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UNT Alumni Awards

April 8th, 2014 | Posted in Alumni News

The University of North Texas will honor student creativity and outstanding alumni at the 2014 UNT Alumni Awards dinner at 7 p.m. on April 11 (Friday) in UNT’s Gateway Center, located at 801 North Texas Blvd.

The UNT Alumni Awards showcase the caliber of the university’s alumni and celebrate the depth and breadth of their professional accomplishments and service to the community.

Three UNT students have been named finalists for the first-ever Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Awards, made possible by a $350,000 gift from donors Bob and Bette Sherman. The first prize winner will receive $10,000, the remaining two finalists will each receive $2,000. The finalists will find out which prize they receive at the April 11 dinner.

The 2014 finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Vishnu Dantu, a student in UNT’s Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) program, who created a smartphone-based blood glucose monitor for diabetic patients.
  • Jaicheng (Jason) He, also a TAMS student, who developed a computer algorithm to identify coronary artery ostium points to help doctors find blockages that can cause heart attacks.
  • Eva Polgar, a piano performance graduate student, who combines her piano performance, collaboration, composition and music education abilities through the introduction of select musical pieces and artistic projects, demonstrating how creative elements affect the musical community and concert audiences.

“The Inspiration awards celebrate what happens when you combine knowledge, creativity and innovation — everything that makes up the UNT spirit. That spirit is alive in our students and alumni so it’s fitting that we are honoring the success of both groups at our Alumni Awards dinner,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said.

Smatresk was a member of a six-judge panel that chose finalists for the Inspiration Awards from a pool of more than 30 students nominated by UNT faculty and staff members. Other judges were Adrienne Cornelsen, president and CEO of Insite; Art Goven, dean of UNT’s College of Arts and Sciences; Nancy Hong, executive director of the UNT Innovation Greenhouse; Tiffaney Dale Hunter, president and CEO of Tiffaney Dale Agency and UNT alumnus; and Robert Milnes, dean of UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design.

This year’s Alumni Award honorees include business and industry leaders; a family whose support has spanned several generations; and the members of UNT’s first social fraternity, the Geezles, an organization founded in 1927 to promote school spirit among the student body.

The 2014 UNT Alumni Awards recipients are:

peter-weller Peter Weller (’70), who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, is best known for his starring roles in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite and Robocop, in addition to TV work including Sons of Anarchy, Longmire and Dexter.

Ernie Kuehne Jr. (’66), who also will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, is president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Co., a member of the State Bar of Texas, the UNT McConnell Society and Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Alumni Advisory Board, and a lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association and UNT Ex-Letterman’s Association. Kuehne is a 2014 UNT Athletics Hall of Fame inductee as the winner of Fred McCain Award for Outstanding Service and the 2013 recipient of the Ulys Knight Spirit Award. He established the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series on National Security in 2013. In August 2012, Kuehne chaired UNT’s Basketball Enhancement Committee, which raised more than $3 million in gifts for a new basketball training facility, a state-of-the-art scoreboard in the UNT Coliseum and additional funding for scholarships. As part of that campaign, Kuehne presented the athletic department with a cornerstone $1 million gift. ernie-kuehne

Terry-Brewer Terry Brewer (’65, ’70 Ph.D.), who will also receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry from UNT. He is the founder and CEO of Brewer Science, a global leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced materials and equipment for the microdevices used in tablet computers, smartphones, digital cameras, televisions and LED lighting.

Graham Douglas (’05), who will receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, was named one of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 in Marketing and Advertising for his award-winning work as creative director at the New York City-based ad agency Droga5. graham-douglas

gabriella-draney Gabriella Draney (’02), who will also receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, is the co-founder and CEO of Tech Wildcatters, named one of the Forbes Top 10 seed accelerators for its work connecting technology startups to resources.

C. Tait Cruse (’89), who will receive the Outstanding Alumni Service Award, is managing partner of the Northwestern Mutual—Dallas. Cruse supports UNT’s Northwestern Mutual Integrated Business Case Competition, the anchor element of the College of Business’ capstone course, which provides graduating seniors the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to solve a complex business problem. c.tait-cruse

melisa-denis Melisa Denis (’86, ’86 M.S.), who will also receive the Outstanding Alumni Service Award, is partner-in-charge of international executive services for KPMG—Dallas. She serves on the UNT Foundation Board of Directors and the College of Business Advisory Board. She and her husband, JF, were among those who lent philanthropic support to the construction of UNT’s Business Leadership Building.

