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Faulkner presents State of the University address during celebration recognizing award recipients at The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin, said in his “State of the University” address Wednesday (Sept. 18) that his personal attention during this academic year will be dedicated to several key areas, including the legislative session opening in January.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin, said in his “State of the University” address Wednesday (Sept. 18) that his personal attention during this academic year will be dedicated to several key areas, including the legislative session opening in January.

Faulkner said the university has two goals for the next legislative session.

“We must emerge with a solution to the urgent needs concerning the infrastructure and we must gain a better capacity to invest for the future,” Faulkner said.

The university’s decision not to go forth with plans for an infrastructure fee this year “has left us with obligations that still lie before us,” he said. “The issue is not at all about a large backlog of repairs left irresponsibly undone. It is about a looming, predictable rise in the need for repair and renovation that will come about because of the ages of the structures on our campus. To a much smaller degree, it is about changes in standards concerning environmental health and about requirements for special academic facilities in evolving technical areas.

“The critical point is that we will not be able to dodge these demands; ‘irresponsible’ is the label that we will deserve if we even attempt to do that,” Faulkner said. He said the University Budget Council has developed a plan for addressing repairs and renovation with available resources in the current year and beyond. To accomplish those objectives, the university is committing two-thirds of the university’s cash reserves. Moreover, it is dedicating $8 million per year of tuition income to 20 years of debt service bonds that will be issued to finance the capital projects, he said.

Also high on Faulkner’s personal attention list this academic year is the Commission of 125, which will soon begin a two-year process of examining the state of the university and setting goals and priorities for the next two decades. He announced that the new commission would be chaired by Kenneth M. Jastrow II, chairman and chief executive of Temple-Inland, Inc.

“He is among the ablest and most dedicated supporters of higher education in Texas, and he will provide strong, imaginative leadership for the Commission of 125,” Faulkner said.

Other key items listed by Faulkner include the Knowledge Gateway project, financial planning through 2006-07, the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy, efforts to build minority participation among faculty, staff and students, the We’re Texas Campaign and the building of the national presence of the university. A complete copy of Faulkner’s speech, listing other key initiatives and goals, may be viewed online at the Office of the President Web site.

Faulkner presented his goals for the university during UTexas@119, an event celebrating the 119th anniversary of the university, which opened Sept. 15, 1883. During the program in Jessen Auditorium, special recognition was given to recipients of prestigious awards recognizing their contributions to higher education at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Tower at the university will be illuminated orange with a white top Wednesday night (Sept. 18) in honor of UTexas@119 events and the scholars who received awards.

Presidential Citation awards were given Wednesday to William L. Fisher, Bryce Jordan and George Kozmetsky.

Fisher, holder of the Leonidas T. Barrow Centennial Chair in Mineral Resources in the Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, has had a significant impact on the university and the state for the past 42 years. He was director of the Bureau of Economic Geology from 1970-94 and again in 1999, creating the facility with the largest core library in the United States and transforming the bureau into an internationally acclaimed research institution.

Jordan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from The University of Texas at Austin and has distinguished himself in the administration of American higher education over the past four decades. He was president ad interim at The University of Texas at Austin in 1970-71 and is president emeritus of Penn State University, where he was president from 1983-90.

Kozmetsky is a professor in the Management and Computer Science departments at The University of Texas at Austin and holder of the Murray S. Johnson Chair in Economics and the IC2 E.D. Walker Centennial Fellowship. He is executive associate for economic affairs in The University of Texas System and also is chairman of the advisory board and senior research fellow at the IC2 Institute. From 1966-82, Kozmetsky was dean of The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Business Administration and the Graduate School of Business.

The Civitatis Award was presented to a faculty member who has shown exemplary campus citizenship throughout a career of service at the university. The recipient this year is James B. Ayres, the Shakespeare at Winedale Regents Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of English. Ayres founded the Shakespeare at Winedale program in 1970. In recognition of his work at Winedale, Ayres was given the highest honor of the College of Liberal Arts, the Bene Pro Meritis Award.

The President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards for 2002-03 recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching. Recipients include Bruce J. Hunt, associate professor, Department of History; Guy P. Raffa, associate professor, Department of French and Italian; Michael W. Downer, professor, Department of Physics; Robert G. Moser, associate professor, Department of Government; Susan S. Heinzelman, associate professor, Department of English; and Timothy J. Moore, associate professor, Department of Classics.

The Chancellor’s Outstanding Teaching Award recipient this year is Rebecca Richards-Kortum, the Robert M. and Prudie Leibrock Endowed Professor in Bioengineering and Distinguished Teaching Professor.

The Academy of Distinguished Teachers award was established in 1995 to recognize and enhance teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level. Members are chosen on the basis of their outstanding teaching, their personal commitment to students and the learning process, and their ability to inspire and motivate in the classroom. New members of the academy are:

  • Associate Professor Michael W. Adams, Department of English
  • Professor Robert H. Bishop, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
  • Professor James D. Garrison, the Jane Weinert Blumberg Chair in English and the Archibald A. Hill Regents Professor in American and English Literature, Department of English
  • Associate Professor David D. Heymann, Fellow of Martin S. Kermacy Centennial Professorship in Architecture, School of Architecture
  • Professor David W. Robertson, the W. Page Keeton Chair in Tort Law, School of Law
  • Professor S. Martin Shankland, Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Associate Professor Michael B. Stoff, Department of History
  • Professor J. Craig Wheeler, the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa Regents Professor in Astronomy, Department of Astronomy
  • Professor Suzan L. Zeder, Theater for Youth Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance.

Recipients of the El Paso Energy Foundation Faculty Achievement Awards 2002-03, sponsored by the El Paso Energy Foundation, are Associate Professor Prabhvdeu Konana, Department of Management Science and Information Systems; Professor Keith C. Brown, Department of Finance; and Associate Professor Christine Schmidt, Department of Biomedical Engineering.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.