A Powerful Commencement Address
On May 19, 2012, seniors from the University of Texas at Austin were about to become graduates, alumni of one of Texas' flagship institution. Sending them off into the real world was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Provided are a few highlights from Gates' remarks to the Class of 2012. The full address can be read here.
"Thank you, President Powers, for that kind introduction and thank you for this great honor. Let me just say here, before the Longhorn nation, how much I enjoyed working with Bill Powers -- one of America's great university presidents. You are blessed to have him as your leader. And, the best I can wish for all Longhorns is that people like Bill Powers and Larry Faulkner continue to lead this great university long into the future.
"So first, a word about the place you’ve called home these past few years. To be sure, you have been fortunate to attend one of America’s premier public institutions of higher education. You experienced the unparalleled learning that takes place at the University of Texas – learning enriched by the combination of teaching and research that has made American higher education the envy of the world. What is discovered in the lab one day is taught in the classroom the next. This blending of teaching and research makes U.T., A&M, and all great universities unique incubators of human talent, discovery, and economic innovation and development. There is no better proof of this than Austin itself. And after all, what starts here, changes the world.
"Overcoming America’s problems will require something else: And that is the willingness of our best and brightest young people, from all walks of life, to step forward and bring their talents and fresh perspectives to bear on the problems facing this country. The obligations of citizenship in any democracy are considerable, but they are even more profound, and more demanding for a nation with America’s domestic problems and international obligations."
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Coalition Responds to Passage of Senate Bill 15 to Improve Higher Education Governance
Today the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 15, relating to the governance of public institutions of higher education. Upon passage the Coalition issued the following statement:“We applaud the legislature for recognizing the important need to improve standards of excellence within our state’s governing boards. Texas’ institutions of higher education are critical to our state’s economy, and ensuring we develop educated, well-informed citizens to drive our state’s future. Senate Bill 15 is an important step toward improving the governance of these critical state institutions and ensuring members of the boards of regents are adequately equipped, prepared and trained to govern properly. It is our hope that the standards set forth in this bill will lead to a more constructive and less divisive approach to governing our universities.”See the full statement here.Continue reading
A Texas Battle Over Higher Education
They say "Everything is Bigger in Texas." But when it comes to higher education, Governor Rick Perry's critics say his vision is too small. Perry's pushing for a $10K college degree. He wants schools to focus on job-training skills. And he wants technology to help get us there. Other states are paying attention. With student loan debt topping $1 trillion, there's a lot of appeal to a bargain bachelor's that leads to a job. Perry's detractors say his vision undermines great research universities, and America will suffer in in the long haul.
- Reeve Hamilton, covers higher education and politics for the Texas Tribune. (@reevehamilton)
- Thomas Lindsay, director for the Center for Higher Education, Texas Public Policy Foundation, which has been closely aligned with Republican Governor Rick Perry.
- Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education member Ray Bowen will also be joining.