UT Tyler

President's Letter

40th Anniversary and Still Growing

We are proudly remembering the past, enjoying the present and looking forward to the future of our great university.

There is much to celebrate at The University of Texas at Tyler this year. We are enjoying a yearlong celebration of UT Tyler’s 40th anniversary.

An anniversary kick-off was held this past June to mark our actual birth date, which was June 10, 1971. On that day, Gov. Preston Smith signed into law the creation of Tyler State College and our history began. Approximately 14 months later, Dr. James H. Stewart, Jr. was named president and he began the challenging task of developing the only public degree-granting institution of higher education in the
14-county East Texas Planning Region.

Remarkably, the first 176 students attended classes in January 1973—just four months after Dr. Stewart became president. In 1975, the Texas Legislature supported renaming the institution Texas Eastern University, which later became The University of Texas at Tyler under the UT System in 1979.

Dr. Stewart was named President Emeritus by the Board of Regents in 2005. On November 3, 2011, the UT Tyler administration building was named the James H. Stewart, Jr. Administration Building in honor of this extraordinary man.

Also, in celebration of our anniversary, a Founders Dinner was held to recognize our area state legislators, the original Board of Regents and community leaders who played a major role in the university’s creation, first as an upper-division college. The Founders Dinner also recognized charter faculty, staff and administrators who were the true foundation of this institution. We are deeply indebted to the community leaders who, more than 40 years ago, had the foresight and determination to seek and invest in a university for this community.

Today UT Tyler is a comprehensive institution comprised of five academic colleges, as well as a graduate school offering both masters and doctoral degrees. The university also supports two additional regional campuses located in Longview and Palestine, and we are still growing. Our society and our world have been changed along the way by phenomenal growth in the technology sector, by greater diversity in our schools and communities and by global economics and issues. UT Tyler continues to address these changes in a way that adds value to our students and our region.

The world has taken note of the quality education that comes with a UT Tyler degree. Our institution is tied 19th in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of Master’s Level I public universities in the West out of 335 universities in our category.

Our future is bright as we look forward to the next decade and beyond. We are UT Tyler—celebrating 40 years and still growing!

Rodney H. Mabry


UT Tyler