

Marcello, a member of the history faculty since 1967, became director of the oral history program in 1968. The fledgling collection then consisted of interviews with Texas political figures. In the early 1970s, he expanded the collection by beginning the Pearl Harbor survivors project, gathering memories of soldiers and sailors and their wives, nurses and chaplains. The Pearl Harbor project now includes interviews with more than 350 people.

Now the largest public university collection of oral history interviews in Texas, the UNT collection also includes interviews with former World War II prisoners of war, Holocaust survivors and those who participated in the Pacific naval war and air offensive in Europe. In addition, memories of Texans who worked in local civil rights and who were employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, National Youth Administration, and Home Owners Loan Corporation during the New Deal are preserved.

The oral history program has more than 1,500 bound volumes of interviews representing more than 117,000 pages of transcript, which are available in the university's archives at Willis Library.

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Recent deaths

William Peters Latham


William Peters Latham

William Peters Latham, 87, Professor Emeritus of music who worked at North Texas from 1965 to 1984, died Feb. 24 in Denton. A trumpet player who began writing music in high school, he received a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Cincinnati in 1935 and lectured at North Texas from 1938 to 1939 before earning bachelor's and master's degrees in composition and theory from the College of Music of Cincinnati. He later earned his doctorate in composition from the Eastman School of Music.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army, receiving the Purple Heart and also performing with the 10th Cavalry band. He taught at the State College of Iowa for 19 years before returning to North Texas as professor of music and coordinator of composition. In 1969 he was appointed director of graduate studies and in 1978 was named a distinguished professor of music. His compositions have been performed by groups around the world, and 62 of his 118 works have been published.

Latham was a member of several organizations, including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, from which he received awards annually for many years.

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