University of Texas at Austin

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The University of Texas at Austin, often called UT or Texas, is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. US News consistently ranks Texas the best public university in the state and, in its 2006 rankings places it 17th among all public research universities in the U.S.[1]. It is considered one of eight Public Ivies. The university is one of the largest single-campuses in the nation by enrollment, with nearly 50,000 undergraduates and graduate students attending.

The Times Higher Education Supplement (London), in its global research university ranking, highly places the university. The school has many top academic and professional programs, including national top ten programs in engineering, computer science, business, pharmacy and public affairs, among many others. Its astronomy department administers the McDonald Observatory located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.

History

The University of Texas was originally conceived in 1839, when the Congress of the Republic of Texas set aside land for a "university of the first class" in the new state capital, Austin. At first located on the legendary 40 acres (160,000 m²) then known as College Hill, the University has since expanded, although the term 40 Acres is still used to refer to the central campus.

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman barricaded himself in the observation deck of the tower of the Main Building with a sniper rifle and other weapons, killed 14 Austin residents, and wounded more. The observation deck was closed until 1968, and then closed again in 1975 following a series of suicide jumps during the 1970s. The observation deck has been reopened since 1998 for guided tours only.

Campus

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.

The University is home to the LBJ Presidential Library [2] and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center [3]. The Ransom Center's holdings include one of only 21 remaining complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible worldwide. Additionally the campus is home to the almost complete 155,000 square foot (14,000 m²) Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, hosting approximately 17,000 works of art from Europe, the United States, and Latin America. The campus also boasts one of the largest student residence halls in the United States, Jester Dormitory.

Other research facilities of the University include:

  • Perry-Castañeda Library [4]
  • McDonald Observatory [5]
  • Marine Science Institute at Port Aransas [6]
  • J.J. Pickle Research Campus and Applied Research Laboratories [7]
  • Center for Space Research [8]
  • Innovation, Creativity & Capital (IC²) Institute [9]
  • Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory [10].

The University operates a public radio station, KUT [11]. KUT provides local FM broadcasts as well as live streaming audio over the Internet.

The Main Building

File:Uttower1.jpg
The UT tower (foreground)

The University of Texas at Austin’s main campus covers more than 350 acres. The 307-foot-tall University of Texas Tower is the university’s most distinguished landmark. In addition, the university operates the J. J. Pickle Research Campus, the Brackenridge tract and the Montopolis Research Center, all in the Austin area.

One of the University's most visible features is its Main Building [12], including a 307-foot tower designed by Paul Philippe Cret, also the designer of the university's master plan. Completed in 1937, the main building is located in the middle of campus and graces Austin's downtown skyline.

The tower usually appears illuminated in white light in the evening, but is lit orange for various occasions, including athletic victories and academic accomplishments, such as commencement. The tower is darkened for solemn occasions. [13]

At the top of the tower is a carillon of 56 bells, the largest in Texas. Songs are played every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:50 p.m. by resident carilloneur Tom Anderson, in addition to the usual pealing of Westminster Quarters every quarter hour.

Following the Whitman incident, the observation deck was closed until 1968, and then closed again in 1975 following a series of suicide jumps during the 1970s. In 1998, after installation of security and safety precautions, the tower observation deck reopened to the public. It is surrounded by a protective metal grid to impede jumpers, and is only primarily on the weekends when the offices in the tower are not open.[14] Visitors must pass through a metal detector and are accompanied by police while on the observation deck.

Student publications and media

Official student media

Main article: Texas Student Media
  • The Daily Texan, the most award-winning college newspaper in the United States.
  • The Texas Travesty, the college humor publication with the largest circulation in the United States.
  • KVR-TV, the only FCC-licensed student-managed television station in the country.
  • The Cactus Yearbook, the school's yearbook.
  • KVRX-FM one of the few completely student-run college radio stations in the United States.

Unofficial student media

Endowment

The University receives income from an endowment known as the Permanent University Fund. With $10.5 billion (#3rd largest in the United States) in assets as of August 2004. 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's systems, but today its revenues account for less than 10 percent of the universities' annual budget, challenging the university to increase sponsored research and private donations. Other Texas public universities outside these two systems, notably the University of Houston and Texas Tech University, are prohibited by law from sharing in the income from this endowment.

High-tech growth and film in Austin

The University has been helpful in providing people for the high tech growth of Austin, the capital city located in the heart of Central Texas.

Michael Dell, former student and current Chairman of the Board of Dell Inc., kept his successful company, that he started out of his dorm room, in Austin, keeping the city and the university at the forefront of technology.

Austin has been the location of a number of movies, including Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, The Life of David Gale, Man of the House and Slacker. This combined with a growing independent film community has garnered the Radio-Television-Film program a good reputation as a film school. UT has spawned several well-known directors, including Robert Rodriguez (an RTF alumnus), Tim McCanlies, Catherine Hardwicke, and Wes Anderson. Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival and the South by Southwest Festival, both of which draw diverse films from all over the world, including many from RTF students.

Lately Austin's film industry has been rapidly growing, and in 2004 was named #1 in Moviemaker Magazine's annual "Top 10 Cities for Moviemakers." Capitalizing on this, the RTF department has begun a private production company called Burnt Orange Productions, seeking to use the talents of upper division and graduate RTF students in shooting independent feature films for distribution.

Athletics

Main article: Texas Longhorn Athletics
File:Sports Illustrated cover 02 10 07.jpg
UT was chosen number 1 by SI

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 of Texas are nicknamed the Longhorns. The name derives from the Texas longhorn cattle breed that featured prominently in Texas history.

