The Top Alcalde Stories of 2014

A look back at the Longhorn newsmakers, groundbreakers, and viral sensations of an unforgettable year.

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It’s been a big year on the Forty Acres. We got a new football coach and a new chancellor; UT president Bill Powers announced his resignation after years of simmering conflict with the Board of Regents. Longhorn scholars published new research on everything from biofuel to heartbreak. The university broke all its fundraising records with a $3 billion capital campaign, Matthew McConaughey gave a pep talk to the football team, and a collection of 100 human brains went missing.

The Alcalde covered all those headlines and more (547 of them, to be exact). We also introduced you to ideas and characters you won’t hear about anywhere else. Meanwhile, we explored new ways of bringing you the best UT stories—from interactive, immersive online features to a weekly news show, The Hook. Here are some of the year’s best stories.

People and Purpose


We told the stories of prominent Longhorns, including football coach Charlie Strong and military commander and future UT System chancellor Adm. William McRaven. And we also brought you characters you wouldn’t have met otherwise, like a parking employee with a secret talent or the UT social workers who quietly do a heroic job. A perennial favorite, our Texas 10 list of outstanding faculty drew more comments than ever, and we introduced you to the enterprising students who are trying to revive the university’s rodeo team.

Longhorn Pride and History


Longhorns around the country showed their pride in surprising ways this year, from re-creating the Tower with Legos to bemoaning the appearance of maroon bluebonnets on campus. It was also a big year for remembering UT history: The Forty Acres hosted the filming of the Freddie Steinmark saga My All American, and Elizabeth Crook’s novel MondayMonday reimagined the trauma of the 1966 Charles Whitman shooting.

Research and Ideas

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UT is consistently named one of the most productive research institutions in the country, and with good reason. This year university researchers pushed forward our knowledge of robots, drones, fracking, avian evolution, work-life balance, alcohol abuse, obesity, entrepreneurship, astronomy, the tungára frog, and invisibility cloaks. And those are just a few of the breakthroughs we covered on the research section of this website. We also attended the “Violin Olympics” and asked about the future of transformative technologies like intelligent robots and drones.

Challenges and Changes

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There was no shortage of high-profile changes at UT this year. Charlie Strong ushered in a new era of Texas football, and although he didn’t rack up the wins, he earned high praise for booting misbehaving players and enforcing high standards. Alumni also praised the selection of Navy commander Adm. William McRaven as the university system’s next chancellor. The conflict between the regents and president Bill Powers continued to make headlines, as did Abigail Fisher’s lawsuit against UT.

Photos courtesy UT-Austin, UT Athletics, Jeff Wilson, and Anna Donlan.


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