Keep on Truckin’

Keep on Truckin'

If Sir Isaac Newton were a Texan and he pronounced his theory today, he might say that absent some other force, objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to keep on truckin’. I’m mindful of Newton’s law as I begin my year as president of the Texas Exes. The Association has incredible momentum, and I hope to keep it rolling right along.

The Texas Exes exists to help The University of Texas at Austin, to be its champion, and to do whatever we can to propel it ever higher. Under the leadership of my predecessor, John Beckworth, our executive director and CEO Leslie Cedar, and the talented staff in the Alumni Center, the Association and its 100,000 members are doing more to be indispensable to the University than ever before.

One major area of focus is scholarships. A degree from a university as respected as ours has never been more valuable—the University continues to gain worldwide recognition for excellence. Aside from the federal and state governments, no entity is doing more than the Texas Exes to ensure that students have access to UT and at an affordable price. Last year, Texas Exes awarded $1.9 million in scholarships to 673 students. This year we’ll beat that, thanks in large part to the work of thousands of Longhorns in our chapters and networks around the globe.

We have also raised more than $50 million toward our signature merit-based scholarship, the Forty Acres Scholars Program. A new volunteer fundraising committee, chaired by my friend Tom Dunning of Dallas, is spearheading an effort to raise $100 million more over the next 10 years. Already the Forty Acres Scholars Program is attracting some of the nation’s best students to Texas and helping the various honors programs recruit their top candidates. Once fully funded and implemented, the Forty Acres Scholars Program will be one of the most consequential contributions the Texas Exes has ever made to UT.

To a degree we never have before, the Texas Exes is organizing and engaging alumni in service of the University. For the second year in a row, we partnered with the admissions office on a campaign to recruit deserving students to UT. Groups of alumni in South Texas and elsewhere called admitted students in the area and talked with them about coming to UT. Our University partners turned to us for help getting more admitted students to enroll, and they tell us that our work is moving the needle.

In the 83rd legislative session, UT alumni were present, organized, and more informed than ever, thanks in large part to the work of our UT Advocates. During a session in which higher education was a dominant theme, Texas Exes from all over the state called, wrote, emailed, and visited their elected representatives about the issues that mattered to the University. Many of those legislators have told us how important it was for UT alumni to be engaged, and the effects of that engagement are clear. All five of our legislative priorities saw positive movement, and we were particularly pleased to see an increase in base funding. At the local level, we assisted the University in achieving its goal of adding a medical school.

For the past year, John has skillfully led the Association in its stated purpose: to be an independent voice that champions The University of Texas at Austin, and to organize alumni and friends into a formidable network to change the world. As John begins his term as chairman of the board, we also welcome Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison as she assumes her duties of president-elect. I look forward to working closely with both of them toward our goal of making UT the leading public research university in the nation.

There remains much more for the Texas Exes to do to help our alma mater and to communicate the incredible value it brings to the state and nation. We will do so. Rest assured, the Ex-Students’ Association is not at rest—it is definitely in motion.

Charles Matthews


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