UTPB 50th logo
On September 4, 1973, UT Permian Basin officially opened for classes

2023 marks an important year for The University of Texas Permian Basin- our 50th anniversary! With this milestone comes an opportunity to reflect on our past and share the exciting things on the horizon. For half a century, UT Permian Basin has been an invaluable pillar of education, innovation, and community in West Texas.  

“This is an exciting time not only for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, but also the community we serve,” said UTPB President, Dr. Sandra Woodley. “As we celebrate the impact that our University has on our region, we are laser focused on what’s to come. I’m looking forward to this year-long 50th anniversary celebration, and I hope that our community will join us for all the events we have planned!”  

UT Permian Basin has launched a special website where you can learn about upcoming events, stories that highlight the faces that make-up UTPB, the history of our University, and how you can share the impact this University has had on you! We encourage everyone to visit utpb.edu/50 and #FlyWithUs.  

Upcoming 50th anniversary community events:  

  • 50th Anniversary kick-off andpep rally– October 23 at 11:00 am at UTPB Gym
  • Scholarship Ball October 26, tickets can be purchased at utpb.edu/scholarshipball
  • Homecomingparade– October 28 at 7:00 pm, UTPB campus circle
  • FREE Aaron Watson Concert + bonfire + fireworks - October 28 at 7:30pm, Kirk Field
  • Veteran's Dayceremony –November 9 at 8:00 am, UTPB Gym
  • Celebration on the QuadDecember 1
  • Distinguished Lecture SeriesFebruary 4
  • Celebrating UTPB’s Impact: Gallery EventApril 11
  • State of the University Presented by Southwest BankSeptember 2024 

UTPB Celebrates 50 years: Our History  

UT Permian Basin 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. On September 4, 1973—the University opened for classes. Construction on the Mesa Building wasn’t complete, so the 1,112 students in that first class studied in temporary buildings and trailers. It would take another year before UT Permian Basin’s permanent facilities were complete. Fast forward 18 years: the Texas Legislature passed 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. Today, UTPB serves more than 7,000 students each year.