The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Halftime Rally: President’s Gathering Recognizes Jonsson School Benefactors

Halftime Rally: President’s Gathering Recognizes
Jonsson School Benefactors

University leaders gathered recently to celebrate the halfway point of New Dimensions: The Campaign for UT Dallas and to honor supporters of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

President Richard C. Benson joined Dr. Stephanie G. Adams, dean of the Jonsson School and Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair, along with John Olajide BS’04 in the Axxess Atrium of Engineering and Computer Science West building to discuss milestones of the campaign, which is the second major fundraising campaign in University history.

“Time and again, I am reminded of how fortunate our students and faculty are to interact on a campus like this one,” said Benson, holder of the Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership. “Generous benefactors are ensuring that generations of bright minds will choose UT Dallas as an ideal destination for a rigorous academic experience, to conduct cutting-edge research or to work in a fulfilling career.”

Attendees of the April event included University Provost Inga Musselman, holder of the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair of Academic Leadership; Dr. Poras Balsara, vice dean of the Jonsson School and professor of electrical and computer engineering, members of the Jonsson School’s executive council, associate deans and department heads and UT Dallas distinguished alumni and Legacy Society members who have committed to leave a legacy through planned gifts.

The Jonsson School goal for New Dimensions is to raise $75 million.

Jonsson School New Dimensions Priorities:

  • Impart knowledge through teaching and research to the next generation of global leaders in engineering and computer science
  • Enable greater access to higher education for underrepresented and non-traditional students
  • Continue to lead in new and emerging research fields led by the best faculty in the country


Adams emphasized that the Jonsson School’s strategic priorities include ensuring student and faculty success, expanding the school’s infrastructure and building a culture of inclusive excellence.

“My goal for the strategic planning process over the past year has been singular — to help the Jonsson School become the best it can possibly be,” said Adams, also a professor of systems engineering. “We have raised $40 million, so we’re over halfway to meeting our New Dimensions target.”

The final speaker was Olajide, the founder and CEO of Axxess, a health care technology company based in Dallas. He has served as a campaign co-chair along with Ron Nash since the start of the public phase of the New Dimensions campaign in 2021. His philanthropy includes creating multiple funds, scholarships and sponsorships for engineering and computer science students attending the Jonsson School. The event location — the Axxess Atrium — was named for Olajide’s company.

“It’s clear that I am home. One of my greatest blessings is being part of the UTD family,” Olajide said. “I am living a life beyond my parents’ wildest dreams. We all want to make a difference — please continue to give.”

attendees at president gathering

Attendees gathered in the Axxess Atrium to hear remarks from The University of Texas at Dallas President Richard C. Benson, Jonsson School Dean Stephanie G. Adams and John Olajide BS’04.

Dr. Hassanipour chatted with Debjani

Dr. Fatemeh Hassanipour (front left), assistant dean for inclusive excellence, chatted with
Debjani Biswas MS’93.

Neel and Tulika hugged

Neel Gonuguntla, member of the Dean’s Executive Council of the Johnsson School and executive board member of the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce, hugged Tulika Bhatia (right).

Dr. Quevedo visited

Dr. Manuel Quevedo (center), head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, visited with distinguished alum Chris Progler PhD’97 (left) and Dr. Stephanie G. Adams (right).

Dr. Voit talk with Dean Adams

Dr. Walter Voit BS’05,MS’06 shared a laugh with Dean Adams. Voit, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering, is also the founder and CEO of Adaptive3D, a company that Desktop Metal acquired in 2021.

President Benson supports Dean Adams

President Richard C. Benson gave his support as Dean Adams described how scholarships
have changed the lives of Jonsson School Students.

John Olajide talked

John Olajide BS’04 reminisced about his experiences as a student who was about to graduate. “I remember it was a time of great pride but also great uncertainty,” Olajide said. “I knew I was
going to make an impact. I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.”