UT Dallas Building to be Named for Philanthropist Edith O’Donnell

The Arts and Technology (ATEC) building under construction at The University of Texas at Dallas will bear the name of one of Texas’ most generous philanthropists in honor of her long-standing dedication to higher education, scientific research and the arts.

The Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building is a 155,000-square-foot facility at UT Dallas that will house programs in visual arts, emerging media technology and multimedia communications, as well as a 1,200-seat lecture hall.

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System approved the naming Thursday.

Known for their civic and business leadership, Edith O’Donnell and her husband, Peter, and the O’Donnell Foundation they established, have given exceptionally generous support to UT Dallas since 1984. During the last 30 years, the couple’s foundation has contributed more than $600 million to support scientific research and education in America.

“Naming this building in honor of Edith O’Donnell reflects our admiration, gratitude and respect for Mrs. O’Donnell. She and her husband, Peter, and their foundation have made a significant difference through their support to higher education, scientific innovation and the arts at UT Dallas and throughout the state and country,” said Dr. David E. Daniel, president of UT Dallas.

“Thousands of students and faculty will benefit from the facilities within this building, and its outstanding architectural features will grace our campus for years to come. We’re proud that Edith O’Donnell and her altruism will be associated with this jewel.”

Designed as a showcase for the visual arts and a highly adaptable technology hub for UT Dallas’s ATEC program, the $60 million building is slated for completion this fall.

The Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building is in the heart of the campus, adjacent to the library and facing the mall and reflecting pools designed by Peter Walker. The building includes an exterior courtyard that will feature a natural habitat. Inside are classrooms for game design, sound design and visual arts, conference rooms, 2-D drawing and painting art studios, 3-D art studios, a recording studio, and photography and print-making labs, among others.

“The O’Donnells have been committed to the development of UT Dallas’s academic programs throughout the University’s history,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, executive vice president and provost. “Their support has been transformative and has contributed greatly to our success as a rising national research institution. To name this building for Edith O’Donnell is a fitting tribute to such generous friends and partners.”

The Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building will be dedicated Nov. 7.

Peter O’Donnell earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of the South in Tennessee and a master’s degree in banking and finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Edith O’Donnell earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.

The O’Donnell Foundation is the fifth largest independent foundation in Dallas. It primarily supports engineering, science and math education along with arts programs. The foundation has been a leader in support of advanced placement programs for high school students and for advancing K-12 education, in addition to its support of higher education.