Making the Greatest ImpactThis story is part of an ongoing series illustrating how the university — through its community, its creative culture, its unmatched scope and scale — is having and will continue to have a greater impact than any institution of its kind on issues, people and events that are changing the world. Read more about how we make the greatest impact. >

A year in review

Take a look back at some of the many stories in 2011 that showed the impact of The University of Texas at Austin

Dec. 19, 2011

Across The University of Texas at Austin people are changing the world every day through discovery, creativity and teaching. They are exploring our world and our universe, inventing new ways to address social and public health problems, and engaging in issues around the globe.

It’s all in a day’s work for the university’s students, faculty, alumni and staff, who are having a significant impact on the world through research and education.

We’ve chosen 10 stories from 2011 to offer to our readers a look back at our year’s accomplishments. Be sure to check out our archives and read more. And watch daily for new stories and new discoveries in 2012.

Black hole

Space Research

The university’s McDonald Observatory started and ended 2011 with several out-of-this-world discoveries, including weighing the most massive black holes, identifying a “Goldilocks” planet and finding a multiplanet solar system. The university is also a major player in the astronomical partnership that is the Giant Magellan Telescope project.


Graduate student in Haiti

Community Impact

“What starts here changes the world” embodies the bold, creative ways students, faculty, alumni and staff are making a difference in our communities. Longhorns are paving the way, whether it is helping veterans find new careers or aiding efforts to improve basic health and other services in rural Haiti.


Allen Bard

Energy Research

The university’s multidisciplinary approach to finding solutions to the world’s energy challenges is reflected in both research and public policy efforts. Whether it is looking for new ways to harness the sun’s energy or formulating a plan to promote responsible oil production while protecting the environment, the university is on the leading edge of the new frontiers opening up in energy.


Business professor teaching a class

Productivity and Efficiency

In the pursuit of a new vision for higher education, the university issued a series of reports in 2011 to examine its efficiency, student success rates and faculty productivity. The results? The university is one of the most efficient research universities in the nation, and its leaders are using the information to take a critical look at the best ways to provide a first-class education to its students and take the lead in ground-breaking research.


Professor in a lab

Health Research

The university’s faculty and students are making a profound impact on the world by investigating some of our most critical public health and social challenges: breast cancer, schizophrenia, memory loss, nerve regeneration and Parkinson’s disease.


Natalie Butler

Teaching and Learning

Longhorn students’ work shone as bright as the university’s Tower as they found a way to turn a big campus into a small community, helped change a community through public interest design and pursued efforts to make campus a more diverse place.


Longhorn Network logo

Campus Life

Cherished traditions continue to evolve, with the introduction of the Longhorn Network, a first of its kind partnership with ESPN highlighting achievements on the field and off. And the longtime rivalry with Texas A&M University drew to a close in November with the final Hex Rally, a university tradition that started in 1941.


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3 Comments to "Take a look back at some of the many stories in 2011 that showed the impact of The University of Texas at Austin"

1.  Walter Hinkle said on Dec. 22, 2011

We can be proud of our university for a number of things. I am most proud of what we are doing to promote space research, along with energy and health… all things that could change the world.
It is remarkable that a bust like The Longhorn Network would make a list of lofty achievements and ideals like this. The Longhorn Network was poorly conceived and launched. Major cities in Texas, (Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston) still cannot subscribe to this network. Not being well thought out plus the heartache caused to the other schools in the Big 12 seem to make this something we would rather forget happened in 2011 instead on including it in a list of things that truly define the Universtiy of Texas at Austin.

2.  Esther Graesser said on Dec. 23, 2011

I was following the research of a UT Prof, first name Grant, that had a large, funded project, and am unable to find the address or e-mail contact for the Pharmacy dept to follow up with next year. Can you ask your asst. to email me this info?
Also, I dated Frank Tipler, and want to find a contact at the McDonald Observatory to follow up with next year to get some brief descriptions about their current research. finding a new solar system, obviously, is not a small achievement, but it is difficult to fathom the various Scientific american articles to get a fairly simple, available to the public, explanation of the research that is in the news. also the contact at the giant Magellan Project.
Also, the addresses of you biology dept, and bio-chemistry depts, because the latest Scientific American had one article about lichens and mold and their effect on soil that wasn’t that succinct.

I have been following the all year, and am glad that all that faculty and student effort has pretty much returned the campus to normal.

3.  vanessa ewing said on Dec. 27, 2011

oh my gosh i love the stories posted from 2011 it like so unreal ;)