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UNT Insider - Information for UNT alumni and friends
UNT Insider | February 2007 Issue

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President's Note
President Gretchen M. Bataille

Dear Alum,

I like to remind our faculty and staff that if we have done our jobs, when our students graduate, they will have just started a life of learning. As a student-centered university, UNT is dedicated to the personal growth and learning of each and every one of our students as we help them become engaged, thoughtful citizens of the world.

I'm always proud - and often quite impressed - when I have the opportunity to meet with our students. They are truly bright, talented individuals who have much to offer as they begin to make their way in our global society. Many are already earning national recognition for their talents.

Here are some examples of our accomplished Eagles so far this year.

  • Brendin Alban and Michelle King, both seniors, were among 50 artists nationwide to have a Memory Project portrait displayed earlier this month in a Washington, D.C., art gallery. The portraits were created for a course with Christina Bain, an assistant professor of visual arts, to comfort children in an El Salvadoran orphanage.
  • Yieu Chyan, one of our Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science students, is one of only 40 students nationwide selected as a finalist in the 2007 Intel Science Talent Search - the nation's premier program recognizing high school research in science, mathematics and engineering.
  • Leah Perison, a senior who plans to graduate in May with a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance, choreographed a dance that will be presented at the American College Dance Festival Association's regional conference this month.
  • Two students on UNT's Moot Court Squad - Chris Taylor and Tiffany Warner - won top 10 speaker awards at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association's national tournament in January.
These students are just a few of the many UNT scholars who are well on their way to accomplished careers. I know they will continue to achieve as they make remarkable contributions in their communities and in our world.

With green pride,
Gretchen M. Bataille


UNT Green fans

Win tickets to the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers games
I encourage you to show your green pride at this year's UNT Night with the Dallas Stars and UNT Nights with the Texas Rangers. I'm giving away a pair of tickets to the March 15 Dallas Stars game vs. Calgary Flames (lower level tickets valued at $98 each) and a pair of tickets to one of six Texas Rangers games this season. To participate in my random drawings to win tickets, e-mail me by 5 p.m. Feb. 28 at and be sure to tell me which tickets you'd prefer.

art students

Moving Forward: UNT earns $50,000 grant for mentorship program
This semester, our Division of Enrollment Management is rolling out the Texas College Work-Study Mentorship Program, designed to pair student mentors with students who are at-risk academically. The pilot program, which earned a $50,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to hire about 30 mentors, will allow the student mentors to share information about financial aid and scholarships, time management, study skills, career planning or more traditional course tutoring. This innovative program is a fabulous opportunity for our students. The juniors and seniors offering the mentoring will gain valuable experience while helping their fellow students overcome obstacles that could prevent them from graduating.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

RFK Jr. to visit UNT for Distinguished Lecture Series
Author and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will visit our campus March 14 as part of the university's Distinguished Lecture Series, which is set for 8 p.m. in the University Union, Silver Eagle Suite. This is an excellent opportunity for you, our students, faculty and staff to hear from Mr. Kennedy, who has a reputation as a defender of the environment. He also was named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River, which helped generate more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Beautification Day

Join me for UNT Beautification Day
I hope you will join me for our fifth annual UNT Beautification Day March 31. If you can participate, please plan to gather with me, our students, faculty and staff, at 8:30 a.m. that Saturday in Parking Lot 9 (near Avenue C and West Mulberry Street). We will spend the morning preparing and planting flowerbeds, painting and picking up litter. Event coordinators plan to give the first 75 volunteers to arrive a free beautification day T-shirt, and all volunteers can join me for a free lunch when the events end around noon.

