Letter From the Executive Director: 50 Years With Carol

Harris and Barrett at the tailgate celebration.

When I came to this job at the Texas Exes seven years ago, I confess I knew very little about the ins and outs of my alumni association. I was a proud Longhorn, but I hadn’t been involved with the institution since graduation. I quickly understood that there is a universal answer to any question one may have about the Texas Exes—its history, characters, traditions, and quirks. That answer, of course, is, “Just ask Carol.”

This past October, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Carol Barrett’s first day at the association. And while she shows no signs of slowing down or retiring any time soon, and she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, we decided that 50 years deserves a great, big, burnt-orange fuss. Before our game against Kansas, we brought together friends, family members, colleagues, and Longhorns from near and far to surprise Carol with a plaque at the Alumni Center and an endowment for a scholarship in her honor. She was overwhelmed.  

Since 1973, when she started work at the Exes, Carol, BS ’69, Life Member, has held just about every job we have. She is a walking (or running!) example of what it means to make people feel at home on the Forty Acres. During her tenure she has led two major capital projects to expand the Alumni Center and its grounds, run countless events, grown the Flying Longhorns travel program, overseen the Retired Faculty and Staff Association, started the Life Membership payment plan, and spearheaded the growth and development of many programs. These days she knows several generations of family members who frequent the Alumni Center, and they cannot imagine a trip to this building without stopping to hug her hello. She is the heart and soul of this place.   

During the pandemic, when we couldn’t open our doors for tailgating before the games for the first time in our history, my wife and I would come to every home game and greet our members outside on the property. It wasn’t the same of course, but we wanted them to feel welcome. I’ll never forget seeing Carol arrive by herself to do the same.   

Many of you have asked how you can contribute to her scholarship, and we thank you for your generosity. If you would like to help us honor Carol and her many years of service, please email Laura.Nettleton@texasexes.org.

And when in doubt … ask Carol. 

Hook ’em,  

Chuck Harris, BBA ’86, Life Member 

Executive Director & CEO, the Texas Exes


CREDIT: Matt Wright-Steel


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