Men’s Swimming wins 11th National Championship


Horns are up this week for our men’s swim team, which this past weekend won its 11th national championship, all 11 occurring under legendary Head Coach Eddie Reese. The Longhorns led the meet from start to finish and claimed the team title with 528 points to UC-Berkeley’s 399 points and Michigan’s 312 points.

With this championship, Eddie Reese ties former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe for No. 1 all-time. Saturday’s win marks UT’s first team championship since our volleyball team claimed the national championship in 2012. UT now has 48 all-time NCAA team championships and 51 overall national team titles throughout school history.

To our swimmers and to Coach Reese and his staff, thank you for your hard work and congratulations on your victory.

Hook ’em Horns!
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Photo courtesy UT Athletics

New class of Distinguished Alumni honored


From left, Dealey Herndon, Scott Caven, Karen Nyberg, Matthew McConaughey, Jody Conradt, Earl Campbell, and John Massey. (Photo by Mark Rutkowski)

This past weekend, the Texas Exes and University of Texas honored six alumni with our highest award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and one non-alumnus with the Distinguished Service Award. I’d like to share these short descriptions of their accomplishments. You also can watch the moving videos produced for the event by clicking the links below:

Earl Christian Campbell, BS ’79, Austin
Campbell is one of the greatest running backs to ever play in the National Football League. After becoming the first Longhorn ever to win a Heisman Trophy in 1977, Campbell was the No. 1 draft pick by the Houston Oilers and went on to be named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. In 1981, the legislature named Campbell an Official State Hero of Texas. After retiring from football in 1985, he became a prominent businessman in Austin and later founded Earl Campbell Meat Products, Inc. He remains actively involved with UT Athletics and was a special assistant to the vice president for student affairs. In 1991, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Watch Earl Campbell’s recipient video here.

H. Scott Caven, Jr., BBA ’64, LLB ’67, Houston
Caven is managing director of Atlantic Trust, a private wealth management firm. He was a member of the UT Board of Regents from 2003-09, including service as chairman from 2007-09. During a 32-year career with Goldman Sachs, Caven was a vice president and a regional manager. A longtime UT advocate, Caven has chaired the UT System Chancellor’s Council and the McCombs School of Business Advisory Council. He is a founding member of the executive committee of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education. He has also chaired the board of directors of the University of Texas Investment Management Company and the Texas Growth Fund board of trustees. Caven is currently a member of the board of trustees for the Texas State History Museum Foundation. Watch Scott Caven’s recipient video here.

Dealey Decherd Herndon, BA ’69, Austin
Herndon was the executive director for the State Preservation Board of Texas from 1991-95, directing the restoration and extension of the Texas State Capitol. After the Texas Governor’s Mansion was nearly destroyed in a 2008 fire, Herndon returned to lead the restoration of the mansion. She is a longtime project manager and historic preservationist who owned the firm of Herndon, Stauch & Associates from 1995-2006, overseeing projects including UT’s ACES Building, the George W. Bush Childhood Home, the Caldwell County Historic Courthouse, and many more. Herndon is a member of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Texas Medal of Arts Award. She served on two advisory committees and on the Brackenridge Task Force. Watch Dealey Herndon’s recipient video here.

John H. Massey, LLB ’66, Dallas
Massey is the chairman of the Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds Investment Committee and a member of the Co-Investment Partners Investment Committee. He has been a senior executive and director for many companies, including serving as president of two highly successful companies that were listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Massey also served on the boards of seven other publicly held companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He and his wife, Elizabeth Shatto Massey, BS 61, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, are proud natives of Columbus, Texas. They have created endowments at the McCombs School of Business, the School of Law, and the College of Education, as well as three Texas Exes Forty Acres Scholarships. Massey is also the president of the Law School Foundation and a trustee of the University of Texas Foundation. He is a recipient of UT’s Presidential Citation and in 2012 was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Watch John Massey’s recipient video here.

Matthew David McConaughey, BS ’93, Austin
McConaughey is an Academy Award-winning actor. He has starred in Dazed and Confused, Amistad, Contact, The Wolf of Wall Street, True Detective, and Dallas Buyers Club, for which he won the Oscar and a Golden Globe Award, both for Best Actor. McConaughey is the founder of the just keep livin Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers high school students to lead active lives and make healthy choices. He also partnered with Mack Brown and Jack Ingram in founding Mack, Jack, and McConaughey, a joint fundraising effort that benefits children. Watch Matthew McConaughey’s video here.

Karen L. Nyberg, MS ’96, PhD ’98, Houston
Nyberg is a NASA astronaut. She has logged more than 75 million miles and over 180 days in space, including the 123rd shuttle mission in 2008 and a five-month stint on the International Space Station in 2013. Nyberg received a patent in 1994 for a robot-friendly probe and socket assembly she designed while serving as an undergraduate intern at NASA, and her graduate research on the thermoregulation of spacesuits was published in four academic journals. She is the recipient of the Joyce Medalen Society of Women Engineers Award and the University of North Dakota Sioux Award. Watch Karen Nyberg’s recipient video here.

Distinguished Service Award

Jody Conradt, Austin
Conradt was the head coach of the University of Texas’ women’s basketball team from 1976-2007. In her 38-year coaching career, her players won 900 games, and 99 percent of them graduated. Among dozens of other accolades, she was named the National Collegiate Coach of the Year four times and was the second woman inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She helped establish UT’s Neighborhood Longhorns Program, an education outreach group that helps 5,500 disadvantaged Austin children build strong academic futures. Conradt, who also served as women’s athletics director from 1992-2001, is now a special assistant to Women’s Athletics.

