University of Texas at Austin

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ID:17939 Section: Education

Updated:Monday 13th October 2014

University of Texas at Austin Definition

(Wikipedia) - University of Texas at Austin "University of Texas" redirects here. For the university system, see University of Texas System. University of Texas at Austin Motto Motto in English Established Type Endowment President Provost Academic staff Admin. staff Undergraduates Postgraduates Location Campus Former names Newspaper Colors Athletics Sports Nickname Mascot Affiliations Website
Disciplina praesidium civitatis (Latin)
Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.
September 15, 1883
Flagship state university Space-grant university
US$6.0 billion
William C. Powers, Jr.
Gregory Fenves
Austin, Texas, USA
Urban, 423.5 acres (1.714 km2)
The University of Texas (1883–1967)
The Daily Texan
Burnt orange and white         
NCAA Division I – Big 12
18 varsity teams
Bevo & Hook ''em
  • UT System
  • AAU
  • URA
  • SURA
  • ORAU
  • APLU

The University of Texas at Austin (informally UT Austin, UT, University of Texas, or simply Texas ) is a state research university and the flagship institution of The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883 as "The University of Texas," its campus is located in Austin—approximately 1 mile (1,600 m) from the Texas State Capitol. The institution has the fifth-largest single-campus enrollment in the nation, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff. The university has been labeled one of the "Public Ivies," a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

UT Austin was inducted into the American Association of Universities in 1929, and it is a major center for academic research, with research expenditures exceeding $640 million for the 2009–2010 school year. The university houses seven museums and seventeen libraries, including the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art, and operates various auxiliary research facilities, such as the J. J. Pickle Research Campus and the McDonald Observatory. Among university faculty are recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, the Wolf Prize, and the National Medal of Science, as well as many other awards.

UT Austin student athletes compete as the Texas Longhorns and are members of the Big 12 Conference. The university has won four NCAA Division I National Football Championships, and has claimed more titles in men''s and women''s sports than any other school in the Big 12 since the league was founded in 1996. Current and former UT Austin athletes have won 130 Olympic medals, including 14 in Beijing in 2008 and 13 in London in 2012. The university was recognized by Sports Illustrated as "America''s Best Sports College" in 2002.

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Establishment
    • 1.2 Expansion and growth
    • 1.3 1966 shooting spree
    • 1.4 Recent history
  • 2 Campus
  • 3 Organization and administration
    • 3.1 Colleges and schools
  • 4 Academics
    • 4.1 Admission
    • 4.2 Rankings
  • 5 Research
    • 5.1 Endowment
  • 6 Student life
    • 6.1 Student profile
    • 6.2 Residential life
    • 6.3 Student organizations
    • 6.4 Greek life
    • 6.5 Media
    • 6.6 Traditions
  • 7 Athletics
    • 7.1 Varsity sports
  • 8 People
    • 8.1 Faculty
    • 8.2 Alumni
  • 9 Keene Prize for Literature
  • 10 See also
  • 11 References
  • 12 External links

History Main article: History of the University of Texas at Austin Establishment

The first mention of a public university in Texas can be traced to the 1827 constitution for the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. Although an article promised to establish public education in the arts and sciences, no action was taken by the Mexican government. But after Texas obtained its independence from Mexico in 1836, the Congress of Texas adopted the Constitution of the Republic, which included a provision to establish public education in the republic, including two universities or colleges. On January 26, 1839, the Congress of Texas agreed to eventually set aside fifty leagues of land towards the effort; in addition, 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the new capital of Austin were reserved and designated "College Hill." (The term "Forty Acres" is colloquially used to refer to the University as a whole.)

In 1845, Texas was annexed into the United States of America. The state legislature passed the Act of 1858, which set aside $100,000 in United States bonds towards construction of a university. In addition, the legislature designated land, previously reserved for the encouragement of railroad construction, toward the universities'' fifty leagues. But Texas''s secession from the Union and the American Civil War prevented further action on these plans.

The university''s Old Main building in 1903

After the war, the 1862 Morrill Act facilitated the creation of what is now Texas A&M University, which was established in 1876 as the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas. The Texas Constitution of 1876 mandated that the state establish a university "at an early day," calling for the creation of a "university of the first class," styled "The University of Texas." It revoked the endowment of the railroad lands of the Act of 1858 but appropriated 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) in West Texas. In 1883, another two million were granted, with income from the sale of land and grazing rights going to The University of Texas and Texas A&M.