The Geezle Fraternity, which will receive the Ulys Knight Spirit Award, counts among its members among their alumni business and civic leaders, professional athletes, UNT regents, university professors and scores of coaches, athletic trainers, administrators and teachers. The Geezles were instrumental in installing “Spiriki,” the bronze eagle statue at UNT’s Apogee Stadium. The name is an old fraternity greeting believed to be the combination of the words “spirit” and “kee,” the cry of an attacking eagle. c-dan-smith_v-lane-rawlins

Joe-Guerra The Family of Joe Guerra, who will receive the Generations of Excellence Award, owns and operates Rudy’s Tortillas and Food Products, one of the leading manufacturers of tortillas in the country. The family includes several UNT alumni: siblings Joe Guerra (’96), Rudy’s vice president of sales; Kathy Guerra Purser (’81), who works in accounting for the family business; and Linda Guerra Dyer (’90), a teacher in McKinney. Joe’s wife, Pauline (’05); the siblings’ aunt Esperanza Espinoza (’75); and Kathy’s daughter Rachel Purser (’09) are also UNT graduates. The Guerra family established the Rudy’s Tortillas Foundation Scholarship in 1996 to support UNT students; collectively the family has contributed nearly $77,000 to the university.

The event also will be broadcast live online at

More information about the Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Awards can be found online at

More information about the Alumni Awards dinner can be found online at

UNT Kuehne Speaker Series on National Security – Robert Kaplan

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in Alumni News


Author and geopolitical analyst, named one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine for his work including The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate


Sponsorships are available at $2,500, $5,000 and $12,500. To learn more about these opportunities, contact:

Heather Cairns at 940.565.2342 or
David Broughton at 940.367.0995


UNT Alumni Rate $45
Members of the World Affairs Council and the Dallas Regional Chamber may purchase tickets
and tables at the discounted rate.
Individual Rate $60

About the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series
The UNT Kuehne Speaker Series on National Security was established in 2013 and features internationally recognized leaders involved in a wide variety of issues and topics that impact national and human security. The series was established with the generous support of UNT alumnus Ernie Kuehne, an attorney; president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Company;
and a longtime supporter of his alma mater. Kuehne will receive the university’s highest honor,
the Distinguished Alumnus Award, this year.

Sponsored by the Beck Group
Supporting organizations: World Affairs Council and Greater Dallas Chamber

Join Now and Receive this Exclusive T-shirt

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in Alumni News

unt alumni 2014Join the UNT Alumni Association on or before May 15 and receive this exclusive t-shirt! Simply log onto

And complete the form. Make sure you include enews t-shirt in the Appeal Code box in order to receive your t-shirt!

By joining the UNT Alumni Association, you join a network of more than 213,000 graduates who help us promote the spirit and traditions of UNT by connecting members, alumni, students and friends through valuable engagement opportunities.

Join Today!

Career Corner

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in Career Corner

Partner Profile

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in Partner Profiles

A Message from Liberty Mutual Insurance

LibertyMutualYou can help the next generation of Eagles receive a UNT education.

Support your future alumni! Simply get a free quote on Liberty Mutual Auto, Home, or Renters Insurance between April 15, 2014 and July 15, 2014, and we will donate $10 to the UNT Alumni Association’s Scholarship Fund1 What’s more, we’ll donate up to $10,000 to the top two alumni associations with the most quotes1!

You, too, can benefit! Liberty Mutual has partnered with your alumni association to provide you quality insurance coverage. We offer benefits such as:

  • Accident and Loss Forgiveness, if you qualify
  • Better Car ReplacementTM
  • Discounts that could save you hundreds of dollars2

Visit Liberty Mutual or call 855-323-2150 for a free, no-obligation quote and we’ll contribute to your school’s scholarship fund.


1 No purchase of a policy is required. Limit one quote per policy type per person. Not available to existing Liberty Mutual Insurance customers. <<Top alumni associations determined by the ratio of the number of quotes to number of alumni association eligibles. First prize is $10,000 and second prize is $8,000.>>

2 Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify.

