Photos by Andrea Grimes
Texas Governor Rick Perry grins it up for the UNT Dallas crowd.

Team UNT Dallas Gathers For Hourlong Back-Patting This Afternoon At Historic Campus

Governor Rick Perry visited

the new University of North Texas at Dallas

campus today off Camp Wisdom Road in South Dallas to mark the school's first-ever Founders Day. This afternoon marked the opening of the first publicly funded four-year university in the city limits, intended to bring an educational -- and economic -- stimulus to the area and its residents.

"The sky is the limit," Perry told the audience of bold-faced names, some of whom spent the last decade trying to transform a small branch from the mothership into a standalone school. "Some people get up and look in the mirror and wonder if they're making a difference. This audience doesn't have a problem with that." The audience, incidentally, included UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson and Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.

UNT Dallas just admitted its first freshman class, and, said Jackson, was borne of the question, "Where can we find 210,000 college graduates?" The answer: urban areas such as South Dallas, where affordable, high-quality four-year educations are hard to come by.

And wherever someone speaks the words "South Dallas" into a microphone, you know Caraway will be there. "We are home-grown," he said, giving Oak Cliff props to his fellow city politicians, state Sen. Royce West and state Rep. Helen Giddings, as well as Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

Along with city councilman Tennell Atkins, whose district contains the new campus, Caraway has proposed a new name for the university's street address, changing it from Houston School Road to University Hills Boulevard.The 265-acre campus will expand across a 3,500-acre economic development zone in the coming years, and educators hope to see 30,000 students eventually enrolled.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said UNT Dallas was "like a dream comes true."

Gov. Perry says epic things, in epic silhouette.

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