UT Tyler

Major Milestones

Highlights of The University of Texas at Tyler’s first four decades include:


  • Texas Legislature approves bill authored by Billy Williamson and others to create Tyler State College, first state university in 14-county East Texas Planning Region.
  • First Board of Regents for Tyler State College appointed; Harold J. McKenzie, chairman of the board.


  • Dr. James H. Stewart named first president of Tyler State College.


  • First class of 176 students enrolls.


  • First commencement ceremony held.
  • Tyler philanthropists James S. Hudnall, George W. Pirtle and Isadore Roosth donate land for 204-acre campus.


  • Tyler State College becomes Texas Eastern University by action of 64th Texas Legislature. Bill sponsored by State Sen. Peyton McKnight and State Rep. Bill Clark; signed by Gov. Dolph Briscoe.
  • First master’s degrees awarded.


  • First classes held on new $42 million, nationally-recognized campus.
  • Construction starts on Health and Physical Education (HPE) facility.


  • Work begins on dam between upper and lower levels of Mike Harvey Lake.


  • University becomes component of UT System by action of 66th Texas Legislature. Bill sponsored by State Sen. Peyton McKnight and State Rep. Bill Clark; signed by Gov. William P. Clements Jr.


  • Dr. George F. Hamm named university’s second president.
  • Robert R. Muntz Library opens. The $4.5 million facility is largest library collection in 14-county East Texas Planning Region.


  • $10 million from Lindsey-Merrick Estate bequeathed to UT Tyler.
  • UT Tyler Distinguished Lecture Series introduced.


  • Texas voters add UT Tyler as beneficiary of Texas’ Permanent University Fund (PUF) – provides proceeds from endowed state fund for building construction, thus saving state and local tax monies.
  • UT Tyler Endowed Professorship Program initiated; professorships established by Mary John and Ralph Spence and George W. and Robert S. Pirtle.


  • UT Tyler men’s tennis team wins national championship.


  • UT Tyler’s 10,000th academic degree awarded.


  • UT Tyler’s first Interactive Video instruction implemented.


  • University Pines apartments, student on-campus housing, opens.


  • UT Tyler men’s tennis team wins second national title.


  • UT Tyler Palestine Campus opens.


  • UT Tyler George F. Hamm Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities established by university supporters.
  • UT Tyler Bart Brooks Endowed Professorship of Ethics and Leadership established.


  • UT Tyler four-year status approved by Texas Legislature.
  • $22 million UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center opens.


  • Dr. Rodney H. Mabry becomes the university’s third president.
  • UT Tyler admits its first freshman class.
  • UT Tyler School of Business Administration approved for accreditation by the AACSB-The International Association for Management Education.


  • New Millennium Vision announces UT Tyler’s 10-year strategic plan for growth.
  • UT Tyler presidential and alumni scholarship program, for community and junior college transfer students, initiated – designed to increase not only the affordability of four-year college degree but also the number of college graduates in the East Texas region.
  • UT Tyler announces multi-million dollar building campaign to prepare for expected growth in student enrollment.


  • UT Tyler begins participation in online master of business administration degree program.
  • UT Tyler Longview University Center opens.
  • Ralph and Mary John Spence Fountain dedicated.
  • UT Tyler Celia and Sam Roosth Endowed Chair of Education established.


  • UT Tyler announces plans to implement intercollegiate athletics program. Appoints athletic directors and begins competing in NCAA Division III with men’s and women’s tennis program.
  • UT Tyler Riter Millennium Carillon Tower and Plaza completed. With 57 bells, it is the largest carillon in Texas and one of the 20 largest in the nation.


  • University recognized in Associated Press news report as providing its students with the best opportunity to study with full-time professors compared to all other public universities in the state.
  • Largest fall (4,235) and spring (3,807) enrollments to date.


  • Louise Herrington Patriot Center opens.
  • David G. and Jacqueline M. Braithwaite Building opens.
  • Athletic program begins NCAA provisional membership
  • College of Engineering is accredited by ABET. (The civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.)


  • Braithwaite Endowed Faculty Chair established.
  • Patriot Village student apartments open.
  • University of Texas Health Clinic opens.


  • Civil engineering program begins.


  • First sororities and fraternities implemented.
  • UT Tyler Ballpark and Irwin Baseball Field open.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Z. Ornelas Residence Hall opens.
  • Bill Ratliff Engineering and Sciences Complex South Building opens.
  • Citizens First Bank Perkins Soccer Complex dedication.
  • Civil and environmental engineering degree programs begin.
  • Largest commencement to date (607 candidates).


  • Bill Ratliff Engineering and Science Complex North Building opens.
  • Construction management and nurse practitioner degree programs begin.
  • University becomes full member of NCAA.
  • Higher Education Coordinating Board approves UT Tyler’s first Ph.D. program (nursing).


  • First Ph.D. students enroll in fall semester.


  • University Center addition opens.
  • Robert R. Muntz Library garden opens for student use.
  • UT Tyler reaches another record fall enrollment with 6,234 headcount.


  • Renovated University Center opens.
  • Dr. Lee Roy and Lucy Mathis Hall opens on the Palestine Campus.


  • Largest commencement to date (809 candidates)

UT Tyler observes 40th anniversary with yearlong celebration that begins June 10, 2011.

UT Tyler