In 1983, the newly created Texas Union Advisory Council launched a fund-raising campaign to endow the Texas Union Lectureship. The lectureship was created to expose students to a wide range of philosophies and ideas. Interest income provides funds to bring nationally known speakers to campus.
The inaugural lecturer was Henry Cisneros in 1988. Subsequent lecturers have included John B. Connally, Ernest L. Boyer, Barbara Jordan, James A. Baker, Rev. Peter Gomes and James Earl Jones. In 2005, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed a full house of 12,500 in the Frank Erwin Special Events Center.
Lecture fees have escalated since the endowment was created, limiting speaker choices and reducing the frequency of what was intended to be an annual event. Private gifts to the endowment will help to reverse this trend.