I’m so proud of every one of these legendary Longhorns. What starts here changes the world.
Bill Powers signature

Update on campus leadership

I’m delighted to inform you that I will be serving as president of The University of Texas at Austin through the 2014-2015 academic year and the coming legislative session, after which I will return to teaching and my faculty position in the Law School.

I am deeply grateful to Chairman Foster and Chancellor Cigarroa for their leadership of The University of Texas System and for working together on this plan. It is truly in the best interest of the university, our students, faculty, staff and alumni. It will allow me to continue to build on our student success initiatives, complete our $3 billion capital campaign, and bring the Dell Medical School closer to reality over the next year while ensuring a smooth transition to my successor. It will also allow me to work with elected officials in the 84th Texas Legislature.

Most of all, I want to thank all of you for your tireless support of our university. Serving as president of The University of Texas at Austin has been the highest honor of my life. Even more, the friendship and support of alumni and friends has been a great blessing for me, Kim, and our family.

Thank you and Hook ’em!

Bill's Signature

New York Times takes deep dive into UT’s student success efforts


Students in UT’s University Leadership Network. Photo by Bill McCullough, a 1986 Plan II graduate, for The New York Times. Read about the photo shoot.


If you read only one article about UT Austin this year, please read yesterday’s New York Times Magazine cover story about our efforts to increase student success and graduation.

Titled “Who gets to graduate?” the story, which runs nearly 8,500 words, is a deep dive and a fascinating look inside the efforts of David Laude, our senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management, to increase student success. The piece also looks at the work of one of David’s collaborators, David Yeager, a UT assistant professor in psychology, and profiles one of our freshmen, Vanessa Brewer of Mesquite.

Paul Tough, a Times contributing writer and the author of How Children Succeed, spent months reporting this story from Austin. He writes:

“What Laude and Yeager are helping to demonstrate is that with the right support, both academic and psychological, these students can actually graduate at high rates from an elite university like the University of Texas. Which is exactly why the giant educational experiment now taking place there has meaning well beyond the Austin campus.”

Tough concludes:

“To [reverse the trend of educational stratification] will take some sustained work, on a national level, on a number of fronts. But a big part of the solution lies at colleges like the University of Texas at Austin, selective but not superelite, that are able to perform, on a large scale, what used to be a central mission — arguably the central mission — of American universities: to take large numbers of highly motivated working-class teenagers and give them the tools they need to become successful professionals. The U.T. experiment reminds us that that process isn’t easy; it never has been. But it also reminds us that it is possible.”

This related article on the writing of the story is also worth your time.

What starts here changes the world.


Bill's Signature

Recommended Reading: Bill Cunningham’s ‘The Texas Way’

cunningham cvr.indd

William H. Cunningham’s new book “The Texas Way,” published by UT’s Briscoe Center for American History and available from the UT Press


The 1980s and 1990s were a time of rapid social, economic, and technological change. In his new book, The Texas Way, former UT president and UT System chancellor Bill Cunningham provides a valuable memoir. I’ve been eagerly reading this book – learning more than I knew about Chancellor Cunningham and learning at an even deeper level why Texas is the way it is. From minority recruitment and alumni relations to the increased security on the Fourth Floor of the Main Building and the intricacies of relations with the greater Austin community, The Texas Way is full of insights and should be read by everyone who aspires to understand the University or what it takes to lead complex organizations.

Bill’s book paints a vivid picture of where UT was at a particular time, and it reminds us how much the University developed under his leadership. Bill, thank you for that leadership, for planting those trees during your tenure as president and as chancellor that are still yielding fruit today and will long into the future. And thank you for this valuable contribution to UT history.

Bill's Signature

UT Austin breaks all-time fundraising record — Your support is more important than ever


This week, The University of Texas at Austin broke its all-time record for fundraising. With the help of alumni and friends, corporations and foundations, UT has raised more money in the current fiscal year than in any previous year — $396 million. And with three weeks left in the fiscal year, we may well break the previous record of $366 million (2007-08) by an even wider margin.

I’m so proud of our alumni, more than 49,000 of whom have given so far this year. I’m also grateful to the more than 35,500 individuals who are not alumni but have put their money on UT Austin, betting that we can change the world. In addition, we couldn’t have done it without the 2,629 corporations and record 304 foundations that have invested in us this year. I’m also very proud of our outstanding development staff, whose hard work and dedication brings more than a $1 million on average to the University every business day.

These record-level gifts will directly benefit our students, support game-changing research, and help us make UT Austin the top public research university in the nation.

Large gifts have made a huge difference. And this year they have included pledges of $50 million from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation for the Dell Medical School and $25 million from Terry and Robert Rowling for a new graduate education building for the McCombs School of Business. But more than 90 percent of gifts were for less than $1,000. In addition, a record 208 individuals included a gift to UT Austin in their estate plans, totaling $76 million, the highest annual amount during the current campaign and the second-highest annual amount in UT history.

While we all should be immensely proud of this accomplishment, it’s not time to celebrate yet. The fact is, we need one more record year.

Seven years ago, we set a capital campaign goal three times larger than anything attempted before, $3 billion. The economy crashed, and headwinds rose up, but we kept our heading and forged ahead, and we now have raised about $2.2 billion. We are within striking distance of our goal, but before we can claim victory we will need one more extraordinary year, an effort that dwarfs anything we have seen so far. I know this is possible, and I ask every alumnus, friend, and fan of The University of Texas to be a part. If you have given before, please give again. If you haven’t given yet, join the team and be a part of this epic effort. Go to and make a gift today.

We can do this. Let’s make history together.

Bill's Signature