Turning 125

President Neal Smatresk shares his Mean Green pride and greets students with the Eagle Claw on the first day of fall classes. (Photo by Michael Clements)On Sept. 16, 1890, Joshua C. Chilton founded the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute -- now UNT -- with a vision to be the best and a commitment to do its best for students. We work hard to fulfill that mission every day. We're now a thriving public research university with nationally recognized programs, 37,000 students and 380,000 alumni.

As you'll read in this special commemorative issue, which includes a list of the "125 Things We Love About UNT," created with input from our alumni, students, faculty and staff, our history is one of originality and adaptation. We always have taken the road less traveled on our path to excellence -- from admitting women on our opening day to pioneering water quality research, establishing the nation's first jazz studies program and becoming one of the first universities in Texas to desegregate.

We're celebrating that pioneering spirit with events throughout the year. I hope many of you were able to join us for Founder's Week, which featured my State of the University address. Our next anniversary highlight is Homecoming Week Oct.4-10. This year's theme -- "Forever Mean Green: A Journey Through Time" -- is a nod to our history and traditions, and I look forward to celebrating with you.

You can learn more about these celebrations and our history at 125.unt.edu. You also can watch a special 125th anniversary video that tells the story of how UNT has transformed from a teacher training school into the nation's 25th largest university.

In my State of the University address, I discussed how our past and our future intersect as we build on 125 years of excellence to become a nationally prominent university. Each year, we're making significant progress through our Planning Implementation process and Action Plan.

Turning 125 is a great time to take stock of our progress. Since 1890, UNT has fueled opportunity and growth, and through our students, alumni and friends like you, we make the world a better place. We have a storied past, and an even brighter future.