This organization receives financial support for allowing Liberty Mutual to offer this auto and home insurance program. Auto insurance underwritten and provided by Liberty County Mutual Insurance Company, 2100 Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, TX. Home insurance underwritten and provided by Liberty Insurance Corporation, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. © 2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Calendar of Events

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in Events



April 10
Ring Presentation Ceremony
Gateway Ballroom

April 11
Alumni Awards
Gateway Ballroom

April 16
Celebrate Mayborn
Gateway Center

April 17
Spring 2014 Government/Non-Profit Expo & Criminal Justice Career Day
1-4 pm
UNT Coliseum


May 6
UNT Kuehne Speaker Series featuring Robert D. Kaplan
W Dallas Victory Hotel, Dallas

May 9-10

Commencement Reception
Gateway Ballroom

May 14-22
Greek Isles Cruise

May 19
Coaches Caravan – Denton
6-8 pm
Apogee Stadium, HUB Club

May 20
Coaches Caravan – Plano
6-8 pm
Park Place Lexus, Plano, TX 75024

May 21
Coaches Caravan – Gainesville
6-8 pm
First State Bank Conference Center
837 E. California St.
Gainesville, TX 76240

May 22
Coaches Caravan – Dallas
6-8 pm
Cotton Bowl, Club Level
3750 The Midway – Gate 3
Dallas, TX 75215


July 18-20
Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference

UNT News Briefs

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in UNT News Briefs

UNT students win top awards at advertising competitions

Students in the communication design program at UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design won top honors in two major advertising competitions – the Dallas and Fort Worth American Advertising Awards.

Click here to read the full story.

UNT College of Music receives $1 million to support Czech residency endowment

The UNT College of Music has received $1 million from Dr. Francis Kostohryz to further endow the residency that honors his parentsand promotes teaching, performance and research related to Czech music and culture.

Click here to read the full story.

Two UNT TAMS students named 2014 Goldwater Scholars

Annabel Wang and Sivabalan Manivasagam, two Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science students at UNT, have been named 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.

Click here to read the full story.

UNT’s Innovation Greenhouse launches Big D Big Data Hackathon

The Innovation Greenhouse will host the Big D Big Data Hackathon beginning at 6 p.m. March 28 (Friday) through March 29 (Saturday) at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Irving, where participants will show off predictive analysis skills to judges, working professionals, entrepreneurs and more.

Click here to read the full story.

Colleges and Schools Highlights

April 7th, 2014 | Posted in Highlights

College of Education

International student teacher exchange program marks second year
International Student Teacher Exchange Program

An international student teacher exchange with the University of North Texas College of Education and University of Seville in Spain continued this year with five students from the University of Seville teaching in Denton Independent School District schools through March 8. Full story…

Alumna takes education beyond the classroom, introduces soccer to children in underserved community

While pursuing a master’s degree in Ohio, recent College of Education graduate Sam Parker (’13) leads PLAY SOCCER Appalachia (PSA), and after school program that focuses on health, social and soccer skills for elementary age children in underserved Appalachia areas. Read more…

College of Engineering

College of Engineering

From left to right:
PACCAR Professor Yong Tao, Chair of the department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering.
Landon Sproull, Chief Engineer, Peterbilt
Darrin Siver, Vice President and General Manager, Peterbilt.

PACCAR is the parent company of subsidiary Peterbilt based in Denton, TX. The PACCAR Foundation endowed the PACCAR Technology Institute and the PACCAR Professorship in 2004.

College of Information

Corinne HillCorinne Hill (MS ’95) – UNT Department of Library and Information Sciences – 2014 Outstanding Alumna

Corinne Hill has always been a change agent in the library profession and has actively participated in the evolution of the modern public library. She has been in the library business for 19 years and was named Executive Director of Chattanooga Public Library in 2012.

In January, Library Journal named her its 2014 Librarian of the Year. “We knew Corinne Hill was destined to be a star back in 2004, when she was named an LJ Mover & Shaker,” said Editor-at-Large John N. Berry III. “She has transformed what consultants June Garcia and Susan Kent called the ‘ugly, irrelevant, and mismanaged’ public libraries of Hamilton County, TN, into the new and vibrant CPL,” he said.

Ms. Hill earned a Master of Science in Information Science degree in 1995. She has been an avid supporter of the College of Information Alumni Society. She served as president, board member and liaison to the Alumni Society and the UNT Alumni Association. She has been active in mentoring students, creating student tours of the Denton and Dallas Libraries, and personally recruiting students to UNT.

Dr. Holly M. HutchinsDr. Holly M. Hutchins (PhD ‘04) – UNT Department of Learning Technologies – 2013-14 Outstanding Alumna

Holly M. Hutchins’ career path exemplifies her dedication to improving quality in the workplace, both outside and inside the academy. Dr. Hutchins is Associate Professor of Human Resource Development at the University of Houston, where she teaches courses in research design, training and development, adult learning, program evaluation, facilitation, and global leadership. She earned her PhD in Applied Technology, Training & Development in 2004.

