The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin, often called UT or Texas, is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The main campus is located less than a mile from the Texas State Capitol in Austin. Founded in 1883, the University is sometimes referred to as a "Public Ivy," and it is currently (as of Fall 2005) the fifth largest single-campus in the nation by enrollment, with upwards of 50,000 students and 20,000 faculty and staff. The University also operates various auxiliary facilities located away from the main campus, most notably the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Texas is a major center for academic research, annually exceeding $380 million in funding. In addition, the University's athletic programs are notable, as demonstrated by Texas's recognition as "America's Best Sports College" in a 2002 analysis performed by Sports Illustrated. In January 2006, Texas won the Division I-A national football championship by beating the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl. The University of Texas at Austin has a network of over 450,000 living alumni, one of the largest of any American university.
The first mention of a public university in Texas can be traced to the 1827 constitution for the Mexican state of Coahuila y Texas. Although an article promised to establish public education in the arts and sciences, no action was ever taken by the Mexican government. After Texas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836, the Congress of Texas adopted the Constitution of the Republic, which included a provision to establish public education in republic, including two universities or colleges. On January 26, 1839, Congress agreed to eventually set aside fifty leagues of land towards the effort; in addition, forty acres in the new capital of Austin were reserved and designated "College Hill". In 1845, Texas was annexed into the United States. The state legislature passed the Act of 1858, which set aside $100,000 in United States bonds towards construction. In addition, the legislature designated land, previously reserved for the encouragement of railroad construction, toward the universities' fifty leagues. However, Texas's secession from the Union and the American Civil War prevented further action on these plans. After the war, the Texas Constitution of 1866 mandated that the state establish a university "at an early day." The passing of the Morrill Act in 1862 facilitated the creation of Texas A&M College, which would be established in 1876. During the construction of Texas A&M, the Texas Constitution of 1876 called for the creation of a "university of the first class," The University of Texas. It revoked the endowment of the railroad lands of the Act of 1858 but appropriated one million acres in West Texas. In 1883, another two million were granted, with income from the sale of land and grazing rights going to The University of Texas and Texas A&M College. In 1881, Austin was chosen as the site of the main university, and Galveston was designated the location of the medical department. On the original "College Hill," an official ceremony began construction on what is now referred to as the old Main Building in late 1882. The University opened its doors on September 15, 1883. The old Victorian-Gothic Main Building served as the central point of the campus's forty acre site, and was used for nearly all purposes. However, by the 1930s, discussions rose about the need for new library space, and the Main Building was razed in 1934 over the objections of many students and faculty. The modern-day tower and Main Building were constructed in its place. Constitutional restrictions against funding building construction hampered expansion. However, the funds generated by oil discovered on University-owned grounds in 1923 were put towards its general endowment fund. This extra revenue allowed the University to pay down its debt, and pass bond in 1931 and 1947, funding the necessary expansion after the enrollment spike following World War II. The University built 19 permanent structures between 1950 and 1965, when it was given the right of eminent domain. With this power, the University purchased additional properties surrounding the original forty acres. On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, an architectural engineering major at the University, barricaded himself in the observation deck of the tower of the Main Building with a sniper rifle and various other weapons. In a 96-minute stand-off, Whitman killed 14 Austin residents and wounded many more. Following the incident, the observation deck was closed until 1968 and closed again in 1975 following a series of suicide jumps. In 1998, after the installation of security and safety measures, the observation deck reopened to the public.
Today, the University encompasses about 350 acres (1.4 km²) on its main campus adjacent to downtown Austin and about 850 acres (3.4 km²) overall, including the the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin and other properties in Austin and throughout Texas. One of the University's most visible features is the Main Building, including a 307-foot tower designed by Paul Philippe Cret. Completed in 1937, the Main Building is located in the middle of campus. The tower usually appears illuminated in white light in the evening but is lit orange for various special occasions, including athletic victories and academic accomplishments, such as commencement. The tower is darkened for solemn occasions. At the top of the tower is a carillon of 56 bells, the largest in Texas. Songs are played on weekdays by resident carilloneur Tom Anderson, in addition to the usual pealing of Westminster Quarters every quarter hour between 6 AM and 9 PM. The University is home to seven museums and seventeen libraries, which hold over eight million volumes. The holdings of the University's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center include one of only 21 remaining complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible worldwide and the first photograph. Under construction is the 155,000 square foot (14,000 m²) Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, hosting approximately 17,000 works from Europe, the United States, and Latin America, scheduled for opening in April, 2006. The University also contains an extensive underground tunnel system that links many of the buildings. The tunnel system is restricted to the public and is guarded by silent alarms. The tunnels are used for communications and utility service. The University operates a 1.1 megawatt nuclear reactor at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. The University's first reactor went critical, at Taylor Hall on the main campus, in August 1963 at 10kW using fuel loaned from the U.S. Government. This reactor was upgraded to 250 kW in 1968. In the late 1980s, the University began work on the reactor for the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab at the Pickle Campus. This reactor went critical in 1992, despite local news reports on its safety.
