Category Archives: UT Tyler History

Citizen Diplomacy: the Sisterhood of Tyler and Metz

One of the smaller collections within the University Archives and Special Collections Department at UT Tyler is our brief collection of papers regarding the Sister Cities International organization here in Tyler in the 1980s. The national organization was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, where he emphasized the power of citizen diplomacy to fuel educational, civic, social, and governmental relationships between cities to tackle issues of water, sanitation, and health. Not only did it initially help repair ties in Europe and the Pacific after World War II, it helped diplomatic relationships on the world stage in times of tension in the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. and China. By 1989, a lot of cities in the U.S. not only had one sister city, but sought out partnership from many cities across the globe. In 1983 over 700 U.S. cities were a part of this program, making nearly 1050 twining affiliations around the world. This was in accordance to certain criteria. This may include similarities in population, a history of diplomatic relations, a large number of local foreign residents, and so forth.


Focusing on the years from 1982 to 1989, the Tyler Sister City program began in 1982 largely through Dr. George F. Hamm, the then-president of the University of Texas at Tyler, after touring French universities in Metz, France, and hearing about their desire to be a part of the Sister City program. Tyler and Metz’s twining of cities resulted in opportunities for sponsoring host families, travel/study programs, student/faculty exchange programs in higher education and to the public as a whole. UT Tyler utilized many of these travel/study programs, sending students from Tyler Junior College and area high school students to Metz to learn the history, culture, and language of France. Some UT Tyler faculty were involved in teaching including Vivian Hicks and Dr. Patricia Gajda. Several times over the decade, a delegation from Metz visited Tyler to sightsee the city. Most of the visits included receptions and welcome ceremonies, but also included tours of UT Tyler and the Tyler Rose Garden. There are documents and newspaper clippings telling how the French deputy mayor of Metz, Eugene Philippe Rheims along with ten other council members enjoyed their visit to Tyler, and how for the Bicentennial year of the French Revolution a visiting professor from Metz visited UT Tyler and spoke at an event. The Sister Cities program also hosted a youth art exhibition in 1989 called “Expressions of Peace”, to emphasis how glimpses of world peace could be attained through the nonprofit organization.


Although Metz was Tyler’s very first Sister City, documents within the collection suggest Tyler officials were looking to add other cities to entwine with for economic development, cultural exchange, and education during the 1980s. In particular, Tyler was doing research in becoming sister cities with communities in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan (after being prompted that Eastern cities will lead the global economy in the 90s), Mexico, Belize, Scandinavia, Taiwan, Israel, and even China


The Tyler Sister City program continues to exist as an independent organization and is currently entwined with cities in Japan, Poland, Costa Rica, and Chile, but there are plans to entwine with a city in Mexico. Metz, unfortunately, is no longer a Sister City to us. It had to make ties with larger cities that matched it in population and development, such as Atlanta, Georgia. Regardless of the fact that Metz, France and Tyler, Texas are no longer considered “Sister Cities”, the relationship allowed both cities to engage with each other and experience the Sister Cities International program. Although we take for granted how connected the world is in 2017 thanks to the internet, in the 1980s, it was a big deal to be able to have such connections on a global scale.




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The Inauguration of Dr. Stewart

President James H. Stewart, Jr. with Texas Eastern University medallion and mace. Both were made by Ornamental Castings, Inc. of Bryan, Texas.

President James H. Stewart, Jr. with Texas Eastern University medallion and mace. Both were made by Ornamental Castings, Inc. of Bryan, Texas.

Dr. James H. Stewart, Jr. was our first university president.  The Assistant to the President and Director of Development of North Texas State University was nominated as Tyler State College president at the August 7, 1972 Board of Regents meeting.  Stewart accepted the job and began working with the Board of Regents to plan and develop Tyler State College.  Dr. Stewart served as the University President from 1972 to 1981.  During his tenure the permanent University campus was built, the University name was changed from Tyler State College to Texas Eastern University, and finally joined the University Texas System, to become The University of Texas at Tyler.

