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Partners in Progress - Fort Worth Branch ASCE and UTA

There has been a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the Fort Worth Branch of ASCE and the civil engineering program at the University of Texas at Arlington. At the time of the 1931 founding of the Fort Worth Branch of ASCE there was a 36-year old school in Arlington known as the North Texas Agricultural College (affiliated with A&M). The Fort Worth branch began taking a keen interest in supporting the engineering school there. In 1949, school's name was changed to Arlington State College (a junior college with a total enrollment of 1,790 students) located in Arlington (population 8,000).

The forefathers of our Fort Worth Branch recognized an urgent need for a first-class engineering school in the Fort Worth-Dallas area to supply talent for the fast developing area. Efforts began to mature aimed at changing this two-year program into a full four-year engineering program. Shortly after World War II, Fort Worth Branch member Marvin Nichols (one of those instrumental in organizing the Texas Section of ASCE in 1913) along with Branch member Joe Rady brought the Chambers of Commerce of Arlington and Fort Worth together in a well-organized campaign to pursue this purpose. Numerous studies and reports were prepared and presented to committees of the Texas Legislature. This ultimately resulted in the 1959 authorization to change Arlington State College to a 4-year school.

Joint meetings between the Branch, and UTA faculty began, fostering cooperation and contributing to the success of both parties. This later resulted in the establishment in 1965 of an ASCE Student Chapter and in establishment of the Joe J. Rady Student Paper Award Fund. In 1965, Arlington State College also became a part of the University of Texas System, and in 1967 was renamed the University of Texas at Arlington. In 2001, the 106 year old school has an enrollment of about 20,000 and Arlington a population of 333,000.

The UTA civil engineering program has granted over 2,000 degrees. Historically, about 60% of all UTA civil engineering graduates continue to live and build careers in the DFW metroplex after graduation. Thus, the foresighted concept of establishing mutual support between the Fort Worth Branch, the Civil Engineering Department faculty, and the Student Chapter did, and still does, play an important part in growth of the civil engineering community in North Texas.

- John P. Wier, P.E., R.P.L.S., Historical Chair, Fort Worth Branch ASCE, October 2001

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