UNT has served the residents of Denton County since 1890, and this spring we took a historic step to increase our presence in Collin County. Thanks to a partnership with the city of Frisco and its Frisco Economic and Community Development corporations, we will build a 100-acre branch campus to serve at least 5,000 students. It's an exciting opportunity to continue cultivating programs and serving the residents of Frisco -- the second-fastest-growing city in the nation. Our newest venture illustrates that we are the University for North Texas.
This was just one of the highlights of the spring semester. We also broke ground for our new biomedical engineering building, became Texas' first public university with a collegiate esports program and celebrated our third Wingspan Gala.
As you'll read in our cover story, "Putting the Tech in Texas," innovation is a key to success for our alumni in the startup arena. Innovation also is at play here at UNT, as we constantly look for ways to conduct next-generation research and build new technologies and opportunities. Upon meeting Dejian Liu -- founder of NetDragon, a Chinese internet and mobile internet gaming and education delivery company -- I saw how we could partner to help improve student success. In May, we launched UNT's NetDragon Digital Research Centre to give UNT faculty and students additional opportunities for research, internships, training and technology development.
Our 2017-18 academic year has been incredible. By August, we expect to have awarded 9,000 degrees this year -- more than ever before. UNT students have tremendous opportunities to succeed in 227 degree programs, including our Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences program, which awards credit for experience.
I hope you have a great summer and will stop by to visit campus if you're traveling through the area. UNT is transforming rapidly, and we're thankful to have supporters like you in our corner.