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President, provost to welcome Longhorn Scholars

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin, and Executive Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson will address 230 Longhorn Scholars, students from high schools that are historically underrepresented at UT, at a welcoming event on Wednesday (Sept. 20).

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AUSTIN, Texas —Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin, and Executive Vice President and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson will address 230 Longhorn Scholars, students from high schools that are historically underrepresented at UT, at a welcoming event on Wednesday (Sept. 20).

The event will take place at 4 p.m. in Flawn Academic Center 21.

The Longhorn Scholars program is administered by Connexus: Connections in Undergraduate Studies, an initiative by the Provost’s Office that provides opportunities for students to blend disciplines, bridge academic and career goals, and strengthen ties with faculty. While administered by Connexus, Longhorn Scholars builds on the efforts of the Office of the Dean of Students, admissions, Student Financial Services, and the offices of the Provost and the President to increase diversity and opportunity on campus.

Longhorn Scholars come from 63 high schools in or around Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Dallas that are historically underrepresented at UT Austin. Students selected for this competitive academic program have graduated in the top 10% of their classes and are offered four-year scholarships.

Lindsay Hale, Connexus academic program coordinator, said, “Many (Longhorn Scholars) are in the first generation of their families to attend college. Many have had to overcome significant obstacles. In my experience, these are bright, hard-working, motivated young people who will thrive academically.”

The program was created to enhance student success at UT through innovative instructional formats. “Longhorn Scholars offers a rigorous curriculum that includes a mix of small and large classes, supplementary instruction, participation in programs such as Freshman Interest Groups and Freshman Seminars, and excellent teachers, including members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In addition, Longhorn Scholars benefit from excellent, professional academic and career advising through their home colleges and through Connexus,” Hale said.

The broader initiative of which the Longhorn Scholars program is a part, Connexus, seeks to improve the educational experiences of all UT undergraduates. “Connexus administers and/or develops a number of innovative programs in undergraduate education, including Longhorn Scholars, but also some new interdisciplinary forum seminars and concentrations. Forum seminars connect students to ideas and fields organized within a contemporary theme. Concentrations connect a student’s major to selected coursework in other disciplines related to the students’ career and educational goals,” Hale said. The inaugural forum seminar, “The New Texas” scheduled for Spring 2001, involves 15 UT faculty members, all from different disciplines, and addresses economics, culture, demography, health care and other areas central to changes in Texas. Two interdisciplinary concentrations under development for next year are environmental sciences and gerontology.

According to the Office of the Provost, Connexus has four main goals: to facilitate the student’s first-year transition to the University; to provide a program for sophomores to bridge disciplines and formulate career plans; to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary concentrations related to the students’ majors and career goals; and to develop cross-college initiatives that take advantage of UT Austin’s size and educational opportunities.