A distinctive, perhaps unique, aspect of our university's history has been the recurring call for special commissions of citizens to express a vision for the future of The University and to recommend standards and principles for working toward the vision. Nearly all universities engage regularly in strategic planning, but rare indeed are those who place it so fully in the hands of citizens. The University of Texas has done so for three generations in succession. This report of the Commission of 125 expresses the findings and judgments of the third such process, and it is meant to provide guidance for development of The University for the next 25 years.
Most members of the Commission, but not all, are alumni of The University. Most, but not all, are citizens of Texas. All believe in the importance of The University, and all care about how it can best serve and best succeed. The members have committed two years to a close examination of this university and its opportunities and challenges. The Commission was assisted by a sizable number of our current faculty and staff, including all vice presidents and deans; however, pains have been taken throughout the process to avoid having any part of this report become the voice of insiders. What you read on these pages comes from the members themselves. Every line has been repeatedly debated, and has been ultimately settled, among them. This report therefore merits the utmost regard as a carefully developed expression of the hopes and expectations of a large body of leading, informed citizens.
I am grateful for the large gift of time and personal resources that each member has made in the course of his or her participation. This has been a great effort, requiring the physical presence and active engagement of the membership on many occasions. My every hope has been exceeded by the remarkable commitment of Commission members.
I am doubly grateful for the superb leadership of Kenneth M. Jastrow, II, chairman of the Commission of 125. He has given richly, and more than any other, to assure success in this work.
I also wish to thank Geoffrey Leavenworth, executive director of the Commission, who arranged the meetings, promoted communication, and facilitated the writing and printing of the report. He was ably assisted by Christine Marcin. Both have my personal appreciation for their excellent work.
History will reveal the quality of progress made by The University over the next two and one-half decades. Progress will be shaped by future leadership and changes in the world at large, but it will also be built upon principles drawn from a vision of The University's proper role in society. I am confident that the Commission of 125 has given, in these pages, invaluable guidance for all who will lead The University into the 2020s. Thus, I commend this report to those leaders and to all who have an interest in the future of The University of Texas.
Larry R. Faulkner
President, The University of Texas