Barbara Jordan Statue Dedication
April 24, 2009
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the entire University family, I welcome you all to campus for this historic occasion. Thank you for joining us.
This is a great day for The University of Texas at Austin. Today we dedicate a statue of Barbara Jordan, a distinguished public servant and educator.
A courageous leader who struck down the barriers of race and gender.
A woman from Texas who mesmerized the nation with her eloquent oratory, her skillful interpretation of U.S. history and constitutional law, and her rigorous devotion to ethical standards in politics and society.
We on this campus—and many in this audience—were privileged to know her as a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Our university will forever be known as the place where Barbara Jordan taught for the last 17 years of her life.
At UT we often say, "We change people. And then they change the world." One of Barbara's students said of her: "I've never met a person who believed so strongly that we can actually change the world, and that gives me confidence that we really can."
Barbara Jordan was truly of the soil and spirit of Texas. She refused to be hindered by bigotry and hate. She refused to be left out. When she lifted that magnificent voice, she soared. Her spirit lives with us on this campus. Tonight, the Tower will glow orange in honor of Barbara Jordan. It is a great day for Texas.
In 1986, Barbara Jordan gave the UT Commencement address, which she titled "Conviction Values." Her challenge to those students more than 20 years ago rings true to all of us gathered here today. Perhaps the best way we can honor her is to listen to her eloquent words as we dedicate this statue as a powerful and immediate reminder of her continuing presence on our campus.