2019 was one for the books for The University of Texas at Austin. We celebrated achievements made by our outstanding students, alumni, faculty and staff. We conducted high-impact research and launched new initiatives.
• The Texas Advance Commitment, which will help make UT more affordable for Texas students, was approved by the Board of Regents and announced by President Fenves this summer.
• The Moody Foundation donated a generous $130 million for a new basketball arena and events center. This is the single largest gift from a foundation in the university’s history.
• Our men’s tennis team won their first national title ever, and our football team had a pretty sweet victory at the Sugar Bowl.
• We honored the life and legacy of the late Bill Powers, our 28th president, who passed away this year. He was a true champion for students, faculty and staff at UT.
Some of our world-class students, inventors, researchers and alumni received some well-deserved recognition this year.
• Margaret Siu, a Plan II honors senior, was the recipient of a 2020 British Marshall Scholarship, which will fund her entire graduate education.
• We selected and celebrated the five winning student teams of the President’s Award for Global Learning. These teams proposed solutions to some of the most challenging issues around the globe, such as gaps in health care and sustainable fashion practices. They’ll take their innovative projects abroad next summer.
• Teresa Lozano Long, UT alum and namesake of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), was honored at the White House with the National Humanities Medal for her dedication and work in education and the arts.
• Karen Uhlenbeck, a professor emerita of mathematics, made history as the first woman to be awarded the Abel Prize, the highest honor in mathematics.
• John B. Goodenough, an engineering professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for helping to invent the lithium-ion battery, which powers our phones, laptops and hybrid vehicles.
• UT became a major research hub for the U.S. Army Futures Command, which gives students and faculty the opportunity to help modernize the U.S. Army.
• The U.S. Congress awarded UT a grant to help complete repairs to the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) after the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.
A few big names decided to join the Forty Acres this year.
• Award-winning actor and producer Matthew McConaughey was appointed as a professor of practice at the Moody College of Communication.
• Kendra Scott and UT launched a new leadership program named the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Institute.
• And we gave Jimmy Fallon a big Texas welcome when he decided to take over the Forty Acres for the most burnt orange version of “The Tonight Show.”
There was plenty to celebrate at UT this year, but what we celebrate most are our students, alumni, faculty and staff that keep us a university of the first class.
See you in 2020. Hook ’em.