The building formerly known as the Liberal Arts Building, located next to the Student Activity Center, was renamed to Patton Hall during the summer. However, the renaming ceremony took place Friday with Bobby and Sherri Patton, who donated $20 million to the College of Liberal Arts.
After receiving the gift, COLA used the money to create the Patton challenge. When there is a donation of $100,000 or more, the Patton fund donates the same amount through the challenge.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see the largest gift in the history of the College of Liberal Arts essentially doubling in value after two years,” COLA dean Randy Diehl said. “We never have those kinds of resources, so it’s like a breath of fresh air.”
The Pattons wanted the name of the building to be changed before the fall semester to avoid confusion among students.
“This is how thoughtful they are,” UT President Gregory Fenves said during the ceremony. “We actually changed the name last spring and got it into the course schedules so the students would not have any uncertainty about what building their classes were located.”
Bobby Patton graduated from UT with a bachelor’s in business administration in the early 80’s and is a Plan II alumnus. He is now a Fort Worth energy and real estate investor and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“(UT) believed in me when I got here 37 years ago,” Bobby Patton said at the ceremony. “I didn’t have much more than a dream but during the four years I was here, I really got the tools that I needed to turn that dream into a reality.”
Bobby Patton said he donated to COLA because he believes in the importance of a liberal arts education.
“In today’s world of advanced technology, many people ask whether or not a liberal arts education still matters,” Bobby Patton said. “A liberal arts education matters more now than it ever has in the past and no other college on this campus can do what this college can do.”
Kristen Kelly, an Iberian and Latin American language and culture junior, visits Patton Hall often and said she is looking forward to the benefits COLA will receive from this gift.
“I’m in this building every day because all of my classes are here, and this is a good place for all liberal arts students to congregate,” Kelly said. “It’s definitely a home for us.”