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Gov. Abbott Visits UT Austin to Sign Bill for Higher Education Research Funding

Gov. Abbott visited UT Austin for a bill-signing ceremony to implement the new Governor’s University Research Initiative, designed to attract top talent to public universities in Texas.

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UT Austin welcomed Gov. Greg Abbott, BBA ’81, to campus June 4 for a bill-signing ceremony to implement the Governor’s University Research Initiative, an emergency item declared by the governor that will attract nationally recognized researchers to Texas institutions of higher education.

The governor hosted the signing ceremony at Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Visualization Lab on the main campus, where he was joined by members of the legislature who were instrumental in passage of the initiative, along with chancellors from university systems across the state, UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves, and students and staff from the university.

The bill was one of several the governor signed this week in support of higher education. He said it complements his goal of raising several Texas universities into the top 10 institutions nationally.

“Today I am proud to create the Governor’s University Research Initiative to attract even more nationally recognized researchers and Nobel Laureates to higher education institutions across the great state of Texas,” said Gov. Abbott.

The influx of funding is aimed at attracting the best and brightest to Texas — established star faculty and researchers, and also “the up and coming, those who will be the next generation of Nobel Laureates and National Academy members,” Abbott said.

The governor emphasized the economic benefits of the initiative for the people of Texas, “advancing our higher education system to unprecedented levels and spurring our state’s economic development engines to fuel future growth in the Lone Star State for generations to come.”

He also said part of his message was “for people in the rest of the country: if you come to the state of Texas, you will have the academic freedom and the resources to elevate your ideas even further.”

After signing the bill, Abbott presented his pen to Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, thanking her for her long-standing efforts to support and advance higher education in Texas.

Gov. Abbott thanks Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, for her work to advance higher education in Texas.

Gov. Abbott gives his signing pen to Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to thank her for her work advancing higher education in Texas. Photo by Marsha Miller