The Capital Campaign and the Biggest Open House in Texas

I attended the UT Development Board today, where we received a progress report from the Chair of the Campaign for Texas, Kenny Jastrow. We’ve now reached $1.4 billion in total gifts for the campaign. Almost 190,000 alumni and friends have contributed more than 627,000 gifts. And 23% of our alumni have made gifts to the campaign.  Thank you!

Before we launched the campaign in October of 2008, some people advised that we consider postponing until the recession subsided. Now $1.4 billion later, I think we made the right decision. We may not reach our goal of $3 billion precisely on schedule, but we’ll get there.  If you haven’t contributed, there’s still time!

Tomorrow we’ll be welcoming more than 50,000 visitors to the 40 Acres for Explore UT, the “biggest open house in Texas.”

Families, teachers, and K-12 students from all over Texas are invited to campus to discover what UT has to offer. There will be hands-on science experiments; lectures on everything from politics to literature, language, and history; and demonstrations of the extraordinary research taking place every day on our campus. Explore UT allows the people of Texas to roam the campus and see firsthand what happens in classrooms, laboratories, museums, and performance spaces. This is your university. We are proud to share it with all Texans.

I hope you’ll drop by. Like the visitor below, you might be surprised by what you see.

Science Safari: UT's NSECT takes participants creeping and crawling into the world of millipedes, tarantulas, and scorpions.

Science Safari: Visitors explore the world of millipedes, tarantulas, and scorpions.

Hook ’em!

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  1. Where will be the accountability for money which is meant to uplift UT’s ranking among public universities doesn’t predominantly goes to areas which have no role in enhancing UT’s ranking?

    • Hi, H–

      Although your syntax may be a little convoluted, I think we’re basically asking the same pair of questions:

      1. How will these funds be allocated?

      2. And in the interest of transparency, how can all of us as taxpayers and members of the UT community watch to ensure that the money goes where it is supposed to, rather than getting wasted on such things as upgrading facilities for the exclusive use of the football team, which already enjoy perks akin to the most lavish country clubs you can find?

      UT Administration managed yet another financial sleight of hand not long ago, in apportioning the salary increases for 2010-2011 in one-time lump sums last November. The pool of money for raises was sufficient for 2% increases across the board–but as President Powers stated, that did not mean everyone would get a raise. This lump-sum gig makes it pretty tough to see who got stiffed and who stayed in the gravy.

      As we have seen (such as during the Cactus Cafe fiasco), high-ranking administrators such as Andy Smith have historically perpetuated the myth that no money existed for any raises, even as they crowded up to the trough to grab 7.99925% increases for themselves.

      Why 7.99925%? Because special approval was required for raises of 8% or more.

      And that’s how–at the same time most Union employees saw their real earnings decline year after year because of inflation–Mr. Smith managed to more than double his salary from 1997-2008.

      If you think Mr. Smith was alone in pulling these tricks, think again. There is virtually no oversight for those at the rank of director and above at UT.

  2. That’s great. I guess.

    Exactly where does the money from the Campaign for Texas go?

    Is part of it guaranteed to fund football, with the rest left to administrative discretion?

    Is this just another one of those deals like logo merchandising where the football program gobbles up all but a tiny fraction of the money if and only if the team makes $87 million or whatever first?

    Can you direct us to an online website so we can track this?