The fall semester 2003 incoming freshman class
at The University of Texas at Austin will have the highest academic
qualifications in the university’s history and will include
the largest percentage of Hispanic students.
These freshmen were among about 4,800 new students treated to
the traditional “Gone
To Texas” festivities on
the Main Mall, Tuesday
(Aug. 26), welcoming incoming students to campus
the night before fall classes begin.
celebration provided a festive occasion for incoming freshmen,
transfer and graduate students to meet their peers and learn campus
traditions. The celebration also introduced them to student leaders,
key faculty, and administrators and representatives of many student
“I am pleased that The University of Texas at Austin continues to
attract extremely talented students,” said Larry R. Faulkner,
president of The University of Texas at Austin. “I’m
particularly pleased that we continue to make progress toward developing
a student body that more fully reflects the population of Texas.”
The average high-school class rank is the 91st percentile for
the university’s incoming freshmen compared with 87th in
2002 and 86th in 2001. The average Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
for fall semester 2003 freshmen is 1239, up from 1228 last fall
and from 1223 in 2001.
A report from the Office of Admissions shows that 16.6 percent
of the next freshman class will be Hispanic, an increase from the
14.3 percent during the 2002
fall semester. In 1996, the year before a federal court order in
the Hopwood case prohibited affirmative action initiatives in admissions,
Hispanics were 14.5 percent of the freshman class population. The
first post-Hopwood class in 1997 had a 12.6 percent Hispanic population.
Americans will account for 3.9 percent of the university’s
next freshman class, compared with a figure of 3.4 percent of the
fall 2002 freshman class. The African American fraction was 4.1
percent during the year before the Hopwood court ruling and dropped
to 2.7 percent in 1997 when the court ruling prohibited affirmative
The Asian American population among incoming
freshmen will be 17.9 percent compared with 18.3 percent last
year. Asian American students
were 14.7 percent of the freshman class in 1996 and 15.9 percent
in 1997, the first year after the Hopwood ruling.
“Gone To Texas is the first time new students get to see
the community aspect of this university and it’s a great
way to welcome them in and begin the relationship,” said
Katie King, a law school student and last year’s president
of Student Government.
Acrobatic cheerleaders, a Chinese dragon
dance, a gospel choir and a finale by the Longhorn Band provided
the annual event, which always is held the evening before university
students begin their first day of classes.
“The university is a large community and we are delighted
to welcome our newest members,” said Steve Parks, director
of production in the Office of Public Affairs. “We tried
to show them the richness and the diversity of the university in
aspects. At ‘Gone
To Texas’ these newcomers will learn more of what it means
to be a Longhorn.”
In its ongoing support of campus traditions
and events, the University Co-op sponsors Gone To Texas and also
provides 4,000 Gone To Texas
T-shirts each year for new students.
The annual welcoming event
is based on a chapter in the history of the migration to Texas.
More than 100 years ago, as adventurers
pulled up stakes seeking a fresh start, three letters etched on
old homestead doors revealed their destination. “GTT” was
written on the doors of people indicating they had gone to Texas.