Wishing You Happy Holidays

As we near the close of 2014, I want to wish you happy holidays and a joyful winter break.

When the campus comes alive with students once again in January, we will have a new chancellor, Distinguished Alumnus Bill McRaven. I congratulate Admiral McRaven on his new role, and I want to thank Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa for his service to the UT System over the past five years and wish him well in the next chapter of his career.

I’d also like to share with you a list of the top stories from UT over this calendar year, which can be found here. Surveying these stories of teaching and research excellence from the last 12 months will make you prouder than ever of UT Austin.

Finally, good luck to all of our Longhorns competing in the upcoming days — our football team, which takes on Arkansas in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl in Houston at 8 p.m. on December 29, our highly ranked women’s and men’s basketball teams, and our fantastic volleyball team, playing in the NCAA semifinal Thursday, Dec. 18. The winner will play for the National Championship on Dec. 20. Join me in supporting all of our great student-athletes.

This is the time of year when Kim and I feel especially blessed to count so many of you as friends and to have enjoyed so much support from the University of Texas family.

Hook ’em Horns!
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Happy Thanksgiving

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In this week of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank each of you for what you do — day in and day out — to make this a life-changing institution. To our students, thank you for your Longhorn spirit and for making this campus a place I want to be every day. To our faculty, thank you for dedicating your lives to our students’ futures and for pushing the boundaries of our knowledge of the world. To our staff, thank you for your dedication and creativity — you make this place run. And to our alumni and friends, thank you for your pride in UT Austin and for your critical support. Here is a great compilation of reasons to be thankful.

Speaking of support, I know you all join me in cheering on Coach Strong and the Longhorns as they take on No. 5 TCU this Thursday at 6:30 at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. It’s been exciting to watch the team grow this season, and we’re looking forward to a bowl game. (And if you are coming to the stadium, don’t miss our great new exhibit in the North End Zone featuring memorabilia donated to UT by Willie Nelson.)

I also want to congratulate Coach Jerritt Elliott and our volleyball team for winning their fourth straight Big 12 Conference regular season title, their fifth in six years, and eighth overall. What a dynasty.

I hope that you have much to be thankful for this year, and that your time with family and friends will be  relaxing and enjoyable.

Hook ’em Horns!

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

Congratulations, National Champion Longhorns!

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Let me join the Longhorn family in congratulating our women’s volleyball team for winning the 2012 NCAA national championship. Their 3-0 sweep over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday in Louisville was the perfect end to a fantastic 29-4 season.

Congratulations to Head Coach Jerritt Elliott, who was named 2012 AVCA Division I Coach of the Year, and to Most Outstanding Player Bailey Webster as well as to the entire team.

And thanks to all the fans who support the volleyball team and all those who came out to cheer them on during the Final Four in Louisville.

With the win, The University of Texas now has 47 NCAA all-time championships and 50 overall titles.

The Longhorns are losing only one senior to graduation (congratulations, Sha’Dare McNeal), so this team will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013. Kim and I look forward to being in the stands again next season.

Point Texas, and Hook ’em Horns!

Point Texas!

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Rachael Adams with the point

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I certainly did. On Saturday, I landed in Austin just in time to catch our Longhorns win the Big 12 volleyball championship in a great match against OU. It was a real pleasure joining Athletics Director Chris Plonsky in presenting the team with the trophy. If you haven’t been to Gregory Gym for a volleyball match recently, you ought to go. They’re high-energy competitions played in front of large and enthusiastic crowds, and Kim and I enjoy going throughout the season.

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Your Big 12 Volleyball Champions

I’m proud of the Horns for going to the Final Four the last three years, and I wish them and four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year Jerritt Elliot all the best as they host the first and second rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament here at UT this Friday, Dec. 2. UT faces Texas State in the first round at 7 p.m. in Gregory Gym immediately following the Arizona/Michigan State first-round match at 4:30 p.m.

And by the way, I fall asleep every night to visions of that football splitting the uprights.

Hook ’em,

Bill's Signature