New Beginnings

After so much controversy and strife, at last a new day has dawned.

chalkFor too long, our campus community and those of us who care deeply about it have watched as controversy and division have distracted from the remarkable progress at our alma mater. Thankfully—mercifully—this period appears to have passed.

The arrival of new UT System chancellor retired Adm. William McRaven (he wants to be called “Bill”), whose 2014 commencement speech brought him YouTube fame, immediately set a new tone. In his first few weeks on the job, he has traveled the state professing the start of a different era at the UT System, one with less acrimony and more collaboration. This is fantastic news for all of us, and the Texas Exes stand ready to help in every way that we can.

By the time you are reading this, we may also have a new president to succeed Bill Powers. As a member of the search committee that recommended finalists to the Board of Regents, I can tell you that the campus will be in great shape moving forward. Whoever gets the job will have big shoes to fill. Over the last nine years, Bill Powers has left a deep mark on our campus. He has brought the university ever-closer to its constitutional mandate: We have better students and faculty than ever before, we do more cutting-edge research, and the entire university apparatus is increasingly central to the economic and civic vitality of the great state of Texas. We thank Bill Powers for all that he has done.

We have a new governor in Texas in Greg Abbott. He is the first Longhorn in the Governor’s Mansion since Dolph Briscoe, and as one of his first acts he made three fine regental appointments in Steve Hicks, Sara Martinez Tucker, and David Beck. Each has a long history with our university. They understand and value the role of research at a flagship university like ours. And they will do much to make sure UT-Austin continues its long, steady march toward excellence.

What is left for each of us to do is to embrace this new beginning and to recommit ourselves to helping, in whatever way that we can, make the University of Texas at Austin the best it can be.


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