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UT News

Year in Review: Top Campus News

What starts here changes the world—and makes national headlines, as shown by these top campus news stories from 2015.

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What starts here changes the world—and makes national headlines, as shown by these top campus news stories from 2015. 

1. Graduation, Student Retention, Diversity Rates Climb at UT Austin

The four-year graduation rate is now 57.7 percent — the highest on record and an increase of 2.6 percentage points from last year. More than 500 additional undergraduate students graduated on time this year when compared with five years ago.


2. President Fenves Takes Office

Gregory L. Fenves started as 29th president of UT Austin and hit the ground running on pursuing excellence in new ways. His lively first day was comprised of breakfast with staff members, lunch with students and dinner with faculty members. He also met with east Austin community leaders, Dell Medical School officials and the mayor and governor.


The Longhorn Band extended a warm welcome to President Fenves with loyal alumnus Joe Jamail.

3. Gabriel García Márquez Symposium Marks Opening of Author’s Archive

To mark the opening of the Gabriel García Márquez archive at the Harry Ransom Center, international scholars, journalists, filmmakers and former colleagues of García Márquez gathered on campus to discuss his global influence in the fields of journalism, filmmaking and literature.


Gabriel García Márquez working on “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Photograph by Guillermo Angulo. Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center

4. Dell Medical School Receives Accreditation, Will Welcome First Class Next Year

Dell Medical School continues to garner attention for rethinking a broken health care system. The school received accreditation and is making offers for its inaugural class of 50 students.


5. UT Austin Named a Leading Healthy Campus in the U.S.

Active Minds, a national nonprofit group with 400 campus chapters that advocates for young adult mental health, recognized the university for its cohesive, innovative public health approach to student physical and mental health and wellness.


6. Amicus Briefs Demonstrate Support for University

From educators to politicians, business leaders to students, more than 65 groups wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court backing UT Austin’s position in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin which was argued on Dec. 9. President Fenves wrote for the Wall Street Journal on UT Austin’s efforts to safeguard student diversity.


The University of Texas at Austin defended its use of race in admissions and the benefits of diversity in higher education before the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 9, 2015, in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Photo by Chris Phan, via Flickr

7. My All American Campus Features Longhorns

Bittersweet football memories from 1969 are being rekindled by the feature film My All American, which opened nationwide on Nov. 13. The movie tells the tale of Freddie Steinmark, the inspirational heart and soul of the Longhorns 1969 National Championship football team.


Photo courtesy of Texas Sports

8. Campus Carry Working Group Offers Recommendations

In light of the Texas Legislature passing SB 11, the state’s campus carry law, President Fenves announced a 19-member Working Group to recommend implementation policies that he will review and send to UT System. The UT System Board of Regents has final authority in approving all policies. The community continues to express diverse opinions in the media, through UT-hosted open forums and in high profile initiatives/protests.


School of Law professor Steven Goode, who chaired the working group, speaks to media on Dec. 10 after submitting the recommendations to President Gregory L. Fenves.

9. President Obama Honors UT Austin Geosciences Mentoring Program

President Barack Obama honored UT Austin’s GeoFORCE Texas program with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, the highest such honor from the United States government.


GeoFORCE Director Samuel Moore, former Director Doug Ratcliff (second and first from right) receive the award from OSTP Director John Holdren and NSF Director France A. Córdova. Photo courtesy of National Science Foundation

10. Blanton Museum of Art Acquires, Will Build Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, A Site for Art and Contemplation

The Blanton Museum of Art acquired and began construction on Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a 73-by-60-foot stone building with luminous colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture and 14 black-and-white stone panels in marble all designed by the artist.  


Ellsworth Kelly, Austin, 2015 (exterior rendering). Artist-designed building with installation of colored glass windows, marble panels, and redwood totem. Image courtesy the Blanton Museum of Art.

Follow @UTAustin for all the latest and greatest campus news and read President Gregory L. Fenves’ reflection on 2015.