Congratulations, New Graduates!

Commencement 2014 fireworks by Marsha

This weekend, 3,095 students will enter the next phase of their Longhorn careers, graduating and becoming Texas Exes. I’d like to welcome the families and friends of our new graduates to the Forty Acres, and I join you in celebrating this momentous event in the lives of your loved ones.

To our new graduates, I look forward to seeing what you do with the education you earned here. We say “What starts here changes the world,” and we mean it. The Eyes of Texas — and the world — are upon you, so make the most of your lives. Stay in touch with your professors, your deans, and with me, and come back often to visit your alma mater. UT Austin should be a significant part of your life for the rest of your life.
Congratulations to all of our graduates and to all the people in their lives who have helped them reach this point.

Hook ’em Horns!

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Thank you, veterans.

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Today, as a nation, we honor our military veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have made, both in peacetime and in war. On behalf of the whole UT Austin family, I salute all veterans and especially those who are students, faculty, staff, and alumni of UT. Additionally, I’m proud that UT has been ranked No. 3 in the nation for veterans seeking a solid return on their educational investment, according to Best Value Schools.

Again, UT salutes you, and I salute you. What starts here changes the world.

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UT takes leading role on major potential energy source, methane hydrate

I want to share with you a very important development. UT Austin recently received a research grant of $58 million to head a team studying methane hydrate, a substance found in abundance beneath the ocean floor and under Arctic permafrost. The U.S. Department of Energy is providing more than $41 million, with the remainder coming from industry and research partners. The fact that this is one of the largest research grants in the University’s history is certainly noteworthy, but the real excitement comes from the potential developments from the study itself.

Methane hydrate is an ice-like solid compound that forms in low-temperature and high-pressure environments where molecules of methane, a chief constituent of natural gas, are trapped within a lattice structure of water molecules. The worldwide energy implications are huge: within the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, where the team will be sampling, there is estimated to be 7,000 trillion cubic feet of methane hydrate, more than 250 times the amount of natural gas used in the United States in 2013. You can read more here.

I’m proud of our scientists at the Institute for Geophysics in the Jackson School of Geosciences for their leadership.

What starts here changes the world.
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National Academy of Engineering welcomes four UT faculty

NationalEngineersNew inductees clockwise from top-left, Thomas Edgar, Greg Fenves, Yale Patt, and Bob Schutz. With them are, left, C.D.  Mote Jr., President, National Academy of Engineering, and right, Charles O. Holliday Jr., Chairman, National Academy of Engineering.

Last week, four professors from UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering traveled to Washington, D.C., for their induction into the National Academy of Engineering. UT Austin had the most new members of any university this year. The academy inducted 67 new members and 11 foreign associates. I’m especially proud that among them is our executive vice president and provost, Greg Fenves. They are:

  • Thomas Edgar, director of the Energy Institute at UT Austin and the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Engineering, who is recognized for contributions to mathematical modeling, optimization and automatic control of chemical and microelectronics processes, and for professional leadership.
  • Greg Fenves, executive vice president and provost of UT Austin, who is recognized for contributions to computational modeling, creation of open-source software for earthquake engineering analysis, and for academic leadership. Prior to becoming provost, Fenves served as the eighth dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering.
  • Yale Patt, the Ernest Cockrell Jr. Centennial Chair in Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who was elected for contributions to high-performance microprocessor architecture.
  • Bob Schutz, the Joe J. King Chair of Engineering in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, who was elected for his contribution to the use of satellite laser ranging and GPS tracking to study Earth system dynamics.

Provost Fenves and Professors Edgar, Patt, and Schutz make us all proud.

Hook ’em!

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Times Higher Education: UT Austin No. 28 in world

I’m proud to report that once again the London-based publication Times Higher Education has ranked The University of Texas at Austin among the best universities in the world. This year, UT came in at No. 28. This is the fourth consecutive year we have ranked in the top 29. Among public universities in the United States, UT Austin ranked sixth on the list. The full list of universities can be found here.

Times Higher Education examines 13 factors in five separate areas to determine excellence — teaching, research, influence of research, innovation, and international outlook. UT Austin’s highest marks were in its influence of research, as measured by the number of times faculty members’ studies are cited by peers; overall research, which includes funding, number of articles published and quality; and teaching, which is based largely on the university’s reputation among scholars.

All Texans can take great pride in the fact that UT Austin keeps company with the world’s very best universities.

 

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State of the University strong thanks to focus on mission

Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of delivering my ninth and final State of the University Address to the University of Texas community. In the address, I said:

Thirty-seven years ago I fell in love with UT. A lot went into that, but nothing more than our people. Our amazing students. Our unbelievably talented faculty. Our innovative and hard- working staff. Our astonishing alumni and friends. I know all too well what all of you have done for me! Thank you!

You may read the entire address here:

http://www.utexas.edu/president/speeches/2014/state-of-the-university

Or watch it here:

Also, you might be interested in this new infographic about the University’s accomplishments:

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Thank you for all you have done to make the state of the University of Texas at Austin strong.

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