The numbers don’t lie. With 11 All-American titles, three NCAA championships, and four Olympic gold medals to her name, former Longhorn sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross, ’04, is all-too deserving of her latest accolade: a spot in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Richards-Ross joins eight others in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, including fellow Texas Ex and former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Doug English, BA ’76. She was a standout member of UT’s women’s track and field team from 2003-04, where she helped bring home five national championships in just two years.
In 2005, Richards-Ross made history by becoming the youngest woman ever to run 400 meters in under 49 seconds in Zurich. Just a year later, she went on to beat her previous time—and set an American record—at the IAAF World Cup in Athens.
The 2010 Outstanding Young Texas Ex award-winner now even has her own We TV reality show, Glam & Gold, which stars her and her husband, fellow Longhorn and two-time Super Bowl champion Aaron Ross, ’06.
As keynote speaker at UT’s 130th Commencement this past May, Richards-Ross shared one of her sources of motivation with the 2013 graduating class.
“In our weight room it says, ‘The winning tradition of the Texas Longhorns will not be entrusted to the weak or timid,’” Richards-Ross told the crowd. “I would dare say that isn’t just a slogan used to motivate athletes—it’s a slogan that truly represents the spirit of all Longhorns.”
Richards-Ross and English will be inducted in the Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Feb. 24 in Waco. They’ll be joined by former NBA All-Star Larry Johnson; former NFL offensive tackle Charlie Krueger; former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dat Nguyen; former Texas Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez; former running back Thurman Thomas; and former Houston Oilers quarterback Don Trull.
Photo by Marsha Miller
As if going 16-0 in conference play and winning the Big 12 title were not enough for Texas Volleyball’s Haley Eckerman, for the second straight year, the junior outside hitter was named the Big 12 Player of the Year.
Eckerman is only the fourth player to earn back-to-back Player of the Year honors and did so by leading the conference in kills and in points. She also ranked second in service aces and 10th in hitting percentage in conference-only match-ups.
Probably a foreshadow of the greatness to come, Eckerman was named Freshman of the Year back in 2011 and since then has earned 15 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors, including three this season.
Following in Eckerman’s footsteps, freshman middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu was named Freshman of the Year, ranking second in the league for hitting percentage in Big 12 games. To add to the accolades, Texas landed five players on the 2013 All-Big 12 First Team, including Eckerman, the most of any school.
Photo courtesy UT Athletics
After 76 days, 67 airports, 20 countries, more than 35,000 miles, and 2,500-plus gallons of gas, Wolf Schroen, BBA ’98, Life Member, has completed one of his lifetime goals. He and his co-pilot, Johannes Burges, successfully circumnavigated the globe in Schroen’s 1997 Mooney airplane, named Maggie.
“It happened considerably earlier than I thought it would,” Schroen says, referring to the completion of his adventure. When Schroen isn’t flying around the world, he runs a bike tour business out of Berlin.
Pilot & Flugzeug, a German aviation magazine, facilitated an informal program for pilots wanting to fly around the world, including a loose route plan. A total of nine airplanes ended up participating in the opportunity.
Of them, Maggie was the only one of her kind and by far the smallest. Schroen bought Maggie specifically for this trip and was interested in her recently rebuilt motor, advanced GPS technology, and flight range.
“In some regards, [the other participants] were all a team, but oftentimes we were left to our own devices,” Schroen says. “Pilot & Flugzeug loosely helped put a fire under people’s butts. In a lot of ways it was like having an older brother along for the ride.”
Beginning on August 17 in Munich, Schroen and Burges headed west to complete their journey on November 2. While Schroen and Burges were nearly inseparable during their trip, the two had met at the orientation for the Pilot & Flugzeug program. After meeting only a couple times, Schroen asked Burges to become his co-pilot.
“We just randomly sat next to each other in a room of 60 people,” Schroen says. “The key for me was that he’s the kind of guy you want to grab a beer with after you land, the kind who can really enjoy this trip with.”
The co-pilot situation might have worked itself out by happenstance, but that doesn’t mean the trip was clear skies every day. Sudden repairs were called for a few times throughout the trip, including a dead airplane battery replaced by improvising with two car batteries. Maggie’s specific type of fuel, called avgas, is difficult to find outside the U.S., much to Schroen’s surprise. This occasionally left the pilots in unforeseen predicaments when Maggie was empty and avgas was nowhere to be found.
“If we had known then what we know now, we might have said we weren’t totally ready,” Schroen says. “But you just put one step in front of the other. We faced some serious challenges. But, you just keep going and hope everything continues.”
Despite a few bumps, Schroen and Burges also had plenty of time for fun. The pair spent most nights in hotels and their free time sightseeing, meeting new people, and enjoying the views from several thousand feet above the ground. Schroen detailed his adventures on his blog.
The return back to life on solid ground was a bit of an adjustment. But appreciating the experience, challenges and all, has come easily.
“There’s only one way to fly, and that’s forward,” Schroen says.
Photo courtesy Wolf Schroen.
