Building for the Future

by Lyn Rejahl Pry

Construction on Frisco Landing — the four-story, 135,000 square-foot building at the University of North Texas at Frisco campus that is set to open next spring — began in 2020. The classrooms and study spaces within will promote collaboration, transparency and open communication between faculty members and the students who will participate in the 27 undergraduate and master-level programs that will be offered. p>“This new facility will ensure UNT continues supporting programs and partnerships in an area synonymous with innovative growth,” University President Neal Smatresk said. “UNT is focused on offering each student unparalleled opportunities for career exploration and a ticket to the top of their industry.”p>The university is “committed to our partnerships with the City of Frisco, Collin County and Collin College to continue providing the highest quality education experience to Collin County and beyond,” he said. p>When Smatresk joined UNT in 2014, his vision was to help lead the school to national prominence.div class=”image-main image-align-center”>

 Born in Massachusetts, he grew up in Buffalo, New York, and in 1973, earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania. Five years later, he earned a master’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and went on to receive a fellowship and earn a Ph.D. in zoology and marine science from the University of Texas at Austin’s Port Aransas Marine Laboratory. From 1980-82, he was a postdoctoral trainee at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. div class=”image-medium image-align-right”>

 For 22 years, he was a faculty member at the University of Texas, Arlington, serving as a biology professor and department chair before becoming Dean of the College of Science. From 2004-07, he was vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa before heading to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was executive vice president and provost before becoming the university’s president in 2009. p>Smatresk’s decision to come to UNT was both a personal and academic one as he and his wife, Debbie, had children and grandchildren living in Texas. p>UNT began offering classes in Frisco in 2016 at locations including Hall Park and Inspire Park. Prior to that, there had not been a four-year institution for higher education in Collin County. p>In August 2019, the UNT at Frisco Master Plan was approved by the UNT Board of Regents, establishing the framework for the growth and development of the new campus site for decades to come.p>Smatresk has led efforts at the university to create new public-and private-partnerships with large corporations including American Airlines, Liberty Mutual, Google and JP Morgan Chase. div class=”image-main image-align-center”>

 In response to the rapidly changing career marketplace, he has tailored academic degrees in such areas as business analytics, data science, urban policy and planning, and formed a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys for a M.B.A. degree in sports entertainment management. UNT also instituted the nation’s first bachelor’s degree from a university on the online learning platform Coursera. p>Programs offered exclusively at UNT at Frisco include Project Design and Analysis, Industrial Distribution and Applied Project Design and Analysis. Earlier this year, the first cohort of the immersive Project Design and Analysis program graduated.p>“I’d had a vision for a curriculum more project-designed for corporation settings, a ‘degree in three,’ targeting graduation in three years,” Smatresk said, which also affords students opportunities to put their skills into practice on real-world projects with industry partners.

Programs to be offered at UNT Frisco

College of Education

Education (also at Inspire Park) 


Educational Leadership

College of Engineering

Information Technology 

Computer Science

College of Information 

Information Science

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences



Integrative Studies

College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism

Consumer Experience Management

College of Science

Biology (also at Inspire Park)

Data Analytics

College of Visual Arts and Design


G. Brint Ryan College of Business


Business Integrative Studies

General Business

Logistics of Supply Chain Management 

Sports Entertainment Management

Business Administration

Business Analytics 

New College

Applied Arts and Science 

Project Design and Analysis  

Industrial Distribution 

Applied Project Design and Analysis

Toulouse Graduate School

Interdisciplinary Studies 

Advanced Data Analytics 

Data Analyticsp>p>Lyn Rejahl Pry is a freelance editor, writer and proofreader who is a born Cheesehead/Badger/Packer-backer and 1997 Dallas-Fort Worth transplant.

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