Many Texas Exes chapters hold send-off events to get new students pumped for life on the Forty Acres—but no one does it quite like the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter.
More than 500 students, family members, alumni, and volunteers turned out for the annual event, held last Thursday at the Dallas Marriott Quorum. This year’s send-off marked a 200-percent increase in attendees, says David Rodriguez, BAr ’75.
“A social media push helped grow those numbers,” says Rodriguez, chair of the chapter’s Legacy Group and vice president of public relations. “It’s a wonderful way, six weeks before school, to give students a celebration as they get ready.”
Students and their families competed in team-building games, visited informational booths staffed by UT organizations and colleges, and got valuable face time with student leaders and staff in student government, financial aid, and more.
Featured speaker Smita Ruzicka—an associate director in the Office of the Dean of Students—gave students advice on how to navigate the sea of clubs, resources, and opportunities on campus. The chapter also announced its annual scholarship winners.
Rodriguez praises committee chair Nidus Abrahams Jr., BA ’08, Life Member, and his large team of alumni volunteers for pulling off such a large, complex event.
“When we got 700 RSVPs, we had to call for extra volunteers,” Rodriguez says. “And everybody came together to make it happen.”
The evening had a festive atmosphere, complete with a UT Tower ice sculpture, cake, door prizes, and free swag for students. But Rodriguez emphasizes that the send-off is also a strategic event—not just a celebration.
“This is a signature event for us,” Rodriguez says. “The students who are freshmen this year will be asked to return as hosts next year. And it makes them more likely to tap into the Texas Exes when they graduate, so we can sustain ourselves in the future.”
Photo by David Rodriguez, Patti Brookshire, and Diane Wilson