Update: On Tuesday morning, the Young Conservatives of Texas’ chairman, Lorenzo Garcia, released a statement announcing the event is canceled. He cited safety concerns: “I spoke with our chapter members, and they are both concerned that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against our event could create a safety issue for our volunteers,” Garcia said, adding, “I acknowledge that the decision to include issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided and that the idea for the event was intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention for the subject.”
Garcia’s statement was released around the same time as a statement from the UT System chancellor and board of regents chairman denouncing the event. “We hope that the Young Conservatives of Texas explore more constructive and mature ways to promote a dialogue about issues of concern to them,” the statement said.
A UT conservative student organization that has previously held “affirmative action bake sales,” which adjusted prices based on students’ races, is making headlines after announcing Monday its plans for an illegal immigration game.
Scheduled to take place on campus Wednesday, the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) event asks participants to “catch” student volunteers wearing labels that say “illegal immigrant.” The participants will then be rewarded with $25 gift cards, according to the event page on Facebook.
News of the event spread quickly on social media, with outlets including the Texas Tribune, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed, and Gawker among those picking up the story. After it was found that YCT chairman Lorenzo Garcia recently interned with Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, Abbott’s campaign released a statement calling the event “repugnant.”
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Garcia said that while he wants the event to be nonviolent, he’s not sure protesters will stay peaceful. “We’re not promoting violence, but I’m concerned the opposition will be violent either to the ‘illegal immigrants’ or to the people at the table,” Garcia said.
In a meeting, the UT Faculty Council unanimously endorsed a statement by UT president Bill Powers saying the event is not in line with University values. “Our nation continues to grapple with difficult questions surrounding immigration,” Powers said. “I ask YCT to be part of that discussion but to find more productive and respectful ways to do so that do not demean their fellow students.” Powers also indicated that administrators will be watching closely on Wednesday to make sure no UT rules are broken.
Joshua Cook, assistant director in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, called the event a free speech issue. “As long as students and student organizations abide by all university rules, we do not restrict their freedom of speech,” he said. “At this point, they have not filed paperwork to reserve any space for the Wednesday activities.” Cook added that because UT rules allow for spontaneous gatherings, not reserving space doesn’t mean the event isn’t happening.
It’s no longer just the band and cheerleaders who pump up the crowd for gamedays in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Now students are turning to guerrilla marketing campaigns on social media to keep people engaged with Texas football.
The second campaign of its kind, #TurnUpDKR is a social media movement to rally the student section of the stadium to cheer as loudly as possible at Texas’ three remaining games.
Last year, a few students circulated the hashtag #GetLoudDKR for the West Virginia game in response to comments from then-safety Kenny Vaccaro, who said he preferred playing away games to ones at home because of low crowd support in Austin. Now the Silver Spurs and the Texas Cowboys have teamed up to launch #TurnUpDKR, which aims to motivate students to come early, be loud, stay late, and wear orange for the last three games of the 2013 season.
For the Oklahoma State game on Saturday, the group is encouraging students to get to the game by 2 p.m. for the 2:30 p.m kickoff and “give our football team the support they need to win.” The team is currently undefeated in Big 12 play and leading the conference standings.
As of Friday afternoon, the Turn Up DKR Facebook page more than 5,000 likes, and the Oklahoma State event started by the page had more than 600 people attending and 2,700 invited.
Watch the official hype video above, and see the hashtag in action below!
Video courtesy Max Montoya via YouTube
As Abigail Fisher’s lawsuit against The University of Texas nears its sixth year, the nation is still deeply divided on the use of race in admissions. Here’s what the media is saying after lawyers for both sides made their cases at yesterday’s hearing.
In 2008, Abigail Fisher was denied admission to The University of Texas. She sued the University for discrimination, alleging that she didn’t get in because she is white. Nearly six years later, the justice system is still grappling with the case, which could decide the future of race in admissions.
The Supreme Court sent the landmark case back to a lower court in June. The decision ordered strict scrutiny to be applied in the case, meaning that the University must prove that using race in admissions is the best way to achieve a diverse student body. At a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing yesterday, lawyers for UT tried to do just that, while Fisher’s attorney rebutted their arguments. Here’s what media outlets around the state are saying.
As expected, UT made the argument that it has already tried and failed to achieve a sufficiently diverse student body without considering race. The Austin-American Statesman summarized that claim:
UT lawyer Gregory Garre said the school spent seven years without considering race, and by 2004 its African American enrollment had fallen by almost half, while Hispanic enrollment was stagnant at best. Recognizing that diversity helps all students prepare for life in the work force, UT began applying a limited consideration of race in its admissions process, he said.
Fisher’s attorney rebutted that line of reasoning. As the Texas Tribune reported, the Fisher team argued that considering race hasn’t worked for UT.
Fisher’s lawyer, Bert Rein, argued that there was no evidence to suggest that the university had exhausted alternative options before turning to race to help improve campus diversity. He also contended that the current admissions system had done little to improve diversity in UT’s classrooms.
