UT President Makes “Impassioned Plea”

Texas desperately needs more top-tier universities, a point we have made again and again. The main obstacle has been the zealous but misguided alumni of UT Austin and Texas A&M, who have opposed any innovation or funding that could possibly be perceived as favoring any other institution. But yesterday none other than UT President William Powers took the Legislature — and by extension, his own alumni — to task, laying out the need in no uncertain terms for Texas to choose two more universities to raise to the top tier by 2025. He’s someone to watch, this Powers guy. As UT president, he’s got a bully pulpit, and he’s the first UT president in decades who’s not shy about using it.


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18 responses to “UT President Makes “Impassioned Plea””

  1. winston says:

    Rice, Baylor, SMU, Trinity, Austin, TCU. what other state has that kind of lineup west of the Mississippi? California. That’s it.

  2. Eric says:

    Of that list, only Rice is a national research university. The others are not. Perhaps they are excellent teaching universities, but they are not significant research centers.

  3. BF says:

    Go UTD!!!

  4. tcualum says:

    The problem with the list above is lack of prestigious graduate programs. Rice is well known as a great undergrad but its “big 3” (law, medicine, business) are lacking (biz) or non-existent (law and med). For national strength you must be anchored by strong programs in those areas with other notable masters programs. UT is really the only TX school coming close to that criteria…

  5. McNally says:

    For those that didn’t read the article, I want to point out that “Rice University, a private school, is also in the top tier.”

  6. Philip says:

    I think a merger of UT Dallas and UT Southwestern would be a remarkable step for Dallas. It just makes so much sense. Why can’t we make that happen?

  7. winston says:

    SMU has a highly ranked law and business school. I think Forbes put the SMU business school at #9 this year.

    Baylor has been invited to join the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) collaboration at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as well as the Carnegie foundation rating it as a “research university” with “high research activity” status.

    Rice is always renked in the top tier of Universities in the nation and easily the best academic education in the state of Texas.

    The world does not revolve around the university of Texas.

  8. Jo says:

    HELLO? What part of “PUBLIC UNIVERSITY” do you not understand? SMU,TCU, Baylor and Rice are all PRIVATE.

    DFW needs a PUBLIC option.

  9. Peruna says:

    Does the UT president not realize that SMU has June Jones? That makes SMU elite.

  10. McNally says:

    Jo, Do you care to expand on what you posted? I’m not following. . .

  11. Bill says:

    So a guy who makes his living off the taxpayers wants to hit them up for even more bucks. Gee, what a surprise.

    “Research” is not the government’s responsibility.

  12. buck says:

    Folks, UTA is bigger, more important and more likely to reach Tier 1 than UTD.

    And therein lies the problem: Dallas refuses to support UTA, so we get zip.

  13. Mike says:

    I believe UTD has the highest average entering freshman SAT scores in Texas other than Rice, edging UT-Austin. I’m an SMU grad who’s taking some courses there now, and the classes at UTD are a lot more competitive. Still the campus is very ugly, and one gets the feeling that they’re concentrating about 10x as hard on research than they are on instructional quality. In terms of assets and not aesthetics, Richardson is underrated.

    I don’t think I know a single kid from my high school who went to UTD directly after graduation. It’s not a traditional campus/college experience. They have apartments but no traditional dorm freshman dorm experience that I know of. No football and only D3 or whatever baseball and basketball. UTA also seems like mostly a commuter school.

  14. Harvey Lacey says:

    What about A&M’s campus at Coit and Campbell?

    I’ve submitted this for their fence theme.


  15. Eric says:

    Mike, the things you say about UTD and UTA may be true, but they have nothing to do with the suitability of those campuses as research centers, which they already are.

    Also, almost every public university in or near a metropolitan area gets tagged as “commuter.” This is true with UTD, UTA, UNT, Tarleton, Texas State, U of H, Florida International, UAB, you name it. So, what? What that means is that they are serving the local population, a critical, critical role. As for UT Arlington, it has also developed into a residential campus over the last 10 years with about 5,000 students living on campus. In fact, it has the highest percentage of students living on campus of any campus in the UT System.

  16. Kevin says:

    UTD has only let freshman in since the 90’s.
    It results in a graduate program which is just under half of the 15,000 students.

    Largest Computer Science program in nation.
    5th largest when combined with Electrical.
    Forefront of Neuro Science. Most advanced reasearch on carbon nanotubes in the Nanotech center. They just invented transparent carbon nanotubes.

    The new Natural Science & Engineering research building is the most advanced building I’ve ever seen.

    Also Peter Walker & Partners the same guys building the new world trade center are making the campus beautiful through a $10 million dollar project. Dorms have broken grounds as well.

  17. Jake says:

    It’ll probably be between UTD and UH but it’s been generally agreed that UTD has the better edge. I know Houston is a vibrant economy, but UTD is in the center of Telecom Corridor, which is basically the Silicon Valley of Texas. Big tech companies like Texas Instruments, AT&T, Ericsson, and Tellabs often recruit UTD engineers and fund a large amount of its research. UT Southwestern is the next door neighbor in terms of research collaboration. There is no Tier-1 school in North Texas, and it would be economically practical to choose this university.

    Academic-wise, UTD students have the highest SAT scores among Texas public universities. And yes that means higher than UT Austin. It has excellent science & engineering faculty (many from Ivy League schools and MIT, has had 3 Nobel Prize winners) and a strong foundation in the natural sciences and other STEM fields. Computer engineering is probably the best in the whole state. That’s why so many people I know go to UTD as CS or software engineering majors. After all, it was originally founded as a private research center and graduate school. Even more, UT Dallas students’ acceptance to medical school and law school is consistently above the national average. From what I’ve heard, the curriculum there is really tough and intense. It is a nerdy school. I guess that explains why UTD has the top ranked chess team in the Western Hemisphere.

    UTD research is world-class and significant. It is a nanotechnology and materials-science powerhouse; accomplishments include the world’s strongest material, developing a way to kill cancer cells with heated nanotubes, artificial muscles, and electronic textiles. Its space research is impressive, especially in its CINDI research of mysterious plasma bubbles above the equator and discovering water on Mars. Research is exponentially growing, especially with the addition of the new NSERL building. In a few months, there will be a new Arts & Technology Research center.

    UTD is in Division III sports and of course there is no football team. But so what? What do sports have to do with Tier 1 criteria? Just look at MIT sports. At least it’s not a sports-crazed party school like Texas Tech and UNT.

  18. Danny says:

    I agree with Philip that UTD should merge with UT Southwestern. Both institutions will only gain from the merger!! Schools like UTA will not agree to merging since they have a longer history and want to keep their proud names. However, regarless of its outstanding medical program, UT Southwestern is not nationally recognized due to its “hard-to-remember” name. Simply change “UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas” to UT Dallas(Southwestern Medical Center) and all the funds and research collaborations will go to UTD!! Go Comets!!