University Park Texas: Where College Town Meets Urban Center
Covering just 3.72 acres, University Park, Texas seems to be all but swallowed up by the big city. Bordered on three sides by Highland Park and on the south by Dallas, the suburb is known as a premier residential location for families and singles wanting to buy or lease a property. At its true heart, however, University Park, the home of Southern Methodist University, is one of the most unique college towns in Texas just five miles from downtown Dallas.
SMU, founded in 1911, occupies a 210-acre urban campus. Approximately 6,000 undergraduates and 4,693 post-graduates are taught by 603 full-time faculty members. Together, this population, as well as the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, form the core of an active scholarly, social, and community life.
Seven Degree-Granting Schools
There are seven schools at SMU granting degrees to undergraduates and post-graduates. Of these, the Cox School of Business was ranked first in the nation by The Economist” for its “potential to network,” while the Dedman School of Law placed 46th in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of America’s Best Graduate Schools in 2009. The other SMU schools include the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Meadows School of the Arts, the Perkins School of Theology, the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development, and the Lyle School of Engineering.
Center for Research and Scholarship
SMU boasts a total of ten libraries, which collectively comprise the largest privately-held body of research resources in the American Southwest. Among those, the Bridwell Library is recognized as a premier theological collection, while the Central University Libraries, the largest in the system, have a catalog of more than 2 million volumes. Additionally, the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library maintains one of the most extensive cartographic collections in America.
George W. Bush Presidential Library
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and the George W. Bush Policy Institute will be located on the southeast side of the SMU campus and will include a museum open to the public and an archive for researchers. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the 227,000 sq. ft. complex will be held in November 2010 with the approximately $ 250 million project slated for completion in 2013. The design calls for a structure of red brick and Texas limestone with a central tower, all chosen to blend with the Georgian Revival architecture of the surrounding university buildings with landscaping incorporating native Texas grasses and wildflowers.
SMU maintains two museums. The Pollock Gallery serves as a showcase for rotating exhibits of works by faculty and students in a range of media, as well as providing a venue for shows by artists not affiliated with the Meadows School of the Arts. The Meadows Museum is home to a collection of Spanish works spanning the tenth to the 21st centuries and includes sculptures by Rodin, Maillol, and Giacometti, as well as pieces by modern contemporary sculptors.
Performance Venues and Athletic Contests
Throughout the year, the calendar at the McFarlin Memorial Auditorium offers a range of speakers, performers, and touring troupes that have, over the past 80 years, included such widely diverse figures and groups as: Martha Graham, Salvadore Dali, the American Ballet Theatre, Itzak Perlman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Elton John, Sir John Gielgud, Vincent Price, Yo-Yo Ma, the Houston Ballet, W.H. Auden, Harry Connick, Jr., Luciano Pavarotti, Barry Manilow, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Melissa Etheridge, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and Dashboard Confessional.
The SMU Mustangs participate in the NCAA Division I and are a member of Conference USA. Football games are played in the Gerald J. Ford Stadium on campus with the school’s closest rival being neighboring Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Before every home game, students, faculty, staff, and alumni gather on the school’s main street, Bishop Boulevard, for pre-game festivities including food tents and entertainment, with pets and children welcome.
Beautiful Holiday Tradition of Lights
Each December, a candlelight ceremony with music and readings is held on the Main Quad. The University president traditionally reads the Christmas story from the Christian Bible and choirs from the Meadows School of Arts and neighboring high schools lead the crowd in singing carols. At the culmination of the evening, the lights decorating Dallas Hall and the trees surrounding it are lit in a Celebration of Lights that is a well-loved staple of the community.
Residents of University Park have the unique opportunity to live in the third largest city in Texas and in a tiny college town where day-to-day life naturally blends on and off-campus activities. With all the benefits of the the 12th largest metro economy in the world, residents can still enjoy a walk on campus, a student art show or play, and tailgating for a home game. University Parks stands out among all the Dallas suburbs for this very mix: modern and traditional, small and large, urban center and beloved alma mater.
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