1. The University
The idea of a university for Texas is as old as the state itself. The Declaration of Texas Independence includes in its indictment of the government of Mexico the charge that it "has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources (the public domain), and although it is an axiom in political science that, unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty or the capacity of self-government." In accordance with the doctrine thus proclaimed, the first Constitution of the Republic declares it to be the duty of Congress "to provide, as soon as circumstances will permit...a general system of education."
Attempts to establish a University of Texas were made by the Congress of the Republic and then by the state legislature in 1837, 1839, 1858, and 1866, but the times were unpropitious and the idea failed to become a reality. The Constitution of 1876 again called for the organization and maintenance of "a university of the first class to be located by a vote of the people of this state, and styled 'The University of Texas,' for the promotion of literature, and the arts and sciences, including an agricultural and mechanical department." This constitution also established an endowment of one million acres of land in west Texas, which was increased in 1883 to two million acres. In 1881, the legislature again called for the organization and location of the University and for the appointment of a Board of Regents to be entrusted with its establishment and government. Among the provisions of the act were the limitation of the matriculation fee to $30, the admission of men and women on equal terms without charge for tuition, and the injunction that no religious qualifications should be required for admission to any office or privilege connected with the University and that no sectarian instruction should be given therein.
By popular election in September 1881, the Main University was located at Austin and the Medical Branch, at Galveston. The academic and law departments were organized, and on September 15, 1883, the University was formally opened in the incomplete west wing of the old Main Building.
Over the next century, work in other fields was added to that offered by the academic and law departments. The College of Engineering was added in 1894; in 1906, the School of Education; in 1909, the Division of Extension; in 1910, the Graduate School; in 1922, the School of Business Administration; in 1924, the College of Physical Activities; in 1938, the College of Fine Arts; in 1948, the Graduate School of Library Science; in 1950, the Graduate School of Social Work; in 1951, the School of Architecture; in 1965, the School of Communication; in 1970, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs; and in 1976, the School of Nursing. The current organization of the University is described in the previous section.
Until 1895, the chair of the faculty was the chief executive officer of the University. Professor J. W. Mallet was chair for the opening year, 1883-1884; then Professor Leslie Waggener until the summer of 1894; then Professor Thomas S. Miller for 1894-1895. In 1895, the office of president was created, and has been filled as follows:
The University of Texas System is governed by a board of nine regents, selected from different areas of the state, nominated by the governor, and appointed with the advice and consent of the senate. Subject to supervision of the Board of Regents and the authority it has vested in administrative officers, the governance of the University of Texas at Austin is the responsibility of the General Faculty. A complete statement of the duties of the officers and a description of the organization and authority of the General Faculty, the faculties of the colleges and schools, divisions, and departments, is published in the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents for the Government of the University of Texas System.
As a public institution, the University of Texas at Austin receives part of its income directly from the state. The constitution prohibits any appropriation from the general revenue for the construction of buildings, but appropriations for equipment and operating expenses have been made by each legislature since 1889. An additional source of income is the Permanent University Fund, which consists of revenue from the two million acres of land in west Texas granted to the University and its branches in 1876 and 1883. The land has been leased since 1884 for grazing and other purposes; since oil production began there in 1923, income from mineral leases and royalties has also been added to the fund. Income earned by the Permanent University Fund is called the Available University Fund. One-third of the Available Fund is dedicated to the support of the Texas A&M University System, and two-thirds to The University of Texas System for operating expenses and permanent improvements.
Fees paid by students are a third source of income, and the proceeds of endowment funds donated by individuals and organizations provide important additional support to research and teaching at the University.
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