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Early Fort Worth Branch Influence on UTA and its ASCE Student Chapter

The following is a description of some of the members and activities of the Fort Worth Branch during the “early years.” Much of this information is taken from “The History of the Fort Worth Branch, Texas Section, American Society of Civil Engineers for the Years 1931 to 1970”, by H. H. Hester (a former Branch Historian & a Life Member, A.S.C.E.)

The Fort Worth Branch has always had a keen interest in the engineering school originally known as Arlington State College. From its early growing pains to the peripatetic transition from the A & M System to the University of Texas System, to the final designation of the school as the University of Texas at Arlington the Fort Worth Branch has played a major role in what is now UT Arlington.

Upon realizing the urgent need for a first class engineering school in the Fort Worth-Dallas area, the Fort Worth Branch began studies and exerted itself toward changing that Junior College to a full four year engineering school. Marvin Nichols and Joe Rady, working with the Chambers of Commerce of Arlington and Fort Worth, helped to start an active and finally well organized campaign for this purpose soon after the close of World War II. Numerous studies and reports were made and presented to committees of the Texas Legislature.

At the Branch meeting on February 9, 1959, the matter of raising Arlington State College to four year level school was discussed, and the group very enthusiastically voted to recommend to the Texas Commission on Higher education that this change be made. Copies of the Resolution passed were sent to all members of the State Legislature. These activities bore fruit when in 1959 the Legislature authorized the change of Arlington State College to a four year school.

The Branch has been fortunate to have the full cooperation of ASCE members on the UTA faculty and these men contribute greatly to the success of the Fort Worth Branch. This cooperation made possible the establishment of the ASCE Student Branch. many years before such a Branch could be established under normal ASCE operating procedures. Before ASCE approval could be secured, it was necessary to make changes in the Society By-Laws. Credit for accomplishing this task is due to Dr. John Haynes, and prior Branch Officers, Joe Rady, then President of the Texas Section, and National Officers, Dr. J. R. Sims and Frank Newnam. It took almost three years to do this job and the Charter for the Student Chapter was presented to the College in April 1965.

At least two Branch meetings were held in each early year of the Fort Worth Branch where both the school and the Branch were vitally concerned. One of these was a Joint Meeting of the Branch and ASCE Student Chapter. The other was a Branch Meeting where the two student papers deemed most worthy were presented to the Branch.

In order to foster interest in the Texas Section Student Paper contests, the Joe J. Rady Student Paper Award Fund was established in the original amount of $2,000. This fund is administered by the Branch in accordance with the "Rules" for such. Two prizes were authorized to be given each year (first prize, $50, second prize, $35) for the two papers prepared by Student Chapter Members deemed most meritorious, and these papers were to be also presented at the Texas Section Meeting. It is a source of pride to the Fort Worth Branch that in the first six years that the UTA Student Chapter participated in the Student Paper Contest, the Chapter won first place three times and second place twice in competition with all the other Student Chapters in this State at the Texas Section Meetings.

In the early years of the student chapter, UTA students won the “Texas Section Attendance Plaque” at Section meetings in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, and 1970. Additionally, the UTA student chapter received “Certificates of Commendation” from the Texas Section ASCE in 1966, 1969, and 1970.

Other worthwhile accomplishments were made possible through the cooperation of the ASCE Members of the UTA faculty and the Fort Worth Branch Membership. In 1965, a special Task Committee of the Branch arranged a conference at UTA on "The Aims, Methods and Results of Civil Engineering Education." A number of seminars in the field of Continuing Education were also later held at UTA.

- John P. Wier, P.E., R.P.L.S., Historical Chair, Fort Worth Branch ASCE, August 2010

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