Letter from the Executive Director: Hangman

Movie stars—are they just like us? Or another species entirely? I got to meet Glen Powell recently when he came back to campus and the Alumni Center to chat with our own Abigail Rosenthal for her profile of him (“Leading Man”). Even though he has walked countless red carpets by now, is accumulating an entourage of publicists and agents, and counts Tom Cruise as a friend, I can tell you that Glen seemed genuinely thrilled to be on back on the Forty Acres.   

You may not know his name yet, but you probably know him as “Hangman” from this summer’s monster hit, Top Gun: Maverick. But when I met Glen, he was just another Longhorn who felt good to be home. He is a relatable and genuine guy, who does a killer Matthew McConaughey impression. He’s a star who really is just like us. 

Having probably the best line (“This is your savior speaking”) in the best movie of the summer, is a sure way to break into the zeitgeist. Like many Longhorns before him, he is now part of the cultural fabric of our country. The list of Texas Exes who have, against all odds, made a name for themselves on their respective stages keeps growing by the day. We have actors, writers, producers, directors, and executives whose names grace the credits of movies and television shows that stream into your living room. UCLA may have a few more, but we are hot on their heels. The creative energy in Austin, and certainly in UT’s Moody College of Communication, is astounding. 

After he told some old stories on campus, Glen had to jump in the chauffeured car waiting for him. He and filmmaker Richard Linklater and others were in town for the premiere of their latest movie at South by Southwest. He had overstayed during a tight schedule that comes with the annual festival and seemed to know that people would be waiting for him. 

But Glen, like me on that beautiful March day, was in no hurry to leave the oak-filled shade of the university campus, or cut short stories about growing up in Austin. No matter how successful you are, how many box office records you break, or how recognizable you have become, this place is our common ground. People like to say, “Don’t forget us when you’re famous.” For a Longhorn like Glen Powell, I know that’s never going to be the case. 

Hook ’em, 

Chuck Harris, BBA ’86, Life Member 


Executive Director, The Texas Exes 


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