In 1881, Austin was chosen as the site of the main university, and Galveston was designated the location of the medical department. On the original "College Hill," an official ceremony began construction on what is now referred to as the Old Main building in late 1882. The university opened its doors on September 15, 1883.

Expansion and growth

The old Victorian-Gothic Main Building served as the central point of the campus''s 40-acre (160,000 m2) site, and was used for nearly all purposes. But by the 1930s, discussions arose about the need for new library space, and the Main Building was razed in 1934 over the objections of many students and faculty. The modern-day tower and Main Building were constructed in its place.

In 1910, George Washington Brackenridge donated 500 acres (2.0 km2) on the Colorado River to the university . A vote by the regents to move the campus to the donated land was met with outrage, and the land has only been used for auxiliary purposes such as graduate student housing. Part of the tract was sold in the late-1990s for luxury housing, and there are controversial proposals to sell the remainder of the tract. The Brackenridge Field Laboratory was established on 82 acres (330,000 m2) of the land in 1967.

As a result of the controversy, in 1921, the legislature appropriated $1,350,000 for the purchase of land adjacent to the main campus. But expansion was hampered by the constitutional restriction against funding the construction of buildings. With the discovery of oil on university-owned grounds in 1923, the institution was able to put its new wealth towards its general endowment fund. These savings allowed the passing of amendments to make way for bond issues in 1931 and 1947, with the latter expansion necessary from the spike in enrollment following World War II. The university built 19 permanent structures between 1950 and 1965, when it was given the right of eminent domain. With this power, the university purchased additional properties surrounding the original 40 acres (160,000 m2).

During World War II, the University of Texas was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission. UT Austin was inducted into the American Association of Universities in 1929,

1966 shooting spreeThe Tower, completed in 1937, stands 307 ft (94 m) tall and dons different colors of lighting on special occasions.Main article: Charles Whitman

On August 1, 1966, Texas student Charles Whitman barricaded the observation deck in the tower of the Main Building. With two rifles, a sawed-off shotgun, and various other weapons, he killed a total of 14 people on campus, 11 from the observation deck and below the clocks on the tower, and three more in the tower, as well as wounding two more inside the observation deck. The massacre ended after Whitman was shot and killed by police after they breached the tower. Prior to the massacre, Whitman had killed his mother and his wife. Whitman had been a patient at the University Health Center, and on March 29, preceding the shootings, had conveyed to psychiatrist Maurice Heatley his feelings of overwhelming hostilities and that he was thinking about "going up on the tower with a deer rifle and start shooting people."

Following the Whitman event, the observation deck was closed until 1968, and then closed again in 1975 following a series of suicide jumps during the 1970s. In 1999, after installation of security fencing and other safety precautions, the tower observation deck reopened to the public. There is a turtle pond park near the tower dedicated to all of those affected by the tragedy.

Recent history

The first presidential library on a university campus was dedicated on May 22, 1971 with former President Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson and then-President Richard Nixon in attendance. Constructed on the eastern side of the main campus, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The University of Texas at Austin has experienced a wave of new construction recently with several significant buildings. On April 30, 2006, the school opened the Blanton Museum of Art. In August 2008, the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center opened, with the hotel and conference center forming part of a new gateway to the university. Also in 2008, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was expanded to a seating capacity of 100,119, making it the largest stadium (by capacity) in the state of Texas at the time, now surpassed by Cowboy Stadium.

On the morning of September 28, 2010, 19-year-old Colton Tooley opened fire on campus with an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, resulting in a lockdown of the university campus. He then walked into the Perry–Castañeda Library and committed suicide.

On January 19, 2011, the university announced the creation of a 24-hour television network in partnership with ESPN, dubbed the Longhorn Network. ESPN will pay a $300 million guaranteed rights fee over 20 years to the university and to IMG College, UT Austin''s multimedia rights partner. The network covers the university''s intercollegiate athletics, music, cultural arts and academics programs. The channel first aired in September 2011.

Campus See also: List of University of Texas at Austin buildings

The University''s property totals 1,438.5 acres (582.1 ha), comprising the 423.5 acres (171.4 ha) for the Main Campus in central Austin and the J. J. Pickle Research Campus in north Austin and the other properties throughout Texas. The main campus has 150 buildings totalling over 18,000,000 square feet (1,700,000 m2).

