Campaign for Texas a historic success

Commencement 2014 fireworks by Marsha

On October 17, 2008, I stood before a meeting of UT Austin’s Development Board and made an audacious proposal, a proposal to raise $3 billion through philanthropy in order to achieve the vision of excellence established by the Commission of 125. “That’s the cost of recruiting exceptional people and building excellence in our most strategic programs,” I said. “If we do this, we can become the great public research university of the 21st century.”

With that, we embarked on what we now believe is the largest fundraising campaign of any institution in the history of Texas.

It is thrilling to announce that we have successfully completed this transformative project. The campaign included gifts made during a two-year “silent” period that began in 2006, and in the eight subsequent years, we raised more than $3.1 billion. In the past year alone, we raised more than $856 million, setting a record for Texas higher education.

It often is said, if you want to know what a person believes in, look at his or her checkbook. You believed in UT. And you voted with your checkbook to pursue a vision of true excellence, a vision of UT Austin as America’s best.

My heart is filled with thanks for every member of the Longhorn family — individuals, foundations, associations, and corporations — who helped us. Especially, I thank three devoted alumni — Kenny Jastrow, who chaired the campaign, and Charles Tate and Libba Massey, who served as its co-vice-chairs. These three and thousands of others made the campaign a success.

Already, giving during this campaign has changed the face of our campus, with our new Liberal Arts Building and its home for ROTC, Gates Computer Science Complex, Dell Computer Science Hall, Belo Center for New Media, and Rowling Hall for graduate business education, among others. And the campaign has changed what we call our constituent parts: “Dell” is how we refer to our new medical school, “Moody” to our College of Communication, and “Butler” to our School of Music. The campaign established 830 new student scholarship and support endowments.

Above all, I am excited to witness the University’s transformation in the years to come and to know that this transformation was the fruit of your hope and your trust.

Hook ’em Horns!
Bill Powers signature

Welcome to the Forty Acres

This is the first week of the fall semester of 2014, and our campus is buzzing with activity. It’s especially exciting to feel the energy of new students as they begin this life-changing experience. Tuesday night, we gathered on the Main Mall to celebrate this new chapter with a freshman convocation we call Gone to Texas. Music, spirit groups, and a strong lineup of speakers primed our freshmen for their college careers. And, to the students’ great approval, this happened…

On Wednesday night, new students met in the stadium for the Texas Kickoff Rally, where they met Coach Charlie Strong and formed the Longhorn silhouette on the field for the Class of 2018 photo.


To all of you who have been away, welcome back. Let’s make it a year to remember!

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill Powers signature

UT Austin ranked a top university for Hispanic graduate students

Each year, ranks university graduate programs in four areas: business, engineering, law, and medicine. This year, UT Austin was one of just three universities ranked high in three of the four areas. The University ranked No. 2 in engineering, No. 3 in business, and No. 6 in law. The criteria included percentages of Hispanic enrollment and Hispanic faculty. The publication states: “As tends to be the case with many institutions in our lists, three states stand out in terms of being represented on our school lists. Texas, represented by 12 schools, leads the way in 2014, including an impressive 50 percent of the top 10 medical schools.”

Here are the numbers that drove our rankings.

Engineering: No. 2
Total graduate enrollment: 765
Hispanic graduate enrollment: 61
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment: 8.0%
Total postgraduate degrees earned: 340
Postgraduate degrees earned to Hispanics: 29
Percent of postgraduate degrees earned to Hispanics: 8.5%
Full-time engineering school faculty: 200
Full-time engineering school Hispanic faculty: 7
Percent Hispanic faculty in engineering school: 3.5%

Business: No. 3
Total graduate enrollment: 511
Hispanic graduate enrollment: 35
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment: 6.8%
Total MBA degrees earned: 268
MBA degrees earned to Hispanics: 17
Percent of MBA degrees earned to Hispanics: 6.3%
Full-time MBA school faculty: 95
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty: 4
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school: 4.2%

