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The University of Texas Permian Basin
University of Texas Permian Basin Seal
Motto Latin: Disciplina praesidium civitatis (Education, the Guardian of Society)
Established 1973
Type State University
President W. David Watts PhD
Staff 140
Students 3,586
Location Odessa, Texas, USA
Colors Orange and White
Mascot Falcon
Website www.utpb.edu
Parker Ranch House at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Stonehenge replica on campus of University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (commonly called UT Permian Basin or simply UTPB) is located in Odessa, Texas. It was authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1969 and founded in 1973. Its unofficial fall 2007 enrollment was 3,586.

Contents

Beginnings

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin began in 1973 as a university that offered only junior, senior, and graduate level programs. There were 1,011 students when the school opened. The school allowed students to help with the interviews of prospective faculty. Student recommendations were considered when additional faculty were hired.

Amusingly, a rivalry with Odessa College (OC) got underway from the very beginning when OC students taunted the UTPB students that they were too old to produce a streaker. A student finally agreed, and with only his head covered, streaked across the campus. The Director of Admissions not only witnessed the feat, but contributed to the bail when the student was arrested.

George E. "Buddy" West, a member of the first graduating class from UTPB, represented Odessa in the Texas House of Representatives from 1993 until his death in 2008. He became the legislative point man on UTPB issues. West worked to obtain the Presidential Museum and Leadership Library, a new student union building, and the performing arts center.

Changes since 1991

UTPB was an upper level and graduate university until the Texas Legislature passed a bill in spring 1991 to allow the university to accept freshmen and sophomores. The first freshmen, called the "Pioneer Freshmen," began attending UTPB in the fall semester of 1991, and students were first designated as sophomores the following fall. Odessan Chris Horton was the first member of the "Pioneer Freshmen" to graduate from UTPB, completing his bachelors degree in political science in May 1994.

In the years after freshmen and sophomores were added, UTPB has upgraded its campus extensively. In 2000, the J. Conrad Dunagan Library and Lecture Center was completed, featuring a twenty-station multimedia lab and classroom. In addition, UTPB has added a visual arts studio, and has installed a Stonehenge replica. Several apartment-style building have also been added to provide housing for university students. While upgrading the campus, UTPB has also added an intercollegiate sports program. After competing in the Red River Athletic Conference of the NAIA since the fall of 1995, UTPB's sports teams debuted as members of the Heartland Conference of NCAA Division II in the fall of 2006. In 2009, UTPB finally got a radio contract to air men's home conference basketball games on KFZX to increase the interest in the school and allow parents who live out of town to listen to the games live online. 6 of the 8 games in 2009 will be broadcast. 2 of them can't be done due to a pre-existing contract with fellow city college Odessa College. These and other changes have helped to attract local students who may have opted for junior colleges or other universities.

Another significant addition to the University has been the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute. The Institute provides seminars, training and research on public leadership all over Texas, and offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership Studies. The Institute is also well-regarded for its Shepperd Distinguished Lecture Series, which has brought a variety of internationally-recognized individuals, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Robert McNamara, Ralph Nader, William F. Buckley, Jr., and most recently Malcolm Gladwell to discuss salient political and social topics.

As of 2006, the university was holding discussions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about construction of a new High-Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor which, if successful, would finish licensing and construction around 2012. It would also be the first university based research reactor to be built in the US in roughly a decade and be one of the few HTGR type reactors in the world.[1]

Changes since 2008

Most recently, on April 17, 2008, the university broke ground on a new Science and Technology Complex. The new building will house the chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, and information technology programs. The new 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) building will contain 41 labs, 56 offices, six classrooms, and 3 sunken lecture halls. Ironically, despite warnings from a university geology professor, the contractor failed to identify an underground aquifer that could cause the building supports to sink. It will replace most of the aging and tight quartered labs that are presently located in the Mesa Building, as well as allow for the use of updated and cutting-edge technology for research. UTPB expects the complex to be completed by 2010. Work is progressing smoothly for the Science & Technology Complex on the main campus. Since all slabs have been poured on the science wing, structural steel for the roof framing is being placed. On the technology wing, forming is being erected for the structural concrete slab for the second floor. When finished, the building will house classrooms, multiple laboratories including two large demonstration labs, a 200-seat lecture hall, and a state-of-the-art Data Communications Teaching Lab for undergraduate and graduate students.

Lots of changes are visible at the construction site of the Student Multipurpose Center. The second floor slab has been poured, and masonry for the elevator shaft is complete. The exterior wall framing has begun, and mechanical equipment has been set on the second floor. Late in 2010, UTPB students will find a home-away-from home in this building with features like a user-friendly dining room, childcare center, fitness center, meeting and study rooms along with offices for student organizations, a lounge, and external shaded pavilion.

A state-of-the-art building known as the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center is under construction as well near the C.E.E.D. building off Hwy 191 and FM 1788. Construction began in 2009 and should be completed in late in 2010. It will be utilized for fine art classes as well as to attract performances from across the world to the Midland/Odessa area, unlike anything ever seen in the area.

Trivia

  • In January 2006, UTPB's School of Business was awarded accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). AACSB is generally regarded as the premier accreditation agency for the world's business schools. According to the University, only 30 percent of business schools in the United States, and 15 percent of world business schools, have received AACSB accreditation.

External links

Coordinates: 31°53′24″N 102°19′43″W / 31.88992°N 102.328687°W / 31.88992; -102.328687

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