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, HispanicBusiness.com 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

Update on campus leadership

I’m delighted to inform you that I will be serving as president of The University of Texas at Austin through the 2014-2015 academic year and the coming legislative session, after which I will return to teaching and my faculty position in the Law School.

I am deeply grateful to Chairman Foster and Chancellor Cigarroa for their leadership of The University of Texas System and for working together on this plan. It is truly in the best interest of the university, our students, faculty, staff and alumni. It will allow me to continue to build on our student success initiatives, complete our $3 billion capital campaign, and bring the Dell Medical School closer to reality over the next year while ensuring a smooth transition to my successor. It will also allow me to work with elected officials in the 84th Texas Legislature.

Most of all, I want to thank all of you for your tireless support of our university. Serving as president of The University of Texas at Austin has been the highest honor of my life. Even more, the friendship and support of alumni and friends has been a great blessing for me, Kim, and our family.

Thank you and Hook ’em!

Bill's Signature