From left: Cecil Green, Erik Jonsson and Eugene McDermott displayed the dedication plaque for the Founders Building. On Oct. 29, 1964, the Founders Building, the first permanent structure at The University of Texas at Dallas, was dedicated.

UT Dallas’ campuswide celebration of Founders Day will look a little different this year. The day that honors the University’s three founders will be delivered in a virtual format and will include online contests and giveaways.

The University community is invited to participate in a photo mosaic in place of the traditional group photo. The first 600 people who send photo submissions will receive this year’s commemorative Founders Day T-shirt. All photo submissions will be entered into a drawing for a limited edition Temoc statue as well. Celebrations this year will also include an Instagram Reels challenge.

#UTDFoundersDay Challenge

Capture your best Whoosh video on Instagram Reels for a chance to win a UT Dallas swag bag.

Contest Guidelines:

  • Be creative, but please observe social distancing in your submissions.
  • Music and attire must be tasteful and appropriate.
  • Tag @ut_dallas and/or #UTDFoundersDay.
  • Deadline for entry is Oct. 29 by noon.

Thursday, Oct. 29, marks the 56th anniversary of the date the Founders Building was dedicated in 1964. It is also the day the University celebrates the vision and legacy of its founders: Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green. The area where UT Dallas’ first building stands was originally surrounded by acres of cotton fields and undeveloped land, and it served as the central facility of the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, a private research institution that in 1969 became UT Dallas.

Founders McDermott, Jonsson and Green established the center because they wanted to retain and cultivate the engineering talent at their firm, Texas Instruments Inc. They had witnessed bright young people moving out of the region to pursue advanced education elsewhere and aimed to create an institution that would foster learning, further research and attract the most influential minds of the day.

Founders Day virtual events also will include the story of the founders as told by three students: Yushra Rashid, a neuroscience senior, Green Fellow and student ambassador; Ayala Ben David, a chemistry senior and Green Fellow; and Patrick Nnoromele, neuroscience senior, Eugene McDermott Scholar and student ambassador.

There also will be a message called “You Are the Founders’ Vision” from UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson and University vice presidents and deans. Both videos will be available on the Founders Day website.

“We are pleased to present Founders Day as a virtual event this year and again celebrate this important tradition,” said Kyle Edgington PhD’13, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We are excited to honor these founders, who laid the groundwork to create educational opportunities and train more scientists and researchers to serve not only the state, but the country and the world.”

The first 600 people who submit photos will be emailed directly about where they can select their shirt size and schedule a pickup time. 

The winner of the Instagram Reels challenge will be announced via social media the afternoon of Founders Day and contacted with instructions on collecting the prize. The contests are open to faculty, staff, students and alumni.