UNT friends

Joe Kirven

Joe KirvenJoe Kirven, 90, of Dallas, who served on the Board of Regents at UNT from 1989 to 2001, died July 5. After graduating from Wiley College, he worked in the office cleaning and maintenance business with a friend. He then bought the company and turned it into a business that grossed millions of dollars a year, and also began a second business in commercial real estate investment.

As an advocate for equity and diversity in Texas’ Black community, Joe helped establish the Blue Ribbon Committee at UNT in 1995 in order to help the Black Student Alliance in their requests for change on campus. This gave rise to the establishment of the Multicultural Center, as well as the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Joe was recognized as an outstanding businessman by Ebony Magazine in 1972, one of the Five Most Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1968, and was appointed to a council on minority businesses by President Richard Nixon and invited to partake in a presidential conference for small businesses by former President Jimmy Carter. He also served as president of the Black Chamber of Commerce along with several other organizations, and provided more than $200,000 to Black businesses in Dallas through his nonprofit.

The Texas Senate adjourned early July 9 in his memory.

Visitation is scheduled at 4 p.m. July 23 and the funeral at 2 p.m. July 24, both at the Laurel Land Funeral Home, 6300 South R.L. Thornton Freeway in Dallas. 

Dolores Vann

Photo of Dolores VannDolores Vann, 86, of Denton, a dedicated supporter of UNT students and a member of the President’s Council, died June 5. She and her husband, J. Don Vann, Professor Emeritus of English, established the Vann Victorian Endowment Fund in 2004 to purchase books for the Vann Victorian Collection in the UNT Libraries’ Special Collections. The couple began collecting Victorian books in 1962, and the Vann collection includes first editions of titles such as The Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol by Dickens and The History of Pendennis by Thackeray, as well as several Victorian periodicals Dickens edited.

Dolores graduated from Texas Christian University and pursued graduate studies at the University of North Carolina and Texas Tech. She taught high school English for several years before becoming a full-time mother.

She was an activist for the preservation of historic homes in Denton, spearheading the creation of the Oak-Hickory Historical District, and was honored with a recognition ceremony in which the mayor proclaimed July 1, 2014, as “Dolores Vann Day” in Denton. The Vanns welcomed many decades of UNT students to their historic home on Oak Street for class lectures, luncheons, teas, dinners, Homecoming parade viewings and Dickens Christmas celebrations.

The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. June 9 at the Mulkey-Bowles-Montgomery Funeral Home, 705 N. Locust St. in Denton.

Memorials may be made to the Vann Victorian Endowment, Willis Library, Office of the Dean, 1506 W. Highland St., Denton, TX 76203.

Barbara Pole

Barbara Pole, 88, of Denton, who was a member of the Chilton Society alongside her husband, Fred, died Sept. 24, in Denton. Barbara raised her family while Fred served in the U.S. Army and then worked at UNT as vice president for Administrative Affairs. She was active in her church.

Jan Killen

Jan Killen, 79, of Irving, a strong supporter of UNT, died Aug. 11, in Irving. She was a lifelong philanthropist and a licensed interior designer. She served as the first president of the Irving Cultural Affairs Council and had the lead role in Irving’s Great Days of Service program. She and her husband of 35 years, Byron (’63, ’65 M.Ed.), were members of the President’s Council for their generosity to UNT, especially to the College of Education.

Rice Tilley

Rice TilleyRice Tilley, 84, who served as a member of the Board of Regents for the UNT System from 2003 to 2009, died Oct. 28 in Fort Worth. He served in the U.S. Army for two years before beginning his 50-year career as an attorney. He was active in numerous Fort Worth organizations, serving as founder of Leadership Fort Worth and chairman of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. He is remembered as a man of wit and passion.

James Wood

James Wood, 82, of Decatur, died April 22 in Denton. He was a member of the President’s Council and donated generously to UNT. He served in the military after high school, and then a friend convinced him to get into the car business. He and his wife, Shirley Wood, owned several car dealerships throughout North Texas.

Marilyn Brusilow

Marilyn Brusilow, 94, of Dallas, a longtime supporter of UNT, died March 13. She was a member of the President’s Council alongside her husband, the late Anshel Brusilow, a former orchestral professor and conductor.

Charles Mitchell Sr.

Charles Mitchell Sr. (’61), Denton. He was a member of the UNT System Board of Regents and a founding member of the Diamond Eagles Society and the President’s Council, often supporting UNT Athletics and the Alumni Association. He was an orthopedic surgery specialist who taught at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and served on its admission committee. He earned his degrees from Howard University College of Medicine and the UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Virginia West

Virginia West (’52), Vienna, West Virginia. A home economics major, she was a full-time mother, cook and seamstress. She and her husband, Norman West (’53), established the Virginia H. West and Norman E. West Chemistry Scholarship at UNT in 2013. They were members of the Chilton Society.

Paul R. Harris

PAUL R. HARRIS (’54, ’56 M.A.), Dallas. He had a long career in the arts, serving as a teacher in Dallas ISD; coordinator of educational services at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; head of the department of art education at Southern Methodist University; director of the Art Center in Waco and Craft Guild of Dallas; and an independent curator of more than 100 exhibitions. He also was a strong supporter of UNT Libraries and the College of Visual Arts and Design. He was a member of the President’s Council and the 1890 Society, and he established the Paul Rogers Harris Exhibition Endowment Fund to support the UNT Art Galleries. In 2003, he received the Legend award from the Dallas Center for Contemporary Arts.