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

One of the University''s most visible features is the Beaux-Arts Main Building, including a 307-foot (94 m) tower designed by Paul Philippe Cret. Completed in 1937, the Main Building is in the middle of campus. The tower usually appears illuminated in white light in the evening but is lit orange for various special occasions, including athletic victories and academic accomplishments; it is conversely darkened for solemn occasions. At the top of the tower is a carillon of 56 bells, the largest in Texas. Songs are played on weekdays by student carillonneurs, in addition to the usual pealing of Westminster Quarters every quarter hour between 6 am and 9 pm In 1998, after the installation of security and safety measures, the observation deck reopened to the public indefinitely for weekend tours.

The university''s seven museums and seventeen libraries hold over nine million volumes, making it the seventh-largest academic library in the country. The holdings of the university''s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center include one of only 21 remaining complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible and the first permanent photograph, View from the Window at Le Gras, taken by Nicéphore Niépce. The newest museum, the 155,000-square-foot (14,400 m2) Blanton Museum of Art, is the largest university art museum in the United States and hosts approximately 17,000 works from Europe, the United States, and Latin America.

The University of Texas at Austin has an extensive underground tunnel system that links all of the buildings on campus. Constructed in the 1930s under the supervision of creator Carl Eckhardt, then head of the physical plant, the tunnels have grown along with the university campus. They currently measure approximately six miles in total length. The tunnel system is used for communications and utility service. It is closed to the public and is guarded by silent alarms. Since the late 1940s the university has generated its own electricity. Today its natural gas cogeneration plant has a capacity of 123 MW. The university also operates a TRIGA nuclear reactor at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus.

The university continues to expand its facilities on campus. In 2010, the university opened the state-of-the-art Norman Hackerman building (on the location of the former Experimental Sciences Building) housing chemistry and biology research and teaching laboratories. In 2010, the university broke ground on the $120 million Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall and the $51 million Belo Center for New Media, both of which are now complete. The new LEED gold-certified, 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) Student Activity Center (SAC) opened in January 2011, housing study rooms, lounges and food vendors. The SAC was constructed as a result of a student referendum passed in 2006 which raised student fees by $65 per semester. In 2012 the Moody Foundation awarded the College of Communication with $50 million making it the largest endowment any communication college has received, so naming it the Moody College of Communication.

The university operates a public radio station, KUT, which provides local FM broadcasts as well as live streaming audio over the Internet. The university uses Capital Metro to provide bus transportation for students around the campus and throughout Austin.

Organization and administrationMcCombs School of BusinessColleges and schools

The university contains eighteen colleges & schools and one academic unit, each listed with its founding date:

  • Cockrell School of Engineering (1894)
  • Dell Medical School (2013)
  • College of Education (1905)
  • College of Fine Arts (1938)
  • College of Liberal Arts (1883)
  • College of Natural Sciences (1883)
  • College of Pharmacy
  • Continuing Education (1909)
  • Graduate Studies (1910)
  • Jackson School of Geosciences (2005)
  • LBJ School of Public Affairs (1970)
  • McCombs School of Business (1922)
  • Moody College of Communication (1965)
  • School of Architecture (1948)
  • School of Information (1948)
  • School of Law (1883)
  • School of Nursing (1976)
  • School of Social Work (1950)
  • School of Undergraduate Studies (2008)
AcademicsProctor''s Mustangs (1948) overlooking the Engineering Sciences buildings

The University of Texas at Austin offers more than 100 undergraduate and 170 graduate degrees. In the 2009–2010 academic year, the university awarded a total of 13,215 degrees: 67.7% bachelor''s degrees, 22.0% master''s degrees, 6.4% doctoral degrees, and 3.9% Professional degrees.

In addition, the university has eight honors programs that span a variety of academic fields: Liberal Arts Honors, the Business Honors Program, the Turing Scholars Program in Computer Science, Engineering Honors, the Dean''s Scholars Program in Natural Sciences, the Health Science Scholars Program in Natural Sciences, the Polymathic Scholars Program in Natural Sciences, and the interdisciplinary Plan II Honors program. The university also offers innovative programs for promoting academic excellence and leadership development such as the Freshman Research Initiative and Texas Interdisciplinary Plan.