Stewart was inaugurated on the sunny Saturday afternoon of March 27, 1976.  The event was planned by an inauguration committee comprised of University faculty, administration, and student representatives.  Several events were held that weekend in conjunction with the inauguration.

The Neil Simon play Plaza Suite was presented by the Texas Eastern University Theatre Arts Department on Thursday the 25 and Friday the 26, directed by faculty member John Callahan and starring University students and community members.

Tour group

Biology faculty Dr. Lynn Sherrod leads tour of the permanent campus.

Tours of the permanent campus were given Saturday morning.  Visitors arrived at the temporary campus on Berta Street and enjoyed coffee and donuts before being bused to the University Boulevard campus.  Tour groups were led through the University Center, Administration, and Science and Mathematics buildings by faculty and administration members.  Additional guides were placed at stations throughout each building and offering information to passing groups.  This was not an open house, tour routes were carefully planned to restricted guest access, as the final touches of construction were not signed off on by the contractor.

Guests mingle at the Sheraton Inn before the delegate luncheon.

Following the campus tours a delegate luncheon  was hosted at the Sheraton Inn.  Guests enjoyed baked ham with jubilee sauce, sweet potatoes, seasoned green beans, and apple pie.  After lunch visiting university delegates and University faculty, staff, and administrators making up the platform party, assembled at the Rose Garden Center on the East Texas Fair grounds in preparation for the inauguration ceremony at 2 PM.

Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra

Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra of Pasadena, Texas, 1975-76 Honor Orchestra of the Texas Music Educators Association

Grand Marshall Dr. Gerald L. Morris led the procession across the street and into Harvey Hall carrying the Texas Eastern University (T.E.U.) mace.  The inauguration was the first occasion where the mace was used.  The 100-piece Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra of Pasadena, Texas provided prelude music and accompanied the processional.

The invocation was given by Dr. William Shamburger, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tyler, and was followed by the introduction of delegates by master of ceremonies Dr. Donald M. Anthony.  Dr. Chester A. Newland, Director of the Federal Executive Institute United States Civil Service Commission, gave the inaugural address titled “Learning for America’s Third Century.”

Dr. Chester A. Newland

Dr. Chester A. Newland, Director of the Federal Executive Institute of the United States Civil Service Commission presents “Learning for America’s Third Century.”

Following Dr. Newland’s inaugural address, Chairman of the Board of Regents C. Quentin Abernathy commenced the investiture of Stewart as and presented him with the T.E.U. medallion.  President Stewart set out his vision for the future of the University with his address, “Texas Eastern University: Its Mission and Challenge.”  Dr. Wayne H. McCleskey, Marvin United Methodist Church minister gave the benediction and the recessional was performed by The Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra.

The inaugural ball was held that night in Harvey Hall.  Attendees to the black-tie affair danced the night away to the music of the Hugh Fowler Orchestra of Dallas.

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All images are digitized photographs from the James H. Stewart, Jr. Papers collection.

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Digitizing the Intercoms and Forums

The reaction I get when I tell people I work down in the University Archives is always an interesting one. Although some look at you like you swallowed a goat whole, most are just curious though and ask what it is that I do. One person in the midst of this asked me about the impact of technology and why even bother with books and papers when anyone can look up information from their laptops or smartphones. It really is not that much of an issue though. We use technology all the time in archives. I will admit, technology and I have had a complicated relationship over the years (I’m pretty sure it started with floppy disks. I’m sorry it had to end the way it did by the way), and the idea of archivists and technology mixing sounds a little odd, but it is thanks to digitizing our paper records that anyone can find the information they need. It is efficient and makes things easier for researchers and archivists to find what they need. Even from their smartphones.

