A Year for the History Books

Journalism students
Young journalists work to gather information for news articles.

Fresh off the heels of the Mayborn School of Journalism's 75th anniversary -- which was celebrated during the 2020-21 school year, three quarters of a century after C.E. "Pop" Shuford established the university's first formal journalism program -- several other colleges, programs and departments across UNT also are commemorating milestones.

Early jazz performace at UNT
Students in the early years of UNT's jazz studies program.

UNT's College of Music is heralding 75 years of its jazz studies program. In 1946, the first laboratory band was formed to try out the music from a dance band arranging class, part of a curriculum proposed in the master's thesis of Gene Hall, who would direct the program. Later named jazz studies, it was the first degree of its kind in the nation and the program soon made a name for itself around the world -- particularly with its One O'Clock Lab Band, which has earned seven Grammy nominations and toured internationally.

Business students at UNT
Students in the early 1950s collaborating with a mentor in UNT's business school.

The 1946-47 school year also marks the 75th anniversary of UNT's organization into the first college and schools, known then as the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School and the Schools of Business Administration, Education, Home Economics and Music. (UNT is now home to 14 colleges and schools). Business is celebrating a double anniversary this year, since it was 50 years ago that it was redesignated the College of Business Administration. The college was renamed again in 2019, after UNT regent and business alum G. Brint Ryan ('88, '88 M.S.) and his wife, Amanda, gave UNT $30 million -- the largest gift in university history.

UNT Willis Libary construction
Willis Library under construction on the UNT campus.

Additionally, Willis Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Originally known just as the "Library," the building -- which sits in the center of campus -- was renamed in honor of A.M. Willis Jr. in 1978 during his 13th year as a regent for the university and ninth year as chairman of the Board of Regents. Now it is home to some of campus' most innovative resources, such as The Spark, a hands-on makerspace for the UNT community that includes 3D printing, filmmaking and VR equipment.