The University of Texas at Austin- What Starts Here Changes the World
Services Navigation

Gone to Texas: Welcoming event for new students, including freshman class with highest academic qualifications in university's history

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.

Gone To Texas 2003

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.

The 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 organizations.

“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) score for fall semester 2003 freshmen is 1239, up from 1228 last fall and from 1223 in 2001.

Students showing Hook 'em signs at Gone To Texas celebration

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.

African 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 action initiatives.

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.

Chinese dragon dance at Gone To Texas celebration

Acrobatic cheerleaders, a Chinese dragon dance, a gospel choir and a finale by the Longhorn Band provided entertainment at 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 many 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.

Robert D. Meckel

Photos: Marsha Miller

Office of Public Affairs
P O Box Z
Austin, Texas

(512) 471-3151
FAX (512) 471-5812

  Updated 2014 October 13
  Comments to