UNT community to vote on official tartan

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 16:41

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Edinburgh, Scotland, may be thousands of miles away from the University of North Texas, but the university will have its own piece of Scotland to mark its 125th anniversary in 2015.

Through April 23 (Wednesday), students, faculty, staff members, alumni and the general public will vote online to choose an official UNT tartan — a design for weaving that consists of two or more alternating colored stripes that intersect vertically and horizontally to form a repeated checkered pattern — from three designs. The designs were created by:

  • Casey Heidt, a senior metalsmithing and fibers major from Arlington
  • Alyssa Russell, a junior fibers major from Southlake
  • Grethe Wirth, a senior drawing and painting and art history major from Burleson

All three are enrolled this semester in Advanced Weaving, taught by Lesli Robertson, UNT lecturer in studio arts in the College of Visual Arts and Design.

The winning design will be sent to the Scottish Register of Tartans in Edinburgh. The UNT Foundation will cover the cost of registry as its contribution to UNT's 125th anniversary celebration.

In September 1890, the first classes for what would become the University of North Texas were held on the second floor of a hardware store on Denton's town square. First known as the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute, the university underwent six name changes, receiving its current name in 1988.

An official UNT tartan will be "a lasting contribution to UNT's 125th anniversary celebration and create a new and enduring tradition through apparel and products," said Jerry Holbert, president of the foundation. Proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will benefit student scholarships, he said.

Several other colleges and universities already have their own tartans. Once UNT's tartan is registered, it could be used in the creation of scarves, stadium blankets, ties and other merchandise.

Robertson's class studied Scotland's clans and their distinctive tartans and the weaving process before using computer software to create their own designs, using UNT's official shade of green, black and white. The students could also include other shades of green.

Robertson said the 17 students in her class created 41 total tartans, with individual students designing as many as 20 different ones. On April 2, each student presented one tartan design before a group of judges, who selected the three finalists.

Inspirations for the three finalist tartans range from a map of UNT's main campus centered around the Hurley Administration Building and surrounded by Denton's streets to the journey that students make as they work toward earning their degrees, the diversity of UNT’s student body and the representation of the university's 10 schools and colleges. More information about the symbolism behind the designs is available on the Tartan Project website. 

The winner of the online voting for the tartans will be announced April 24 (Thursday).

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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