As a state public university, The University of Texas at Austin was, until recently, subject to Texas House Bill 588, which guarantees graduating Texas high school seniors in the top 10% of their class admission to any public Texas university. A new state law granting UT (but no other state university) a partial exemption from the top 10% rule, Senate Bill 175, was passed by the 81st Legislature in 2009. It modifies this admissions policy by limiting automatically admitted freshmen to 75% of the entering in-state freshman class, starting in 2011. The university will admit the top one percent, the top two percent and so forth until the cap is reached; the university expects to automatically admit students in the top 8% of their graduating class for 2011. Furthermore, students admitted under Texas House Bill 588 are not guaranteed their choice of college or major, but rather only guaranteed admission to the university as a whole. Many colleges, such as the Cockrell School of Engineering, have secondary requirements that must be met for admission.

For others who go through the traditional application process, selectivity is deemed "more selective" according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and by US News & World Report. For Fall 2009, 31,362 applied and 45.6% were accepted, and of those accepted, 51.0% enrolled. The university''s freshman retention rate in 2009 was 92.5% and the six-year graduation rate was 81.0%. The Fall 2011 entering class had an average ACT composite score of 28 and an average SAT composite score of 1858.

Relative to other universities in the state of Texas, UT Austin is the second only to Rice University in selectivity according to a Business Journal study weighting by acceptance rate and the 25th/75th percentile of admissions tests such as SAT and ACT. UT Austin was also ranked as the 18th most selective in the South.

Rankings University rankings National ARWU Forbes U.S. News & World Report Washington Monthly Global ARWU QS Times

UT Austin is consistently ranked as one of the top public universities in the country, with highly prestigious programs in a variety of fields. Nationally, UT Austin ranked 45th amongst all universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and tied for 13th place among public universities in 2011. The University of Texas School of Architecture was ranked second among national undergraduate programs in 2012. Additionally, the McCombs School of Business was ranked seventh among undergraduate business programs in 2013, and the Cockrell School of Engineering was ranked ninth among undergraduate engineering programs in 2009. Internationally, UT Austin was ranked 67th in the "World''s Best Universities" ranking presented by U.S. News and World Report, and 35th in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, based on factors such as Nobel laureate affiliation and number of highly cited researchers. In 2009, The Economist ranked the school 49th worldwide. In 2013 London-based Times Higher Education ranked the university 25th in the world, while Human Resources & Labor Review ranked the university 42nd and QS'' "World University Rankings" ranked the university 68th internationally.

UT Austin is considered to be a "Public Ivy" – a public university that provides an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price, having been ranked in virtually every list of "Public Ivies" since Richard Moll coined the term in his 1985 book Public Ivies: A Guide to America''s best public undergraduate colleges and universities. The seven other "Public Ivy" universities, according to Moll, were The College of William & Mary, Miami University, The University of California, The University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina, The University of Vermont, and The University of Virginia.

As of 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Accounting and Latin American History programs as the top in the nation. Additionally, more than 50 other science, humanities and professional programs rank in the top 25 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report''s latest edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” The University of Texas College of Education and College of Pharmacy are each the fourth best in the nation in their fields (with Education ranking first among public universities for the third year in a row and also number one in research expeditures). And the School of Information (iSchool) is sixth best in Library and Information Sciences. Among other overall school rankings, the Cockrell School of Engineering is 11th best (sixth among publics). The McCombs School of Business is 17th best (fifth among publics). The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs remains at No. 16, the Jackson School of Geosciences remains at No. 9 for Earth Sciences, and the School of Social Work remains at No. 7. The University of Texas School of Law climbed one place in the rankings, to No. 15 in the nation (fourth among publics).

A 2005 Bloomberg survey ranked the school 5th among all business schools and first among public business schools for the largest number of alumni who are S&P 500 CEOs. Similarly, a 2005 USA Today report ranked the university as "the number one source of new Fortune 1000 CEOs." A "payback" analysis published by SmartMoney in 2011 comparing graduates'' salaries to tuition costs concluded that the school was the second-best value of all colleges in the nation, behind only Georgia Tech. A 2013 College Database study found that UT was 22nd in the nation in terms of increased lifetime earnings by graduates.