Coach Todd Dodge

Coach Dodge signs his first 20 football recruits
Head football coach Todd Dodge has been with us only since December but he's already making big news for his visit with President George W. Bush at the White House and his excellent recruiting efforts. I was pleased to hear that 20 players signed National Letters of Intent or made a commitment to play football for the Mean Green in 2007. Coach Dodge's first class of recruits includes some incredible athletes - 18 Texas high school seniors (seven from the Dallas-Fort Worth area), a transfer student from the Naval Academy and another from a junior college. I am eager to see these young men take the field this fall. You can purchase season tickets, and I'll be sure to let you know when the 2007-08 football schedule is available.

Nandika D'Souza

Faculty Focus: Nandika D'Souza
Nandika D'Souza, associate professor of materials science and engineering, is certainly putting her love of polymers to use in her research at UNT. Dr. D'Souza, who is a successful researcher and a dedicated teacher, entered into a three-year, $515,000 cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to study how nanotechnology can lead to the creation of new composite materials. Nanotechnology already is responsible for improving modern life in many ways such as increasing the fire resistance of building materials and speeding up the miniaturization of electronic devices. I look forward to learning more about what is happening in Dr. D'Souza’s laboratory.

Honors Day

UNT Traditions: Honors Day
Hearing about the achievements of so many of our accomplished students has me looking forward to my first Honors Day at UNT, which is scheduled for March 30. Honors Day, which began in 1950, is designed to recognize our students who have excelled in their educational goals and made outstanding contributions to UNT, while giving us the opportunity to pay tribute to these most deserving members of our family. This will be a wonderful opportunity to recognize our students and learn more about their achievements.

Eagle Ambassadors

Featured Link: Eagle Ambassadors
I want to take this opportunity to brag about another group of enterprising students who do an outstanding job at building good will for UNT - our Eagle Ambassadors, our university's tour guides, student recruiters and overall ambassadors. These 16 students with various majors and backgrounds are charged with promoting our university and offering a student's perspective about UNT. They often are among the first people future students meet when they call or visit our campus, and these young men and women do a remarkable job of sharing information - and boasting - about your alma mater. I hope you will take a minute to visit their web site, where you can learn a little about the university and read profiles of each of these students.

North Texas Exes

Exes chapters hosting two upcoming events
I hope you can join the North Texas Exes for two worthwhile events to benefit student scholarships. The Denton Chapter will host its fifth annual scholarship auction at 6 p.m. March 27 in the UNT Coliseum. To donate items or learn more about attending, contact Judy Stewart, auction chair, at (940) 382-3990. And the Gulf Coast Chapter will have its fifth annual scholarship dinner April 15 at Piatta Ristorante in Houston. To learn more, contact Melissa Palacios-Yahner at (281) 752-5088. To learn more about the Exes and how you can get involved, visit

February 2007

At a Glance

Win tickets to the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers games

Moving Forward: UNT earns $50,000 grant for mentorship program

RFK Jr. to visit UNT for Distinguished Lecture Series

Join me for UNT Beautification Day

Coach Dodge signs his first 20 football recruits

Faculty Focus: Nandika D'Souza

UNT Traditions: Honors Day

Featured Link: Eagle Ambassadors

Exes chapters hosting two upcoming events

Don't Forget!

You can join me in Houston Feb. 24 and Los Angeles March 8 as part of my nationwide inaugural tour.

On Feb. 27, the Murphy Enterprise Center kicks off its first Connections Lecture Series, which features successful entrepreneurs discussing the "Entrepreneurial Tipping Point."


Brandon Rogers, a former College of Music student, is one of the top 12 male singers on Fox's American Idol. His UNT family is rooting for him to sing his way to the top.

Former student Don Henley of Eagles fame was honored earlier this month as the Grammy's 2007 MusiCares Person of the Year for his musical achievements and philanthropic efforts.

Also, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, a band that includes UNT alumnus Jeff Coffin, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for The Hidden Land.

About UNT Insider

The UNT Insider, a monthly e-newsletter, connects UNT alumni and others to the university by letting you hear directly from President Gretchen M. Bataille.

The UNT Insider is brought to you by the Office of the President in conjunction with the Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing. Please send any comments or suggestions to

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