Marshall and Rhodes Scholars hail from UT


Jessica Glennie, Sai Gourisankar, and Mark Jbeily

I’m delighted to report that among UT’s thousands of outstanding students, we now have a Marshall Scholar and two Rhodes Scholars.

The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding students for two years of study at the University of Oxford. Thirty UT Austin students have now received the award in its history. Approximately 83 scholarships are awarded each year. Our Rhodes Scholars are Jessica Glennie and Sai Gourisankar.

Jessica Glennie, an architecture student and member of UT’s varsity women’s rowing team, will focus on environmental policy and change during her time at Oxford. She is interested in the world’s environmental and social management issues and plans to be an architect and environmental leader. The Rhodes Scholarship is administered through various English-speaking nations. Jessica’s scholarship comes via New Zealand, where she attended Macleans College before coming to UT. A native of South Africa, Jessica received the Big 12’s 2014 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award.

Sai Gourisankar, a Plan II student, will focus on mathematical modeling, scientific computing and theoretical physics. After completing his two years at Oxford, he plans to return to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Sai is particularly interested in understanding and solving problems at the intersection of chemical engineering and mathematics. Sai is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected in the United States this year.

Mark Jbeily, also a Plan II student, has won the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which allows Americans to do graduate study in the United Kingdom. He is one of 34 Marshall Scholars this year. Mark is a recipient of the ROTC Leadership Award and wants eventually to help develop America’s national security strategy in a rapidly changing and interconnected world. Mark will pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations at Oxford University. At UT, he is currently drawing upon an interdisciplinary arts and sciences degree to study literature, philosophy, science, mathematics, and language (Arabic), as well as to explore courses in United States government and the classic texts that shaped and continue to shape our civic life.

I know you join me in congratulating Jessica, Sai, and Mark.

What starts here changes the world.

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Happy Thanksgiving


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!

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Another milestone passed for the Dell Medical School


Kevin Bozic and Amy Young


This week marks another important milestone for UT Austin’s Dell Medical School — the appointment of its first department chairs. Dean Clay Johnston has recruited two nationally renowned innovators. Dr. Kevin Bozic will chair the Surgery Department, and Dr. Amy Young will chair the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.

Kevin Bozic, a national leader in health care redesign, is a professor and vice chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UC-San Francisco. He also is a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School. He is a graduate of the UCSF School of Medicine and the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has conducted extensive research focusing on issues such as health care technology, cost-effectiveness analysis, shared decision making and value-based payment and delivery models.

Amy Young is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans. Previously, she had a long tenure at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where she served as program director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Program and later director of Medical Education. She also served as service chief for Obstetrics and Gynecology Harris County Hospital District-Baylor before being promoted to director of operations, HCSD-Baylor. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi Medical School in Jackson and holds chemistry and biology degrees from Vanderbilt University. She is the immediate past president of the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

Dean Johnston next will appoint chairs to lead the departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, followed by Psychiatry, Neurology, and Population Health, as well as the director of the Livestrong Cancer Institutes.

These are exciting times for UT Austin and for health in Central Texas.

What starts here changes the world.

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Willie Nelson display now in North End Zone


Don Carleton, Willie Nelson, and Bill Powers. (Photo by Brian Birzer)

Last week it was my honor to welcome back to campus the legendary Willie Nelson, who recently made a generous gift to the University that includes numerous pieces of memorabilia from throughout his career. Next time you are in DRK-Memorial Stadium, come through the North End Zone and visit the display.

This exhibit came about as the result of a friendship between Joe Jamail and Willie Nelson, who became friends because of a mutual friend, Darrell Royal. So this place really is the nexus of those three Texas legends. I want to thank the Jamail family, which supported the display with a grant from the Jamail Foundation, and to congratulate Briscoe Center for American History and Director Don Carleton, who was responsible for the acquisition and the display design.

Among the most powerful objects are the gifts that have been given to Willie by others: a head dress given to him by Native Americans; a Purple Heart given to him by the veteran who earned it, just because Willie’s music had touched him so much; a helmet from one of the firefighters who died in the West, Texas, fertilizer explosion. These gifts and others testify to the life of a truly special human being. I’m proud he will be celebrated in this space.

Hook ’em!
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Thank you, veterans.


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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A Texas-size Thank You


Yesterday, the University said thank you to everyone who helped support this great institution through their generous donations. As I reflect on the success of the Campaign for Texas and the $3.12 billion it raised, I think about the nearly 272,000 students, alumni, and friends who had the faith in this university’s vision to make a gift. I want to share my gratitude with each and every one of you. Thank you.

Please visit this website that tells the story of the campaign and includes a special thank you video you won’t want to miss.

Hook ’em Horns!

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