Los Angeles-area leaders reunite at final inaugural tour reception

From a UNT News Service press release

President Bataille meets Jennifer and John Kelly at the presidential tour stop at Shutters on the Beach outside Los Angeles. John Kelly, a 1976 UNT graduate, is a well-known civic leader in the Los Angeles area. The Kellys devoted time and financial resources to make this last stop in the national tour a success.

President Gretchen M. Bataille wrapped up her nationwide inaugural tour with about 60 Los Angeles-area residents at the March 8 alumni reception.

The reception, which was at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, Calif., was the last stop in a seven-city inaugural tour, which was designed to reconnect alumni and university friends with UNT and give President Bataille the opportunity to share her vision of UNT's future.

Among notable alumni who attended the president's reception were:

  • Actor Peter Weller, a trumpet player at UNT who earned his 1970 degree in theater, has appeared in more than fifty films and television series and is best known for his appearances as the title character in the cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and the blockbuster hits RoboCop and RoboCop 2. In recent years, he has taken the helm as director for two television episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street, among others.
  • John and Jennifer Kelly took leadership roles in helping plan the Los Angeles event. John Kelly earned a degree in speech and drama from UNT in 1976 and, in 1978, he earned his master's in public administration and communication at the university. He currently is president of Kelly-Norwood Consulting, which is based in San Marino, Calif. He is a member of the Los Angeles Urban League and INROADS, an organization that prepares minority youth for community leadership. He also is a member of the UNT College of Arts and Sciences advisory board.

President Bataille visits with 1970 UNT graduate Peter Weller. Weller, an actor, is best known for his lead role in the RoboCop movies and The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai.

Bataille's inaugural tour kicked off Nov. 20 in Chicago. The goal of the tour was to bring alumni outside the North Texas region up-to-date on the strides the university has made as a student-centered public research university and reinforce their pride as they hear about UNT's rising SAT scores (despite dips in national and Texas scores), large numbers of Barry M. Goldwater Scholars and the new money the university is attracting for ground-breaking research in energy production, cancer treatments and nanotechnology.

The tour precedes Bataille's inauguration as president, which is scheduled for April 12-14 in Denton and will focus on raising scholarship money.

Bataille's inaugural tour, which is the first of its kind for a UNT president, took her to several major metropolitan areas across the nation and is a key step to increasing alumni involvement with the Denton campus.

To learn more about the other tour stops, visit President's Inaugural Tour