Letter from the Executive Director: Story Time

A rendering of a section of the Alumni Center project from the Advent team.

Close your eyes and picture yourself walking into the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. As a reader of this magazine, you’ve probably been in here a few times—either for a gameday tailgate, an awards ceremony, or to celebrate a burnt-orange milestone. It’s our home away from home on the Forty Acres, and it’s dependably familiar. An unassuming, sprawling building that hugs Waller Creek and relaxes in the shadow of DKR Texas-Memorial Stadium. I love it here. I’m always here.  

But when you wander around the building and its many halls lined with paintings of Texas pastures and names of prominent donors, you may realize, as I have, that something is missing. Unlike the new Athletics Hall of Fame across the street that tells the story of our greatness and dominance across sports, the Alumni Center doesn’t tell the story of Longhorn greatness and dominance in just about everything else.   

This is something I have dreamt of since I became the executive director of the Texas Exes in 2017. We should tell our story, the story of the pioneering, groundbreaking, top-of-their-game Longhorns who have made a name for themselves across every industry and field of study. There is no other public institution that has produced such a list of distinguished and prominent people—from Academy Award winners to history makers, world-changing scientists to thought leaders, Longhorns have done it all.   

That’s why I want to create, with the help of the amazing design firm, Advent, that created the aforementioned Hall of Fame, an interactive and dynamic tribute to Longhorn greatness that showcases the outsized impact of our alma mater. I want prospective students touring campus to make this their last stop, and after seeing the stories of the alumni of this great university, I want them to think to themselves: Oh yeah. This is where I belong.    

The project will involve several interactive exhibits throughout the Alumni Center that will blend seamlessly with the existing architecture and enable us to update and refresh the stories as more history is made. Think, “Longhorns in Space,” “Trailblazers,” “Medical Breakthroughs,” “Hollywood Icons,” and more.   

As the historic “What Starts Here” campaign officially kicks off this month, (see “The Big Give” on page 10) this will be one of our major fundraising priorities. I believe this physical and digital tribute to our alumni is long overdue, and I can’t wait to see the above rendering become reality. If you’d like to get involved … Well, you know where to find me.   

Hook ’em, 

Chuck Harris
BBA ’86, Life Member
Executive Director, The Texas Exes 

Credit: Courtesy of Advent


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