To kick off the beginning of SXSW 2023, Banger’s Beer Garden was decked out in burnt orange and full of Longhorn spirit as hundreds of UT alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff, and SXSW attendees, came together to “Discover Texas” in one of the university’s largest SXSW events ever.
Held Saturday, March 11, the event featured a My KUTX recording with Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League; expert panels on two trending topics — Austin’s powerhouse position as an innovation hub and how NIL is impacting the future of college athletics; and a fireside chat with UT President Jay Hartzell and venture capitalist Jim Breyer discussing the importance of connecting high-impact universities like UT with local and regional entrepreneurial and investor communities.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a UT event without Hook ‘Em and the Longhorn Band, which gave an exciting performance with the Texas Cheer and Pom squads before one of the biggest surprises of the day. Three incoming first-year students were invited to attend the Discover Texas event with their families and were presented with surprise Impact Scholarships that cover tuition and other expenses for their four years at UT, further expanding access and affordability for future Longhorns.
Throughout the day in the Texas Speakeasy, attendees networked with UT faculty and student startups whose services and inventions cross almost every industry, from energy to robotics to biologics. Students from the School of Design and Creative Technologies in the College of Fine Arts also showcased two of their replica design projects that incorporated technology and visuals — one of a Lamborghini Countach and one of the UT Tower.
Discover Texas closed with musical performances by alumnus Nick Parr and his band The Selfless Lovers and Lucius as the headliner. But not before a crowd gathered in the Speakeasy to watch the Texas Men’s Basketball team beat Kansas to win the Big 12 Championship and score a spot in the NCAA tournament.
In addition to the Discover Texas event, many UT faculty, students, alumni and staff members served on panels and as mentors and brought their expertise and insight to a wide variety of SXSW sessions that spanned AI, storytelling, food systems and more.