The University of Texas at Austin hosted its first “Explore UT” in 1999. Based on the model of an open house held during the university's Centennial observance in 1983, the 1999 program was called “UT Interactive: A Campus Wide Exploration.” The response to UT Interactive was overwhelming and in spring 2000, plans were made to establish a more permanent structure that would allow the program to be held annually beginning in 2001. The program name was changed and "Explore UT: The Biggest Open House in Texas" was established.
Explore UT has been held the first Saturday of March since 2001. Like most open houses, it offers an opportunity to come "inside" — in this case, to see the university’s literary and art collections, learn about its cutting-edge research, experience its history and traditions, and interact with faculty, staff and students.
Explore UT aims to inform the public about the university’s mission — teaching, research and public service. It invites Texans of all ages to experience the intellectual life, technological advances and rich resources of a world-class university. It helps them see how the university is shaping the future.
Explore UT seeks to broaden the horizons of schoolchildren and motivate them to aspire to higher education. It seeks to help parents and teachers instill the excitement and wonder of learning in children. It welcomes alumni to re-connect with the institution that prepared them for their careers.
The University of Texas at Austin belongs to the citizens of Texas. Explore UT is an opportunity for people to enhance that sense of ownership.
Coordinators and Sponsors:
Explore UT is coordinated by University Events of The University of Texas at Austin, the office responsible for planning and executing major campus events such as Commencement. The program is sponsored by the Office of the President with assistance from the University Development Office and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
Planning for Explore UT begins each August, eight months in advance of the event. The university president appoints an academic dean to chair the planning committee. During the fall, faculty, staff and students in colleges, schools and units plan the more than 400 activities that will be presented. On the day of the event, volunteers assist in guiding visitors around the campus.
Explore UT Chairs:
2014 - Randy L. Diehl, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts
2013 - M. Lynn Crismon, Dean of the College of Pharmacy
2012 - Douglas Dempster, Dean of the College of Fine Arts
2011 - Douglas Dempster, Dean of the College of Fine Arts
2010 - Douglas Dempster, Dean of the College of Fine Arts
2009 - Fritz Steiner, Dean of the School of Architecture
2008 - Eric J. Barron, Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences
2007 - Mary Ann Rankin, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences
2006 - Barbara W. White, Dean of the School of Social Work
2005 - William Powers Jr., Dean of the School of Law
2004 - Richard W. Lariviere, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts
2003 - Steven W. Leslie, Dean of the College of Pharmacy
2002 - Steven W. Leslie, Dean of the College of Pharmacy
2001 - Ben G. Streetman, Dean of the College of Engineering
1999 - Lawrence W. Speck, Dean of the School of Architecture
1999 - Michael Starbird, Professor in the Department of Mathematics