Archive for November, 2011
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I certainly did. On Saturday, I landed in Austin just in time to catch our Longhorns win the Big 12 volleyball championship in a great match against OU. It was a real pleasure joining Athletics Director Chris Plonsky in presenting the team with the trophy. If you haven’t been to Gregory Gym for a volleyball match recently, you ought to go. They’re high-energy competitions played in front of large and enthusiastic crowds, and Kim and I enjoy going throughout the season.
I’m proud of the Horns for going to the Final Four the last three years, and I wish them and four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year Jerritt Elliot all the best as they host the first and second rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament here at UT this Friday, Dec. 2. UT faces Texas State in the first round at 7 p.m. in Gregory Gym immediately following the Arizona/Michigan State first-round match at 4:30 p.m.
And by the way, I fall asleep every night to visions of that football splitting the uprights.
It’s not the most famous building on the UT campus, but many with an eye for architecture call Battle Hall, just to the southwest of the Tower, the finest building on the Forty Acres. Designed by Cass Gilbert and finished in 1911, Battle Hall’s main space is home to the Architecture Library. The view above is a very familiar one as it is essentially what I see out my office window.
Beyond serving as the University’s first independent library building (later known as “the Old Library”), it also became the first home of the new College of Fine Arts in 1938, and in 1950, to the new Barker Texas History Center, bringing together for the first time the University Library’s archives and rare books collections. In 1973, when the Barker Center vacated the building, it became home to the Architecture Library and was renamed for former University president William J. Battle.
I encourage you to view this slide show of historic drawings and photos prepared recently as part of Battle Hall’s centennial. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed the building among its 150 favorite structures.
In a world increasingly dominated by homogenous and cheap construction, Battle Hall is a powerful reminder of the effects that classically beautiful spaces and enduring craftsmanship can have on our lives.
View more photos and read additional history about Battle Hall in this University of Texas Libraries’ online exhibit.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I often reflect on all that we’re blessed with as a university.
In still-hard times, we’re blessed with generous support from alumni and friends.
We’re blessed with a world-class faculty that attracts great students and attracts research grants that help us push the frontiers of knowledge.
And we’re blessed with a dedicated and accomplished staff that ties our community together in all of our daily functions.
I’m thankful for all these blessings and for the opportunity to lead one of Texas’ most important institutions. And I’m thankful to you for your interest in and support of The University of Texas.
Enjoy the holiday, bon appetit, and Hook ’em Horns!
Last month, the Princeton Review released its annual rankings of business schools, and UT’s McCombs School of Business topped the list of 294 universities in the “Best Professors” category.
The report states:
[McCombs] Students love their professors, who are “very accessible and knowledgeable” and “have had practical work experience that makes them that much better.” “Ninety-five percent of the instructors are very engaging, accessible, intelligent, inspiring, and passionate about the material they teach.” This “excellent” faculty is a “good mix of academics with a strong history of research and practitioners who have real-world knowledge,” such as “leading researchers and ex-CEOs.” “Class content is nicely divided up between theory, case, and simulation.” One student says, “It has been more challenging than I could have ever imagined, but after going through this, I know I will be prepared for anything.”
I continue to say – and the media continue to concur — that the UT Austin faculty is outstanding. My thanks to Dean Tom Gilligan for his leadership and to the entire McCombs School faculty and staff for making us proud again.
Hook ’em Horns,
One of my major themes of the past nine months has been communicating to the world beyond our campus the remarkable quality and quantity of our faculty’s teaching and research.
Among many other facts, the report reveals that our faculty generates nearly twice as much revenue through research funding and educational dollars as they cost the state in salary and benefits. The report, written by Marc Musick, associate dean for student affairs in the College of Liberal Arts, is yet another indicator of the efficiency of our whole instructional staff from graduate assistants to tenured professors and the entire campus community that supports them.
Teaching is more art than science, and a successful faculty member at a research university is defined by more than mere numbers. But in what we can measure, it is clear that Texas receives an outstanding return on investment in the UT Austin faculty.
The Longhorn Network is making its programming available online November 11-13 at LonghornNetwork.com. This is an opportunity for UT alumni and fans without access to the Longhorn Network to watch the season-opening men’s and women’s basketball games and other programs.
