Anjali SundaramMercury Staff
Designed for UTD alumni and students to connect better, the Davidson-Gundy Alumni center is open to current students and alumni, offering networking opportunities to both.
Situated behind the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building and adjacent to the Naveen Jindal School of Management, the center expands over 30,000 square feet of indoor space and another 33,000 square feet of exterior space.
Complete with a ballroom, a second-floor executive meeting space and three conference rooms, the building is a place where alumni can return to UTD and connect with current students.
Charles Davidson was among the seven speakers at the opening of the Alumni Center on Sept. 7. The namesakes of the building, Davidson and his wife, Nancy Gundy Davidson, donated $15 million toward the center’s creation. During the ceremony, Davidson spoke about the reasons for his donation and his hope that it will increase alumni outreach.
“The idea of bringing an alumni center to Dallas was something that really resonated with Nancy and I,” Davidson said. “Since our first major gift, which was to the school of management 17 years ago, we have been real strong advocates of getting more alumni engagement in the university. We need their support, and we need the support of future alumni, who are students here today.”
Davidson said his goal is for UTD’s 100,000 alumni to join with current students in order to envision a better future for the university.
“This is not just about a beautiful building,” Davidson said. “Yes, it’s a beautiful building, and buildings are important, but I think if we stop there we would have really missed the goal. The prize is, as we look forward, that we have a great university that is supported by motivated and engaged alumni who know that they’re critically important to the success of this institution.”
Student Government President JW Van Der Schans spoke on behalf of the student body at the ceremony. He acknowledged the accomplishments of UTD alumni and the prospects the building has for the student body, such as graduates offering advice and job opportunities to current students.
“The opportunity for, not only alumni, but existing students to expand our parameters of success is incredible and, unlike other institutions that have these aged bridges between alumni and existing students, this one is fresh and new for many people to cross,” Van Der Schans said.
Closing out the ceremony, Van Der Schans said the expansion and development of UTD is a monumental change that can be embodied by the building.
“We have learned at UT Dallas how to succeed professionally and personally in our lives, and now fellow UTD graduates, individuals that want to help us succeed, can help us do just that by expanding our opportunities and by giving us chances to work with them, alongside them, learn from them, so that UTD isn’t the only experience that we have when improving our education,” Van Der Schans said. “It’s simply the first step.”