Three UT executives stepping aside


From left, Kevin Hegarty, Tom Gilligan, and Robert Hutchings


In recent days, three UT Austin executives have announced they are stepping down from their posts.

Kevin Hegarty, who has served as vice president and chief financial officer for 14 years, will become executive vice president and chief financial officer at the University of Michigan. His last day on campus will be Feb. 26, and he will begin at Michigan on April 6. Kevin has been a visionary leader, a champion of efficiency and effectiveness in our administration, and a stalwart member of my team. Mary Knight, our associate vice president for finance, will serve as interim vice president until his replacement is named.

Tom Gilligan, who has served as dean of the McCombs School of Business since 2008, will be leaving at the end of August for Stanford University to become director of the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution, and Peace. Tom has led the McCombs School to new heights, attracting top faculty and students and fostering research that is central to UT’s intellectual climate. He also has built and expanded multiple programs that support industry while challenging students and preparing them to be leaders. Rowling Hall, now under construction, will stand as Tom’s most visible legacy.

And Ambassador Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs since 2010, will step down when his current term concludes at the end of August. After taking some time off to write, Bob will return to the LBJ faculty to teach, advise, and mentor. Among his many accomplishments he has been responsible for key faculty hires and the creation of a dual degree program with the law school and an executive master’s in public leadership.

All three of these leaders have my profound thanks for their service to the University and my very best wishes for the next chapters of their distinguished careers.

Bill Powers signature

Celebrating a Century of Accounting Excellence


Tonight the Tower glows to celebrate a century of excellence at UT’s accounting program, the No. 1 ranked accounting program in America for 10 of the last 11 years. I couldn’t be prouder of the faculty and students who, over the decades, have driven this program to the top.

Department chair Lillian Mills and McCombs School dean Tom Gilligan have built on the work of all those who preceded them to make the program a jewel in the University’s crown. Consider these facts:

  • 77 percent of our accounting alumni between 2006-10 went to work for big four accounting firms.
  • UT’s undergraduate accounting program has been ranked No. 1 seven of the last nine years.
  • 71 percent of UT graduates pass the CPA exam compared to 49 percent of students from all other Texas universities.

You can find more impressive statistics here:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and academic preeminence isn’t achieved in a day, or a decade. Tonight is a great reminder that it takes perseverance to get top results. As an institution, we take the long view, and it pays off.

UT-trained accountants, wherever you are in the world today, push back from your computer for a moment and raise your Horns. I’m proud of you.

Hook ’em!

UT hosts high school leaders on the rise



Last week, UT hosted its third annual Subiendo Academy for Rising Leaders, a five-day program that brings rising high school seniors from around Texas to the Forty Acres. While here they work on solutions to real policy issues and present their proposals to business and political leaders. The program is free, but admission is highly competitive.

Begun and supported by private gifts and administered by the McCombs School of Business, the academy’s goal is to develop leadership qualities in and address issues affecting Texas’ growing Hispanic population, which is both the largest and youngest minority group in America.

I had the privilege of meeting with these 81 students twice this week, and just as in past summers I was impressed by their insights and maturity. I hope many of them return as Longhorns. Meeting these young people always makes me sleep better at night knowing that they are the future of our state.

My thanks to Subiendo’s founders Kenny and Susie Jastrow and David and Suzanne Booth, Dean Tom Gilligan, and program director Leticia Acosta for making this wonderful, annual contribution to America’s future.

What starts here changes the world.

Thank you, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

From left, me with UT deans Greg Fenves of Engineering,
Tom Gilligan of Business, and David Laude of Natural Sciences

Many of you, especially in the Houston area, know how much fun the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is.

But you might not realize that it’s also a huge supporter of The University of Texas. Over the years, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has awarded scholarships enabling 1,289 students to attend UT Austin. These scholarships total more than $15.5 million. Currently, there are 390 students on campus receiving $785,000 because of the generosity of this organization.

In addition, I was surprised Tuesday night, during their annual UT Day reception, to receive $285,000 worth of donations to UT from five past chairmen of the livestock show and rodeo: Louis Pearce, Don Jordan, Mike Wells, John O. Smith, and Paul Somerville.

In addition to them, I want to thank the current chairman, Steve Stevens, for his support and for hosting many of us Tuesday night.

For 80 years, this has been far more than just a rodeo and livestock show. It’s an event that really makes a difference, and not just in Houston but across the state and around the world.

Thank you again, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Hook ’em Horns!


A UT week on the East Coast


I spent much of last week in Washington D.C. and New York and was proud of the University at every turn.

Wednesday was especially gratifying and hinted at the range of who we are as an institution. In Washington, I attended a breakfast press conference for the new UT Energy Poll, a project of the McCombs School. Wayne Hoyer, chair of our Marketing Department, Ray Orbach, director of our Energy Institute, and McCombs School dean Tom Gilligan did a great job of explaining the significance of this initiative. The poll will survey the public’s attitudes about energy consumption, pricing, development, and regulation each October and April. There were lots of good questions, not just from the media but from energy industry leaders, congressional aides, and our own faculty. You can read more about it in USA Today.


From left, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Briscoe Center Director Don Carleton, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, and Bill Powers


That evening in New York City, I joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Don Carleton, director of UT’s Briscoe Center for American History, Vice President Greg Vincent, and our own Distinguished Alumna, mezzo-soprano Barbara Conrad, for a screening at Lincoln Center of the Briscoe Center-produced documentary on Barbara “When I Rise.” We were also joined by Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T, which helped fund the project, as well as a number of AT&T executives.

When the end credits had rolled, the curtain rose on Barbara, who performed four beautiful selections.


Every member of the UT family should see “When I Rise,” which documents a critically important chapter in our story as a university and the contributions Barbara and her supporters made to our progress as an institution and a state.

In a single day, UT demonstrated its leadership in energy research and its enormous progress in social justice and the arts on the national stage. It was a proud day to be a Longhorn.

Hook ’em Horns,

Bill's Signature





UT Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Gregory Vincent with Barbara Conrad

 Photos courtesy Don Pollard