Campaign for Texas a historic success

Commencement 2014 fireworks by Marsha

On October 17, 2008, I stood before a meeting of UT Austin’s Development Board and made an audacious proposal, a proposal to raise $3 billion through philanthropy in order to achieve the vision of excellence established by the Commission of 125. “That’s the cost of recruiting exceptional people and building excellence in our most strategic programs,” I said. “If we do this, we can become the great public research university of the 21st century.”

With that, we embarked on what we now believe is the largest fundraising campaign of any institution in the history of Texas.

It is thrilling to announce that we have successfully completed this transformative project. The campaign included gifts made during a two-year “silent” period that began in 2006, and in the eight subsequent years, we raised more than $3.1 billion. In the past year alone, we raised more than $856 million, setting a record for Texas higher education.

It often is said, if you want to know what a person believes in, look at his or her checkbook. You believed in UT. And you voted with your checkbook to pursue a vision of true excellence, a vision of UT Austin as America’s best.

My heart is filled with thanks for every member of the Longhorn family — individuals, foundations, associations, and corporations — who helped us. Especially, I thank three devoted alumni — Kenny Jastrow, who chaired the campaign, and Charles Tate and Libba Massey, who served as its co-vice-chairs. These three and thousands of others made the campaign a success.

Already, giving during this campaign has changed the face of our campus, with our new Liberal Arts Building and its home for ROTC, Gates Computer Science Complex, Dell Computer Science Hall, Belo Center for New Media, and Rowling Hall for graduate business education, among others. And the campaign has changed what we call our constituent parts: “Dell” is how we refer to our new medical school, “Moody” to our College of Communication, and “Butler” to our School of Music. The campaign established 830 new student scholarship and support endowments.

Above all, I am excited to witness the University’s transformation in the years to come and to know that this transformation was the fruit of your hope and your trust.

Hook ’em Horns!
Bill Powers signature

Alumni help Blanton celebrate 50 years by lending masterworks

Blanton Museum of Art - University of Texas Austin - May 2006
On Saturday night, I had the privilege of being a part of the Blanton Museum of Art’s gala celebrating a half century. (Although the current building opened in 2006, the institution dates to 1963.) The golden anniversary is also being marked by the exhibit “Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections.” This is one of the most exciting exhibits to be shown in Central Texas in memory, and it’s all the more special because it’s our own alumni and friends directly enriching the education of our students.

The eclectic exhibit of nearly 200 pieces includes ancient Mayan vessels, tribal masks, Chinese jade, Renaissance paintings, and Old Master prints and drawings, which are showcased alongside more contemporary works by artists such as Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keeffe.

The lenders to the exhibition include alumni Jeanne and Michael Klein of Austin, Mary Winton Green of Chicago, Judy and Charles Tate of Houston, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky of Dallas, and Darren Walker and David Beitzel of New York. The exhibit will be on display through May 19.

To be a world-class university, we need a world-class art museum, and fortunately we have one in the Blanton, which is flourishing under the leadership of Director Simone Wicha. I’m so proud of what it has accomplished in its first half century, and I’m excited about where it’s heading.

What starts here changes the world.

Bill's Signature