Law: No. 6
Total graduate enrollment: 1,038
Hispanic graduate enrollment: 162
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment: 15.6%
Total J.D. degrees earned: 367
J.D. degrees earned by Hispanics: 57
Percent of J.D. degrees earned by Hispanics: 15.5%
Full-time law school faculty: 91
Full-time law school Hispanic faculty: 5
Percent of law school Hispanic faculty: 5.5%

The only area in which we were not ranked is medicine, and with the Dell Medical School opening in 2016, we soon could be four for four.
Bill Powers signature

LIVESTRONG Foundation puts UT Austin over the $3 billion goal line

Livestrong Press Conference 2014_3770
Livestrong Press Conference 2014_3770

From left: Dean Clay Johnston of the Dell Medical School, LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman, President Bill Powers, Sen. Kirk Watson, and LIVESTRONG Chairman Jeff Garvey

Today, I’m thrilled to announce two historic milestones in the life of The University of Texas at Austin. The LIVESTRONG Foundation has pledged $50 million to create the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School. With this gift, LIVESTRONG has taken UT Austin’s total giving during the Campaign for Texas over our goal of $3 billion with just over one week left in our eight-year campaign.

The LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes will bring to the Dell Medical School the cause of patient-centered care that has been at the heart of the foundation’s work since its beginning 17 years ago. I am so thankful to LIVESTRONG and excited about the groundwork this lays within the Dell Medical School. Revolutionary advances will flow from this partnership. Lives will be saved, and lives will be made far better because of the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s generosity and strategic vision.

As for the Campaign for Texas, I will have much more to say about it when the final numbers are tallied. However, we can now reveal that more than 139,000 alumni and some 120,000 additional friends made gifts during the campaign. More than 12,000 other donors, including foundations, associations, and corporations, have given as well during the course of this, the largest capital campaign in the history of Texas higher education.

You did it. I thank you. Longhorns around the world thank you. And most importantly, future generations of Longhorns will thank you in the decades to come. If you haven’t given yet, you have through August 31 to be a part of this historic campaign.

What starts here changes the world.

Bill Powers signature

Giving Back to Support the Next Generation in Engineering

President Powers accepts Whaley gift
President Powers accepts Whaley gift

David Anderson, the executor of Whaley’s estate, and his wife, Ann, and son, Matt (center) with Bill Powers (left) and Dean Sharon Wood (right).

As we enter the final weeks of the Campaign for Texas, I am gratified to see so many friends and alumni giving back to our university. This week we announced a large posthumous gift–$35 million from the late T. W. Whaley, who earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from UT in 1968.

What’s special about this bequest is that it was given with the specific intention of funding scholarships for top Texas students in engineering and science. The endowment, projected to provide $1.6 million in annual merit scholarships and fellowships, increases the Cockrell School of Engineering’s total scholarship and fellowship funding by 25 percent. It will provide substantial scholarship support for 34 Cockrell School students in the first year alone.

Born in Lorena, Texas, in 1935, Whaley was adopted at age 15 by parents who made education a priority. After service in the U.S. Army, he earned two degrees at Texas A&M University before enrolling at UT. His career included aerospace engineering with General Dynamics and employment at the Central Intelligence Agency. In later years he managed a family farm, mineral interests, and investments. A donor to the Cockrell School since 1974, Dr. Whaley died last year.

His generosity will help engineering students on our campus this fall and for generations to come.

Hook ’em!

Bill Powers signature



Coach Strong doing a tough job well

In recent days, criminal charges and violations of team rules have led Coach Charlie Strong to dismiss and suspend multiple students from our football team. These are unfortunate losses, but I fully support Coach Strong and the hard line on discipline he takes. Indeed, this trait is among the reasons he was hired.

There’s no more demanding job in college sports than coach of the Texas Longhorns football team. In Charlie Strong, we have the right person for the job. Young players across Texas and beyond know that when they come to UT Austin, they’ll live by Coach Strong’s rules or they won’t play football. This will attract the best young men, and they will make all of us proud on the field and off.

Bill's Signature