A special speaker welcomed 1,000 incoming students at orientation this week: UT president Bill Powers addressed members of the Class of 2016, stressing the importance of planning their academic futures.
Though the underlying University-wide goal is to increase the four-year graduation rate, Powers didn’t speak directly about graduating in four years. Instead, he advised the students to seize the day during their college careers.
“You’re going to have a great deal of control over your academic path,” Powers said.
The president told the crowd of more than 1,000 incoming students at Hogg Auditorium that the University’s revised orientation, which is now mandatory for the first time, is tailored to focus on that task.
He also discussed the cost of higher education, saying that the University strives to keep costs as low as it can while still delivering a top-quality education.
There is no greater way to save on the cost, Powers said, than for students to have their path laid out.
“It requires obligation on our part, serious obligation on our part, to make sure courses are available, to make sure you get the right kind of advising,” Powers said, “and every students’ aspirations will be taken into account—your individual needs, your individual goals, and desires, and dreams.”
The revised orientation is a part of a University-wide effort to increase four-year graduation rates to 70 percent by 2016. UT’s current overall graduation rate stands at 53 percent.
“I would describe this as an effort that will take work, but there aren’t any huge obstacles,” Powers told media after his orientation speech.