A University of the First Class: Maggie Gunn

On the occasion of the Alcalde’s 100th anniversary, we asked Longhorns what “a University of the first class” means to them.

A University of the First Class

Maggie Gunn

Life Member
Class of 2013, Plan II and English Honors Major

My favorite view of campus has remained the same throughout my five years as an undergraduate. If I stand on the Main Mall and face south, I see the dome of the state Capitol and feel the looming height of the Tower at my back. Turning around to see the iconic center of my campus, I see the flags of my state and my country billowing side by side. Against a clear blue sky it can give anyone chills. I know this idyllic view belies an underlying climate of apprehension. I’m aware that the structures supporting my institution of “the first class” are shifting.

Maggie GunnWhile most students are more tuned into their Instagram accounts than university politics, many of us have a palpable sense that we are right in the middle of an educational revolution. Few think there is anything we can do to impact the changes underway.

Most undergraduates I know would welcome reforms to make our school more efficient, cost-effective, student-centered, and relevant. But what do these reform efforts actually entail? How does one quantitatively measure the results of faculty and students while avoiding the perils of over-simplified reports like A&M’s “red and black report”? And how do we raise the bar without raising cost? We love our school. We really love our football team. But our feelings toward our degrees may be more ambivalent than we’d like to admit. Beyond UT in particular, are college degrees worth it? We sure hope so. And I think UT students are willing to work to prove it.

Read more takes on the phrase “a University of the first class” here.

Illustration by Sean McCabe.




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