UT’s earliest faculty leaders had gambled that a move to Texas, then little more than a wilderness, would be good. By the early-to-mid 20th century, the campus was roamed by intellectual giants like historian Walter Webb, folklorists J. Frank Dobie and Americo Paredes, and Nobel laureate biologist Hermann Muller.
In 1929, the Association of American Universities confirmed that UT was indeed a university of the first class when the AAU invited UT into membership. In Texas, only three universities are AAU members, and UT was the first by more than 50 years.
Since then, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Maya scholar Linda Schele, and Nobel laureates physicist Steven Weinberg and chemist Ilya Prigogine have further burnished the UT faculty’s global reputation.