Happy birthday to us! Today the Texas Exes celebrates 127 years of promoting, protecting, and preserving the University of Texas at Austin. Though we may be getting up there in years, we’re spry as ever—with new programs, like Game Changers on the Road and the Texas Exes LGBT Network, joining the ranks of decades-old alumni traditions like the Torchlight Parade.
Here’s a quick crash course in UT alumni history, adapted from the 125-year anniversary issue of The Alcalde.
June 18, 1885: 34 brand-new UT alumni meet in the old Main Building, where they found the University’s alumni association.
1892: Fundraising begins for the Association’s first service project: a YMCA building close to campus.
1893: The Association gives its first recorded gift to UT: $53.59 toward commencement ceremonies.
1911: Lifelong memberships go on sale for the first time. The price? Just $5o—the same cost as our annual memberships today.
1913: First issue of The Alcalde is published.
1940: First alumni legislative advocacy program begins.
1957: Jodie Thompson, founder of 7-Eleven, becomes the Association’s first Life Member.
1961: First Flying Longhorns trip takes 79 people to Europe.
1965: Alumni Center is completed.
1976: First annual Alumni College program brings 60 Texas Exes to campus for lectures by UT professors.
1986: The Student Involvement Committee—today the Texas Exes Student Chapter—revives an old campus tradition, the Hex Rally.
1993: Camp Texas, a summer orientation program for new students, kicks off.
1998: John Chase, UT’s first African-American student, becomes the first African-American president of the Texas Exes.
2001: The Association formally adopts its beloved nickname, the Texas Exes, as its main identity.
2001: First class ring ceremony hosted at the Alumni Center.
2007: Groundbreaking at Longhorn Village, the retirement community for Texas Exes.
2009: Suzanne Brown becomes Life Member #60,000.
2012: The Texas Exes team up with the University for a huge nationwide service project, Texas Exes Care.
Photos from top: Early members of the Texas Exes at a June 1913 alumni meeting; a group of Flying Longhorns with a plane called the Spirit of Waco; a Hex Rally in the 1950s.