From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
January 28, 1999
Contact: La Juana Barton, (512) 463-0123

SENATOR WEST TAKES GIANT STEP ON "PATHWAY" TO ESTABLISH UNIVERSITY IN SOUTHERN DALLAS

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Echoing the sentiment that "the establishment of a public, state-supported university in Southern Dallas County would be his first priority in the 76th Legislative Session", State Senator Royce West was on hand to witness the approval of a proposal calling for the establishment of the University of North Texas University System Center at Dallas. The proposal was approved during the quarterly meeting of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) held Thursday, January 28 in Austin.

"Our efforts toward establishing a university in Southern Dallas County, have been confirmed," said Senator West. "We have undergone the scrutiny of the Texas Executive Branches" state agency that oversees higher education. "They have recognized the need for accessibility and affordability in public higher education for the southern sector of Dallas County, northern sector of Ellis County, and the region as a whole."

This approval of the University System Center proposal comes after two years of community and legislative efforts by Senator West, the Dallas delegation, the Southern Dallas County FeasibilityStudy Community Task Force and the University of North Texas (UNT) and its Board of Regents.

The University System Center will be the avenue by which the University of North Texas will provide upper level and graduate courses to area residents in a collegiate, academic setting. The THECB has set in place enrollment benchmarks that the Center must meet before University designation is requested.

"My next steps are to take the THECB recommendations back to my legislative colleagues to request state support and simultaneously return to the public and private sector in Dallas and Ellis Counties to solidify their financial support," added West. "We have the nucleus of a Capital Campaign Steering Committee in place with Tom Dunning serving as Chairman, and Jerry Farrington and Roy Evans serving as Co-Chairs."

Mr. Farrington, who also serves as the Chairman of the University of North Texas Board of Regents, said that he is "joined at the hip" with Senator West on this project.

Dr. Delores Carruth, THECB member from the D/FW metroplex, said, "if anyone can get it (the project) done, these two (Senator West and UNT) can."

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