Dr. Hutchins’ primary research areas are transfer of learning, organizational crisis management, and faculty development. Her publications have appeared in US and international journals. She is currently conducting research on a National Science Foundation grant that investigates increasing recruitment, retention and advancement of women STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) faculty. In 2013, she was recognized as a “Difference Maker” by the University of Houston’s Commission on Women to acknowledge leadership and work toward gender inclusiveness and diversity on campus.

Dr. Hutchins has taught at the university level for over 15 years, having begun at UNT as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Communication Studies and then as a Lecturer in the College of Business Administration while completing her doctoral work. Before going to Houston, she taught in the University College at Tulane University.

College of Music

Symphony Orchestra and Grand Chorus

The Symphony Orchestra and Grand Chorus, led by David Itkin and Jerry McCoy, join forces on April 23 to present a program of dramatic, large-scale masterworks written during the last 150 years. Linda Di Fiore, Regents Professor of Voice, gives her farewell performance as a UNT faculty member in Brahms’ haunting Alto Rhapsody for alto, male chorus, and orchestra, and the symphony presents one of Stravinsky’s earliest masterpieces, L’oiseau de feu (The Firebird). The program will also include contemporary composer J.A.C. Redford’s elegy Rest Now, My Sister for choir and orchestra and Poulenc’s Gloria featuring UNT faculty member Carol Wilson (soprano) with the combined ensembles.

UNT at the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival

Enjoy three days of musical performances by UNT groups at the annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival this April 25-27. The Showcase Stage features performances by 28 UNT ensembles including the famed One O’Clock Lab Band, the UNT Jazz Singers, the Mariachi Águilas, the African Percussion Ensemble, and many more. Visit for more details about this free event.

Center for Learning Enhancement

Outstanding teachers at UNT do make a difference for students. They make learning challenging and fun; they are available when needed; and they weather many storms with students to foster bright futures. When teachers have made this kind of a difference, many students wish for a way to say “Thanks”.

UNT students and alums have a wonderful way to say “Thanks” through the “Thank a Teacher” Program here at UNT. Beginning March 3rd, current students and alums will be able to complete the form at to share their thanks with their UNT teacher(s). You may complete as many of these forms as you wish (one for each teacher you wish to thank). You may also choose to remain anonymous. Your notes will be sent to your teachers as part of a letter of recognition from the Provost with copies to their Deans and Department Chairs!

Emerald Eagle Honors

Emerald Eagle Honors

A crowd of 1,000-plus supporters gathered March 5 at the Meyerson Symphony Center for the 2014 Emerald Eagle Honors event saluting distinguished UNT alumni Phyllis George, the first female sportscaster on national TV, actress and 1971 Miss America; Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter; and Peter Weller, actor and Academy Award nominee.

Presented by the UNT Foundation, the Kennedy Center Honors-type production benefited the Emerald Eagle Scholars program, which helps high-achieving but financially challenged students pursue their college dreams by providing financial aid and academic support.

Introducing the honorees were actress Ali MacGraw, legendary sportscaster Brent Musburger, and Robert Edsel, New York Times best-selling author of The Monuments Men. UNT alum George Dunham of the Sportsradio 1310am/96.7fm The Ticket and former MLB announcer Dave Barnett co-hosted the event.

In addition to stellar video and musical tributes, UNT president Dr. Neal Smatresk emphasized the importance of the program, and Emerald Eagle Scholars shared their inspirational stories.

Mayborn School of Journalism

Jo Virgil (’94 M.J.) serves as community outreach and information coordinator for the Committee on People with Disabilities and helped lead the effort to for UNT to host the 31st annual Barbara Jordan Media Awards luncheon March 20. The event was a huge success.

  • Hats off and best wishes to Jo Ann Ballantine, who retired Feb. 28, as marketing specialist III from UNT’s Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. She holds degrees in journalism and received a M.S. in Library Science from UNT in 2008.
  • Congratulations to Samra Bufkins (’87 M.J.). She will receive the Honors Professor Award, a student-nominated award presented at the Honors Day Convocation in the Murchison Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 4, 2014, from 3-5 p.m.

Kelly Briggs, who attended UNT and graduated from Metro State University in Denver, started today as the marketing specialist III for the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism.

