May 8, 2020
At UT, we proudly say: “What Starts Here Changes the World.” Those six words are more than just words — they indicate the profound potential and responsibility that come with being a Longhorn.
Today is the last day of classes for a spring semester that none of us could have ever expected. But that six-word motto remains as true and vital as it has ever been — and that is largely because of you. UT students have always been the beating heart of our community, and you have continued to inspire, create, imagine and lead during this time of great disruption and challenge.
When the university was forced to move all courses online in March because of COVID-19, you not only took this in stride, but elevated our campus in every way despite the dramatic change.
Beyond continuing to take classes and learn, you formed study groups via Zoom; hosted online meetings for clubs and organizations; connected with your classmates via Twitter, Instagram and TikTok; and found ways to have fun and hang out together within the online gaming community. You helped us revamp and reimagine beloved UT traditions like the Longhorn Run, which had over 1,000 virtual participants. You also dedicated yourselves to public service at a moment of unprecedented global need — just one example is Project Protect 2020, which has raised thousands of dollars for protective equipment for health care workers.
To all UT students — you have truly made the best of a crisis that no Longhorns have ever had to endure before, and you did it with all of the spirit and passion that has defined our university for over 130 years. We couldn’t be prouder.
To all members of the Class of 2020 — we know this is not the final semester you imagined, but you are about to earn a degree from one of the finest universities in the world. That is still as big of a deal as it has ever been! So, get ready to celebrate at virtual commencement on May 23. And please remember that the Forty Acres will forever be your home. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus as soon as we can all safely gather together again.
Good luck with your finals, theses and projects, and Hook ’em Horns!
Gregory L. Fenves
Interim President Designate