ResearchHarlan J. Smith Telescope

Except for MIT, UT Austin attracts more federal research grants than any American university without a medical school. For the 2009–2010 school year, the university exceeded $640 million in research funding (up from $590 million the previous year) and has earned more than 300 patents since 2003. UT Austin houses the Office of Technology Commercialization, a technology transfer center which serves as the bridge between laboratory research and commercial development. In 2009, UT Austin created nine new start-up companies to commercialize technology developed at the university and has created 46 start-ups in the past seven years. UT Austin license agreements generated $10.9 million in revenue for the university in 2009.

Research at UT Austin is largely focused in the engineering and physical sciences, and is a world-leading research institution in fields such as computer science. Energy is a major research thrust of the university, with major federally funded projects on biofuels, battery and solar cell technology, and geological carbon dioxide storage, water purification membranes, among others. In 2009, UT Austin founded the Energy Institute, led by former Under Secretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach, to organize and advance multi-disciplinary energy research at the university. While the university does have a medical school, it houses medical programs associated with other campuses and allied health professional programs, as well as major research programs in pharmacy, biomedical engineering, neuroscience, and others.

UT Austin opened the $100 million Dell Pediatric Research Institute in 2010 as part of an effort to increase medical research at the university and establish a medical research complex, and associated medical school, in the city of Austin.

UT Austin operates several major auxiliary research centers. The world''s third-largest telescope, the Hobby–Eberly Telescope, and three other large telescopes are part of UT Austin''s McDonald Observatory, 450 miles (720 km) west of Austin. The university manages nearly 300 acres (1.2 km2) of biological field laboratories, including the Brackenridge Field Laboratory in Austin. The Center for Agile Technology focuses on software development challenges. The J.J. Pickle Research Campus (PRC) is home to the Texas Advanced Computing Center which operates the Ranger supercomputer, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, as well as the Microelectronics Research Center which houses micro- and nanoelectronics research and features a 15,000 square foot (1,400 m2) cleanroom for device fabrication. Founded in 1946, UT Austin''s Applied Research Laboratories at the PRC has been responsible for the development or testing of the vast majority of high-frequency sonar equipment used by the Navy, and in 2007, was granted a research contract by the Navy funded up to $928 million over ten years. The Center for Transportation Research UT Austin is a nationally recognized research institution focusing on transportation research, education, and public service. Established in 1963 as the Center for Highway Research, its current and ongoing projects address virtually all aspects of transportation, including economics, multimodal systems, traffic congestion relief, transportation policy, materials, structures, transit, environmental impacts, driver behavior, land use, geometric design, accessibility, and pavements.

In 2013, UT Austin announced the naming of the O''Donnell Building for Applied Computational Engineering and Sciences. The O''Donnell Foundation of Dallas, headed by Peter O''Donnell and his wife, Edith Jones O''Donnell, has given more than $135 million to UT Austin alone between 1983 and 2013. UT Austin President William C. Powers declared the O''Donnells "among the greatest supporters of the University of Texas in its 130-year history. Their transformative generosity is based on the belief in our power to change society for the better." In 2008, O''Donnell pledged $18 million to finance the hiring of UT Austin faculty members undertaking research in the use of mathematics, computers, and multiple scientific disciplines; his pledge was matched by W. A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr., a oilman and philanthropist from Fort Worth.

EndowmentThe Norman Hackerman BuildingMain article: Permanent University Fund

The university has an endowment of $7.2 billion, out of the $16.11 billion (according to 2008 estimates) available to the University of Texas System. This figure reflects the fact that the school has the largest endowment of any public university in the nation.

Thirty percent of the university''s endowment comes from Permanent University Fund (PUF), with nearly $15 billion in assets as of 2007. Proceeds from lands appropriated in 1839 and 1876, as well as oil monies, comprise the majority of PUF. At one time, the PUF was the chief source of income for Texas'' two university systems, The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System; today, however, its revenues account for less than 10 percent of the universities'' annual budgets. This has challenged the universities to increase sponsored research and private donations. Privately funded endowments contribute over $2 billion to the University''s total endowment value.

