November 21, 2017
Walter Prescott Webb (left) and H.G. Wells at UT Austin in 1940. Photo courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.
Dear UT Community,
In November 1940, UT welcomed a distinguished visitor to campus — author H.G. Wells, who wrote iconic novels such as The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.
Mr. Wells toured the Forty Acres with UT history professor Walter Prescott Webb and a group of students. As they stood at the top of the recently-built Tower, looking down at the campus below, Wells said, “You have a wonderful bit of equipment here for intellectual advancement; now go ahead and use it.” His charge to discover and achieve rings as true today as it did more than 75 years ago.
Throughout this semester, the UT community has been hard at work, learning together, advancing scholarship and research, producing artistic creations and addressing many of the greatest challenges facing society. And the world has taken notice.
For example, the Nature Index recently released its university rankings for scientific research for the period between 2012 and 2017. UT was ranked 10th among all U.S. universities and 4th among all U.S. public universities, with top-10 rankings in Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Physical Sciences.
Last week, we celebrated UT Thanks Day by honoring donors who generously support our mission. And this year, there were many people to thank. Longhorn alumni and friends provided gifts totaling more than $450 million — an astounding vote of confidence that will continue to strengthen the educational experience for UT students.
I’d also like to express my gratitude to all who helped us meet the $500,000 challenge I issued after Hurricane Harvey. Between UT, our partners at Nike and our community members, $1 million was raised for UT students affected by the hurricane — a remarkable gesture of solidarity.
As we near the end of the semester, we get a much-needed break for Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy the next few days with those who mean the most to you. Take time to relax during this brief respite before finals.
There is so much potential at UT. And, as H.G. Wells said, all we need to do is “use it.” You have done just that during this semester, and I know you will continue to do so through the rest of the fall.
To you and your family — happy Thanksgiving.
Gregory L. Fenves