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LBJ School Welcomes 2011 Incoming Class

Week-long Orientation Culminates with ‘Gone to Texas’ Celebration

AUSTIN, Texas – August 24, 2011 -- The LBJ School of Public Affairs opened its doors to a new class of incoming students who come to Austin from locations around the world. In addition to 26 states in the U.S., first year LBJ graduate students hail from Austria, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Pakistan and Tanzania.

Additionally, the 2011 incoming class includes Americorps, Peace Corps, Teach for America veterans and several Vista volunteers as well as three Fulbright Fellows and two Fulbright Scholars.

The LBJ School welcomed these students during orientation week, Aug. 16 through Aug. 26, with a series of events ranging from information sessions on academic and research opportunities for students to social events, providing an opportunity for new students to mingle with current students and alumni.

Orientation week is designed to introduce new students to the faculty who will teach and guide them, to their peers, and to all of the academic, research and social possibilities available to the LBJ School community.

The week opened on Aug. 16 with a full-day of orientation hosted by the Office of Student and Alumni Programs (OSAP), which included a convocation ceremony led by Dean Robert Hutchings.

In his opening remarks, Dean Hutchings urged the incoming class to take full advantage of all The University of Texas at Austin has to offer.

“We encourage you to experience the totality of what the university has to offer. With over 50,000 students, 11,000 graduate students, and over 100 nationalities represented, this is among one of the most diverse campuses in the U.S.,” said Hutchings.

Dean Robert Hutchings, his wife, Kim, and Associate Dean Robert Wilson lead the march to the UT Tower for Gone to TexasIn conclusion, Dean Hutchings discussed the changing nature of public service in today’s world, stating that the definitions of public policy and public affairs are changing and that preparing students to meet these changes has been his preoccupation since taking on the role of dean in March of 2010. Hutchings went on to list several ways in which the School has worked to adapt to the changing nature of modern public service citing new dual degree opportunities, new faculty hires and the School’s new Washington, D.C. program.

In addition to the convocation ceremony, the day’s activities included sessions on degree requirements, course selection and registration.an academic fair and meeting with academic advisors, and a lunch-mixer with faculty. Ph.D. students were also welcomed during a reception hosted by LBJ School Professor Peter Ward, Ph.D. adviser for the School, and the Office of Graduate Studies.

The official School orientation, which also included several social events with second-year students and alumni, culminated with a welcome dinner hosted by the Dean and Mrs. Hutchings, who led the traditional march of new students from the LBJ School to the main Tower of the university for “Gone to Texas,” a campus-wide new student welcome.

Gone to Texas is presented by the Office of the President with support and sponsorship by the University Co-Op. The event features greetings from student leaders and university officials, including President William Powers. It included performances by student groups, showcasing the diversity of the university community and the range of opportunities available to students.

The annual program, held every year on the evening before classes begin, underscores what it means to be a Longhorn and highlights the academic mission of the university. It introduces new students, including incoming freshmen, transfer, graduate and law students, to the traditions of the institution and core purpose, values and honor code of the university.