Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
Reliant Center, Tejas Room
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Thank you, Paul, and thank you, everyone. It’s an honor to represent The University of Texas once again here at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
The Rodeo always gives us an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. I am pleased that several of our Distinguished Alumni are in attendance. And I understand that five Texas Exes serve on the Rodeo’s executive committee. The University is honored to continue this deep connection with such a prestigious Houston tradition.
I would like to introduce to you a few of my colleagues who made the trip with me:
- Steve Leslie, the University’s Executive Vice President & Provost
- Greg Vincent, our Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
- Mary Ann Rankin, our Dean of Natural Sciences. Mary Ann will be saying a few words to us in a moment.
As most of you know, since 1957 this amazing Houston institution has raised more than $100 million in educational support, benefiting more than 20,000 students. That is something all Houstonians can be proud of.
UT Austin has long been on the receiving end of the Rodeo’s generosity. I want to thank the executive committee, directors, staff, and volunteers for your generous support of our students and faculty. Your scholarships and other gifts make a huge difference on our campus.
279 of our students currently benefit from your general scholarship support, with a total value of nearly $3.4 million.
Two years ago we were delighted to announce a new Endowed Presidential Scholarship honoring John O. Smith, thanks to a gift from the Rodeo. That endowment had its first recipient this year. I hope you have all had a chance to meet Kimberly Ann Ehrman, a senior in our McCombs School of Business and the inaugural “John O. Smith/Houston Rodeo Scholar.”
In addition to funding scholarships, the Rodeo has a long record of funding research and other efforts on our campus. Our Dean of Natural Sciences is here to share some details. Please welcome Dean Mary Ann Rankin.
Thanks, Mary Ann.
Paul, this is your 30th year with the Rodeo. As a token of our appreciation, we’d like to present you with a gift. Because your daughter Courtney is currently studying at UT, this is something that embodies the partnership between UT and the Rodeo. These one-of-a-kind spurs were custom-made with your initials, as well as Texas Longhorns. So I trust you’ll receive these Texas spurs with the pride in which they’re given.
I’d like to close by saying once more how grateful we are for your generous support. We know that the close association between the Rodeo and UT will continue far into the future and benefit generations of students to come. Thanks again for the opportunity to be here tonight.
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