I finally got the chance to digitize certain University documents and prepare them for being entered into our archival search engine. These were UT Tyler publications called The Forum and Intercom that began in the 1970s and ran for different lengths of time. These are stored in archival boxes as a part of the Marketing and Communications Department records.  The Forum was more of a magazine that ran from 1974 to 1989 on a seasonal basis and highlighted everything from Phase building, scholarships, faculty achievements, and had an emphasis on Alumni relations. Intercom on the other hand, had a production run from 1973 through early 2000, producing one volume every new fall semester with issues printed every month (some a few times a month). Intercom covered topics similar to The Forum but it also held memos for those specifically working and attending the University. There are calendars describing upcoming holidays, faculty video sessions, and announcements of upcoming power outages. I have a partial fondness for the Intercom though because they felt the need to change things up in their format several times over the years even going so far as to make every issue a different color with a glittery silver title. Very glitzy!

Intercom photo Intercom silver photo

The process of digitizing these records has taken me nearly six months to complete for both of these publications. That sounds daunting, but I assure you it’s really not as terrible and time consuming as it seems. You have to be organized though! At least objects and papers being digitized are already a part of a processed collection that makes things a little easier.

First of all, in order to keep all the information together, I created a spreadsheet and labelled cells according to date I entered in the info, the volume and issue, number of pages in one printed product, the titles of the articles within the publication, any new faculty mentioned along with important administrators. Everything that is entered into this spread sheet makes my life a lot easier: I can keep track of which issue I am on and which one I need to start on when I come in the next day. Also, it comes in handy later on when you have to enter keywords into the scanned document itself.

Then, one folder at a time, you enter the info for all the documents within the folder under the correct label. Titles of the articles are the most important since these are going to be the key words in order to find the document in the system. Once that is entered in, I took the publication to the scanner to be scanned into a special PDF file. After setting the right settings to make sure the image is clear and readable when scanned, you preview the page to ensure that you got what you wanted, as opposed to getting the wrong page. Then you can scan to your heart’s content! You can always fix things at the end of your scanning session which helps. But then of course you have to name the PDF file, and you cannot just name them all Intercom or Forum because that will become frustrating later on. Instead, it is appropriate to name the document specifically according to publication year, month, and if that was the only one printed that month. I ended up naming them along the lines of “ForumYYYY_Spr001” or “IntercomYYYY_Month001” to make sure it was as orderly as possible.

Forum photo

Once all of the copies inside the folders are scanned, named and so forth, then the fun comes along of entering keywords into the PDF file for easier access for researchers. You open up each PDF individually using Adobe Acrobat, open up the “Properties” menu and enter in the Title, the Author, and finally the Keywords space which are the titles of articles in both publications. The Excel spreadsheet is quite lovely for this part. You simply copy and paste the titles from the spreadsheet to the Keywords space and you save it. You do this for every Forum or Intercom scanned.

I recognize that all that sounds rather tedious, but it really is not. Each part was broken down and eventually I got into a rhythm of typing, scanning, and flipping pages so that there was a steady system going on. Also, it is really interesting because as I went along entering in this information, I got a sense that I was learning more about the University that I attend than I had previously known. For instance, I know approximately when the school changed its name three times, that Eli Weisel came on campus as one of the distinguished lecturers in our Distinguished Lecture Series, and that many of the professors I have had did prestigious research and recognition.

Forum Smyrl photo

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Planting the Muntz Garden

“It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

Official planning for the Muntz Library Gardens began on December 13, 2008 when Maurine G. Muntz signed a gift agreement to provide funds for “the design and construction of landscaping to enhance the south entrance area to the muntzgarden005Robert R. Muntz Library, including provision for students and faculty gathering area with benches.” Stipulations made in the agreement included setting the start date for December 2008 and completion date as May 2009, proposing the name of the project as the Muntz Library Gardens, and that the naming of the project was subject to approval by the President of the University, and handled consistent with University policy, including identification of the garden on maps and through appropriate signage.

