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DISCOVERY MAGAZINE

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Larry R. Faulkner

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Leadership in Latin America


In 1998, the year I was named president of The University of Texas at Austin, I evaluated the strengths of this institution in order to create a handful of strategic themes. I knew that UT had formidable Latin American programs, but I wasn’t prepared for the breadth of the university’s resources and expertise in this area. With the increasing importance of Latin America to the future of our state, our nation, and our culture, these educational assets are bound to become even more significant. At that time I made a commitment to enhance this institution’s leadership in Latin American programs.

Illustration representing leadership in Latin America
My vision for the University of Texas is to build on our tradition of excellence and to maintain our status as the leading Latin American studies program in the United States. This means attracting the best students and faculty and making our programs even stronger. We want to be the nation’s leading source of expertise regarding the arts, history, business, science, engineering, technology, and cultural studies in Latin America.

Moreover, we want to make these resources accessible, especially to the people of Texas. The University of Texas has been an enormous engine of progress and opportunity for this state, and we must continue that tradition of service.

UT has a vast array of programs, activities and research conducted on our campus, only a few of which I can mention here. We are home to the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, widely regarded as the premier Latin American institute in the United States, with more than 150 affiliated faculty members. In academic subjects related to Latin America, we graduate more students at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels than any other U.S. university. The University’s outstanding Benson Latin American Collection contains more than 800,000 volumes and is exceeded only by the Library of Congress. Our Latin American art collection includes works by more than 500 Latin American artists, and a large part of the new Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art will be dedicated to Latin American works.

Also, the University of Texas Press is the leading publisher of Latin American subjects in the U.S., with more than one-third of its book list pertaining to Latin America. And finally, LANIC, UT’s Latin American Network Information Center, is the world’s premier electronic gateway to Latin American subjects on the World Wide Web. LANIC averages 85,000 visits a day and maintains links to more than 12,000 Web sites.

This is an impressive institutional commitment to Latin American studies. The University is proud of its international visibility and its reputation as a leader in the field.

Looking ahead, we are strengthening and expanding our Latin American faculty and student exchange programs, endowed professorships and graduate fellowships, undergraduate scholarships, academic conferences, and our Latin American publishing series. UT’s schools and colleges are also creating more opportunities for our students to discover and engage with the region.

One example is the Red McCombs School of Business, a leader in research, education and the application of technology commercialization in Latin America. The McCombs School maintains many partnerships with enterprises in those countries, as well as exchange programs with the top-ranked business schools in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Peru.

Another example is the way in which the University of Texas has helped to build democratic institutions in Latin America. Through contracts with USAID, the University has fostered democracy and improved governance in Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador.

This issue of DISCOVERY introduces readers to the University’s many Latin American initiatives. I think you will be impressed, as I am, by the scope of the work described in these pages and what it means to the future of Texas and the Americas.

 

President Larry R. Faulkner
President Larry R. Faulkner is the twenty-seventh president of The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to the University in 1998, he was provost, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also served on the faculties of UT Austin and Harvard. President Faulkner’s work in electrochemistry and electroanalytical chemistry has been recognized with many awards, including the Edward Goodrich Acheson Award from the Electrochemical Society. He can be reached at 512-471-1232.

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May 14, 2002
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