The Longhorn Network is now available in four million homes nationwide. But please know that I share the frustration of alumni and fans still waiting on the network to be carried by their distributors. These negotiations are complex, and our partners are doing everything possible to expand distribution.
With the launch of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons — and coverage around this weekend’s football game against Missouri — this will be a good opportunity for millions of Longhorn fans to sample the network firsthand. I especially recommend Game Changers at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The premiere episode of this series features Professor John Daly speaking about the power of advocacy and selling your ideas. I was in the audience for this taping, and I think you’ll be as impressed as I was.
Free online coverage begins at 8 a.m. on Friday, November 11, and ends Sunday, November 13, at midnight.
- Game Plan with Mack Brown 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: Texas GameDay 6:30 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: #5 Stanford vs. #20 Texas 7 p.m.
- Longhorn Extra 10 p.m.
- Texas GameDay 9-11 a.m.
- Exclusive Longhorn Network Halftime Show during Texas vs. Missouri
- Texas GameDay Final immediately following Texas vs. Missouri
- Volleyball: Kansas St. vs #8 Texas 4 p.m.
- GameChangers with Prof. John Daly 2:30 p.m.
- Longhorn Legends: Texas Basketball Roundtable (with Kevin Durant, T.J. Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Mihm, D.J. Augustin, and Coach Rick Barnes) 5:30 p.m.
- Men’s Basketball: Boston University vs. Texas 6 p.m.
All times are Central. Video preview: http://youtu.be/n51vRIZ_doM
Thank you for your patience, and thank you for supporting The University of Texas at Austin.
Hook ’em Horns,
The University of Texas at Austin is now offering all 450,000 of its alumni a free lifetime email account. Named UTmail and powered by Google, it was rolled out to 35,000 current students earlier this year, and we’re proud to join the Texas Exes in extending this service to alumni. There are three good reasons to switch to UTmail:
- To show your UT pride. UTmail provides each alumnus with a free “@utexas.edu” address.
- 25 gigabytes of storage – enough to accommodate about 500,000 average emails.
- Better privacy. UTmail will provide greater privacy than standard Gmail accounts because UT’s contract with Google is more restrictive regarding commercial data mining.
A University committee evaluated a number of email vendors who responded to a request for proposals and selected Google on the strength of its proposal, vendor references, and answers to technical questions. UT is providing this as a service to students and alumni and will receive no income from the arrangement.
We’re happy to join other universities on several continents that have selected Google as their email service provider.
Click here to claim your new “@utexas.edu” address.
Hook ’em Horns,
From 1936 to 2010, 139 UT Austin student-athletes have won 117 Olympic medals (57 gold, 30 silver and 16 bronze). Not bad for a University historically known as “a football school.” And last Friday and Saturday, we welcomed 29 of those Olympian-alumni back to the Forty Acres.
In conjunction with UT Athletics honoring its former student athletes/Olympians before the Oct. 29 home football game, the T Association (the University’s association of former letter winners), and the Texas Program in Sports and Media sponsored three panel discussions exploring the University’s Olympic legacy, ethics in sports, and the “identity shift” required to make the jump from top-ranked collegian to world-class athlete.
Donna de Varona, an Olympian and Olympic commentator, moderated two panels featuring track and field Olympians Richard Duncan, Cynthea Rhodes Patterson, Carlette Guidry Falkquay, and Johnny “Lam” Jones, swimmers Aaron Peirsol, Whitney Hedgepeth, Tracey McFarlane, Josh Davis, and Brendan Hansen, and basketball star Andrea Lloyd.
Steven Ungerleider (pictured above), a sports psychologist, UT alumnus, University supporter, and U.S. Olympic Committee member, moderated a panel featuring track and field stars Eddie Southern and Winthrop Graham and swimmers Garrett Weber-Gale, Neil Walker, and Jill Sterkel.
Many Olympians noted that they were offered scholarships to any place in the country but fell in love with UT, Austin, and the rich heritage of this school supporting student-athletes and the culture of sport. It was a powerful reminder of how we’ve dominated in Olympic sports for many years, and it was great to see these faces on the Forty Acres again.
(Photos UT Athletics)
Hook ’em Horns,