I'm not sure if its just me but I am fascinated by Universities. I think it stems (like a lot of things) from my childhood. I grew up in a little East Texas town called Mineola and always wanted to go to the University of Texas in Austin. I would go there for school trips and watch BMX videos where they would ride around Austin and UT (Don't know if anyone knows this but Austin is somewhat of the BMX capital of the world). In later years I realized I probably needed to study in HS if I wanted to get into UT. I ended up graduating from the University of North Texas which while being a pretty nice school (especially for what my degree was in) is certainly not on par with UT. I think what still interests me in universities is three fold.
One, is the fact that a university is somewhat of a self sufficient city within a city. It has its own neighborhoods, government, architectural styles, History, etc. Therefor, it makes sense that if I am interested in those details of cities, I would be about Universities as well.
Two, is that a graduate of a university remains a part of that community for the rest of his or her life. Its like belonging to an exclusive club no matter what you do or where you go. My wife graduated from TCU, which is a much more well known and prideful school than UNT. Whenever she runs into somebody that went to TCU there is an instant bond that is already formed between them. That's something I always found really impressive.
Three, the competitive and prideful nature a person feels toward their school can be a pretty fun thing. I'm not so sure this is as prevalent outside the U.S. but for whatever reason universities here have become something like individual nations. These nations (or city states or whatever you want to call them) are all competing with each other to prove which is the best and whose allegiance is more worthy. Part of this is because of the popularity of collegiate athletics (Especially football & Basketball) but academics can be just as competitive. For my school (UNT) we take a lot of pride in our music program which is top notch. Its such a big deal that almost everyone I know who never went to college (some have never even steeped foot on a campus) still claim loyalty to some university. They buy their t-shirts, root for their sports teams, and brag about the academics, all while never once stepping foot on the campus (allot I know have never even been to the state of the school they love). Why would somebody do this? I think they want to be a part of the community, the exclusive club, these schools have become.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I find the unique characteristics of schools to be as interesting as that of cities and I doubt I'm the only one here.
I wanted to start sharing some tours of campuses nearby with you guys because I have found that I frequently have an image of a school in my head without ever seeing the campus. I get it from the mascot, the conference it belongs to, the region or city its in, the stadium, and the people I know who attended. However, The image in my head is often drastically different from the reality.
So in an effort to get the a college tour up and running on this forum, I present Southern Methodist University
. SMU is a private university nestled right in the heart of Dallas, TX. It was established in 1911 and has an enrollment of around 12,000 students and 700 faculty. Basically this is a really damn nice university full of rich, beautiful people. In fact, it costs more to go here than Yale. The academics are great too though and there is lots of partying going on.
As far as the campus goes, it is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It's located in Highland Park
which is the nicest part of Dallas and probably one of the nicest neighborhoods in the U.S. The campus is full of trees and greenery that is all kept groomed to perfection (In fact, I found getting pictures of the main boulevard and the buildings off it really difficult because there are just too many trees blocking the view!). It really gives you a feel of an Ivy league university with gold spires and columned red brick buildings.
So without further banter here are the photos:
The very northern most part of campus from a the top of a parking garage (very attractive and covered in red brick of course).
Looking west and Northwest toward Preston Center Skyline.
Looking South toward downtown Dallas.
Onto another parking garage. Northeastern side of campus.
Yet another parking garage roof. This time a bit more central east of campus toward the George W Bush Library.
The SMU mascot is the Mustang.
Looking east at band practice.
The new George W Bush library.
The renovation of the arena is going on to the right.
The Greek housing is swanky.
Geaorge W Bush Presidential Libraby.
SMU's signature building lies at the northern end of the blvd.
Meadows art museum.
Hope you enjoyed the tour! It was not quite complete but I didn't want to get out of the car..