The University of Texas at Austin
  • Gone to Texas welcomes new students

    By Matt Portillo
    Matt Portillo
    Published: Sept. 10, 2010

    On the evening before fall classes begin, a special ceremony takes place in the heart of campus, right in front of the Tower on the Main Mall. Arriving with upper-division students and staff and faculty from their respective colleges and schools, thousands of new students — both undergraduate and graduate — make their way toward central campus, ready to embark on their college journey.

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    Welcome to Gone to Texas, a rite of passage for all new students.

    As the sun sets on the Forty Acres, students take in the many sights and sounds of the vibrant campus community. Dozens of colorful beach balls are volleyed through the crowd of seated students, and alternating chants of “Texas!” and “Fight!” can be heard around the plaza.

    Suddenly, the sounds of the Innervisions Gospel Choir’s unique rendition of “The Eyes of Texas” fill the air, and all attention focuses in as the evening’s programming begins.

    As the ceremony continues, new students receive warm welcomes from student leaders and President William Powers Jr., followed by more student performances, an introduction to the university’s honor code, and a brief history of university traditions such as the “Hook ‘em, Horns” hand sign and the ringing of the Tower bells.

    The program comes to a close in a characteristically “Texas” way — loud and proud. Several thousand students swivel around in their seats as a drum cadence starts and the Longhorn Band marches up the center aisle toward the Main Building. As the now-familiar beginning of “The Eyes of Texas” resonates through the Main Mall, the new “Hook ‘em, Horns” hand signs shoot up and voices join in.

    “It was fun to see how much pride and school spirit exists at UT,” said Gabi Swider, a first-year graduate student at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. “I got to see what’s going on here beyond my program.”

    • Quote 2
      Matt Portillo said on June 29, 2012 at 1:35 a.m.
      Michele, my guess is that no one would mind if your husband accompanied you. Even if he doesn't, though, you'll meet lots of other new students in your college whom you can hang out and socialize with both before and during the ceremony. You'll find that most students are quite eager to start making new friends. :) -MP
    • Quote 2
      Michele said on April 28, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.
      Does anyone know if family can attend Gone to Texas. My husband is an alumni of UT (Class of 2005) and I am starting at UT this fall and don't really know anyone. Would he be able to go with me?
    • Quote 2
      Matt Portillo said on Sept. 20, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.
      Jana, the Gone to Texas ceremony first took place in 1997. Thank you all for the kind comments! -MP
    • Quote 2
      Susan V. Longoria said on Sept. 16, 2010 at 9:28 a.m.
      Wow! Reading this article about the Gone to Texas event (that my young Freshman son attended) brings back memories from when I was a UT student over 30 years ago. Now, my two children, who are currently attending UT-Austin, also feel the "thrill". My dream come true was getting a college education, and where better than UT! Go Longhorns!!!
    • Quote 2
      Rosalyn H. Parker said on Sept. 16, 2010 at 8:43 a.m.
      As I learned about the Gone to Texas ceremony I was thrilled with such an exciting beginning to a stay at The University of Texas. When I read about the start of the drum cadence and the Longhorn Band marching up the aisle it brought tears to my eyes, as it always did when I was a student there. The most thrilling memory for me was marching with the Longhorn Band at the Texas-OU game in 1948 as the first majorette. That was my dream come true and I hope each student has a dream come true while attending such a great institution. Hook 'em, Horns
    • Quote 2
      Jana White said on Sept. 16, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.
      What year did the "Gone to Texas" tradition start please?
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