UT Dallas gets its shining moment on ‘The College Tour’
Forbes’ top-ranked university in North Texas featured in an episode on Amazon Prime Video.
By Kent Best, Dallas Morning News l I October 18, 2023
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is ready for its close-up.
The university is being featured on an episode of the now-streaming Amazon Prime Video series The College Tour, allowing the school to reach a global audience. Such a program is a first for the growing university in Richardson, home to almost 31,000 students and dozens of national rankings.
The College Tour, which has produced segments on other notable universities such as the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, the University of California, Davis, and Tulane University, follows 10 UTD students on a 30-minute tour of the university’s campus and several of its academic programs. Along the way, viewers get a taste of UTD’s unique culture, along with its modern campus and connections to its namesake city of Dallas.
Created by three founders of Texas Instruments more than a half century ago, the university has moved well beyond its beginning as a single building in the middle of a prairie. Forbes recently ranked UTD the No. 1 university in North Texas — public or private — and among the top 100 of all universities nationwide.
Well known for its STEM focus and with a growing presence in the arts, UTD is a Carnegie R1 research university that has 24 academic programs nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. The university also is known for attracting students who are seeking a college home where they can pursue a variety of interests. The new episode prominently features this aspect of UTD.
“The College Tour provides a great opportunity for us to show prospective students what makes UTD special,” says UTD President Richard C. Benson. “Our students are multidimensional, and we embrace that. We like to say that UTD is unlike any other university. Viewers of our episode will get a chance to see that difference for themselves.”
Ingrid London, UTD’s assistant provost for admission and enrollment, says she anticipates the episode to be especially helpful as prospective students and their families hear from current students about life on the college campus they’re considering.
“These are first-person accounts of life at UTD from the students who live it,” says London, a UTD alumna. “Our students define our institution, and this episode provides a great way for prospective students and their families to explore UTD.”
Alex Boylan, the host and creator of The College Tour, says he quickly noticed the exceptional nature of UTD when his team filmed the segment on campus in May.
“We had an awesome time at UTD,” Boylan says. “The campus, faculty, staff and students at UTD were smart, engaged and clearly in love with their university. I loved the variety of their stories and their common focus on learning without boundaries. From the president on down, the UTD difference shined brightly during our week on campus.”
The students featured in The College Tour auditioned for their spots by submitting a video of themselves talking about why they chose UTD and what they’ve gained from the university. Each of the students wrote their own scripts. No teleprompters were used.
Students in the show include Thomas Otten, a business analytics graduate student from Cedar Park; Sarah Ahmed, a healthcare studies junior from Frisco; Paul Micus, a chemistry senior from Waco; Kara Curtis, an international political economy senior from Gunter; Willie Chalmers III, a computer science senior from North Las Vegas; Jose Marquez, a mechanical engineering senior from Allen; Maria Williams, a neuroscience junior from Coppell; Rohan Springer, an accounting junior from Plano; Anahi Leon, a psychology senior from Dallas; and Troy Murray, a marketing senior from Las Vegas.
“Being able to work with The College Tour team was like a dream,” says Williams, who chose UTD after considering UT Austin, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Reed College in Portland, Oregon. “I was nervous about having professional cameras and filming equipment pointed at me, but the team made the shooting experience so seamless and fun, and I enjoyed being with them. The entire thing was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Murray, who considered UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine before choosing UTD, says he hopes prospective students from around the world will see themselves pursuing their higher education at UTD. “I have no doubt that this project will increase UTD’s global awareness and encourage many more bright minds to become Comets themselves.”
In addition to Amazon Prime Video, The College Tour UTD episode is available at solar.utdallas.edu/TheCollegeTour. There, viewers also can watch two web exclusives: “Coffee with the President,” an interview with President Benson, and “Ask Admissions,” an interview with Assistant Provost London.