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Don Retzlaff Scholarship in Computer Science and Engineering


Don Retzlaff 1978 and 2013 side by side

Don Retzlaff was one of the pioneering students in the Department of Computer Science, earning a master's degree in Computer Sciences Systems in 1978. He was the first UNT Computer Science alumnus to develop an academic career. For 35 years he served as a lecturer and then Principal Lecturer. Don obviously had the teaching spark and had a particular passion for programming languages. 

He taught thirteen undergraduate courses, including a variety of programming languages, software development, and file organization & processing. He also taught three graduate courses. He is probably best known for his work producing the software development course sequence in which students learn to write large-scale applications. He also developed courses in Programming for Non-Majors, Assembly Language Programming, and Internet Programming. 

In retirement he has assisted with publication of the Computer Science Newsletter, maintaining the department website, developing code, and writing and publishing a variety of books. Don’s wife, Elisa, is also a UNT Alum and earned a degree in mathematics in 1986. In Spring 2018, Don was presented the Department of Computer Science & Engineering’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

Please see the video of Don presenting the early history of UNT Computer Science at the UNT Computer Science @ 50 commemoration event on April 14, 2022.  It is an excellent history of the early years of UNT Computer Science, and highlights the pioneering faculty and students as well as the early computer systems.

Funded by philanthropic contributions

This scholarship was funded by the generous contributions of UNT CSE Department alumni, faculty colleagues and friends. Charitable contributions may still be made to the endowed fund maintained by the UNT Foundation with the singular long-term objective of paying out one or more scholarships each year in perpetuity in Don’s honor. To make a contribution to this fund please see the UNT College of Engineering secure giving portal. Under Area of Support select “Other,” type in “Don Retzlaff Scholarship in Computer Science & Engineering” and follow the prompts.


  1. Meet the minimum entrance and continuing academic performance standards of the College of Engineering (or its successor) in effect at the time of any award; 
  2. Maintain full-time enrollment as established by the University, unless the student is nearing completion of their degree program and does not need full-time enrollment; 
  3. Enroll as a full-time student in The Department of Computer Science and Engineering. (or its successor) at the University; in the event no applicant meets this criteria, then students enrolling full-time in The College of Engineering (or its successor) at the University will be eligible for consideration; and, 
  4. Preference will be given to current members or honorable discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, Armed Forces Reserves, National Guard or current or former emergency first responders (police, sheriff’s deputy, firefighter or paramedic), or to recipients of the Eagle Scout Award or Girl Scout Golden Award, or to those who have served at least three years in leadership of a Scouting or Girl Scout program or to a spouse, son or daughter of someone meeting the conditions of this criterion.


March 1