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Dean's Alumni Newsletter: February 2005

Photo: Richard Lariviere

Dear Friends,

February in Austin is always an interesting time-usually because of the weather, but every other year our capital city is host to the Texas Legislature. Two of the issues sure to come up in regard to higher education are admissions and funding, both of which we will follow closely. There is a serious effort afoot to modify the top 10 percent law: to cap the percentage of students who can be admitted under this formula or to eliminate it altogether. It is too early to know how that will come out, of course, but we are hoping to have relief from the otherwise likely outcome that our entire freshman class will be admitted on the basis of a single criterion--class rank. That would not be a good development.

For those of you interested in seeing who some of our new faculty are, we have a profile of new faculty available on the college web.


Mark your calendars for Explore UT, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., March 5 at The University of Texas at Austin. No matter what your interest, there will be something for everyone with more than 60 Liberal Arts activities and sessions featured at this university-wide event. Come see for yourself what "The Biggest Open House in Texas" has to offer--plan your Explore UT adventure today.


There is a new issue of Life & Letters available on our Web site. This issue features several professors from our History Department including Dr. Toyin Falola, who was appointed as a chief in the council to King Oba Asulu V, the Alauga of Auga, in Nigeria. Also featured is Catherine Crier, a name familiar to many of you from CNN and Court TV.


The Center for African & African American Studies presents "A Glimpse of Tomorrow," featuring art from The Greater Tomorrow Youth Art Program, which was founded by Dr. Christopher Adejumo, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History. This summer program provides 25 East Austin youth in grades 4-12 the opportunity to learn the social, cultural, historical and personal importance of the arts. The exhibition is on display from Jan. 12-Feb. 21 at Jester Center A232A. For more information, please contact the center at 512-471-1784 or by email at

The Humanities Institute sponsored a presentation by Dr. Wendy Doniger, "Magic Rings in Mythic Narratives," Feb. 2. Doniger, a professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago, is a specialist in Sanskrit and Indian Studies and is renowned for her studies in comparative religion and mythology. Her books include "Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities" and "Other People's Myths." You can find more information at the Humanities Institute website

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress. In 1972, she became the first black woman to run for president. "CHISHOLM '72 - Unbought and Unbossed" is Shola Lynch's directorial debut to be aired at 10 p.m., Feb. 7, on PBS (check local listings) during Black History Month. Ms. Lynch is a 1992 graduate of the college with a major in Liberal Arts Honors. Details about the film are on the college's Web site.

The College of Liberal Arts Parents' Weekend program was Oct. 29-30. The program kicked off on Friday night with dinner at O's Cafe, and on Saturday, parents gathered in the Gebauer Building for an Open House, before heading off to mini-classes held in Parlin Hall. This was the first time that we have had Parents' Weekend at a time when there was no home football game. The attendance and the comments by the parents indicate that this was a very good idea.


An interview with Dr. Nick Shumway (Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies) topped headlines Jan. 15 in La Nación of Buenos Aires, Argentina's leading newspaper. In the article, Shumway, recognized in Argentina and the U.S. as one of the leading experts in the world on Latin America, comments on the instability that plagues the Argentinean government.

"God (or Not), Physics and, of Course, Love: Scientists Take a Leap," an article published in The New York Times, Jan. 4, featured a contribution by Dr. David Buss from the Psychology Department. In his two decades of studying human mating, Buss argues, "I know true love exists. I just can't prove it."

The Jan. 23 Austin American-Statesman featured Robert Solomon, one of our professors in the Philosophy Department. Solomon reflected on Austin, the state of philosophy, and his part in the popular film "Waking Life."