APRIL 14, 2014


A. Comments by the President.

President Powers began his comments by briefly bringing the members up-to-date on happenings on campus. First he talked about the Medical School mentioning that Clay Johnston, former associate vice chancellor of research and director at the University of California–San Francisco School of Medicine, had been hired as dean, and he expressed “that it is very important bringing somebody in here that knows how it is done at a very top-notch institution.” President Powers also mentioned that ground breaking on the first three buildings would begin on Monday, April 21, 2014, and that Red River from MLK to 15th Street had already been blocked off for the first project of straightening Red River, which he said would make the designated area a more useful site for building. President Powers added that there were still some bureaucratic things to work out such as accreditation, but the materials had been gathered, and “we are going forward, and it’s on schedule as far as we’re concerned.” President Powers emphasized that the Medical School would be starting with a huge asset as UT Austin already has the academic programs on campus to support many of the classes that would be offered, i.e. classes from biomedical engineering, pharmacy, nursing, chemistry and biochemistry, and nutrition, to name a few on the science side, and from the business school, courses that address healthcare delivery and organization, as well as economics and health. His point was that the Medical School would not need to create new departments, but instead draw from existing academic programs. He stated that the Medical School would pay for faculty in these academic units to teach and that these faculty members would have joint appointments. President Powers stressed that the integration of the academic campus with the Medial School “will pay off in teaching and research; will be better for our students and better for the research.” Related to the Medical School, following the president’s comments, Professor Lesley A. Dean-Jones (classics) asked if there had been any consideration for devising a curriculum that might include the medical humanities. President Powers responded saying, yes, he was certain that it would be worked into the medical education.

President Powers then spoke on the capital campaign saying that to-date, $550 million had already been raised, with $170 million left to raise in 139 days, averaging to about $1.1 million each day. Last year, the campaign broke a record by raising $455 million, which averaged $2.5 million raised each day. He said, “We’re going to make this and have a nice big party in the fall. We have to keep working at it. A lot of people, a lot of faculty, a lot of department chairs and project leaders have really done a good job on the capital campaign.”

Finally, President Powers referenced the recent Civil Rights Summit held on campus to celebrate fifty years since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He opined that in his lifetime, it was the most important thing that had happened. He felt that the event “was tremendous exposure to the campus to have four living presidents on the campus within a three-day period.” On a personal note, President Powers described one moment when Civil Rights Movement icons Andrew Young, Vernon Jordan, and Julian Bond were seated together on a sofa, and how moving and meaningful it was to him. “To be able to see those people that made it happen, I thought was a really good educational moment for our students.” He said it made him proud to be at UT Austin. Chair Hillary Hart (distinguished senior lecturer, civil, architectural, and environmental engineering) echoed President Powers’ reaction to the summit saying that it was “an extraordinary event,” and thanked President Powers and everyone involved in bringing this event to our campus. She asked Council members to give a round of applause in appreciation.

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