UT Austin Mourns Loss of Bill Livingston – Teacher, Leader and Scholar

Aug. 15, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas of Austin community mourns the loss of former acting university president William S. Livingston, who died this morning.  He was 93.

“Bill Livingston embodied all the best qualities of a university leader: erudition, eloquence, sweeping vision, warmth and good humor,” said President Bill Powers. “The University of Texas is a better place for his lifetime of service.  He was an inspiration to generations of Longhorns, and we all will miss him.”

An Ohio native and World War II veteran, Dr. Livingston earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge.  He came to UT Austin in 1949 as a Government professor and spent the next six decades teaching and serving the university in various roles, including chair of the Government Department, vice chancellor of academic programs, and vice president and dean of graduate studies.  He led the committee that planned the development of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

In 1992, he served as acting president.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Lana; two sons and daughters-in-law; two grandsons and their wives; and four great-grandchildren.

Dr. Livingston was also beloved by more recent alumni as the baritone voice of TEX, the 1990s telephone registration system, from which he signed off each call with “Goodbye and good luck.”

The memorial service in celebration of Dr. Livingston will be held Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. in the LBJ Auditorium at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The school is located at 2300 Red River St., Austin, Texas 78712.

There are two endowments established in honor of Dr. Livingston: the William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship Endowment and the William S. "Tex" and Lana Sanor Livingston Library Excellence Fund.

Contributions to the William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship Endowment can be made here. When making your online gift please note in the comment box, “William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship.” The gift area box can be left as, “Area of Greatest Need - University Wide." Contributions to this endowment can also be mailed to:

William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship
c/o The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive, Stop G0400
Austin, Texas 78712-1710

Contributions to the William S. "Tex" and Lana Sanor Livingston Library Excellence Fund can be made here. When making your online gift please note in the comment box, “William S. 'Tex' and Lana Sanor Livingston Library Excellence Fund."

For more information, contact: Gary Susswein, Office of the President, 512-471-4945;  John Dalton, Office of Graduate Studies, 512-232-3626.

26 Comments to "UT Austin Mourns Loss of Bill Livingston – Teacher, Leader and Scholar"

1.  J. Mark McLaughlin said on Aug. 15, 2013

Bill Livingston was an inspiration to all who had the good fortune to know him. He was warm, gentlemanly, thoughtful, learned and empathetic. I thank the good Lord for his life and allowing us to benefit from his devotion and service to UT and to our country.

2.  RL McGruder said on Aug. 15, 2013

"The class you have selected has...not been added."

Dr. Livingston helped me bridge the gap between adds-n-drops at the Erwin Center (where you caught up with your friends before the new semester), and the impersonal TEX system. Much more efficient - but he made it warm. What a lovely memory.

3.  John Gibson said on Aug. 15, 2013

I shall owe a debt to Dr. Livingston for the rest of my life for inspiring what has become a life-long interest in British government and politics. He was a giant and he will be missed.

--John Gibson, BA, Government, 1965

4.  Anita Zukowski said on Aug. 15, 2013

Dr. Livingston was my absolute very favorite person on the entire campus! He was loved by everyone! He will be greatly missed!

5.  Rick Cherwitz said on Aug. 15, 2013

Beyond his wisdom and mentorship, what I shall remember most was Bill’s extraordinary gift of language and sense of humor. Such a gentle soul.

6.  Wolfgang Niedert said on Aug. 15, 2013

A great Longhorn, and a tremendous American. He will be missed well beyond the confines of the 40 Acres.

7.  Mike said on Aug. 15, 2013

"Goodbye and good luck", sir.

8.  Ezra Johnson said on Aug. 15, 2013

I will never forget the words of wisdom Dr. Livingston shared with me and my fellow graduates at the 1999 commencement ceremony. "It's not what you know, it's not who you know, its WHOM you know." I never tire of that joke, and I remember that night very fondly because of it.

My condolences to Dr. Livingston's family.

9.  Evie said on Aug. 15, 2013

I'll miss you Bill. Evie

10.  Ruth Buskirk said on Aug. 15, 2013

Bill was an exemplary teacher and inspiring leader. And, he listened to people.

11.  David Bourland said on Aug. 15, 2013

He was a veteran, a life long learner, a narrator's voice and lover of words, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, kind, humorous, respected and even beloved and contributed to making a University great over a long and varied career.
There is not much more a person can be. He will be misse by many.

