At the end of August, we welcomed students back to campus, marking a great start to the 2011-12 academic year. In the included video, our students share some of their excitement about things happening on campus and I thought you might enjoy seeing a little bit of our spirit.
We anticipate many more great things are on the horizon this year after experiencing an historic summer during which we attracted more than $51 million in landmark gifts and sponsorships, including a $22 million gift that is the largest ever in UNT history and a 20-year, $20 million naming sponsorship agreement for Apogee Stadium, UNT's new home for football and entertainment events. It's among the largest naming-rights agreement for a college football stadium to date.
These milestones are propelling us forward and will fuel our continued excellence. The gifts will foster student learning and faculty scholarship, while furthering UNT's reputation for cutting-edge research and world-class arts and music.
You can see progress at every turn from new buildings such as the Business Leadership Building to this year's freshman class, which is expected to be one of our largest and brightest.
This fall, I invite you to come back to campus to share some key events with us:
- Help us reflect and remember 10 years after 9/11 with UNiTe II Remember, a weeklong series of events that will include a speech by former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates Sept. 7 as part of UNT's Distinguished Lecture Series and will culminate in an evening memorial service Sept. 11. Learn more at UNiTe II Remember website.
- Kick off the start of the 2011 football season with the first home game at UNT's new Apogee Stadium as the Mean Green play against the University of Houston at 6 p.m. Sept. 10. And after the game look back on the gameday fun with our EaglePan, UNT's panoramic picture of the first home gameday crowd that allows you to find, capture and tag images of yourself and friends on Facebook.
- Connect with the business community and leading entrepreneurs at the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship's BDO USA, LLP 2011 Leadership Luncheon Nov. 18, featuring former Florida governor Jeb Bush as the keynote speaker. I'm giving away a pair of luncheon tickets in a random drawing. To enter, email email@example.com with "Leadership Luncheon" in the subject line by 5 p.m. Sept. 12 and include your name, address and phone number.
- Enjoy upcoming free art exhibitions and musical performances presented by students, faculty and others throughout the fall. Learn more about upcoming events and exhibitions on the UNT Galleries website and the College of Music website. And don't forget to buy tickets to "An Evening with Pat Boone" for a 4 p.m. Sept. 11 performance at the Murchison Performing Arts Center.
- Join us for Family Weekend Sept. 23-25, when the Mean Green play Indiana on Sept. 24, the highlight of the three fun-filled days. And make plans to celebrate "The Incredible Scrappy" Homecoming 2011 Oct. 22 at UNT's new Apogee Stadium, which ends a week of homecoming festivities that kick off Oct. 18. Buy season tickets or single game tickets now.
It's a great time to be part of the UNT family. We promise to continue to give our students a superior education so that their time here and future is defined by excellence. It's what they deserve and it's how we will achieve our goal of growing as a major public research university offering the best undergraduate education in Texas.
V. Lane Rawlins