‘Victory, Or Death’: D.C. Exes Celebrate 175th Anniversary Of Texas (Slideshow)

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On March 2, 1836, Texians fed up with Mexican rule boldly declared their independence. One hundred and seventy-five years later, some 300 Texans living in the nation’s capital gathered to commemorate that fateful day and re-read Col. William Travis’ famous letter from the Alamo in which he vowed never to surrender or retreat. “Victory, or death,” Travis wrote.

The event, held at the National Press Club Saturday night, also recognized the 10th anniversary of the Archer Center, an internship program for UT System students interested in public service. Former Archer Fellows have gone on to jobs in every corner of the Beltway — on Capitol Hill, in the media, at think-tanks, inside NGOs, and within virtually every government agency and department.

Former congressman Bill Archer, BBA ’50, LLB ’51, Life Member, founded the program at UT-Austin when he retired in 2001 as a way to motivate young leaders.

“I’m so terribly pleased to see what young people of this country can do,” Archer said. “When we started this program, we thought we could motivate Fellows to be leaders of the world. With modest resources, we’ve succeeded. And that makes us feel enormously good.”

Like many Texas Exes chapters, the D.C. Exes commemorate March 2 every year with a silent auction to raise money for scholarships. Each year, the chapter awards one or two to students going to UT from the D.C. area and between four and seven to UT-Austin students coming to D.C. Saturday’s event raised $2,500.

And like many of the more faraway chapters, the D.C. Texas Exes contingent represents the University with special fervor.

“We’re definitely a very spirited group,” chapter president Barry Dauber said. “Our affinity for the school is much different. In Austin or San Antonio or Houston, you trip and find Longhorns. Here if you drive around and see a Longhorn logo, you throw up your Horns.”

DC TExas ExesThe D.C. Chapter regularly draws 400 to 500 people to watch the TX-OU game. They command such a strong presence as to have local bars offering thousands of dollars for the chance to host official events.

Since the Archer Center opened in the spring of 2001, the program has expanded to include students from every academic institution in the UT System.

Last year the center added graduate student internships, and it will soon expand to include opportunities for students at UT’s public health and medical schools interested in policy.

Despite its rapid growth in just 10 years, Archer said his dream for the program remains a grand, albeit concrete, one.

“I want a UT building in Washington, D.C.,” Archer said. “That’s still my dream. I want to see bricks and mortar with the University of Texas flag flying from the mast.”

Photos by Andrew Harnick


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