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Alumni Spotlight - William Blake "Billy" Rodriguez

A1980 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (and having earned his MBA from here as well in 2000), William Blake "Billy" Rodriguez is a shining example of how alumni can stay connected to the university they were so connected to as students.

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William Blake "Billy" Rodriguez

As a student, Billy was a member and leader in numerous student organizations such as Friars, Tejas Club, Mortarboard, Omicron Delta Kappa, and of course the Texas Union. This is just a small sample of the ways in which he was involved during his time on campus. From this involvement, he has stayed connected to UT Austin as an alumnus and given back his time, talents and donations in ways such as the Littlefield Society, Texas Leadership Society, Sinclair Society and as a member of our very own University Unions Advisory Council. His generous donations have also established the William Blake Rodriguez Challenge Grant Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an entering Plan II Hispanic student.

Billy, What impact did your involvement with the Union have on you both as a student and then later in life as an alumnus?

As a sophomore I was asked to chair the ACLU National Conference that UT-Austin was hosting. Working closely with Hal Weiner and other staff members I found myself in the most opportunistic position of using and sharpening my organizational, financial and leadership skills to make sure that our conference was a success. I remember countless meeting brainstorming on everything from topics to be covered in breakout sessions to budgets to what meals would be served. It was so much fun to welcome all the delegates and watch the Texas Union shine in our then newly refurbished building. These same skills continued to serve me well as I took on leadership roles in other UT organizations and then throughout my career.

Why would you encourage students to become involved in the University Unions Campus Events + Entertainment?

So that he/she can one day in the future return and serve on the Unions Advisory Board. Seriously some of my best friends and fondest memories from my years at UT-Austin are tied to my involvement at the then Texas Union. In addition the Union committees offer such a myriad of activities in which to engage and now with oversight and access to two amazing buildings there seems to be no end to what a student can experience.

You are involved in several alumni groups around campus, why would you encourage other alumni to reconnect to the University and to the Unions?

No matter the connection - whether it be through a college, a department, the alumni association or the Union - I encourage other alumni to reconnect in order to fully appreciate the amazing talent UT continues to recruit in terms of professors, staff and students. In addition by visiting campus regularly as required if serving on an advisory board, you have the opportunity to learn about the constantly expanding curriculum and projects that UT-Austin undertakes and even help support those causes as you are able to do so. Finally you get the opportunity to reconnect and meet other alumni of all ages that share in their love of this place and take those added Longhorn connections with you no matter where you live.

As chair of the Advisory Council, what would be one of your goals during your tenure?

To help make welcome our new Executive Director and continue to broaden alumni awareness and support for the University Unions.

Here at the University Unions, we are proud to have named Billy as Chair of our Unions Advisory Council for the 2013-2015 term. We are looking forward to his leadership and working with him to accomplish his goal of broadening alumni support for the University Unions!

Do you know someone you would like to nominate for the University Unions Alumni Spotlight? Email us at alumni@universityunions.utexas.edu.


Newsletter Edition: 
January 2014