University of North Texas The North Texan

It's summertime and no better time than to reflect on a tremendous finish to our 2021-22 academic year! By August, we expect to have awarded 11,000 degrees this year -- more than ever before. UNT students have tremendous opportunities to succeed in 244 degree programs with more than 80 online options to earn degrees and certificates. And UNT's prominence in Collin County continues to soar with construction moving along for our first permanent UNT at Frisco building -- Frisco Landing. This 135,000-square-foot, four-story building was designed with a focus on student success and collaboration, and will open for Spring 2023 classes. We have so much to celebrate, including our innovative alumni who are making real differences in their communities as you'll read below. We wish you and yours a wonderful summer -- and we look forward to welcoming our Mean Green Family back to campus this fall for another exciting year ahead! Be sure to follow the North Texan on Twitter and our other UNT social media accounts to stay connected.

UNT Medal of Honor ceremony

Cover Story

Presidential Medals of Honor

Alumni Pat Boone and David B. Hooten ('87) returned to the university this spring to receive UNT Presidential Medals of Honor in recognition of their musical talents and impact on the entertainment industry. Boone is a celebrated singer, actor and motivational speaker who studied at UNT in 1954-55, and Hooten is a multi-Grammy and Emmy nominated musician who earned a music education degree from UNT. During their visit, they spoke to students and others about how they prepared for success in their performing and entrepreneurial careers. Read about Boone's memories of being a student on campus, and learn how UNT helped prepare Hooten for his career. Pictured from left are College of Music Dean John Richmond, Boone, Hooten and UNT President Neal Smatresk at the medal ceremony.


Alumni Spotlight

Going the Distance

When alumna Angela Tortorice ('89) crossed the finish line of the Irving Marathon this spring, it marked her 1,000th marathon completed. She's now the first woman in the United States and the youngest person in the world to complete this many marathons, according to the world mega marathon list. She also earned the Guinness World Record for "Most Marathons Calendar Year -- Female" with 129. Learn more about Angela's amazing milestone.

Alumni Spotlight

Talent and Tenacity

Alumna Farah Fleurima ('97) has fulfilled her dream of living abroad and then some as she is now a homepage editor in The New York Times' Seoul office. She's worked in journalism for more than 20 years and went to South Korea to teach English, never expecting a job with the Times was waiting for her there. Her best advice for students? "Believe in yourself. .... With talent and tenacity, you can achieve anything."

Alumni Spotlight

Minding His Business

Entrepreneurial alum Cameron Allahverdi ('06) has found a niche in the business world by customizing urns. Allahverdi is the co-owner of the company, which designs individualized urns that the tell the story of the deceased person through specialty colors, pictures and engravings. "I'm trying to tell as much about a person's life in their final resting place," he says.

Alumni Spotlight

A Strong Bond

As UNT doctoral students, Xiaohu Xia ('03 Ph.D.) and Zhiling Zhang ('05 Ph.D.) unlocked the secret to successful careers in science -- and a romance that's lasted more than two decades. Xia utilizes his analytical chemistry credentials as a principal scientist at Mars Inc., while Zhang deploys her biochemistry bonafides as a senior scientist at AstraZeneca. Learn about how they met as students involved with the Chinese Student and Scholars Association and their secrets for a happy marriage.


Access to Better Education

Recent graduate Odalis Alvarado ('22) earned a $40,000 Rotary Global Grant as a student to study at Queen's University, Belfast, and work toward her goal of creating a global foundation to help low-income children have access to better education. Growing up with seven siblings and "two devoted parents" in Bryan, Texas, she saw the importance of education and taught English in Taiwan after earning her bachelor's degree. Watch this video to listen to how she shares the Rotarian outlook on the world -- working to help improve the lives of others -- and hopes to reduce gender disparities and promote educational programs for children globally.

UNT Alumni Nights
Looking for Mean Green summer fun? Meet up with your UNT alumni friends across the state to enjoy some ball including Family Night at Frisco RoughRiders 6-9 p.m., July 16; Alumni Night at Austin FC 7-10 p.m., July 24; and Alumni Night at the Corpus Christi Hooks 7-10 p.m., Aug. 6. For more details and registration, visit the UNT Alumni Association.

This Way Forward
Save the Date: TEDxUNT is coming Sept. 29. With the theme "This Way Forward," our speakers from the UNT community will deliver intriguing discussions about how to improve our lives from a personal to a global level. Watch out for free tickets at, where you can watch the informative talks from our 2021 event.
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