Thursday, September 8, 2011
Singer Pat Boone, former UNT student, returns to campus
Although Boone attended UNT for a brief period and ended up graduating from Columbia University, he considers UNT his alma mater.
This Saturday, showbiz veteran and former UNT student Pat Boone will sing the national anthem before the Mean Green’s home football opener at Apogee Stadium. The following day, Boone will perform at an autobiographical event at the Murchison Performing Arts Center.
The UNT alumnus and longtime musician has sold millions of albums since his days as a student here in the ‘50s. Throughout his diverse acting and singing career, Boone has cracked the top 40 on Billboard charts 20 times as well as acting in various television shows and movies.
“I look back, and some of the happiest moments in my life were in Denton,” he said.
The 77-year-old performer reached out to UNT and offered to sing the national anthem and present his show, said UNT President V. Lane Rawlins.
Besides performing the national anthem, Boone’s Sunday night show, An Evening with Pat Boone, will feature a concert along with video clips that trace his career back to his time as an English student in Denton.
Aside from school, Boone was also a fraternity chaplain who preached at a one-room Church of Christ church nestled in a cornfield in Slidell.
Interim Dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism Roy Busby was a student at the same time as Boone and remembers Boone’s music from then.
“There was a Saturday night stage show in the Auditorium Building that students performed at and had a chance to exhibit their talent, and that’s where Boone first got started,” he said. Boone also performed at a Wednesday night dance on a cement slab behind the old Union building.
Boone also got a gig as the host of a musical variety show when he was 20, for which, Boone recalls, he was paid $44.50 a week.
Because of his presence at various shows, Boone was well known on campus, said Boone’s friend of 30 years, Lee Gary, also a UNT alumna. Gary, a former UNT cheerleader, met Boone at UNT and said Boone was known for more than singing.
“When he would ride by on his bike on campus, all the girls in the dorm would run to the window to wave at him because he was just so cute,” she said.
Boone quickly went from performing at local talent shows to New York City, where he sold millions of records and toured with Elvis Presley as his opening act. He went from living in a two-bedroom house in Denton to living next door to Ozzy Osbourne in Beverly Hills, Boone said.
Sunday night’s show will not only present the highlights of Boone’s career, but also humbling moments, such as bloopers from his acting career, Boone said.
“I figure if you’re going to show them the good ones, you’ve got to show the bad ones too,” he said.
Although Boone attended UNT for a brief period and ended up graduating from Columbia University, he considers UNT his alma mater, President Rawlins said.
“Most institutions have a set of people whose name is known across the world and when those people decide to come back, they are welcomed back in some sense because they’re part of the family,” he said.
Pegasus News Content partner - North Texas Daily
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