"Break a few molds"

It’s graduation season for many institutions of higher education across the state. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from recent commencements. Texas A&M commissioned 138 Corps of Cadets members – the most from a graduating class in three decades – as Army officers at its commencement this year. UT Austin Distinguished Alum and Director of the Defense Health Agency, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, M.D. led her alma mater’s commencement telling graduates “it is okay to break a few molds.” Jason Jenkins, a Texas Tech Outstanding Alumni winner and Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Miami Dolphins, encouraged Tech graduates to effect change in the “changing political and social climates” they are about to enter. The University of Houston released this video with highlights of its commencement featuring Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who admonished students to “live their life in such a way that whatever you receive from this university, your parents, from others, that you find a way to share it with someone else.”

Former UT Austin President, Larry Faulkner, was named interim chancellor of the UT System on Friday. Faulkner assumes the position on June 1. "He is widely known and respected for his steady hand in higher education leadership and administration, rich knowledge of the UT System and its institutions, and breadth of relationships throughout Texas and the nation,” said Regents’ Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker, in a statement. Faulkner said he is “not the right person” for the permanent job, and that his replacement would be hired “well before the next legislative session starts." 
Also at the UT System Board Meeting this week, regents allocated $7 million in the event it wins the bid to run Los Alamos National Laboratory.
A program at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is in the spotlight after the most recent Texas school shooting in Santa Fe. Gov. Abbott highlighted the program, which “works to identify junior high and high school students most at risk for committing violence in schools and intervene before it happens.” According to the Texas Tribune, The Criminal Justice Division of Abbott’s office funded the program with a $565,000 grant.
PETA sued Texas A&M in federal court this week. While PETA has regularly disrupted Texas A&M Board meetings over animal testing, this is the first time the group has sued the university for censorship. The group claims Texas A&M has been hiding social media posts from PETA members on the institution’s Facebook page. It will be an interesting first amendment case, not just for Texas A&M but for other public institutions.
Speaking of Facebook, the Texas Tribune recently announced a new project, aFacebook group called “This Is Your Texas: Campus Correspondents.” The goal is to “create a space for young people to ask questions and feel comfortable talking about politics and policy with Texas Tribune journalists, policy makers and each other, especially on the issues that affect them most.”

Latest Updates

  • Man Eaters

    Last week The University of Texas System Board of Regents named James Milliken as the sole finalist for the role of UT System chancellor. Milliken is the former chancellor of the City University of New York. In a statement Milliken said he would “welcome the opportunity to play a lead role in advancing this system of outstanding universities in the 21st Century.” According to the Texas Tribune, “Larry Faulkner, who has led the system on an interim basis since the former chancellor, Admiral Bill McRaven, stepped down in May, is expected to keep his position until Milliken's appointment is finalized and he can begin the job.” Additional coverage of the announcement can be found in the Austin Business JournalHouston ChronicleInside Higher EdThe Eagle and the Daily Texan, among other publications.

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  • Texas Universities in Service to Our Country

    The University of Texas System is the proud new home base for U.S. Army Futures Command. The Command is a new entity and is part of a reorganization of the Army. It will be responsible for “coordinating modernization efforts and integrating innovation across the Army.” In making the announcement, the Pentagon indicated Austin was selected “because of its already-vibrant ecosystem of innovation, civic engagement and higher education, which includes UT Austin, one of the top-ranked research institutions in the nation,” according to the UT System.

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