Student life Student profile

For Fall 2011, the university enrolled 38,437 undergraduate, 11,497 graduate and 1,178 law students. Out-of-state and international students comprised 9.1% of the undergraduate student body and 20.1% of the total student body, with students from all 50 states and more than 120 foreign countries—most notably, the Republic of Korea, followed by the People''s Republic of China, India, Mexico and Taiwan. For Fall 2010, the undergraduate student body was 48.7% male and 51.3% female. The three largest undergraduate majors in 2009 were Biological Sciences, Unspecified Business, and Psychology, while the three largest graduate majors were Business Administration (MBA), Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Pharmacy (PharmD).

Demographics of the UT Austin student body – Fall 2011 Undergraduate Graduate Texas U.S. Census African American Asian American Non-Hispanic White Hispanic American Native American Foreign
4.6% 3.0% 12.6% 12.9%
17.9% 7.2% 4.4% 4.6%
50.4% 53.0% 45.3% 65.1%
20.0% 10.0% 37.6% 15.8%
0.3% 0.2% 1.3% 1.0%
4.7% 22.4% N/A N/A
Residential life

The campus is currently home to fourteen residence halls, the newest of which opened for residence in Spring 2007. On-campus housing can hold more than 7,100 students. Jester Center is the largest residence hall with its capacity of 2,945. Academic enrollment exceeds the on-campus housing capacity; as a result, most students must live in private residence halls, housing cooperatives, apartments, or with Greek organizations and other off-campus residences. The Division of Housing and Food Service, which already has the largest market share of 7,000 of the estimated 27,000 beds in the campus area, plans to expand to 9,000 beds in the near future.

Student organizations

The university recognizes more than 1,000 student organizations. In addition, it supports three official student governance organizations that represent student interests to faculty, administrators, and the Texas Legislature. Student Government, established in 1902, is the oldest governance organization and represents student interests in general. The Senate of College Councils represents students in academic affairs and coordinates the college councils, and the Graduate Student Assembly represents graduate student interests. The University Unions Student Events Center serves as the hub for student activities on campus. The Friar Society serves as the oldest honor society at the university. The Livestrong Texas 4000 for Cancer student organization is the longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world and has raised over $4 million for cancer research from its founding in 2004 to August, 2013.

Greek life See also: List of fraternities and sororities at University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is home to an active Greek community. Approximately 14 percent of undergraduate students are in fraternities or sororities. With more than 65 national chapters, the university''s Greek community is one of the nation''s largest. These chapters are under the authority of one of the school''s six Greek council communities, Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Texas Asian Pan-Hellenic Council, Latino Pan-Hellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council and University Panhellenic Council. Other registered student organizations also name themselves with Greek letters and are called affiliates. They are not a part of one of the six councils but have all of the same privileges and responsibilities of any other organization. According to the Office of the Dean of Students'' mission statement, Greek life promotes cultural appreciation, scholarship, leadership, and service. Most Greek houses are west of the Drag in the West Campus neighborhood.

Media See also: Texas Student Media

Students express their opinions in and out of class through periodicals including Study Breaks Magazine, Longhorn Life, The Daily Texan (the most award-winning daily college newspaper in the United States), and the Texas Travesty. Over the airwaves students'' voices are heard through Texas Student Television (K29HW-D) and KVRX Radio.

The Computer Writing and Research Lab of the university''s Department of Rhetoric and Writing also hosts the Blogora, a blog for "connecting rhetoric, rhetorical methods and theories, and rhetoricians with public life" by the Rhetoric Society of America.

TraditionsThe Texas longhorn is the university''s mascot.

Traditions at the University of Texas are perpetuated through several school symbols and mediums. At athletic events, students frequently sing "Texas Fight", the university''s fight song while displaying the Hook ''em Horns hand gesture—the gesture mimicking the horns of the school''s mascot, Bevo the Texas longhorn.

Athletics Main article: Texas Longhorns

The University of Texas offers a wide variety of varsity and intramural sports programs. As of 2008, the university''s athletics program ranked fifth in the nation among Division I schools according to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Due to the breadth of sports offered and the quality of the programs, Texas was selected as "America''s Best Sports College" in a 2002 analysis by Sports Illustrated. Texas was also listed as the number one Collegiate Licensing Company client for the second consecutive year in regards to the amount of annual trademark royalties received from fan merchandise sales. But this ranking is based only on clients of the Collegiate Licensing Company, which does not handle licensing for approximately three-dozen large schools including Ohio State, USC, UCLA, Michigan State, and Texas A&M.

