Why We’re Independent

For 96 years, the Ex-Students’ Association of The University of Texas at Austin has stood as an independent nonprofit organization. In that time, the Association has grown into one of the preeminent alumni organizations in the nation, with 100,000 members, some 130 chapters and networks, and a scholarship program that now annually awards approximately $2 million to more than 600 students. Our mission is and always has been to be the University’s champion.

celebratingOur track record shows how our independence makes us more effective—it allows us to do for the University what it cannot do itself. Among other roles, the Exes reinforces the University’s contributions to society, connects graduating students in a global network, and supports the University in times of crisis.

Recently, when automatic admissions threatened to consume the entire entering freshman class, Texas Exes helped preserve for the University an amount of discretion in making admissions decisions. The Exes also worked to ensure the passage of Central Health Proposition 1, one of the crucial steps in bringing a medical school to UT-Austin. Now our members are urging lawmakers to continue the University’s discretion in admissions, to restore base funding, to incentivize cutting-edge research, and to support a much-needed new building on campus: the Engineering Education and Research Center. These efforts would not be possible without an independent Texas Exes.

In 1996, following the Hopwood decision, the University turned to the Texas Exes for help maintaining a diverse student body. The Exes organized an outreach and fundraising campaign that has since awarded $10.7 million in Texas Leader Scholarships. The effort is widely seen as having helped to attract some of the state’s top students.

Three years ago, as the University’s honors programs began seeing more of their top prospects decline to attend, the Texas Exes launched a similar program to attract top students, but on a much larger scale. The multimillion-dollar effort, known as the Forty Acres Scholars Program, seeks to promote excellence on campus by recruiting and showcasing great students, connecting them with distinguished alumni, and training them to be future leaders.

At UT-Austin and elsewhere, independent alumni associations supply essential financial and human capital to leading universities. The University of North Carolina, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia all have independent alumni associations that organize volunteers to help their universities achieve their missions. Independent does not mean obstructive, confrontational, or resistant to improvement. It means we are a fully invested community, with a valuable perspective, that stands ready to serve and protect the University.

That is our charge. And it is one we have taken seriously since 1917.

John Beckworth

President, Texas Exes


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