From the presidents

From left, W.J. McConnell, Alfred F. Hurley and J.C. MatthewsPresident Neal Smatresk is UNT's 16th president. Below, words from a few of his earliest and longest-serving predecessors reflect our first century of growth.

It will be our aim to become leaders in the education of the young men and women of Texas, fitting them to creditably fill the most important positions in business and professional circles. We desire the cooperation of all who believe in higher education and who want to see our state in the very front of intellectual as well as material progress.

-- President Joshua C. Chilton (1890-1893), opening speech for the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute, 1890

Teach so that you may almost hear the clapping of hands from your pupils as they rejoice in the delights of newly discovered truth. Teach so as to make the pupil feel more and more that universal ends are those he should choose.

-- President M.B. Terrill (1894-1901), undated lecture

Notwithstanding the minimum age at which students may enter is fixed at 16, more students above 25 than below 18 were enrolled. ... It naturally followed that the government of such a body would not be difficult. Here and there, it is true, restraining influences were now and then necessary, but the discipline of the school was at no time difficult.

-- President J.S. Kendall (1901-1906), report to State Board of Education, 1902

I hope that next session, as more and more of our boys in khaki re-enter, the literary societies will begin with renewed vigor and deeper purpose, and that all of us may realize more fully than ever before our ideal of a perfectly educated man, strong in physique, learned in science, versed in art, skilled in hand, gentle in manner, and sound in judgment.

-- President W.H. Bruce (1906-1923), message in 1920 Yucca

After your stay of four years, the campus is not the same; you have knowingly and unknowingly done something to it. And the college goes out with you. It will influence your thinking and your living, no matter how far you may travel; no matter what is your work. … Renew your campus contacts often. It will refresh and rejuvenate you, and your visits will be good for the college.

-- President R.L. Marquis (1923-1934), message in 1931 Yucca

In my 17 years as president, I have seen the regular nine months' enrollment grow from 1,700 to 6,000; the campus expand from 24 to 300 acres; ... the "teachers college" name changed to North Texas State College; and finally, I have seen NTSC organized into a university-type institution. ... NTSC has attained a status which commands within the state the favorable recognition recorded it throughout the nation.

-- President W.J. McConnell (1934-1951), final report to regents, 1951

Additional dollars, additional buildings, additional students alone do not ensure greatness. ... Men, not bricks and mortar, are the abiding value. The task of a university is to weld together imagination and experience and enthusiasm and wisdom. ... The educated man is the goal. All else are but means.

-- President J.C. Matthews (1951-1968), speech recorded for 1962 time capsule

From the beginning, North Texas ... has been more accessible, more democratic and more inclusive than many state universities. Long after it stopped being exclusively a teachers college, North Texas retained its reputation as a people's university. As we begin the phase as an emerging research university, that quality of community ... must not be lost.

-- Chancellor and President Alfred F. Hurley (president 1982-2000, chancellor 1982-2002), comments for UNT's Centennial, 1990

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