New Initiative Creates Campus Impact

Photography by: 
Ranjani Groth
From left, Diamond Eagles Society co-founders Cathy Bryce ('91 Ph.D.), Debbie Smatresk and Shari McCoy.

A group of dedicated UNT alumni and friends joined efforts to create a lasting impact on campus through UNT's newest annual giving initiative. Less than a year after its creation, the Diamond Eagles Society has revealed its first project to fund -- the Diamond Eagles Family Patio at the UNT Alumni Pavilion near Apogee Stadium.

The UNT Diamond Eagles Society uses a venture capital model to annually pool its resources to select, and financially support, an on-campus project to positively impact the UNT community. The brainchild of co-founders Debbie Smatresk, Cathy Bryce ('91 Ph.D.) and Shari McCoy, the society launched in 2017 with 77 founding members, each contributing a minimum of $1,000. The group generated more than $80,000.

"It is a joy to be among dedicated UNT donors whose gifts steer great change on campus and foster growth for the future," Smatresk says.

Members voted on proposals submitted by campus leaders to fund a single project benefiting the university. The proposals are required to have a wide and lasting impact on the Mean Green family as well as to not need additional funding beyond what is raised each year.

A rendering of the Diamond Eagles Family Patio at the UNT Alumni Pavilion.

This year's funded project, the Diamond Eagles Family Patio at the Alumni Pavilion, will provide increased opportunities for UNT's growing alumni base to engage together during football games and will be available for other events.

Nearly doubling the usable square footage, the Diamond Eagles Family Patio includes a permanent stage as well as electrical upgrades and a drainage system to the pavilion. This new outdoor space will provide an enhanced game day experience for alumni, family and friends.

"The Diamond Eagles organization is an exciting new donor engagement program that is filling an important need for UNT," says Rob McInturf, executive director for the UNT Alumni Association. "We are honored to be the first project funded by the program. We are so grateful to the donors who are making such a tangible impact for our university."

The patio is expected to be ready for use at the first home football game against SMU on Sept. 1.

"As our alumni family grows, so should our spaces to serve them," Bryce says.

Pleased with the overall success of the society in its inaugural year, David Wolf, vice president for advancement, is looking forward to future growth.

"By joining their voices, members are able to leverage making an annual investment to have a larger impact on the university," Wolf says. "The society's key advantage is the immediate influence its investments will have on UNT."

Membership for 2018 is now open.

For more information or to join UNT's Diamond Eagles Society, visit

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