The University contains 16 colleges and academic units, listed with their founding date: School of Architecture (1951), McCombs School of Business (1922), College of Communication (1965), College of Education (1905), College of Engineering (1894), College of Fine Arts (1938), Graduate Studies (1910), School of Information (1948), Jackson School of Geosciences (2005), School of Law (1883), LBJ School of Public Affairs (1970), College of Liberal Arts (1883), College of Natural Sciences (1883), School of Nursing (1976), College of Pharmacy (1893 in Galveston, moved to Austin 1927), and School of Social Work (1950). More than 100 undergraduate and 170 graduate degree plans are offered. In the 2003-2004 academic year, the University awarded a total of 13,065 degrees. Bachelor's degrees comprised 68.6% of this total, master's degrees 21.7%, doctoral degrees 5.2%, and other professional degrees 4.5%.
The Times Higher Education Supplement listed the University as 15th out of the top 200 universities globally. US News and World Report now consistently ranks Texas as the best public university in the state. In its 2006 rankings, Texas places 17th among all public research universities in the U.S.
Faculty and research
As of 2004, the University employs 2,271 faculty members. Approximately 51.1% are tenured, while an additional 17.8% are tenure track. The University's faculty includes winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology, and numerous other awards. Over 1,000 faculty positions are endowed by private funds. Since 1984, more than forty $1 million-endowed chairs have been created at The University of Texas to recruit distinguished faculty and facilitate research in the sciences and engineering.The University exceeds $380 million in annual research funding, and its facilities are home to more than 90 research units. The University has earned more than 400 patents since its founding. In 2005, Texas secured $417 million in awards and grants, a new university record. In addition, Texas earned $5 million in licensing revenue and capped a six-year funding increase of 48%. The University has also reached out to establish partnerships with other facilities, including the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, the University of Texas Health Science Center, the Johnson Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the International Center for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials. In addition to research in traditional fields, scientists are pushing forward in several new, interdisciplinary areas, including nanotechnology and materials engineering for next-generation semiconductors. In addition, Texas is advancing high performance computing through the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), which supports over 600 projects in the natural sciences, engineering, and business. The University's library system ranks 6th among academic libraries in the nation with 7.5 million volumes.
The University receives income from an endowment known as the Permanent University Fund (PUF), with $11.6 billion (5th largest in the United States) in assets as of November 2005. Proceeds from lands appropriated in 1839 and 1876, as well as oil monies, comprise the majority of this fund. However, this money is spread throughout the University of Texas System, and one-third of the income goes, by law, to the Texas A&M University System. At one time, the PUF was the chief source of income for Texas's two university systems; today, however, its revenues account for less than 10% of the universities' annual budgets. This has challenged the universities to increase sponsored research and private donations.
The University enrolls 37,377 undergraduate, 11,533 graduate, and 1,467 law students, coming from all 254 Texas counties. In addition, students come to the University from all 50 states, and more than 100 foreign countries, most notably, the Republic of Korea, followed by India, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, and Taiwan. Entering undergraduates in the fall of 2004 scored an average of 1230 out of 1600 on the SAT. The campus is currently home to thirteen dormitories, with a fourteenth under construction and slated for opening in spring 2007. On-campus housing can hold more than 6,700 students. Jester Center is the largest dormitory with its capacity of 2,945. Academic enrollment exceeds the capacity of on-campus housing; as a result, most students must live in private dormitories, housing cooperatives, apartments, or with Greek organizations and other off-campus residences. The University recognizes over 900 registered student organizations. In addition, the University facilitates a student government, which promotes student interests and helps raise student decision-making power. Approximately 9 percent of men and 12 percent of women in the undergraduate class choose to join one of more than 50 Greek organizations. The school's colors are Burnt Orange and White, and its alma mater is The Eyes of Texas. At football games, students frequently sing Texas Fight, the University's fight song, while displaying the Hook 'em Horns hand gesture. The school mascot is a Texas longhorn named Bevo.
The University of Texas offers a wide variety of varsity and intramural sports programs. Due to the breadth of sports offered and the quality of the programs, Texas was selected as "America's Best Sports College" in a 2002 analysis performed by Sports Illustrated.
- Varsity sports: Men's and women's athletics teams at the University are nicknamed the Longhorns. A charter member of the Southwest Conference until its dissolution in 1996, Texas now competes in the Big 12 Conference (South Division) of the NCAA's Division I-A. The University of Texas has traditionally been considered a college football powerhouse. The team experienced its greatest success under coach Darrell Royal, winning three National Championships in 1963, 1969, and 1970, and winning a fourth title under head coach Mack Brown in 2005 after a 41-38 upset over number one ranked USC in the Rose Bowl. In recent years, the men's basketball team has gained prominence, advancing to the NCAA Tournament Final Four round in 2003, and in 2004 advancing to the Sweet Sixteen round. The University's baseball team is considered one of the best in the nation with more trips to the College World Series than any other school, with wins in 1949, 1950, 1970, 1983, 2002, and 2005.
- Rivalries: The University's major rival in almost every sport is generally considered to be Texas A&M University. The two schools have acknowledged the importance of this rivalry by creating the Lone Star Showdown series, which encompasses all sports where both schools field a varsity team. The football game played between the two schools is the third longest-running rivalry in the nation and is the longest-running rivalry for both schools. The game is played annually and in recent years has been played on the day following Thanksgiving. Some fans and observers, however, would argue that the Longhorns' biggest rival in football is the Oklahoma Sooners. The football game between The University of Texas and Oklahoma is known as the "Red River Shootout" and is held annually in Dallas, Texas at the Cotton Bowl. Perhaps due to the Longhorns' recent athletic successes, many other schools consider Texas among their biggest rivals.
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This page was created 2006-02-15 15:02:59 and last modified 2006-11-28 15:11:32