Varsity sportsTexas Longhorns football playing against Oklahoma in the 2007 Red River Rivalry

The University''s men''s and women''s athletics teams are nicknamed the Longhorns. A charter member of the Southwest Conference until it dissolved in 1996, Texas now competes in the Big 12 Conference of the NCAA''s Division I-FBS. Texas has won 50 total national championships, 42 of which are NCAA national championships.

The University of Texas has traditionally been considered a college football powerhouse. At the start of the 2007 season, the Longhorns were ranked third in the all-time list of both total wins and winning percentage. The team experienced its greatest success under coach Darrell Royal, winning three national championships in 1963, 1969, and 1970. It won a fourth title under head coach Mack Brown in 2005 after a 41–38 victory over previously undefeated Southern California in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

In recent years, the men''s basketball team has gained prominence, advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen in 2002, the Final Four in 2003, the Sweet Sixteen in 2004, and the Elite Eight in 2006 and 2008.

The University''s baseball team is one of the nation''s best. It has made more trips to the College World Series (34) than any other school, and it posted wins in 1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, and 2005.

Additionally, the University''s highly successful men''s and women''s swimming and diving teams lay claim to sixteen NCAA Division I titles. The swim team was first developed under Coach Tex Robertson. In particular, the men''s team is led by Eddie Reese, who served as the head men''s coach at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2008 Games in Beijing.

People Faculty Main article: List of University of Texas at Austin faculty

In the Fall of 2009, the school employed 2,770 full-time faculty members (88.3% of whom hold the terminal degree in their field), with a student-to-faculty ratio of 17.3 to 1. The university''s faculty includes 63 members of the National Academy, winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award and other various awards. Nine Nobel Laureates are or have been affiliated with UT Austin. Research expenditures for UT Austin exceeded $640 million for the 2009–2010 school year.

Alumni Main article: List of University of Texas at Austin alumniMichael Dell started PC''s Limited (the precursor to Dell Computers) before dropping out of UT Austin.

Texas Exes is the official UT alumni organization. The Alcalde, founded in 1913 and pronounced “all-call-day,” is the university''s alumni magazine.

At least 15 graduates have served in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, such as Lloyd Bentsen ''42, who served as both a U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative, as well as being the 1988 Democratic Party Vice Presidential nominee. Presidential cabinet members include former United States Secretary of State James Baker ''57, former United States Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, and former United States Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans ''73. Former First Lady Laura Bush ''73 and daughter Jenna ''04 both graduated from Texas, as well as former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson ''33 & ''34 and her eldest daughter Lynda. In foreign governments, the university has been represented by Fernando Belaúnde Terry ''36 (42nd President of Peru), Mostafa Chamran (former Minister of Defense for Iran), and Abdullah al-Tariki (co-founder of OPEC). Additionally, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, Salam Fayyad, graduated from the university with a PhD in economics. Tom C. Clark, J.D. ''22, served as United States Attorney General from 1945 to 1949 and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1949 to 1967.

Former First Lady Laura Bush ''73 received an M.L.S. from UT Austin.Tom C. Clark ''22, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, received his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

Alumni in academia include the 26th President of The College of William & Mary Gene Nichol ''76, the 10th President of Boston University Robert A. Brown ''73 & ''75, and the 8th President of the University of Southern California John R. Hubbard. The University also graduated Alan Bean ''55, the fourth man to walk on the Moon. Additionally, alumni who have served as business leaders include ExxonMobil Corporation CEO Rex Tillerson ''75, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, and Gary C. Kelly, Southwest Airlines''s CEO.

Alumnus Roger Clemens, MLB pitcher and seven-time Cy Young Award winner

In literature and journalism, the school boasts 20 Pulitzer Prizes to 18 former students, including Gail Caldwell and Ben Sargent ''70. Walter Cronkite, the former CBS Evening News anchor once called the most trusted man in America, attended the University of Texas at Austin, as did CNN anchor Betty Nguyen ''95. Alumnus J. M. Coetzee also received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. Novelist Raymond Benson (''78) was the official author of James Bond novels between 1996–2002, the only American to be commissioned to pen them. Donna Alvermann, a distinguished research professor at the University of Georgia, Department of Education also graduated from the University of Texas, as did Wallace Clift (''49) and Jean Dalby Clift (''50, J.D. ''52), authors of several books in the fields of psychology of religion and spiritual growth. Alireza Jafarzadeh the author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" and television commentator (''82, MS)

UT Alumni also include 28 Rhodes Scholars, 26 Truman Scholars, 20 Marshall Scholars, and nine Astronauts.