In an early announcement, components of the project included the installation of an ADA grade compliant sidewalk, creation of a patio study area, a water feature, and the addition of ornamental shrubs and Archivesphotos 097trees. The Genecov Group of Tyler served as general contractor, Kyle D. Payne was the project architect. Project progress meeting notes reveal that the removal of select trees and the sidewalk were scheduled for the holiday of January 19, 2009. New sidewalks were poured during the Spring Break of March 2009. Forest colored furniture was selected to match existing furniture around the library, and waterproof GFI electrical outlets were chosen for installation in patio spaces. Stream beds were constructed with large rocks and boulders set into the grout for easier cleaning, and the stream was planned to run under the sidewalks.

Muntz Garden was dedicated on July 24, 2010, “for the enjoyment of the Students, Faculty and Staff of UT Tyler by Maurine Genecov Muntz.”

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Nursing Department Records Collection Processed


Introductory BSN program brochure

University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) staff recently finished processing the Nursing Department Records collection. A finding aid for researchers is available online through Archon. The collection documents the department’s creation in 1975 on the campus of Texas Eastern University through the development of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, to the initiation of the Master of Science Nursing program. Items of particular interest include program development documents and correspondence, files of faculty members Marian Rowe, Linda Klotz, and Kathy Deardorff, documents created in preparation for the 25th Silver Jubilee Celebration, and 16mm instructional film reels used by Texas Eastern University.

The Nursing Department Records collection contains a diverse selection of media types.In addition to 16mm film reels, there are VHS cassette tapes, 3.5” floppy disks, 35mm color slides, 35mm negatives, many developed photographs, and all manner of print media. A substantial portion of the collection is made up of newspaper articles cut out and collected by Nursing Department members. The subjects of these articles vary from the endeavors of nursing faculty, to program developments, and even student and alumni engagement announcements. Volumes of Here’s News Concerning The University of Texas at Tyler, bound volumes of compiled newspaper articles, covering 1989 to 1996, supplement the individually collected articles.

The origins of Nursing Department programs can be traced through materials found in the Program Development series. Nursing Advisory and Planning Committee minutes reveal the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation of department policy, while curriculum framework and revision papers and course content description drafts illuminate the building blocks of a program. In addition to documentation of expansion on the Tyler campus, there are materials that address planning of the North Tyler Wellness Clinic, and course offerings in Kilgore and Longview.

University of Texas Nursing pins.

This collection is open to the public and University of Texas at Tyler students, faculty, and staff. Interested researchers may stop by the UASC Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, or make an appointment by email at, or by phone at (903)565-5748.

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The Eisenhower International Golf Classic

For thirteen years, the University of Texas at Tyler sponsored a world class professional golf tournament which boasted some of the biggest names in golf. The Eisenhower International Golf Classic (Eisenhower Classic), a partnership between UT Tyler and Sister Cities International, was named in honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, an avid golfer and founder of Sister Cities International.

The Eisenhower Classic served as a showcase for Tyler’s membership in Sister Cities International. Proceeds from the tournament went towards scholarship funds for international students pursuing higher education in U.S. Sister Cities. Tyler joined the Sister Cities Program in 1982, forming mutual ties with Metz, France (1982-1990). Additional partnerships were subsequently established with Yachiyo City, Japan (1992-present); Jelenia Gora, Poland (1993-present); and Lo Barnechea, Chile (2001-present).

Dr. George F. Hamm, second president of UT Tyler and member of the International Executive Board of Sister Cities International, served as tournament chairman from 1987-1998. Dr. Hamm co-chaired the 1999 tournament with his successor, current UT Tyler president Dr. Rod Mabry.


Left to right, Dr. George Hamm, Tournament Chairman and UT Tyler president. Richard G Neuheisel, president of Sister Cities International. 1992.

The first Eisenhower Classic took place in 1987 at Hollytree Country Club in Tyler, Texas. The tournament moved to Willowbrook Country Club in Tyler, Texas in 1990, where it remained until 1999. The Tyler Sister Cities Board of Directors partnered locally with the UT Tyler Patriots, an honorary organization founded in 1984, to create the first annual Million Dollar Hole-In-One contest in conjunction with the Eisenhower Classic. Additional support for the tournament came from the PGA Tour, Sister Cities International, and local Tyler businesses.

