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University of Texas at Austin

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox University2 The University of Texas at Austin, often called UT or Texas, is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. It is consistently ranked as the best public university in the state and as one of the best public universities in the nation (considered a Public Ivy). Although it is the most selective public university in Texas, it still has the one of the largest single-campus student enrollment in the nation, with nearly 50,000 undergraduates and graduate students attending.

No public or private university in the Southwest United States can match the breadth and quality of the university's research endeavors, or its USD$195 million (as of 2001) in annual federal research funding. It has also been ranked as one of the best research universities in the world. The school has many top academic and professional programs, including national top ten programs in engineering, computer science, business, law, pharmacy and public affairs, among many others. Its astronomy department administers the McDonald Observatory located in the Davis Mountains (http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/DD/rjd3.html) of West Texas.

Contents

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, 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 2000 for guided tours only.

Campus

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View of Texas State Capitol from UT Austin's 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 [1] (http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center [2] (http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/home.html). 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 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 dormitories in the United States, Jester Dormitory.

Other research facilities of the University include:

  • Perry-Castaeda Library [3] (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/pcl/about.html)
  • McDonald Observatory [4] (http://www.as.utexas.edu/mcdonald/mcdonald.html)
  • Marine Science Institute at Port Aransas [5] (http://www.utmsi.utexas.edu/)
  • J. J. Pickle Research Center and Applied Research Laboratories [6] (http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/)
  • Center for Space Research [7] (http://www.csr.utexas.edu/)
  • Innovation, Creativity & Capital (IC) Institute [8] (http://www.ic2.org/index.php)
  • Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory [9] (http://www.utexas.edu/research/pasp/).

The University operates a public radio station, KUT [10] (http://www.kut.org). KUT provides local FM broadcasts as well as live streaming audio over the Internet.

The Main Building

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The UT tower (foreground)
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The UT tower is lit in a special manner following certain events, such as NCAA championships

The University of Texas at Austins main campus covers more than 350 acres. The 307-foot-tall University of Texas Tower is the universitys 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 [11] (http://www.utexas.edu/tours/mainbuilding/), 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 located in the middle of campus and gracing 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. [12] (http://www.utexas.edu/opa/pubs/oncampus/02oc_issues/oc020129/oc_tower.html)

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.[13] (http://www.utexas.edu/student/txunion/ae/towertours/index.php?tours=schedule) Visitors must pass through a metal detector and are accompanied by police while on the observation deck.

Student publications and media

Student-produced media include The Daily Texan (http://www.dailytexanonline.com/), 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 (http://www.tsp.utexas.edu/cactus/), Study Break Magazine and KVRX (http://www.kvrx.org/), one of the few completely student-run college radio stations in the US.

Endowment

The University receives income from an endowment known as the Permanent University Fund. With $6.95 billion (US) in assets as of May 31, 2003, UT's endowment is the fourth largest of U.S. universities (after Harvard, Stanford and Yale). 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.

The University also includes a highly recognized Radio, Television, and Film (RTF) department and, partly because of this, 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, and Slacker. Austin has spawned several well-known directors, including Robert Rodriguez (an RTF alumnus), Richard Linklater, 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.

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." The RTF department has also 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

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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." [14] (http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/print/EE/xee1.html). At football games, students frequently sing Texas Fight, the University's fight song. The mascot is a Texas longhorn named Bevo.

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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 Longhorns (Cedric Benson, Derrick Johnson, and Bo Scaife) were selected in the 2005 NFL Draft.

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 and through the 1990s.

The University's baseball team is one of the best in the nation. It won the College World Series in 1949, 1950, 1970, 1983, and 2002. More recently they placed 3rd in 2003 and 2nd in 2004. It has had more years of participation in the College World Series than any other school, extending their record in 2005 to 32 appearances.

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.

Rivalries

The University's major rival in almost every sport is Texas A&M University, and these two universities are mentioned in each other's fight songs. Further visual evidence comes in the form of the UT Tower -- the top portion of the tower is lit burnt orange when the University wins a football game. But when the University wins against A&M, the entire tower is illuminated in orange light. The most-watched part of this rivalry is the annual football game the day after Thanksgiving each year.

The rivalry has given rise to several stereotypes on both sides of the contest — Aggies are generally portrayed as ignorant and dumb, while Longhorns are portrayed as highbrow and arrogant. In that vein, Aggies like to call Longhorns "T-sips" (i.e. uppity tea sippers), and Longhorns enjoy telling "Aggie jokes (http://images.radcity.net/5191/140717.txt)", which mostly lampoon Aggies as country bumpkins. A typical Aggie joke is:

Q: How do you keep an Aggie busy? A: Write "please turn over" on both sides of a piece of paper.

Bud Finlayson, a paraplegic who attributes his disability to injuries received while playing football, avowed Aggie fan, and son of a UT graduate, described the rivalry in his book, Mustang Country, "It was the country boys vs. the city slickers; the humble, hard working, hick farmers vs. the flashy, sophisticated, upper-crust snobs of society." [15] (http://www.elitesoft.com/web/mustang/chap2.html)

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 (phrase heard at football games: "What time is it?" "I don't know, but OU still sucks!" and "Why doesn't Texas fall into the ocean?" "Cause OU sucks!"). 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. 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. The rivalry is so intense that many textbooks authored by UT professors include references to UT beating OU.

Many other schools consider UT among their biggest rivals. This list includes Baylor (located just up Interstate 35 from UT), Texas Tech (a large state sponsored school that does not receive the same level of attention as UT and Texas A&M), the University of Houston, and the University of Arkansas. This last rivalry 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

Athletics

Arts and media

Business

Technology

Law, Politics, & Government

See also

External links


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