2013 – One for the Record Books

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As 2013 draws to close, I want to thank you for the role you have played in our extraordinarily successful year at UT Austin.

It was a year marked by momentous generosity.

Michael and Susan Dell gave UT $50 million enabling the creation of the Dell Medical School. This was only the first of three times the Dells and UT would make major headlines in 2013. The second was the opening the Dell Computer Science Hall this spring, named in honor of another $10 million gift from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The hall opened as part of the Gates Computer Science Complex, made possible by a $30 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And the third headline was the gift of the Magnum Photos Collection, one of the most valuable gifts in the history of the University, given to the Ransom Center by Michael and Susan Dell, Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, and John and Amy Phelan.

We named the College of Communication for the Moody family in recognition of a $50 million gift from the Moody Foundation. And former Regent Robert Rowling and his wife, Terry, pledged $25 million for a new home for the McCombs School of Business graduate programs to be named Rowling Hall.

All of these gifts and many more contributed to a record-breaking fundraising year for 2012-13. We need one more record year to achieve our $3 billion goal for the Campaign for Texas by the end of August.

It was a year marked by tremendous achievement.

UT’s largest college got a new home in January when we opened the Liberal Arts Building. We also launched the Clements Center for History, Strategy & Statecraft. And the Blanton Museum celebrated 50 years with a wonderful exhibit composed of masterworks from alumni collections.

Our faculty continued to win national and international recognitions: The National Academy of Engineering inducted Joseph J. Beaman Jr. of Mechanical Engineering; Sharon L. Wood of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering; and Keith P. Johnston of Chemical Engineering. The National Academy of Sciences elected John Goodenough of Mechanical Engineering. And the Institute of Medicine elected George Georgiou of Molecular Biosciences, Chemical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. Dean Young of the English Department was appointed Texas Poet Laureate. And C. Grant Willson of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering won the Japan Prize.

Our men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won Big 12 championships.

And it was a year marked by passages and transitions.

This year we lost the beloved Bill Livingston, who for nearly 60 years had served the University in numerous roles including that of interim president and senior vice president.

It was a year of major transitions as we thanked giants of our UT family for their dedicated service: DeLoss Dodds, who served 32 years as men’s athletics director; Tom Staley, director of the Ransom Center for more than 25 years; Mack Brown, who led our football program for 16 years; Steve Leslie, our executive vice president and provost, who had served in that role since 2007; and Robert Dahlstrom, who had served as UT police chief since 2006.

Among those who have succeeded them — our new executive vice president and provost Greg Fenves, formerly UT’s engineering dean; new athletics director Steve Patterson; new dean of graduate studies Judith Langlois; new dean of Undergraduate Studies Brent Iverson; new director of the Ransom Center Stephen Ennis; and new UT police chief, David Carter.

I’m always proud of UT Austin as I travel and meet my peers, and I am especially so this year as I fulfill my role as chair of the Association of American Universities.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday. Thank you for all you have done for UT Austin this year.

Bill's Signature

 

Proud of our newest Distinguished Alumni

Each year, the Texas Exes honor six alumni who, through their careers and their dedication to the University, have distinguished themselves. Tonight we honor our six newest inductees. I’m proud to join the Texas Exes in celebrating these six exemplary members of the UT family:

Linda L. Addison, BA ’73, JD ’76, New York
Linda is global head of Dispute Resolution and Litigation of Norton Rose Fulbright and serves on its Global Executive Committee. A founder and president of the Center for Women in Law at the UT law school, she was named one of the “50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal.

Charles D. Fraser, Jr., BA ’80, Houston
Charles is surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he pioneered the first artificial heart specialized for newborns. He is also a professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.

Wallace B. Jefferson, JD ’88, Austin
Wallace is chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. The first African-American to serve in that office, he has been president of the Conference of Chief Justices, an association of chief justices from the 50 states and U.S. territories. He currently serves on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Board of the American Bar Foundation, and the council of the American Law Institute.

Janiece Longoria, BA ’76, JD ’79, Houston
Janiece is a partner in the firm of Ogden Gibson Broocks, Longoria & Hall. As chairman of the Port of Houston, she oversees the second-busiest port in America. She is also a former vice chairman of the UT System Board of Regents and a founder of the Center for Women in Law at UT’s law school.

Robert B. Rowling, BBA ’76, Dallas
Robert is owner and chairman of TRT Holdings, Inc. He has served on the UT System Board of Regents and has chaired the UT Investment Management Company. The McCombs School of Business’ new graduate building will be named Rowling Hall in his honor.

James J. Truchard, BS ’64, MA ’67, PhD ’74, Austin
James is co-founder and CEO of National Instruments. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and has been recognized with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship for his community involvement.

I hope you’ll raise your Horns with me in saluting these truly Distinguished Alumni. We will light the Tower orange in their honor.

What starts here changes the world.

Bill's Signature

UT Austin breaks all-time fundraising record — Your support is more important than ever

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This week, The University of Texas at Austin broke its all-time record for fundraising. With the help of alumni and friends, corporations and foundations, UT has raised more money in the current fiscal year than in any previous year — $396 million. And with three weeks left in the fiscal year, we may well break the previous record of $366 million (2007-08) by an even wider margin.