The inaugural tournament was co-hosted by David and Julie Eisenhower in collaboration David Graham, a professional golfer from Australia. Thirty-two professional golfers from PGA Tour roster joined the 1987 Eisenhower International Golf Classic. The first Eisenhower Classic also included an auction, the Million Dollar Hole-In-One contest, and series of luncheons.

Over the next twelve years, the Eisenhower International Golf Classic expanded to include a Texas barbeque, concerts, a youth putting contest, a football clinic, a 5k run, celebrity luncheons, the Sister Cities International Young Artists Competition, twinning ceremonies hosted by Tyler Sister Cities, an International Trade Conference, the High School Scholars Program, and charity raffles featuring prizes from local businesses.


Cover art for the 1988 program by Texas artist and UT Tyler professor emeritus Ancel Nunn. The piece, titled “Pars Pro Toto (A Part for the Whole)” was sold as a limited edition lithograph benefiting the UT Tyler Alumni Association.

The Eisenhower Classic featured members of the LPGA Tour for the first time in 1991. Members of the Senior PGA tour joined the tournament roster in 1995. In addition to pro golfers, the Eisenhower Classic hosted a broad range of celebrities including football great Troy Aikman and the Dixie Chicks. In keeping with its international mission, the Eisenhower Classic also hosted dignitaries from Austria, Argentina, Australia, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

The last Eisenhower International Golf Classic took place in 1999. Many aspects of the Eisenhower tournament found new life under the auspices of the UT Tyler Patriot Golf Classic, an annual tournament and fundraiser which benefits the university’s scholarship program. In conjunction with the Patriot Golf Classic, the UT Tyler Patriots organization hosts the Million Dollar Hole-In-One competition yearly. The Tyler Sister Cities organization continues to maintain business opportunities and educational ties through Sister Cities International.


Grounds ticket for the 1999 Eisenhower Classic.

Want to Learn More about the Eisenhower Classic?
Check out the finding aid for the Eisenhower International Golf Classic Records.

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A Brief Library History

Revised layout for the Tyler State College library.

Revised layout for the Tyler State College library.

Processing of the Library Records collection began with four bankers boxes full of documents concerning the formation and development of the University Library. Many of the documents came from the personal files of University Librarian Olene Harned, a testament to her tremendous efforts in the establishment, operation, and improvement of the library.

The University Library has moved around quite a bit since opening in 1973. In the early days, Tyler State College was located in the Roberts Junior High School building on East Berta Street with the library housed in the gymnasium. While public services and the growing library collection filled the gym, technical services found a home in the locker rooms. Significant book accessions occurred in 1974 with the purchase of the Seton Hall and Kraus collections.

Tyler State College students at work in the library.

Tyler State College students at work in the library.

While technical services worked diligently to process new arrivals, preliminary planning and clearing of land was underway at the permanent campus site on Old Omen Road. In 1976 the library collection and public services moved to the second floor of the new University Student Center. Three years later technical services moved to the new campus, finding refuge in the science building.

The Student Center hosted the library temporarily as construction plans for the current library building advanced under the guidance of Olene Harned. During the Christmas break of 1980, public services, technical services, and the library collection moved into the new library building across campus. In October 1982 the library building was dedicated as the Robert R. Muntz Library. In 1991 renovations of the fourth floor concluded and periodicals were transferred from the second floor.

In 1990, University President George F. Hamm proposed the establishment of a University Archives. Under the guidance of James Smallwood a group of graduate students began compiling the history of the university by interviewing early faculty, administration, and donors. In 1991 the nascent archive began a project of preserving the records and history of the United States District Court System, Eastern District of Texas. This project marked the beginning of the University Archives as a repository for non-university records. The University Archives received its first full-time archivist in 1994.

An empty fourth floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library.

An empty third floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library.

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