A Texas-size Thank You

 

Yesterday, the University said thank you to everyone who helped support this great institution through their generous donations. As I reflect on the success of the Campaign for Texas and the $3.12 billion it raised, I think about the nearly 272,000 students, alumni, and friends who had the faith in this university’s vision to make a gift. I want to share my gratitude with each and every one of you. Thank you.

Please visit this website that tells the story of the campaign and includes a special thank you video you won’t want to miss.

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill Powers signature

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

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

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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

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

 

 

May Updates from the Forty Acres

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As we reach the end of the 2013-14 school year, I’d like to share some good news. This weekend UT celebrates its 131st spring commencement. More than 8,686 Longhorn students are about to become graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. Of those, 5,832 will be getting their bachelor’s degrees, 1,900 their master’s degrees, and 954 their doctoral degrees. Among those graduating with bachelor’s degrees, our three most popular majors this year, in order, are psychology, economics, and finance. I’m proud of all of our new UT graduates, and I welcome their families and friends to our campus on this joyful weekend.

This spring, we have lit the Tower orange for a number of scholarly achievements. Four of our engineering faculty members were inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, the most of any university: Thomas Edgar, Yale Patt, Bob Schutz, and our provost, Greg Fenves. We also honored mathematics professor Luis Caffarelli, winner of the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research, and chemistry and chemical engineering professor Grant Willson, who won the Japan Prize for his development of a process now used to manufacture nearly all microprocessors and memory chips. And, as I mentioned last month, we broke ground on three buildings for our new Dell Medical School.

The Campaign for Texas continues to break records for philanthropy as we rapidly approach our August 31 deadline to bring the eight-year, $3 billion effort to a successful close. As of today, we have raised $2,855,986,626. That leaves $144,013,374 left to raise in 110 days. That is a lot, but I know that if we pull together, we can make history. Join us!

Finally, I’d like to recognize some of this year’s athletics successes. For the 2013-14 athletics season, six Longhorn teams captured Big 12 Conference championships: Volleyball, Men’s Swimming and Diving, Women’s Swimming and Diving, Women’s Indoor Track and Field, Men’s Tennis and Men’s Golf. I also want to congratulate Kevin Durant, who last Tuesday became the first Texas Ex in history to be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. In winning his fourth scoring title in five years, he joins only Michael Jordan, George Gervin, and Wilt Chamberlain. Hook ’em!

Kevin’s hard-won achievements are emblematic of what Longhorns do every day across society. From teaching to nursing, accounting to the arts, engineering to journalism, and in so much else, what starts here changes the world.

Here’s to another great school year.

Bill's Signature

Tillersons give $5 million for new engineering building

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From left : Provost Greg Fenves and his wife, Carmel; Cockrell School interim Dean Sharon Wood; Renda and Rex Tillerson; and my wife, Kim Heilbrun, and me

Distinguished Alumnus Rex Tillerson and his wife, Renda, have pledged $5 million to help build the Engineering Education and Research Center. Rex is chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil.

Rex and Renda have been loyal friends of the University, and I’m grateful for this generous gift in support of the research, teaching and collaboration that will thrive in the EERC. Their commitment demonstrates a strong belief in our ability to educate and develop engineering leaders who will change the world.

When completed in 2017, the EERC will house advanced teaching, research, and student project spaces that will foster collaboration among students and researchers in the Cockrell School’s seven departments and across the UT campus.

Rex earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering here in 1975, and his sons, Robert and Michael, are graduates of the Cockrell School as well. He’s a member of the school’s Engineering Advisory Board and of the UT Development Board. Beginning with his first gift in 1978, Rex has been a devoted supporter of many parts of the University.

The Tillersons’ gift moves us closer to crossing the $3 billion goal line of the Campaign for Texas. Our total now stands at $2,835,369,779. Thank you, Rex and Renda!

Bill's Signature