Letter from the Executive Director: Moment in the Sun

After more than five years heading up the Texas Exes, I had one of my favorite UT experiences recently on the field at DKR, and it had nothing to do with football. The alumni who made up our inaugural Longhorn 100—a new title awarded to the entrepreneurs behind the 100 fastest growing Longhorn-run companies—gathered to take a picture together and raise their horns in the air. After we got the group shot, they all scattered to get photos of themselves in the endzone and on the 50-yard line. In that famous place of burnt-orange honor and glory, we gave them a moment they’ll never forget.  

After years of preparation and planning for the big day, we finally got to reveal the worldwide Longhorn 100 ranking at the official awards gala later that night. And I do mean world—winners flew in from as far as Sri Lanka and Panama. The night was the start of a rich new tradition that has been a passion project of mine since the beginning.  

I graduated from UT with a degree in business and through a lot of hard work and a lot more good luck, I found myself in the same seat as most of the people in that ballroom—an alumnus running their own business.    

As I built my companies, I met a lot of C-suite executives, founders, and business owners who came from where I came from. But I also worked with investors and board members who were alumni of other elite universities. What I found was that grads from these peer universities did a great job of connecting with one another in the business world. And the institutions did an even better job of claiming them as their own.   

But if you look at the value of the businesses created by Longhorns and the number of CEOs and founders around the world, I think our impact is unmatched. You could fill DKR with Longhorn job creators.   

We turn out brilliant entrepreneurs, and we do it at scale. I think it partially comes down to what we all experienced while here on campus—a beautiful diversity of people and thought. At UT Austin, the engineers run with artists, business majors hang with musicians, and scientists and social workers dream of changing the world together. 

Lots of schools can claim to be a hub of innovation, but UT really is. I believe this annual event will remind people that you don’t have to go to college in California, Boston, or New Jersey to become a great leader in the business world. The place you need to be is The University of Texas at Austin. Congratulations to all 100 of our 2023 winners, who will inspire generations of future students. Here’s to many more years of success and Longhorn pride.  

Hook ’em,  

Chuck Harris, BBA ’86, Life Member 

Executive Director & CEO, the Texas Exes 



1 Comment

Post a Comment