Aug. 25, 2015
Tomorrow, The University of Texas at Austin begins its 133rd academic year, and I begin my first as its president. It is an honor to lead the university, and I know from experience that the Longhorn Nation will help us accomplish ambitious goals in the years ahead.
One of the joys of being the new president is meeting you, the alumni and friends of the university. During the past few weeks I have been to Brownsville, Dallas, Houston, Midland and San Antonio to visit with incoming students, alumni, benefactors and legislators. I look forward to trips this fall throughout Texas and beyond to Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and Mexico City. The loyalty of Longhorn friends around the state, country and world is a testament to the university’s history of excellence.
A highlight of the summer was celebrating the 100th birthday of legendary teacher, administrator and author Margaret Berry. Seeing the Alumni Center filled with Dr. Berry’s admiring family, friends, former students and fans reminded me what a lasting and transformational effect UT has on people’s lives.
The campus has been anything but quiet during the past few weeks as student groups, faculty members and staff prepare for the new school year. I had a great visit with the football team. They are ready for Notre Dame and excited to make our Burnt Orange Nation proud. I also met with the Longhorn Band and the resident hall assistants, each conveying their enthusiasm and expectations.
Last week, I welcomed close to 100 new faculty members who participated in a robust orientation to begin their careers at UT. I spoke with newly appointed department chairs and administrators, who participated in a workshop to support them in their leadership roles. We also hosted the last of our 11 summer orientation sessions that ushered 9,800 freshmen and transfer students through a rigorous program to prepare them for success.
We welcomed international groups to campus this summer as well. In July, a high-level delegation of Mexican government officials visited to sign a memorandum that extends and deepens our exchange with scholars and researchers with our neighbor to the south. And earlier this month, a large group from Japan came to campus to launch a four-year, $14 million study of data center power efficiency at UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center.
I am excited to be leading UT. The energy and creativity I see every day inspires me to guide our university to new heights. I will share my vision in the State of the University address at my inauguration Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. in Bass Concert Hall. The ceremony will be followed by a celebration for the entire campus and community. I hope to see you there.
Hook ’em, Horns!
Gregory L. Fenves, President