University of Texas of the Permian Basin
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (commonly called UT Permian Basin or simply UTPB) is located in Odessa, Texas. It was authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1969 and founded in 1973. Its official fall 2010 enrollment was 4,063 and projected fall 2013 enrollment is 5,073. The university faces rapid growth as a result of the oil-boom currently ongoing in the Permian Basin.
Among those who pushed for the establishment of UTPB was the oil industrialist Bill Noï¿½l, who with his wife, Ellen Witwer Noï¿½l, became major philanthropists of the institution. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin began in 1973 with only junior, senior, and graduate-level programs. There were 1,011 students when the school opened. The institution permitted student input in the interviews of prospective faculty, and student recommendations were considered when additional faculty were hired. According to legend, a rivalry with Odessa College (OC) got underway from the very beginning, when OC students taunted the UTPB students that they were too old to produce a streaker. A student finally agreed, and with only his head covered, streaked across the campus. It was a planned media event as all three television stations were present as was most of the faculty and administration including the University President, Dr. Armstead. The student jumped from the side door of a Volkswagen campmobile and ran to the crowd and camera. He then turned left and ran past the berms and out the back of the small courtyard. This was all done to great cheers. He escaped by jumping back into the Volkswagen which drove off unimpeded. Expansion during the 1990s UTPB was an upper-level and graduate university until the Texas Legislature passed a bill in spring 1991 to allow the university to accept freshmen and sophomores. The first freshmen, called the "Pioneer Freshmen", began attending UTPB in the fall semester of 1991, and students were first designated as sophomores the following fall. Odessan Chris Horton was the first member of the "Pioneer Freshmen" to graduate from UTPB, completing his bachelor's degree in political science in May 1994. In the years after freshmen and sophomores were added, UTPB has upgraded its campus extensively. In 2000, the J. Conrad Dunagan Library and Lecture Center was completed, featuring a 20-station multimedia lab and classroom. In addition, UTPB has added a visual arts studio, and has installed a Stonehenge replica. Several apartment-style building have also been added to provide housing for university students. While upgrading the campus, UTPB has also added an intercollegiate sports program. After competing in the Red River Athletic Conference of the NAIA since the fall of 1995, UTPB's sports teams debuted as members of the Heartland Conference of NCAA Division II in the fall of 2006. In 2009, UTPB finally got a radio contract to air men's home conference basketball games on KFZX to increase the interest in the school and allow parents who live out of town to listen to the games live online. Six of the eight games in 2009 will be broadcast, but two of them can not be done due to a pre-existing contract with fellow city college Odessa College. These and other changes have helped to attract local students who may have opted for junior colleges or other universities. George E. "Buddy" West, a member of the first graduating class from UTPB, represented Odessa in the Texas House of Representatives from 1993 until his death in 2008. He became the legislative point man on UTPB issues. West worked to obtain the Presidential Museum and Leadership Library, a new student union building, and the performing arts center. Another significant addition to the university has been the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute. The Institute provides seminars, training and research on public leadership all over Texas, and offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership Studies. The institute is also well regarded for its Shepperd Distinguished Lecture Series, which has brought a variety of internationally recognized individuals, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Robert McNamara, Ralph Nader, William F. Buckley, Jr., and most recently Malcolm Gladwell, to discuss salient political and social topics.
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is a general academic university of The University of Texas System. The University of Texas System is committed to pursue high-quality educational opportunities for the enhancement of the human resources of Texas, the nation, and the world through intellectual and personal growth. The mission of The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is to provide quality education to all qualified students in a supportive educational environment; to promote excellence in teaching, research, and service; and to serve as a resource for the intellectual, social, economic, and technological advancement of the diverse constituency in Texas and the region.
Urban, 644 Acres