UT Austin raising funds at historic pace

Campus scenes 2012 McCombs, Union, Tower and flowers


The University of Texas at Austin has raised more than $300 million from donors during the current fiscal year, which does not end until Aug. 31. If it continues at the current pace, UT Austin will have its best fundraising year in history, surpassing the $366 million it raised in 2008.

I’m so grateful to our alumni and friends for the strategic investments they are making in UT Austin, and I’m very proud of the fundraising team we have in place that is succeeding so dramatically during these still-challenging economic times. I know we can reach our goal, and when we do, those funds will fuel UT’s ascent to the top tier of global public higher education.

Highlights of this year’s efforts include:

  • UT Austin has raised $302 million year-to-date compared with $222 million at this point last year.
  • The amount of total alumni giving year-to-date has virtually doubled, from approximately $87 million to $174 million.
  • Gifts from estates have increased year-to-date by more than 150 percent, the result of increased efforts to encourage planned gifts when supporters write their wills.
  • UT Austin has collected more than $1 million, on average, every business day in donations.
  • The University has received more than 123,000 gifts made this fiscal year.

Major gifts and pledges contributing to this year’s success have included:

  • $50 million from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation for the creation of the Dell Medical School at UT Austin
  • $25 million from the Robert Rowling Family toward the construction of a new building for graduate studies at the McCombs School of Business
  • Five estate gifts of $5 million or more

The numbers bode well for the “Campaign for Texas,” the University’s ambitious $3 billion, eight-year capital campaign. Only two other public universities in the United States are attempting to raise $3 billion, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Virginia.

To date, UT Austin has raised more than $2.1 billion for the campaign. Before the “Campaign for Texas,” the most successful capital campaign in the state was UT Austin’s “We’re Texas” campaign of the late 1990s, which raised $1.6 billion.

Thank you, and Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature

Nanotechnology center is a historic milestone for UT Austin


Nanotechnology like this plastic substrate roll will make flexible electronics commonplace

Any day UT Austin receives an $18.5 million grant is a good day. But the announcement that a grant in that amount from the National Science Foundation over the next five years was to create an NSF nanosystems engineering research center was much more significant than simply the receipt of even that impressive an amount.

When engineering dean Greg Fenves was new to his job, one of his earliest observations to me was that, unlike other top universities, UT Austin was not home to an NSF research center. These centers complement America’s system of national labs, and the fact that this particular center will be at UT speaks volumes about our leadership in the engineering sphere.

Nanotechnology is one of the most important frontiers there is. Nanoscale breakthroughs will usher in inventions and solutions we can only dream of today, and thanks to the National Science Foundation and our academic and corporate partners, The University of Texas at Austin will be right at the cutting edge. Those academic partners include the University of New Mexico and UC-Berkeley, and our corporate partners include Texas Instruments, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Applied Materials, and Corning Inc., among others.

The Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (to be known as NASCENT) will develop innovative nanomanufacturing, nanosculpting, and nanometrology systems that could lead to versatile mobile computing devices such as wearable sensors, foldable laptops, and rollable batteries.

Not only is this the first time UT Austin has been selected to lead a prestigious and highly competitive engineering research center (ERC), but it is the first time since 1986 that a Texas university has been selected to lead an ERC. As of November 2011, there were 17 active ERCs across the United States.

Cockrell School of Engineering professors Roger Bonnecaze and S.V. Sreenivasan will lead the center. My congratulations to Dean Fenves on turning his observation from a goal to a reality.

What starts here changes the world.