“When you are achieving minimal results, the obvious conclusion is there are alternative ways to do it that won’t create this kind of labeling,” Rein later explained to reporters.
Meanwhile, UT president Bill Powers told KUT he’s staying optimistic:
“The Supreme Court did not say we cannot use ethnicity. They sent it it back to make sure the right standard was used. … We are optimistic that we will prevail because we have followed the constitution. … I think we need to have that flexibility as we go forward to address diversity in higher education.”
Fisher herself, who graduated from Louisiana State University in 2012 and now works in Austin as a financial analyst, told KVUE that she’s continued the case as a matter of principal.
“I would like other people to fight for my rights, so I’m fighting for everyone’s rights here.”
So what happens next? The appeals court has no deadline to issue a ruling, and there’s also a chance that the case could end up back in another court. This debate isn’t ending anytime soon.
Editor’s note: The Texas Exes takes no position on the use of race in admissions.
This week, we learned that UT alums are some of the most employable grads around. Now we know that they’re also some of the most successful—at least when it comes to earning a paycheck. A new list compiled by British business magazine Spear’s and business research company WealthInsight puts UT at number 17 in the world for producing millionaire graduates.
The University tops the rankings for Texas schools, which include Southern Methodist (71), Texas A&M (75), and the University of Houston (83). UT came in number three among American public universities, behind the University of California (4) and the University of Michigan (12).
The survey looked at 70,000 individuals around the world who have a net worth above $1 million, not including primary residences.
UT spokesman Gary Susswein says the University is proud of all its graduates, regardless of wealth.
“Each year, our graduates go out and change the world as scientists, teachers, engineers, scholars, business owners, nurses, social workers and lawyers, among many other professions,” he said. “We couldn’t be prouder of them. And if many of them also become millionaires while changing the world, that’s great for them.”
Photo by Marsha Miller.
A Texas Ex will soon be at the helm of UT’s men’s athletic programs.
After a monthlong, nationwide search, UT has named Arizona State University’s athletic director Steve Patterson, BBA ’80, JD ’84, as Texas’ next men’s AD. He replaces 76-year-old DeLoss Dodds, who held the position for 32 years and announced his retirement back in early October.
The 55-year-old UT grad comes back to the Forty Acres after serving as ASU’s AD for the past year. Prior to that, Patterson spent two decades as an executive for pro teams in the NBA and NFL, including the Houston Texans and the Houston Rockets. He also previously headed up Pro Sports Consulting, a company that provides services to companies that operate professional sports properties.
Patterson was chosen by an eight-member advisory committee convened by President Bill Powers in mid-October. Among the committee members were two UT System regents and Texas Exes’ own president, Charles Matthews. Recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International also assisted in the search.
“Steve Patterson emerged as the perfect candidate to build on Texas’ athletic success and DeLoss Dodds’ legacy,” Powers said in a release. “Steve helped build an NBA championship team and brought the Super Bowl game to Houston. Far more important, he’s run a winning program at Arizona State that places students first and is committed to their lifelong success.”
Patterson’s appointment has to first be cleared by the UT System Board of Regents, which is scheduled to meet next week. If approved, he’s expected to begin on campus later this fall.
Photo courtesy UT Athletics.
Recent UT grads can set their worries and half-finished job applications aside (if only for a moment), and take comfort in the results of a new global list ranking the employability of university graduates around the world.
Jumping 21 spots since last year, UT ranked 101 on the list—the highest of any Texas school, with Rice and Texas A&M landing in spots 102 and 107 respectively. The list included 150 schools from 20 different countries, the US being best represented with 45 schools.
The list is based on the results of the third annual Global Employability Survey conducted by Emerging, a French education consulting firm, and Trendence, a German market research firm. The survey explored topics including the qualities graduates need to succeed, and different companies’ attitudes towards the universities located in their country. Although skills and experience still rank as the top criteria used during employee selection, 28 percent of American employers said that the university from which an applicant graduated is the main criteria. American employers also expressed the greatest contentment with their specific company’s university allegiance.
Now, based on the opinion of one of the groups that matters most to students—their potential employers—the school placed high on a list of the nation’s top architecture schools.
Both the undergraduate and graduate programs were ranked in the top 10 of Architectural Record‘s Top Architecture Schools 2013 rankings. Up from sixth place last year, the undergraduate program landed in fourth place for 2014—behind only Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cornell, and Rice. The program reached its highest-ever ranking in 2012 at second place.
The graduate program came in at 10th. Its highest ranking was in 2010, when it reached fifth place. Harvard, Yale, and Columbia took the top three spots in the graduate category this year.
The rankings are calculated based on responses from architecture firms and corporations to the question “Which architecture programs best prepare students for practice?” For the 2014 list, the Greenway Group, which led the research, surveyed 693 professional practices, up from 282 last year.
Architectural Record also surveyed deans and chairs of architecture schools on what they consider to be issues facing educators and polled 2,760 students on their satisfaction with their educations—although those surveys didn’t factor into the rankings.
Photo courtesy UTSOA via Flickr Creative Commons.
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