As the University of Texas at Dallas continues to expand its reach and reputation, the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center fills a major void by becoming a prominently located, active meeting place for alumni and students of UT Dallas. A stunning mural wrapper captures the spirit of the campus and the brilliant trajectory of its students and alumni.
For college graduates, the joy of returning to their alma mater is largely found in reuniting with other alumni and interacting with current students. Since opening in 1978, The University of Texas at Dallas had no facility dedicated to such activities, so opportunities for alumni to feel connected to the institution remained extremely limited. The ramifications of this void when it came to legacy building, fundraising, and even recruiting new students were a handicap for a growing university.
Through the passionate and visionary commitment of generous donors and the heartfelt dedication of the UTD Alumni Association and University President, the void has been eliminated, and filled instead with a point of resonance for students past and present. The university enlisted Overland Partners to design the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center as an inspirational, motivational, and aspirational meeting place where alumni and students can join together in an ongoing celebration of the university’s accomplishments with an eye towards the future. According to Principal in Charge Rick Archer, “The university thought about students as future alumni, so they wanted a place for collaboration and community, where alumni can interact with students on a daily basis throughout the school year.”
The Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center includes a multifunctional ballroom, a conference center with office and meeting spaces, and an inspirational hall. Situated at the entrance to the UTD campus, the facility opens onto a green lawn that is approached directly from a parking garage. Opened on September 7, 2017, the LEED Gold-certified facility employs numerous efficiencies. Because true connection is about more than physical space, Overland worked with materials specialists to elevate the space even further. A metal scrim that runs along areas of the interior and exterior is articulated with apertures that represent the orbits of comets moving around the sun. Metaphorically, this motif draws an analogy between comets, which move away from the sun but are ultimately pulled back by the gravitational force of the sun or a planet, and alumni who graduate to pursue a new direction but retain their attachment and loyalty to the university. Comets are also the university mascot.
The Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center has become a transformational place that engages the entire university community. According to Archer, “It gives them a place to gather, to tell their story, to welcome people back, and to send them off” as they pursue their futures.