With new El Paso Admissions Center, we’re truly statewide


With El Paso high school students

Wednesday I traveled to El Paso to open UT Austin’s newest admissions center. With admissions centers from Longview to El Paso (as well as counselors from the Valley to the Panhandle), it feels like we truly have our arms around the state of Texas.

It was great to see the students, parents, Texas Exes, and University supporters come together to celebrate this opening. To continue to be Texas’ top public research university, we need the best students from every part of our state. Far west Texas represents a very important region for us. Congratulations to Michael Talamantes, the center’s founding director.

There are two prepositional phrases in our name: “of Texas” and “at Austin.” We are first and foremost “of Texas” — all of Texas. And although we’ve recruited in El Paso for a long time, it feels good to have a permanent presence there ensuring we get good information about the University to El Paso’s brightest students and their parents.

Hook ’em Horns,

Bill's Signature





Opening the El Paso Admissions Center



With Corinne Chacon of the office of State Sen. Jose R. Rodriguez, and my wife, Kim

Faculty Member, Student to Join University Budget Council

In 2000, my predecessor, President Larry Faulkner, identified the need for a small group of leaders to advise him on UT’s complex budget. The resulting University Budget Council has been a very valuable tool for helping direct our funds toward our institutional priorities. Today I’m announcing that, for the first time, we have established dedicated positions on the council for a faculty member and a student.

Professor Andrea Gore of the College of Pharmacy will serve as the first faculty member, and Natalie Butler, a Plan II senior, has agreed to serve as our first student member. (Natalie happens to be Student Government president this year, but this is not an ex officio position for the SG president.)

In addition to these two new seats, the council includes the president, executive vice president and provost, vice provost, chief financial officer, vice president for university operations, budget director, and deputy to the president for a total of nine.

I believe having a faculty member and a student as permanent positions within the council will add two important dimensions to this deliberative body, will help us better incorporate the perspective of those crucial constituencies, and demonstrates our commitment to transparency.

I look forward to getting Andrea’s and Natalie’s counsel on our university’s priorities.

Hook ’em Horns,
Bill's Signature

Welcoming Army’s Senior Service Fellows

With Senior Service Fellows on the balcony outside my office

With Senior Service Fellows on the balcony outside my office

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting with our incoming class of Senior College Fellows, who are all Army colonels and lieutenant colonels with 20-25 years of experience in the military. They’ll be on the Forty Acres for one year attending classes as part of their master’s degree program at the U.S. Army War College.

In 1991, the Army designated UT Austin as a host university for the Army’s Senior Service College Fellows Program, and UT has the largest number of fellows of any participant school. By the time they graduate in May, these 11 will have attained the highest level of military education this nation has to offer and, in the process, will have shared a great deal of wisdom with our students.

I’m grateful for their service and excited about their upcoming year on the campus.

Hook ’em Horns,

Bill's Signature

Not Your Standard “Lighting the Tower Orange”

Rubiks'ing the UT tower. #3dprojectionmapping on Twitpic

If you live in Austin, you might have noticed that the Tower looked a little different Wednesday night. With the help of our long-time marketing partner GSD&M, we turned the Tower in to a spinning, pulsating Rubik’s cube of alumni portraits. The cutting-edge projection on the Tower’s south and east sides was for a new series of promotional spots that will air with the launch of the new Longhorn Network at the end of the month. I’ve posted some cell phone video on my Facebook page to give you the idea. It was breathtaking to watch live, and the end result is going to be even better:


I also want to mention that I’m encouraged by the recent creation of WGU Texas, the subsidiary of Western Governors University that offers flexible and affordable educational opportunities. I congratulate Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, and Rep. Dan Branch for their efforts to increase educational choices for Texans.

WGU will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, information technology, education, and health professions. It primarily serves working adults and offers college coursework for about $5,800 per year.

UT Austin’s goal is to become the best public research university in the nation. But in order to meet the educational needs of all Texans, the state needs a wide a variety of institutions, and this is a very desirable step forward.

Bill's Signature

Longhorn Network Begins Broadcasting on August 26


The Longhorn Network will launch on August 26. You may have seen ads for the network narrated by UT alumnus and actor Matthew McConaughey during the NBA finals. Several programs have already been announced, with details about much more programming still to come.

While athletics will be its mainstay, I’m also excited that the Longhorn Network will feature non-sports programming. This will include University news on “Longhorn Extra” and daily short features on research, alumni, faculty, and students. We’ll also be broadcasting films and documentaries by students, faculty, and alumni. Other programming will include live music performances on the campus, top faculty members speaking on provocative topics, and major events such as commencement and my annual State of the University Address.

The Longhorn Network provides financial support for important academic initiatives. I have committed funding from the first year’s network royalties to endow new faculty chairs in Art and Art History, Communication, Philosophy, and Physics. All in all, the Longhorn Network will provide about $5 million per year in support of academics.

For more information about where and how to get the Longhorn Network in time for its August 26 launch visit GetLonghornNetwork.com.

I’m looking forward to seeing network coverage of our faculty, students, alumni, campus events, and all Longhorn team sports.

Hook ’em!

Bill's Signature

An Important Milestone

I want to thank the nearly 200,000 alumni, friends, parents, and organizations who have contributed to The Campaign for Texas.  We have just passed the midway point of the capital campaign, with $1.55 billion in gifts and pledges.

2011 Capital Campaign Update

Your continued support will help us advance our academic initiatives and achieve our goal of becoming the best public university in the nation. Your gifts support students, faculty, and programs in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

Even as we celebrate this milestone, we recognize that much work remains. If you haven’t contributed, join the team and be a part of our victory during the second half. Every gift matters.

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature