I want to thank everyone who sent me their best wishes and encouragement during my recent illness. Kim and I heard from hundreds of you, and I can’t tell you how much your thoughts and prayers have meant to us. One of the great blessings of serving as president is the opportunity to make so many friends in the Longhorn family.
As many of you know, I experienced a pulmonary embolism that began as a blood clot in my leg. I’m being treated with medication and expect to make a full recovery. I have returned to the office on a reduced work schedule, and I’m glad to be back.
Next week, on Texas Independence Day, I’m scheduled to testify before the Senate Finance Committee. These are challenging times for state governments. UT has reduced its annual budget by $14.5 million since 2009 in response to state mandates, and these cuts were largely made to administrative operations. The 2012-13 budgets proposed by the House and Senate will reduce UT’s funding over the biennium by about $100 million. Although it is early in the session and much will change before adjournment in May, budget cuts on this scale could have a significant negative impact on teaching and research at UT.
You may be aware that Texas A&M President Bowen Loftin and I have been traveling around the state meeting with alumni and elected officials to emphasize the importance of Tier 1 research universities to the future of Texas. I’ll take this opportunity to remind you of UT’s legislative priorities:
No disproportionate cuts to public higher education.
Support for the Texas Competitive Knowledge Fund. The fund provides $1 per biennium for every $10 in external research support earned annually by UT and A&M. In this way, the fund rewards and stimulates research productivity.
Support for a Tuition Revenue Bond for UT’s Engineering Education and Research Center. UT has a first-class Engineering School housed in obsolete facilities. The new Engineering Education & Research Center will help develop technologies that start companies and build the Texas economy. A&M has its own Tuition Revenue Bond request.
I want you to know that I’ll be monitoring the session and doing everything I can to convey the importance of UT’s contribution to the State of Texas.
Again, Kim and I thank you for your kindness and concern.
The University of Texas at Austin