Margaret Berry honored on campus

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Last Friday, it was my pleasure to help dedicate the Margaret C. Berry Atrium at the Student Activity Center on campus. Many of you know Dr. Berry personally through her work as UT’s dean of women, her sponsorship of many student organizations, and the popular histories she has written of our university.

The depth of feeling for Dr. Berry, now 96, was evident everywhere, from the three busloads of her fellow residents at Westminster Manor in attendance to Texas Exes of practically every vintage who returned to campus to honor her. The Longhorn Band and cheerleaders set the perfect stage for Dr. Berry, who has dedicated her life to so many student organizations that just reading a list of them took some two minutes.

We were honored to have Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, both UT alumni, on hand to honor Dr. Berry, along with Debra Law McKeown, Steve Poizner, Rick Potter, Cyndi Powell, and many others who led the alumni and student initiatives to honor Dr. Berry.

Her record of service to UT students has few equals. Congratulations, Margaret!

Hook ’em Horns!

A New Building for Our Students

I want to thank everyone who sent me their best wishes and encouragement during my recent illness. Kim and I heard from hundreds of you, and I can’t tell you how much your thoughts and prayers have meant to us. Your friendship is one of my great blessings in life.

As many of you know, I experienced a pulmonary embolism that began as a blood clot in my leg.  I’m being treated with medication and expect to make a full recovery.  I have returned to the office on a reduced work schedule, and I’m glad to be back.

The day before I took ill, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Student Activity Center on the East Mall and adjacent to Gregory Gym.

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SAC Ribbon Cutting (Kelly Cameron Photography)

With 149,000 square feet of indoor space and 25,000 square feet of outdoor seating areas, there’s something for everyone.  The building includes 13 meeting rooms, a theater, an auditorium, a ballroom, three restaurants, and a coffee shop.  The Student Activity Center houses offices for graduate and undergraduate student legislative organizations, several student centers, and the Anthropology Department.

This building was a product of our students’ resourcefulness and determination.  Various administrators and campus groups had been talking about adding student activity space to the east side of the campus since the 1950s.  But it was our students who conceived the building, found a way to pay for it, and got it built in a relatively short time.

The project was funded through a student fee authorized in a 2006 referendum.  More than 100 students participated in workshops to help with design development, contributing many ideas along the way.  The students were committed to sustainability and a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating.  A black box theater, dance rehearsal space with special flooring, and rooftop leisure areas were among the features that the students envisioned.

The Student Activity Center is a great companion building to the Texas Union, which has served our student body well since 1933.  I thank all those who had a hand in the project, and I invite everyone else to come see this magnificent new addition to the campus.

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North side of the SAC (Kelly Cameron Photography)

Once again, my family and I thank you for your support and concern.

Bill's Signature