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Founder's Week tradition begins

Administration building throwback

From our humble beginnings in a rented space in downtown Denton 125 years ago, UNT has grown into the nation's 25th largest public university with more than 37,000 students.

Join President Neal Smatresk for UNT’s inaugural Founder’s Week this week — in honor of the university's first day of classes on Sept. 16, 1890 — as we kick into high gear to celebrate UNT’s 125th anniversary. The week commemorates UNT's 125 years of progress, growth, service and impact. The week’s events include food, fun and festivities. Learn more below about other Founder’s Week events and ways to show your pride.

State of the University

In honor of UNT’s first day of classes, President Smatresk will give his 2015 State of the University Sept. 16, highlighting UNT’s rich past and bright future.

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015

Doors open at 1:15 p.m. Presentation begins at 2 p.m.

Murchison Performing Arts Center

Reception to follow immediately after in the Horace and Euline Brock Grand Lobby

State of the University Event Details

  • There will be special exhibits on display from archives to highlight UNT’s 125th anniversary including the original manuscript of Founder Joshua C. Chilton’s 1890 opening day speech. Come early to see the exhibits!
  • Refreshments that include the debut of the “1890” ice cream (lime crunch ice cream)
  • Takeaways

State of the University Parking and Transportation Details

  • Carpooling and walking to the Murchison are encouraged.
  • General parking will be open in Lot 20 (Fouts Field lot) between noon and 10 p.m. for all faculty, staff, students and visitors that day.
  • The first five rows of the Fouts Field lots (rows nearest to the Murchison) will be reserved from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for anyone attending the event. Watch for signage to these spaces.
  • Valet parking will be available at the circle drive near the Murchison.
  • Please remember to display the appropriate parking pass if you park there before or after those hours.  
  • Besides driving or walking to the Murchison, you can ride several UNT buses that stop near the building. Check the latest bus routes and schedules for the Campus Cruiser, Mean Green, North Texan and Eagle Point routes.

Happy Birthday UNT! Cupcake Celebration

To celebrate UNT’s birthday and founding in 1890, join Scrappy at the Library Mall at 11 a.m. Sept. 16 for cupcakes!

125 Hours of Giving, 4,000 Ways to Make an Impact

UNT Giving Week is the university's 125-hour giving campaign from Sept. 14-19. Created to commemorate UNT's 125th anniversary year, the campaign is the first in the university's history to span more than one day and include all of UNT's community. Gifts can be made to any of the university's 4,000 funds such as the Inspire UNT Fund, which helps promote academic excellence.

Future Eagles

UNT will celebrate our longtime ties to the Denton community by hosting sixth-grade students from the Denton Independent School District on campus for two days. Students will tour the campus, attend mock classes and eat lunch on campus as part of their visit Sept. 15 and Sept. 17.

Founder's Week Picnic

Food and festivities are the focus of the Founder’s Week picnic from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Library Mall. The UNT community is invited to dine on barbecue and hear details from President Smatresk about his State of the University address. Students, faculty and staff must present their UNT ID at the event.

Family Weekend

Founder's Week ends with fun-filled festivities during Family Weekend Sept. 18-20, the first big event of the year for students to share their UNT experiences and the campus with their family and friends. Highlights include the home opener at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19 when the Mean Green takes on Rice University. Check the schedule of events and get your tickets.


Joshua C. Chilton was UNT's founding president, serving at what was then the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute from 1890 to 1893. He left an indelible mark on UNT’s history and we’ll celebrate his legacy all week. Students and the campus community can try on Chilton's beard and have their photos taken at booths set up across campus all week, including at Kerr Hall, Bruce Hall and the Pohl Recreation Center.

  • Share selfies wearing the beard on Twitter and Instagram with #chillwithchilton and #UNT125.
  • Students who can show that they have posted a selfie on social media at the Founder's Week Picnic will receive a Chill with Chilton T-shirt, while supplies last.

Green with Pride

Every Friday is Mean Green Pride Day! Wear your green every Friday and show your pride.

Enter to win a spirit pack, which includes a UNT-branded T-shirt and more. Send an email to InHouse with “Founders Week” in the subject line by 5 p.m. Sept. 18. Winners will be chosen at random from all responses.

— Adrienne Nettles, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

Above, An archive picture from a student event is photographed where it was originally taken outside the Hurley Administration Building. (Crystal Hollis, student assistant, URCM)

Posted on: Mon 14 September 2015

Owning Excellence

Faculty and staff members have roles in transforming UNT into a nationally prominent university. Share your ideas on how you can help UNT to own excellence, keep students on track and improve graduation education.

Mean Green Pride


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