Letter From the Executive Director: A Shot in the Arm

It occurs to me that you’ve now had a full year of Alcalde letters from me that muse about “the new normal” and the changes in every aspect of our lives—the alumni association experience being chief among them.  

Even with all the disruption, we managed to bring fellowship and enrichment to Longhorns everywhere through virtual events at the Texas Exes. I want to thank the Longhorns—too many to name—who stepped up to help make this virtual Texas Exes programming so meaningful and valuable. Some of it we will keep forever, as it has connected our network in new and exciting ways.   

A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the blessed experience of reaching the front of a line that felt like it was for Space Mountain at Disney, and finally got our second dose of the vaccine. (Thank you, Jason McLellan!) Even though science said my immunity to COVID-19 would take a few more weeks to develop, in that moment I crossed an emotional bridge and felt better than I had in such a long time. Was it the antibodies? Or was it the curative power of having something to look forward to?   

I vote for the latter, and I’ve heard the same thing time and again from my colleagues, friends, and family members. That moment is a rite of passage we never imagined we would need so desperately. But after more than a year of living with so much fear and loss, it was the boost I needed.   

The loss has been real and, in some ways, incalculable. I lost my mother during the first few months of the pandemic. Like so many of you, the pandemic has become part of my family’s story. And we appreciate in a new way that time with our people is precious. The company of others is precious. It feeds the soul. 

We are by no means out of the woods yet. But at last, I can see a glimmer of the good life up ahead. I’m picturing myself at my unofficial post at the Alumni Center on gameday, just a few months from now. I like to stand at the main gate and welcome you all to the tailgate. How ya been? What’s the offense gonna do today? Congrats on the new grandson! As Longhorns we share more than just a degree; we share a life—one full of friendship, adventure, and scholarship. We share a home on the Forty Acres—one where everyone is welcome. And I can’t wait to prop the front door open again.   

Hook ’em, 

Chuck Harris
BBA ’86, Life Member


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