What’s in a building: The Haggertys

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2004

Every day, we walk around campus, going in and out of buildings perfunctorily, yet we hardly ever stop to consider what the stories of their namesakes are.

Who are these names so great they had to be immortalized and etched into brick, marble or metal?

Situated on the east side of campus, nestled in the midst of a forest, stands the Art History building where the Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery resides.

Across campus, the Patrick E. Haggerty Science Center is one of the first buildings one will notice on the Mall.

What do these two buildings, hailing from two sides of a liberal arts education, have in common? They are, in classic UD fashion, named after a famous husband and wife duo!

The stories of both of these buildings and namesakes are recounted in a booklet published in 2006 by the University of Dallas to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the school’s opening. 

With the help of an art history professor at the time, Lyle Novinski, Mrs. Haggerty worked with the art department to establish the building and gallery.

Novinski promised that, when adding to the building, they would never cut down any of the trees unless absolutely necessary, which is why the building has become a hidden gem on campus as it is surrounded by the same trees that they worked around during the 1960s.

Beatrice’s husband, Patrick, also helped the art department and gallery become what it is today.

The former president of Texas Instruments was not only the encouragement to his wife’s interest in the project, but he is also the reason that the art department was moved out of their tiny room in Carpenter Hall in the first place.

He is quoted in the booklet saying, “Build them a building and do it right.”

Mr. Haggerty would go on to lead the first campaign to raise funds for the new building, which also raised money to create several other buildings around campus such as the Gorman Lecture Center and the Maher Athletic Center.

The campaign surpassed its goal and raised a little over $2.5 million.

After Mr. Haggerty’s death in 1980, another campaign was launched to erect a building in his name.

The campaign raised $15 million, exceeding its goal, and the building was dedicated on March 24, 1985, with a Mass and ceremony, followed by a science colloquium.

The 50th-anniversary booklet remembered Haggerty as “a scientist, engineer, and, most of all, a brilliant manager of people and projects.”

The founder of Texas Instruments, Erik Jonsson, was even said to have proclaimed that “the smartest thing [he] ever did was hire Pat Haggerty.”

The buildings that are now filled with hard-working students, art projects and lab experiments were once just dust like all of us.

It was only a dream that made them truly come alive — a dream to display students’ art contained in a bigger space and a dream to give students the opportunities to look through microscopes and gaze at distant stars.

The buildings all around us are not just landmarks or tools; they are the dreams realized by the people who dared to dream them.

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