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

Congratulations Longhorn Olympians

I hope Longhorns everywhere enjoyed the 2012 London Olympics as much as I did—especially the exceptional performances of UT students and alumni. Longhorns earned 13 medals in London, more than the totals for the majority of participating nations.

Our athletes also provided some of the most exciting narratives, such as Sanya Richards-Ross, who now has five medals in three Olympic Games, the thrilling finish of runner Leo Manzano in the 1,500 meters, and Bianca Knight’s contribution to a new world record in the 4×100 relay.

Congratulations to all our Olympians! In the days ahead we’ll light the Tower orange in your honor.

GOLD
Athlete, Country Sport, Event
Ricky Berens, USA Swimming, 4x200m freestyle relay
Kevin Durant, USA Men’s Basketball
Brendan Hansen, USA Swimming, 4x100m medley relay
Bianca Knight, USA Track & Field, 4x100m relay
Sanya Richards-Ross, USA Track & Field, 400m
Sanya Richards-Ross, USA Track & Field, 4x400m relay
SILVER
Ricky Berens, USA Swimming, 4x100m freestyle relay
Jimmy Feigen, USA Swimming, 4x100m freestyle relay
Trey Hardee, USA Decathlon
Destinee Hooker, USA Indoor Volleyball
Leo Manzano, USA Track & Field, 1500m
BRONZE
Troy Dumais, USA Diving, 3m synchronized springboard
Brendan Hansen, USA Swimming, 100m breaststroke