August 17, 2022
Dear UT Community,
During the past two years, we have worked together to launch an exciting, shared vision for our university’s future. Our leadership team and I have been grateful for and inspired by the robust dialogue and diverse perspectives among our students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout this process.
Your many unique voices and passions continue to propel us to new heights, greater insights and, ultimately, a deeper sense of belonging. While we remain steadfast in our commitment to cultivating a place that welcomes and celebrates all past, present and future Longhorns, we are energized by doing so in new and innovative ways.
In that spirit, I am delighted to share progress on our plans to reimagine the East Mall to honor the Precursors, the first Black students to attend UT Austin.
The “We Are Texas East Mall Commemorative Space” will feature a new, redesigned landscape experience in celebration of the Precursors that will be part of a larger area dedicated to community members who helped advance the university’s commitment to serve our entire state of Texas and people of every background, race and life experience.
To help realize our vision for this prominent campus space, we have enlisted global award-winning nonprofit MASS Design Group after an extensive proposal and evaluation process. Moving forward, they plan to engage the community in the East Mall development.
I would like to thank Dr. Ted Gordon, executive director for the Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative (CCI), for his leadership, and the entire CCI team for their efforts on behalf of this project and others, including our plans to honor Mr. Heman M. Sweatt and his historic pursuit of racial integration in higher education.
To learn more about this important work, please visit https://utincontext.la.utexas.edu.
Our university’s history reminds us that we are better together, and that inclusivity and excellence are inextricably linked. These core values will guide us as we continue to elevate our Longhorn community and inspire future generations.