12.  Frank Smith said on Aug. 15, 2013

I had Dr. Livingston for two government courses back in the 70s. He was one of my five favorite UT professors.

13.  Amy Makler Biesman said on Aug. 15, 2013

I remember my graduation in 1992 and didn't really know who the speaker was. Through the commencement speech I recognized the voice. And the last 4 words sent chills through me. Goodbye and good luck.
May he rest in peace.

14.  Carol Adams-Means said on Aug. 18, 2013

I never had the pleasure of meeting him personally, but I definitely remember him as Tex. He guided me through many registrations and directed me to the resources I needed during registration. It was valuable service to students trying to get a start on the semester. He had a long and productive life. I hope to do as well. Class '91 & 2006.

15.  Bill Reynolds said on Aug. 19, 2013

The loss of Bill Livingston is a sad event. He gave so much to the university. One of my fondest memories is an alumni trip to England hosted by Bill and Lana. Bill made history come alive and he was such a warm and giving host. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Livingston family.
Class of 1972

16.  Harold Billings said on Aug. 19, 2013

Of the 50 years that I spent in the UT libraries, there was no individual on campus who was so consistently helpful, warm, bright -- and who so loved to sail his hat when he arrived! A truly great man.

17.  Sam Moore said on Aug. 21, 2013

When I was an assistant director in the Graduate School, we all heard the "Bill" stories, especially about "Margaret." He and Margaret were good friends and we would always get updates when Margaret's son was in "the rally", the Dakar Sahara Rally where Margaret's soon got lost in the desert for a week once. You never knew who Dr. Livingston was friends with e.g. Prime Minister "Margaret" Thatcher. He was like Forrest Gump (the way he knew people throughout history) with a PhD in political science/British Government Studies. You'll be missed.

18.  Michael Granof said on Aug. 22, 2013

Whoever coined the phrase "a gentleman and a scholar" obviously had Bill in mind.

19.  Maggie Keeshen said on Aug. 23, 2013

I worked for WSL, as we called him in the Graduate School, while he was Dean. Every day was an adventure. One morning, he came in waving his hand in distress--he'd smashed one of his fingers in the car door. I packed it in ice and called the doctor for him. Off he went to get patched up. He came back with a giant bandage on it, and told everyone I'd saved his finger. He had the most incredible memory, and always remembered little incidents like that. His was a life well-lived. Requiescat in pace, as he would say when a colleague had passed. It's a big loss.

20.  Susan Brown said on Aug. 26, 2013

I had the good fortune to sit next to Bill Livingston at a dinner for our Government major honors society undergraduates in the 1990s. He was so gracious and such a wonderful raconteur, and our students had a wonderful evening. His passing leaves a big hole in our Texas hearts.

21.  mariah wade said on Aug. 26, 2013

He made UT a special place.

22.  Joanne Smolen said on Aug. 27, 2013

My son was born while I worked for WSL in the Graduate School. One of my first days home with my newborn, who should knock on my door but Dr. Livingston with a lovely baby gift (I assume bought by Mrs. Livingston!). My visiting mother was so impressed that I worked for such a fine gentleman! I feel blessed to have known him.

23.  Tom Ward said on Aug. 30, 2013

Bill was a great teacher and friend. I was a government major and he was was a mentor (along with Roach and MacDonald) from the 1950s. A kind man with a wonderful sense of humor, he touched the lives of many.

24.  maceo dailey said on Aug. 30, 2013

Bill was a remarkable man and raconteur who frequently conveyed his messages gently in the form of a story or some experience he recalled. He had an uncanny sense of history and the great men and women of the past. When he addressed the Humanities Texas Board of which he was a member, we all listened carefully for his trademark wisdom and wit. It was a distinct honor and pleasure to know Bill. My condolences to his family members.

25.  Albert Hood said on Aug. 31, 2013

Just stopped by site, and saw that Bill died.

Sorry I never got a chance to know him. I came in to UT in 1993.

He will be missed.

26.  Marilyn Halpin said on Sept. 1, 2013

Dr. Livingston is one of 4 memorable professors I experienced at UT. While I was really a math major, I also graduated with a major in government. His course in British government expanded my world, I have thought of him so many times as I have read about political situations, traveled, and been in Austin. I am happy that I wrote him a note of appreciation a few years ago. Of course, he responded with a lovely note.