Larry Faulkner, President Emeritus

Dr. Larry Faulkner

Photo by Marsha Miller

Seven Years of Achievement, 1998-2006

Faulkner, the 27th president of UT Austin, gave more than 400 speeches annually as head of the university. He led a highly successful capital campaign that raised more than $1.6 billion. Total fundraising during his years as UT president will approach $2 billion. He also chartered the Commission of 125, a group of citizens who worked for two years to create a citizens' vision of the university's next 25 years.

Other significant achievements have included the development of the Blanton Museum of Art, the acquisition of the world-renowned Suida-Manning Collection of European paintings and drawings and the Woodward-Bernstein Watergate archive, the reopening of the observation deck of the UT Tower, and the creation of innovative scholarship programs that have helped to restore UT's minority student enrollment.

Under Faulkner's leadership, UT Austin has implemented an extensive network of services that support the university community, serving as a catalyst for positive change in Texas and beyond. The university’s efforts to improve K-12 education, which include ongoing formal academic and outreach programs; special initiatives by a wide variety of academic, research and administrative units; and volunteer activities of student organizations and individuals resulted in UT Austin being named Partner of the Year for 2004 by the Austin Partners in Education.

"Ever so quietly, a committed university community works tirelessly year after year in concert with us, striving to improve every facet of our school district," Austin Independent School District (AISD) Superintendent Pat Forgione said in recognizing Faulkner for the university's commitment to AISD. "There are many individuals to thank at UT," Forgione said. "But none of this would take place without Dr. Larry Faulkner, who has challenged his leadership cadre to collaborate with AISD at every level and to share resources for the benefit of Austin's young people."

In a column addressing speculation that Faulkner would soon announce a decision to step down as president, Austin American-Statesman editor Rich Oppel described Faulkner as one of the most distinguished of the university's presidents and "one of the three most impressive university presidents I have watched in 40 years of newspaper work."

Said Oppel: "(Faulkner) has sustained and amplified UT's high regard among the nation's leading universities during a period of tight budgets in Texas and challenging demographic changes; he created the Commission of 125 to examine the university's future; he raised $1.6 billion in endowment monies; he strengthened the faculty and built Latin American programs; and he connected the university to Texans like few others."

Some of the major accomplishments of Faulkner's administration:


  • Charged a Task Force on Curricular Reform with developing a plan for revision of the undergraduate curriculum

  • Appointed new vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural effectiveness

  • Harry Ransom Center acquired Norman Mailer archive

  • Established South Asia Institute

  • University's strategic direction affirmed by Legislative Budget Board review

  • Study showed university's annual economic impact on state is $7.4 billion

  • University partnered with Mexican institutions on nanotechnology

  • Helped Austin win bid for World Congress Information Technology 2006 summit, billed as "Olympics of Technology," expected to generate $44 million in the local economy

  • Implemented a salary increase program for faculty and staff for the eighth consecutive year


  • Managed consequences of a 10-percent reduction in support for operations from state appropriations and the Available University Fund

  • Entering freshman class of 2004 was most diverse in university's history

  • Created effective consultative process for proposing, debating, revising and advancing an annual recommendation on tuition

  • Completed "We're Texas" fundraising campaign, the largest and most successful ever for a university without a medical school

  • Brought Knowledge Gateway — now called UTOPIA — into use as an innovative tool for taking the university's intellectual and cultural assets to the public in a more effective way

  • Established an Honor Code

  • Seized high position in combined federal funding for research — second only to MIT among universities without medical centers

  • Set new highs for success among students: 93 percent retention of freshmen, 45 percent graduation after four years and 74 percent graduation after six years

  • Re-instituted consideration of race and ethnicity as factors in admission and developed procedures for doing so in harmony with principles enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Led effort to establish Texas-wide consortium to build and operate high-performance data networks for research and education

  • Started new curricular demonstration school, The University of Texas Elementary School, serving students and families from predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods in East Austin

  • Received new organizational concept for the Jackson School of Geosciences through the work of its Vision Committee and began work internally on synthesis of the new Jackson School

  • Supported work of the Commission of 125 through the issuance of its report, which provides a blueprint for the long-term future of The University of Texas at Austin

  • Created Knight Center for Journalism

  • The University of Texas at Austin named Partner of the Year for 2004 by Austin Partners in Education


  • Established task forces to address issues on assembly and expression, enrollment strategy, police oversight, racial respect and fairness, and tuition policy

  • Incoming freshman class had highest academic qualifications in university's history

  • Dedicated Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building

  • Broke ground for Blanton Museum of Art and acquired collection of more than 3,200 prints of extraordinary quality from noted art historian Leo Steinberg

  • Established Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences

  • Completed and dedicated John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Geological Sciences Building

  • Re-opened Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center after a renovation project that brought its collections more effectively before the public

  • Purchased Woodward-Bernstein Watergate archive, supported entirely through private gifts

  • Acquired Newsweek magazine research archive for the years through 1996 and the photographic archives of four award-winning White House photojournalists who have covered the nation's presidents from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush

  • College of Communication announced University of Texas Film Initiative


  • Increased freshman retention to 92 percent, superior to the norm for the nation's top public universities. The six-year graduation rate rose above 70 percent for the first time.

