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William PowersThe University of Texas at Austin

invites you to join

President William Powers Jr.

for his fourth

State of the University Address

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 • 4 p.m.

B. Iden Payne Theatre
F. Loren Winship Drama Building

Reflect for a moment on the soul of a great university, and reflect on how our University makes this a better world. Today, higher education is facing a challenge all around the country. There are those who believe a university's value is measured only by its short-term contributions, by whether we solve an immediate social or technological need. We do that, and it's important that we do it. But this is only a small fraction of what we and all great universities do and have been doing for a long time. Our biggest transfer of intellectual property, by far, is when we graduate thousands of students every spring and send them into the world. Our biggest contribution to innovation is when we do basic research. Our biggest contribution to leadership in our society, and our noblest endeavor, is when we engage our students in the great issues of human existence: in the lessons of Plato, Homer, Cervantes, Augustine, Dickinson and Buddha. Of Newton and Einstein. When we instill the thirst for inquiry into the humanities, the arts and the sciences.

We accepted this noble mission 125 years ago. American universities have done this for the life of our great nation, and they are the envy of the world. UT has done this since its opening ceremony on a hot summer day in September of 1883, when Dr. Mallet addressed the faithful 300 who had come to the unfinished Main Building to witness the seedling of a university being planted on College Hill. He told the audience, "If Texas is to have a university of the first class. . . its development must be the result of the united efforts of the people of Texas, of the State government, of the Board of Regents, of the faculty, and above all, of the students of the university."

That was true 125 years ago. It is true today. We all need to nurture the soul of this noble enterprise we call The University of Texas at Austin, so it will give sustenance not only in our time, but for our children and grandchildren and many generations to come.

President William Powers Jr.
President's State of the University Address
The University of Texas at Austin
September 17, 2008





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