Where we’ve come from, where we’re going
As a regional, comprehensive institution, The University of Texas Permian Basin serves a diverse community of students from the region, the state, and beyond. Through excellence in student-centered teaching, learning, research, and public service, the University cultivates engaged citizens and impacts lives while advancing technology and the public interests of West Texas.
1970s view of Mesa Building
The History of UT Permian Basin
We began as an experiment. In 1969, the Texas Legislature decided to create an “upper-level” university in Odessa—i.e., a college that accepted only juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
But before construction on the new school could get fully underway, a lawsuit interrupted things. The plaintiff challenged the validity of the University’s property deeds. Work halted.
Eventually, the Texas Supreme Court intervened, ruling in the University’s favor. The bulldozers fired back up, and in April of 1972, UT Permian Basin’s new campus broke ground.
Little more than a year later—on September 4, 1973—the University opened for classes. Construction wasn’t complete, though, so the 1,112 students in that first class studied in temporary buildings and trailers. It would take almost another year before UT Permian Basin’s permanent facilities were complete.
Fast forward 18 years: The Texas Legislature decided once again to change UTPB’s trajectory by passing a bill that turned the school into a four-year institution. The first freshman class—known in campus lore as the Pioneer Freshmen—joined in the fall of 1991.
From our humble, experimental beginnings, UT Permian Basin has grown in nearly every direction.
No school is like UT Permian Basin. Maybe that’s why no school has a story quite like ours.
Together, we are Falcons.