She comes to UNT after working as an advertising manager and corporate communications manager for the Dallas Stars. She has experience in social media marketing, media planning and placement, event planning, project management, copywriting and content development.

Prior to joining the Dallas Stars, she worked as a digital media specialist with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She has worked for Citadel Media in creative services and as manager for broadcast standards for Radio Disney. Kelly worked for Clear Channel three years in a variety of roles including national marketing/promotions coordinator, traffic network producer/reporter and as a morning on-air personality at KZPS. She is a Denton native, attended UNT and earned her bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Metropolitan State University in Denver. Please extend a hearty welcome to Kelly.

Click here for the latest Mayborn Insider e-newsletter.

UNT Community Engagement

UNT Community Engagement

University of North Texas Community Engagement winners top from left, Michael McPherson, Wendy Middlemiss, Bruce Nacke and Danielle Cooper standing in for Whitney Peake. Bottom from left, Rosanna Boyd, Oscar Garcia and Casey Barrio. Photograph taken on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 at UNT in Denton. (Gary Payne/UNT Photo)

UNT Community Engagement GrantsA local soup kitchen, victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse, people with Parkinson’s disease, high-risk infants, family businesses and Hispanic students who want to attend college will all find help through UNT’s new community engagement partnerships. The offices of Community Engagement, Provost and Research and Economic Development recently awarded seven grants to UNT faculty members to provide services in those areas around the Denton-Dallas- Fort Worth region.

UNT System Human Resources

UNT System is growing! We need people like you to fill these, and other great positions. To view a full list of available positions and apply online visit

Web Developer – The Institutional Research & Effectiveness department is seeking to hire a PHP competent IT Specialist IV to join their team. Extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP 5 with MySQL extensions, experience with relational database design and complex SQL statements, and knowledge of XML & SOAP are highly preferred.

HR Director – Talent Acquisition – This position will be based in the System Human Resources office located in Fort Worth, and reports directly to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. We have recently completed our transition to shared services which will allow us to be the strategic partner needed by our customers while providing outstanding programs and services. Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree, ten years experience in Human Resources, and at least three years experience managing a team of recruiters.

HRIS Business Analyst – The HRIS Business Analyst is an intermediate level position that works with HR Directors and their customers to analyze work process design and flow, improve processes, and leverage the return on technological capabilities. This position serves as a technical point-of-contact and IT liaison for assigned functional areas and assists subject matter experts with ensuring data integrity, testing of system changes, report writing, and analyzing data flows for process improvement opportunities. This position will be responsible for regular communication with customers, and will need to possess the ability to translate customer requests into workable HRIS updates. In this position, building and maintaining customer relationships will be equally important to HRIS programming knowledge.

Facilities Planner – Campus Planner – This position researches, develops, and prepares preliminary and final plans for short- and long-range campus planning projects. This position is responsible for the management of planning projects, including managing studies and projects associated with physical planning and public approvals to support project specific needs. Performs various aspects of campus planning including area plans, land use studies, campus zoning, impact analysis, public/private development, historic preservation, transportation, sustainability/environmental, development controls and demographic and economic studies.

UNT System is an AA/EOE/ADA employer. For employment questions, please contact


Join The Mean Green Club!

Help us in supporting student-athlete scholarships and North Texas Athletics. Members of the Mean Green Club receive exclusive access to North Texas Athletics. As part of the Mean Green Club you enjoy yearlong benefits such as invitations to member-only events, the best parking and seating available, and so much more. Mean Green Club membership and season ticket purchases also increase your priority points. Visit for more information or Click HERE to join now. Ask about our Recent Grad Program!

2014 Football Season Tickets On Sale NOW

Fans can renew season tickets and purchase new season tickets online and in person at the North Texas Athletic Ticket Office at Apogee Stadium, or by phone at 940-565-2527 or 800-868-2366. Those fans with season tickets for the 2013 season have until June 1, 2014 to renew their tickets. Click HERE to renew now!

2014 Coaches Caravan – Save the Dates!

May 19 – Denton, TX (6-8pm)
Apogee Stadium, HUB Club
Denton, TX 76207

May 20 – Plano, TX (6-8pm)
Park Place Lexus
Plano, TX 75024

May 21 – Gainesville, TX (6-8pm)
First State Bank Conference Center
837 E. California St.
Gainesville, TX 76240

May 22 – Dallas, TX (6-8pm)
Cotton Bowl, Club Level
One AT&T Way
Arlington, TX 762011