The University of Texas at Austin
  • 2012 Retrospective: Looking Back on a Historic Year

    By University Communications
    Published: Dec. 20, 2012

    faces of The University of Texas at Austin

    2012 has been a year of historic significance on the Forty Acres. The university green-lighted a new medical school, defended its policies in the Supreme Court, captured two national championships, celebrated centennial milestones, bade farewell to beloved friends and saw myriad examples of its mission in action.

    engineering students with rocket

    Members of the Women in Aerospace Leadership and Development (WIALD) student organization show some Longhorn pride as they look at the rocket that holds their inertial measurement unit device.

    Longhorns competed in the Olympics, conducted innovative research related to energy, medicine, the drought — and even the “end of the world.” Our students got up close and personal in their research and studies, and our faculty shared their expertise on current events, including so many facets of this year’s historic election.

    The coming year will bring a Supreme Court decision about a key aspect of the university’s admissions policies, foundation-building for a new medical school and a spirited state legislative session. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… As we close 2012, let’s take this opportunity to reflect on just some of the stories that exemplify why we’re in the top 25 of world universities.

    We’ve gathered together some of this year’s highlights and milestones to remind us that at The University of Texas at Austin, what starts here changes the world.

    Student Experience

    The breadth of the university offers students so many opportunities for gaining hands-on experience.

    • Law students made a pledge to do pro bono work, which took them to South Texas to help clients in colonias with legal issues related to protecting their property.
    • Business undergraduates traveled to China to track products upstream through the supply chain, starting at an Austin Target store and ending up at Shenzhen factories.
    • A group of women aerospace engineering students built and launched spacecraft measurement devices to the edge of space.
    • LBJ students traveled to Africa to participate in groundbreaking research on the effect of climate change on political stability.
    • Undergraduates around the university shared highlights of their experiences working with faculty on research in several fields.

    Improving Health

    Jon Pierce-Shimomura in his lab

    Jon Pierce-Shimomura may soon be able to test as many as a million compounds a year as possible drugs for Parkinson’s disease. [Photo: Marsha Miller]

    As the university moves toward the reality of a medical school in Austin, faculty continue to carry out important medical research.

    Inspiring Discoveries

    The research done by UT faculty leads to real solutions, illuminates complex issues and provides a foundation for asking vital questions.

    man looking at his lost crops in the drought of 2011

    Terry Hash pauses after searching in the cracked soil for some cotton seeds in his 175-acre cotton field in Garfield in August of 2011. [Photo: Jay Janner / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

    Land Lessons


    Coach Darrell K Royal

    [Royal Family Archives]

    We wished a fond farewell to dear friends this year, pausing to reflect on their service and contributions to the legacy of The University of Texas at Austin.

    Gone but not forgotten are Coach Darrell K Royal, civil rights pioneers John Chase and James Hill, Distinguished Alumnus Bernard Rapoport and legendary business professor William Cooper.



    The School of Human Ecology, the Department of Accounting and the late legendary Lady Bird Johnson all celebrated centennials in 2012. And the men’s golf and women’s volleyball teams won national championships and hearty cheers from the Longhorn Nation.

    In all, 2012 is sure to be remembered as a historic turning point for the university on multiple fronts. Here’s to reaching even greater heights in 2013.

    The Longhorn women's volleyball team celebrates its national championship

    [Courtesy UT Athletics]
    • Quote 2
      Ivana said on Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:27 a.m.
      And this year the Board of Regents unanimously approved the expansion of The Center for Students in Recovery, a supportive community for students in recovery and in HOPE of recovery, to the other 8 UT System schools! Once again the UT System leads the nation!!!! And students working hard to triumph over addiction/alcoholism will have a safe and sober place to turn to, from now on :-) HOOK 'em!
    • Quote 2
      tree of knowledge said on Jan. 17, 2013 at 1:06 p.m.
      2012 has been a productive and fruitful year, it's great to look back on that year with all the memories that comes with it. May this year be another outstanding year.
    • Quote 2
      Virginia Brakefield said on Jan. 17, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
      congratulation to the Lady Longhorn Volley ball team. Great year and we are now #1 by winning the National Championship HOOK EM HORNS
    • Quote 2
      Joe Arrington said on Jan. 3, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.
      A friend (how is an alumni of a University that recently left the Big XII for the SEC) asked why I sent my son to UT. I replied that my son had applied and been accepted to several good Universities, but we decided to send him to a GREAT one instead. Stories like those listed here confirm that decision.
    • Quote 2
      SEO said on Jan. 2, 2013 at 5:56 p.m.
      Congratulations on a very proud:)
    • Quote 2
      Lance Sinagora said on Dec. 28, 2012 at 2:14 a.m.
      2012 has been the greatest year for your texas women’s volleyball team. Haley Eckerman has been tabbed the Big 12 Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week. I'm excited to see their next match in 2013
    • Quote 2
      Aaron Stolarz said on Dec. 24, 2012 at 1:57 a.m.
      We weren't all that bad at super-computing, either
    • Quote 2
      Kate Choyce said on Dec. 23, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.
      So incredibly proud of our UT volleyball girls! Way to go ladies!
    • Quote 2
      Bill Horton said on Dec. 20, 2012 at 7:55 p.m.
      Not just two, but three national championships including the rock climbing team.
    • Quote 2
      Michael Benson said on Dec. 20, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.
      Hook'em! So thankful for my professors at The University of Texas at Austin. I learned so much about my art/discipline of music and piano while completing the MM and DMA degrees in the Butler School of Music. Am proud to be Life Member of the Texas Exes and celebrate all the alumni accomplishments by reading The Alcade. Thank you for your leadership, Dr. Powers. Michael Benson
    • Quote 2
      Rodrigo said on Dec. 20, 2012 at 4:14 p.m.
      The fact that the Mayan calendar does not suggest that the world will end in 2012 has nothing to do with anyone's archeological research. The myth was started by an ignorant new-agist and sadly has propagated since.
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