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 school's colors are burnt orange and white, and its alma mater is "The Eyes of Texas." [15]. At football games, students frequently sing Texas Fight, the University's fight song. The mascot is a Texas longhorn named Bevo.

File:1970 SI cover Texas Slaughters Arkansas.jpg
December, 1970 Sports Illustrated cover showing Longhorn fullback James "Woo-Woo" Worster running against Arkansas

The University has traditionally been considered a college football powerhouse. During the period from 1936 to 2004, the team finished the season in the top ten 23 times, or one-third of the time, according to the Associated Press Poll. The team experienced its greatest success when it was coached by Darrell Royal, and under Coach Royal it won three National Championships, in 1963, 1969, and 1970. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the team was less successful, but has recently returned to prominence, finishing in the top ten in 2001, 2002, and 2004. The team currently plays in Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium which has a capacity of over 80,000. Under the current bowl system, the Longhorns played their first Bowl Championship Series game in 2005 at the Rose Bowl against the University of Michigan. The game was the first meeting between the two storied teams and the Longhorns' first trip to the Rose Bowl or a BCS game. The Longhorns defeated the Wolverines 38-37. Three ex-Longhorns from the 2005 Rose Bowl team, Cedric Benson, Derrick Johnson, and Bo Scaife, were selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. Two Texas Longhorn running backs have won college football's highest honor, the Heisman Trophy: Earl Campbell (1977) and Ricky Williams (1998). Other former Longhorn greats include: Scott Appleton, Tommy Nobis, Bobby Layne, Tom Landry, Jerry Sisemore, Brad Shearer, Kenneth Sims, Tony Degrate, Doug English, Jerry Gray, Eric Metcalf, Tony Brackens, Priest Holmes, and many more.

In recent years, the men's basketball team has gained prominence. In 2003, the basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four round, and in 2004 advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round. The women's basketball team has long been a national power, especially during the late 1980s (winning a National Title in 1986) and through the 1990s.

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, extending their record in 2005 to 32 appearances. Texas has won the College World Series 6 times: 1949, 1950, 1970, 1983, 2002 and 2005. The team was runner-up 5 other times: 1953, 1984, 1985, 1989, and 2004. Former Longhorns who went on to success in the pros include Roger Clemens, Calvin Schiraldi, Burt Hooton, Keith Moreland, Spike Owen, Greg Swindell, Huston Street and many more.

Texas has a strong golf tradition winning National Titles in 1971 and 1972 and finishing runner-up four other times. Several former Longhorn players have gone on to success on the PGA Tour including: Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Blackmar, Mark Brooks, Bob Estes, and Justin Leonard. Legendary golf instructor Harvey Penick was a long-time Texas coach.

The women's gymnastics team won a national title April 16, 2005 at the Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs competition, and the men's team finished second, missing out on the national title by seven-tenths of a point to Penn State.

In addition, Texas has won nine National Titles in men's swimming and diving (1981, 1988-1991, 1996, 2000-2002) and nine in Women's Swimming & Diving (1981-82, 1984-88, 1990-91). Texas women's cross country won a National Title in 1986. Women's tennis claimed the title in 1993 and 1995. Women's track and field achieved national indoor titles in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1998-99, and outdoor titles in 1982, 1986, 1998-99, 2005. Volleyball achieved titles in 1981 and 1988.

Gold Silver Bronze
2004 9 4 6
2000 9 9 2
1996 7 2 3
1992 5 3 3
1988 5 4 1
1984 5 1 0
Prev. 8 1 0
Total 48 24 15

Several Longhorn athletes have had success at the Olympics over the years. The table at right shows Longhorn medals won in the Summer Olympics.

Rivalries

The University's major rival in almost every sport is Texas A&M University, although some would argue that the Longhorns' biggest rival in football is the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Texas/Texas A&M rivalry has given rise to several stereotypes on both sides: Aggies are generally portrayed as ignorant and dumb farmers, while Longhorns are portrayed as highbrow and arrogant city-slickers. The annual football game with Texas A&M takes place the day after Thanksgiving each year. In an attempt to generate more attention for the rivalry in sports other than football, in 2004 the two schools started the Lone Star Showdown, a trial two-year program. Essentially, each time the two schools meet in a sport, the winner of the matchup gets a point. At the end of the year, the school with the most points wins the series and will receive a trophy.

There is also a longstanding rivalry with the University of Oklahoma. In recent years, this rivalry has taken on added significance, since both football programs have been highly ranked and compete in the same division of the Big 12 Conference. The football game between 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' enduring athletic success, many other schools consider UT among their biggest rivals. This list includes most other colleges in Texas, but especially Baylor (located just up Interstate 35 from UT), Texas Tech, and Houston (both large state-sponsored schools that do not receive the same level of attention as UT and A&M). Texas is also the biggest rival of the University of Arkansas which perhaps may be attributed to their long tenure as the two eponymous state schools of the former Southwest Conference, or to the 1969 game between the two, which decided the national championship in favor of the Longhorns.

Intramural sports

UT offers a large number of intramural sports opportunities. Some of these teams compete with other university clubs.

The women's volleyball club won National Championship honors at the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Collegiate Volleyball Sport Club Championships April 14 - April 16, 2005 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Athletic facilities

Major sporting facilities and their main use are:

In addition, the University of Texas has numerous practice and training facilities, as well as intramural facilities.

Notable alumni

Main article: List of University of Texas at Austin people

With a large alumni base, strong academic programs in RTF, journalism, business, law, and public policy, and a successful athletics program, the University of Texas at Austin has seen many now notable persons pass through its halls.

See also

External links

Template:UT system Template:Big 12 Conference

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