Several musicians and entertainers attended the University, though most dropped out to pursue their respective careers. Janis Joplin, the American singer who was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and who received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award attended the university, as did February 1955 Playboy Playmate of the Month and Golden Globe recipient Jayne Mansfield. Composer Harold Morris is a 1910 graduate. Noted film director, cinematographer, writer, and editor Robert Rodriguez is a Longhorn, as are actors Eli Wallach and Matthew McConaughey. Rodriguez dropped out of the university after two years to pursue his career in Hollywood, but he officially completed his degree from the Radio-Television-Film department on May 23, 2009. Rodriguez also gave the keynote address at the university-wide commencement ceremony. Radio-Television-Film alumni Mark Dennis and Ben Foster took their award winning feature film, Strings, to the American film festival circuit in 2011. Web and television actress Felicia Day and film actress Renée Zellweger also attended the university. Day graduated with dual degrees in music performance (violin) and mathematics, while Zellweger graduated with a BA in English. Writer, recording artist Phillip Sandifer attended the university and graduated with a degree in History. Michael "Burnie" Burns is an actor, writer, film director and film producer, graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Computer Science. He, along with another UT graduate Matt Hullum, also founded the Austin-based production company Rooster Teeth, producing many hit shows including the multi-award wining internet series, Red vs. Blue. Farrah Fawcett, one of the original Charlie''s Angels, left after her junior year to pursue a modeling career. Actor Owen Wilson and writer/director Wes Anderson each attended the university. There they wrote Bottle Rocket together which became Anderson''s first feature film. Another notable writer, Rob Thomas graduated with a BA in History in 1987 and went on to write the young adult novel Rats Saw God and created the series Veronica Mars. Notable illustrator, writer and alum, Felicia Bond, is best known for her illustrations in the If You Give... children''s books series, starting with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Chinese singer-songwriter, producer, actress Cindy Yen (birth name Cindy Wu) graduated with double degrees in Music (piano performance) and Broadcast Journalism in 2008. Noted composer and arranger Jack Cooper received his D.M.A. in 1999 from UT Austin in composition and has gone onto teach in higher education and become well known internationally through the music publishing industry.

Many alumni have found success in professional sports. Legendary pro football coach Tom Landry ''49 attended the university as an industrial engineering major but interrupted his education after a semester to serve in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Following the war, he returned to the university and played fullback and defensive back on the Longhorns'' bowl-game winners on New Year''s Day of 1948 and 1949. Seven-time Cy Young Award-winner Roger Clemens entered the MLB after helping the Longhorns win the 1983 College World Series. Three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant entered the 2007 NBA Draft and was selected second overall behind Greg Oden, after sweeping National Player of the Year honors, becoming the first freshman to win any of the awards. After becoming became the first freshman in school history to lead Texas in scoring and being named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Daniel Gibson entered the 2006 NBA Draft and was selected in the second round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Several Olympic medalists have also attended the school, including 2008 Summer Olympics athletes Ian Crocker ''05 (swimming world record holder and two-time Olympic gold medalist) and 4x400m relay defending Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards ''06. Mary Lou Retton (the first female gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title, five-time Olympic medalist, and 1984 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year) also attended the university. Also an alumnus is Dr. Robert Cade, the inventor of the sport drink Gatorade. In big, global philanthropy, the university is honored by Darren Walker, president of Ford Foundation.

Other notable alumni include prominent businessman Red McCombs, Diane Pamela Wood, the first female chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Also an alumnus is Admiral William H. McRaven, credited for organizing and executing Operation Neptune''s Spear, the special ops raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Keene Prize for Literature See also: Sophie Kerr Prize

The Keene Prize for Literature is a student literary award given by the University. With a prize of $50,000 it claims to be "one of the world''s largest student literary prizes". An additional $50,000 is split between three finalists. The purpose of the award is to "help maintain the university''s status as a premier location for emerging writers", and to recognize the winners and their works. The prize was established in 2006, in the College of Liberal Arts. It is named after E. L. Keene, a 1942 graduate of the university.

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