  • Implemented flat-rate tuition pilot program in the colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences to help improve the four-year graduation rate

  • Inaugurated Coordinated Admissions Program in cooperation with five other UT System campuses

  • Established Donald Harrington Fellows Program

  • Implemented successful premium-sharing program to neutralize increases in health care insurance for employees

  • Elected first Staff Council

  • Developed five-year comprehensive financial plan for the university

  • Created Task Force on Efficiency to address state budget reductions

  • Developed strategic plan to address repair and renovation needs on campus


  • Established Department of Biomedical Engineering, Institute on Nanostructures and Nanomaterials, the Institute for the Humanities and the Evening MBA program

  • Began funding annual increments of 30 new faculty positions as part of faculty expansion program toward a total addition of 300 new members

  • Implemented a 6 percent salary increase for staff and 5 percent increase for faculty

  • Completed ACES Building; Connally Wing and Jamail Atrium at School of Law; San Jacinto Hall, the first new dormitory in 30 years; restored historic Gebauer Building; and built a new garage on the north side of campus

  • Completed administrative reorganization by hiring new members of administrative leadership team


  • Undertook reorganization of university administration across vice presidential portfolios

  • Established the National Center for Educational Accountability, a national research and policy center that concentrates on a system assessment to improve schools, through a partnership with Just for the Kids Inc. and the Education Commission of the States

  • The University of Texas at Austin concluded an agreement with the Brazilian Ministry of Education to establish undergraduate, graduate and faculty exchange programs with select universities in Brazil

  • Completed renovation of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, making it one of the most advanced football facilities in the United States

  • Completed extensive renovations to Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletic Center to provide superior training facilities for all 20 athletics teams

  • Completed the Michael A. Myers stadium and soccer field


  • Re-opened observation deck of the Tower in observance of the university's 116 birthday

  • Dedicated Tower Garden in recognition of those who died, and others whose lives were touched, by the Aug. 1, 1966, shooting from the Tower

  • Dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. statue on the East Mall on Sept. 24, 1999. The ceremony included speeches, a march through the campus and performances by choirs. The likeness of the slain civil rights leader is the second on a U.S. college campus.

  • University formed a new Center for Argentine Studies, joining three other centers within Institute of Latin American Studies — the Brazil Center, the Mexican Center and the Center for Environmental Resource Management in Latin America. The centers complement and strengthen a major initiative, which is to firmly establish The University of Texas at Austin as the leading university in Latin American studies in the United States.

  • Established Explore UT program, the biggest open house in Texas


  • Debuted UT Remembers program when the UT Cares Committee developed a program to honor members of the university community — students and current and retired faculty and staff — who died in the prior year

  • Started pilot program called the Freshman Interest Group, or FIG program, to help first-year students fulfill requirements for a degree, make more informed decisions on a major, and form study groups that meet outside regular classroom hours

Select Speeches & Commentary


September 14, 2005
Address on the State of the University (PDF) 
The University of Texas at Austin

February 13, 2005
The Changing Relationship between Higher Education and the States (PDF)
2005 Robert H. Atwell Distinguished Lecture
87th Annual Meeting of the American Council on Education
Washington, D.C.


November 15, 2004
Comments for the Panel on University Systems: How Can System CEOs Best Work with Campuses? (PDF)
Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
San Diego, California

September 28, 2004
Convergence and Crystallization in Networking for Research and Education (PDF)
Fall Internet2 Member Meeting
Austin, Texas

August 9, 2004
Knowledge is Power: The Role of the University of Texas in Regional Economic Development (PDF)
Second Chinese-Foreign University Presidents Forum
Beijing, China

April 29, 2004
Announcement of the Honor Code (PDF)
The University of Texas at Austin

March 7, 2004
2004 Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PDF)
Chicago, Illinois


August 4, 2003
Public universities will survive. Can public higher education? (PDF)
Claire Maple Memorial Address
Snowmass, Colorado


April 24, 2002
MAXIM Conference 2002
"The Larger Role of Information Technology in Higher Education" (PDF)
Galveston, Texas

February 21, 2002
Testimony Before the Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Excellence Funding (PDF)
Texas State Capitol Building
Austin, Texas


June 25, 2001
Renewing Scientific Leadership: Lessons of Our Age (PDF)
Conference on the Role of Research in the Natural Sciences at Undergraduate Institutions
Lisle, Illinois

March 6, 2001
Analytical Chemistry, Just Look at You Now (PDF)
Remarks to the 2001 Pittsburgh Conference & Exposition
New Orleans, Louisiana


October 25, 2000
The Heartbeat of Science (PDF)
Edward Goodrich Acheson Award Address
198th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society Phoenix, Arizona

October 19, 2000
The "Top 10 Percent Law" is Working for Texas (PDF)
A guest editorial that appeared in many Texas newspapers
The University of Texas at Austin


September 24, 1999
Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue Dedication (PDF)
Remarks at a ceremony on the East Mall
The University of Texas at Austin

August 1, 1999
UT Tower Garden Dedication (PDF)
Remarks at a dedication ceremony
The University of Texas at Austin


November 16, 1998
Public Statement on Affirmative Action (PDF)
Town Hall Meeting
The University of Texas at Austin

May 21, 1998
Quality Improvement and the Future of the University (PDF)
Excerpts of remarks made at the UT Quality Center Managers Conference
The University of Texas at Austin

March 6, 1998
Technology, the University, and the Transformation of Texas (PDF)
Excerpts from an address to the Littlefield Society
The University of Texas at Austin