I’m so proud of our alumni, more than 49,000 of whom have given so far this year. I’m also grateful to the more than 35,500 individuals who are not alumni but have put their money on UT Austin, betting that we can change the world. In addition, we couldn’t have done it without the 2,629 corporations and record 304 foundations that have invested in us this year. I’m also very proud of our outstanding development staff, whose hard work and dedication brings more than a $1 million on average to the University every business day.

These record-level gifts will directly benefit our students, support game-changing research, and help us make UT Austin the top public research university in the nation.

Large gifts have made a huge difference. And this year they have included pledges of $50 million from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation for the Dell Medical School and $25 million from Terry and Robert Rowling for a new graduate education building for the McCombs School of Business. But more than 90 percent of gifts were for less than $1,000. In addition, a record 208 individuals included a gift to UT Austin in their estate plans, totaling $76 million, the highest annual amount during the current campaign and the second-highest annual amount in UT history.

While we all should be immensely proud of this accomplishment, it’s not time to celebrate yet. The fact is, we need one more record year.

Seven years ago, we set a capital campaign goal three times larger than anything attempted before, $3 billion. The economy crashed, and headwinds rose up, but we kept our heading and forged ahead, and we now have raised about $2.2 billion. We are within striking distance of our goal, but before we can claim victory we will need one more extraordinary year, an effort that dwarfs anything we have seen so far. I know this is possible, and I ask every alumnus, friend, and fan of The University of Texas to be a part. If you have given before, please give again. If you haven’t given yet, join the team and be a part of this epic effort. Go to http://giving.utexas.edu/campaign/ and make a gift today.

We can do this. Let’s make history together.

Bill's Signature

UT Austin raising funds at historic pace

Campus scenes 2012 McCombs, Union, Tower and flowers

 

The University of Texas at Austin has raised more than $300 million from donors during the current fiscal year, which does not end until Aug. 31. If it continues at the current pace, UT Austin will have its best fundraising year in history, surpassing the $366 million it raised in 2008.

I’m so grateful to our alumni and friends for the strategic investments they are making in UT Austin, and I’m very proud of the fundraising team we have in place that is succeeding so dramatically during these still-challenging economic times. I know we can reach our goal, and when we do, those funds will fuel UT’s ascent to the top tier of global public higher education.

Highlights of this year’s efforts include:

  • UT Austin has raised $302 million year-to-date compared with $222 million at this point last year.
  • The amount of total alumni giving year-to-date has virtually doubled, from approximately $87 million to $174 million.
  • Gifts from estates have increased year-to-date by more than 150 percent, the result of increased efforts to encourage planned gifts when supporters write their wills.
  • UT Austin has collected more than $1 million, on average, every business day in donations.
  • The University has received more than 123,000 gifts made this fiscal year.

Major gifts and pledges contributing to this year’s success have included:

  • $50 million from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation for the creation of the Dell Medical School at UT Austin
  • $25 million from the Robert Rowling Family toward the construction of a new building for graduate studies at the McCombs School of Business
  • Five estate gifts of $5 million or more

The numbers bode well for the “Campaign for Texas,” the University’s ambitious $3 billion, eight-year capital campaign. Only two other public universities in the United States are attempting to raise $3 billion, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Virginia.

To date, UT Austin has raised more than $2.1 billion for the campaign. Before the “Campaign for Texas,” the most successful capital campaign in the state was UT Austin’s “We’re Texas” campaign of the late 1990s, which raised $1.6 billion.

Thank you, and Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature

Good news from across the University

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Stampede’s principal investigators: Tommy Minyard, Bill Barth, Jay Boisseau, Dan Stanzione, Karl Schulz of UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center

Every day I see firsthand the importance of having strong national research universities in Texas. Three Texas congressmen — Lamar Smith, Michael McCaul, and Roger Williams — joined us yesterday on our campus to dedicate Stampede, our newest supercomputer. It’s capable of processing nearly 10 quadrillion mathematical computations per second. Stampede is currently the largest system available to scientists across the United States, thousands of whom will use the supercomputer to conduct scientific research and make discoveries as diverse as isolating new drug compounds, modeling the effects of climate change, searching for gravitational waves, and developing more efficient energy resources.

UT Austin won a nationwide competition for a $51.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build Stampede. That’s good for your university, good for the advancement of science, and good for Texas.

We’ve had a lot of good news lately:

  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates was on campus to dedicate the Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall, made possible by a $30 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $10 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
  • Our men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won Big 12 championships. Good luck to the men, who will be competing for the national championship this weekend.
  • Former Regent Robert Rowling and his wife, Terry, pledged $25 million for a new home for the McCombs School of Business graduate programs to be named Rowling Hall.
  • A record 38,000 students applied for the 2013-14 freshman class.

I hope you are as proud as I am of all that the University is accomplishing every day with the help of alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

Hook ’em!

 

Bill's Signature