August 30, 2018
Whether you traveled or stayed in your hometown, I hope you had a wonderful summer.
I began my summer with a trip to Asia with other UT leaders. We met with remarkable alumni in five cities who reminded me of how Longhorns are making an impact around the world. Earlier this month in Brownsville, I spoke with many new UT students who are the first in their families to attend college. Meeting with first-year students is always a meaningful experience for me because they are our future and reflect our university’s mission to improve lives across the state.
And we also serve this mission through the impressive research and scholarship of our faculty and research staff. This summer, Cockrell School of Engineering professors Adam Heller, Karalee Jarvis and Sheryl Coffman published their discovery of a possible link between Type 2 diabetes and titanium dioxide, which is a compound found in many household products. Their research has the potential to help us better understand a disease that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
A few weeks ago, history professor Erika Bsumek and mathematics professor Mark Daniels were honored at the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards ceremony. These two faculty members powerfully convey the beauty and importance of history and mathematics to their students. They are exceptional teachers, and they exemplify the innovative approaches UT faculty members are bringing to labs, studios and classrooms throughout the university.
As the summer comes to an end and students prepare for the new academic year, the energy on campus is palpable. From freshmen experiencing UT for the first time to seniors and many graduate students in the home stretch, everyone is motivated and ready to get to work.
In the coming weeks, our campus community will host the annual State of the University Address; celebrate the naming of Patton Hall, home to the College of Liberal Arts; and continue enhancing the West Mall by building a welcoming entrance to the campus, thanks to a gift from the Class of 2017.
But something else will begin soon — football season! The Longhorns under Head Coach Tom Herman are primed for a great year. The game Saturday near Washington, D.C., is sure to be an exciting one. It is the first time UT will play an away game against the University of Maryland since 1960. Let’s turn FedEx Field burnt orange.
Thank you for your commitment to your university. From Brownsville to Singapore and points in between, I am proud of the alumni of Longhorn Nation, and I am grateful for your support.
Gregory L. Fenves