Dedication of the Walter W. Fondren III Athletics Leadership Center
Nov. 14, 2012
The University of Texas has renovated the seventh floor of Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium to consolidate the management team and leadership functions of UT Athletics to one area. The spacious suite (34,000 square feet) includes executive offices, business offices, marketing, computer services, sports information, men’s and women’s basketball offices, travel services, and human resources, as well as The Longhorn Foundation. This is called the Walter W. Fondren III Athletics Leadership Center, and it serves as the primary entry point for all athletics department leadership services and facilities.
UT Athletics officially dedicated the Fondren Center on Friday, Nov. 9 that featured a ribbon-cutting with athletics directors DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky, and Frances Fondren, who was married to Walter for 58 years prior to his death in 2010.
It is important to note that the project does not only benefit UT Athletics; it also released 33,665 square feet of space in Bellmont Hall to be used for academic programs, offices, classrooms, academic centers and Air Force ROTC. Bellmont is the primary home of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, the academic unit within the College of Education that prepares students for careers in the areas of sport and sport management, physical fitness, health education, and physical education teaching.
Walter William Fondren III earned his bachelors degree in geology at UT while playing football for the Texas Longhorns. At UT, Fondren played from 1955-1957, first as a running back and later as quarterback under coach Darrell Royal. He was named All-Southwest Conference in 1955. Playing both defense and offense, Fondren set the record for the most minutes every played in a season; that record still stands today. In 1955 and 1956 he led the team in rushing, all-purpose yards and scoring; in 1957 he led in passing and total offense. His career totals included 1,217 yard rushing and 11 scores.
Fondren was also an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, nature and wildlife. And those passions guided his leadership and lifelong philanthropy, which has touched numerous organizations throughout his native Houston, the state of Texas and The University of Texas.