Archive for August, 2012
Today, AT&T announced that it will carry the Longhorn Network.
I’m thrilled that the Longhorn Network is now more widely available to the UT family. The high-quality programs – showcasing both athletics and the life of the greater university – will give fans and the general public an exciting new window on UT. AT&T has been a long-standing friend of the University in many ways, and we’re delighted that they will be joining our distribution network. Over the past year, we kept our focus on the long term and trusted our great partners at ESPN. Now we can begin to realize the full potential of this powerful new communication channel.
I also want to thank all the providers who have been carrying the Longhorn Network throughout the past year, including Verizon FiOS TV, Grande Communications, Consolidated Communications, En-Touch Systems, E-Tex Communications, Bay City Cablevision, Mid-Coast Cablevision, and Texas Mid-Gulf Cablevision.
While we realize this won’t help all fans immediately, it is a big breakthrough that will encourage other major distributors to carry the network.
Finally, let’s wish the Horns a great season opener against Wyoming tomorrow night.
Hook ’em Horns!
Tonight, we’re lighting the Tower orange for my good friend and colleague, Paul Woodruff.
One of the key accomplishments of my presidency has been appointing Paul as our first dean of undergraduate studies. With him in that role, we proceeded to create the School of Undergraduate Studies as a home for underclassmen still searching for a major. The school also administers our Signature Courses and performs many other functions. Paul and his staff have built the school into a critical component of the University. Today Paul steps down as dean to resume full-time teaching.
To honor Paul, numerous former students, colleagues, and friends have raised $370,000 to endow the Paul B. Woodruff Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies. The award will go to a different faculty member each year who is dedicated to improving a particular area of the core curriculum, to developing or expanding interdisciplinary academic programs, to designing new Signature Courses, or to mentoring Signature Course faculty. It’s a fitting tribute.
Thank you, Paul, for your special service as inaugural dean of this school and for your continued contributions to the intellectual life of our students.
Job well done!
Everyone has a health story. I’m sharing mine in this video today to support the creation of a medical school at UT Austin. You can share yours at http://www.healthyatx.org/testimonials/.
Thanks for watching,
The UT System Board of Regents took several actions during their two-day meeting this week in Austin that help our campus. In all, the Board approved:
- Our budget proposal for the coming academic year.
- The purchase of a second station for KUT, allowing for the expansion of both music and news programming for our award-winning radio station. (The funds for this will ultimately come from KUT.)
- The design of our future Engineering Education and Research Center.
- The purchase of land near MLK and Guadalupe streets for the construction of a new Graduate School of Business building.
- And the creation of two new PhDs at UT Austin, one in statistics and the other in African and African Diaspora studies, which will be the first of its kind in Texas.
I thank the Regents for their support and look forward to seeing all of these initiatives unfold.
Over the past 15 years, the UT Austin campus has nearly doubled in size from about 9 million square feet to nearly 17 million square feet. Yet today we use the same amount of fuel as in 1996. We’ve achieved carbon-neutral growth through increased efficiency.
- Juan Ontiveros
The key player in this accomplishment is Juan Ontiveros, our executive director of utilities and energy management. Last month, the International District Energy Association (IDEA) awarded Mr. Ontiveros its highest honor, the Norman R. Taylor Award, at the group’s 103rd Annual Conference in Chicago.
IDEA president and CEO Robert Thornton said Mr. Ontiveros “embodies all that is important and valuable about this prestigious award. Juan Ontiveros is a giver, not a taker.”
Under Juan’s guidance, UT Austin has invested nearly $150 million in energy efficiency and capacity upgrades over the past decade, all of which have been paid for in energy savings. The IDEA stated: “UT Austin is recognized as one of the most efficient and reliable campus energy systems in the United States, if not the world.”
Juan’s award is a powerful reminder that excellence at UT Austin is driven by our staff every bit as much as by our faculty, students, and alumni. His accomplishments should make us all proud.
Watch this short video made last year in which Juan explains UT’s incredible gains in energy efficiency.
Thank you, Juan, for what you’ve done for The University of Texas.
I hope Longhorns everywhere enjoyed the 2012 London Olympics as much as I did—especially the exceptional performances of UT students and alumni. Longhorns earned 13 medals in London, more than the totals for the majority of participating nations.
Our athletes also provided some of the most exciting narratives, such as Sanya Richards-Ross, who now has five medals in three Olympic Games, the thrilling finish of runner Leo Manzano in the 1,500 meters, and Bianca Knight’s contribution to a new world record in the 4×100 relay.
Congratulations to all our Olympians! In the days ahead we’ll light the Tower orange in your honor.
|Athlete, Country||Sport, Event|
|Ricky Berens, USA||Swimming, 4x200m freestyle relay|
|Kevin Durant, USA||Men’s Basketball|
|Brendan Hansen, USA||Swimming, 4x100m medley relay|
|Bianca Knight, USA||Track & Field, 4x100m relay|
|Sanya Richards-Ross, USA||Track & Field, 400m|
|Sanya Richards-Ross, USA||Track & Field, 4x400m relay|
|Ricky Berens, USA||Swimming, 4x100m freestyle relay|
|Jimmy Feigen, USA||Swimming, 4x100m freestyle relay|
|Trey Hardee, USA||Decathlon|
|Destinee Hooker, USA||Indoor Volleyball|
|Leo Manzano, USA||Track & Field, 1500m|
|Troy Dumais, USA||Diving, 3m synchronized springboard|
|Brendan Hansen, USA||Swimming, 100m breaststroke|
College of Natural Sciences Assistant Professor Brent Waters won for his research in cryptography and computer security. He was nominated by the National Science Foundation after winning an NSF CAREER award for “Foundations and Extensions of Public Key Cryptography.” A large part of this research focuses on a concept he developed called “functional encryption.”
The other PECASE winner was Brady Cox, who will join the faculty of the Cockrell School of Engineering in August. He’s coming to us from the University of Arkansas, where he was an assistant professor in civil engineering, specializing in geotechnical engineering issues related to earthquake loading and soil dynamics. He has been a part of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance teams deployed immediately following recent major earthquakes including those in New Zealand and Haiti.
The awards, established in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Winners are chosen for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.
In June, Professor Alessio Figalli was named one of the winners of the prestigious European Mathematical Society Prize. This native Italian earned his PhD at 23 and by the following year he was a tenured professor at the Ecole Polytechnique near Paris. In 2009, he came to UT as a tenured associate professor, and in 2009-10 held one of the University’s prestigious Harrington Fellowships. Last year, at 27, he was named a full professor. Figalli has been most recognized for his work on the optimal transport problem and a version of what’s known as Dido’s problem.
That these faculty members have achieved so much so early in their careers should make us all proud. It also piques my interest in what they might do in the years ahead.