Red received this in his inbox today from University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves:
I’m writing today with great news. The UT System Board of Regents — under the leadership of Chairman Kevin Eltife — has voted unanimously to establish a $160 million endowment to expand financial aid for middle- and low-income UT Austin students beginning next year.
Starting in fall semester 2020, in-state undergraduate students with need from families that earn up to $65,000 a year will receive financial assistance to completely cover their UT tuition as part of our Texas Advance Commitment. And students with financial need from families with incomes of up to $125,000 will also receive some amount of assured financial aid.
Half of the families in Texas earned less than $60,000 in 2017. So, today’s expansion of the Texas Advance Commitment program means that beginning in 2020, we will be able to cover the tuition for eligible undergraduate students from families earning at or slightly above the median household income level.
This action by the Board of Regents is an investment in the future of our students. It is also one of the largest commitments ever made to improving college affordability among the nation’s leading public research universities. I thank the Board of Regents for their decision today. And I am especially grateful to Chairman Eltife for prioritizing Texas students.
This is an important day for The University of Texas at Austin. You should be proud. I couldn’t be prouder.
Red is proud. This is a big deal for many Texas families. When Red and friends went to state schools in Texas (way back in the day) it was for all practical purposes free. If you couldn’t scrape up the $250 or so per semester to pay for your tuition and fees, you weren’t really trying very hard. Usually, the books cost more – but you could buy used and trade them back in at the end of the semester. We were the lucky ones. Thanks to previous Poor Idiot Governors (Rick Perry Red is calling you out) – tuition increases at state schools have strained budgets for many Texas families. And the fact is – the UT System has had the money to do this for many years. It was way overdue. Nonetheless, better late than never.
From the Annals of the Wildcatters – In 1928, Carl G. (the Big Swede) Cromwell completed the world’s then-deepest oil well. Cromwell had brought in the famous Santa Rita No. 1, Cromwell in 1923 on University of Texas land in Reagan County, but was at heart a wildcatter. Together with company engineer Clayton W. Williams, Cromwell was visionary in wanting to drill deeper than the current limit of around 3,000 feet. In 1926 Williams located a site on UT land and Cromwell’s crews began work. The work was slow and by November of 1928, he was ordered to shut down in the face of rising costs and technical issues. He ignored the order, went into hiding, and kept drilling. The University 1-B came in at an astounding 8525 feet. It remained the world’s deepest oil well for another three years.
From the Annals of the Libraries – In 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library was dedicated on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. LBJ was in attendance along with President Richard M. Nixon and many notable Texas politicians.
The LBJ Library is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The LBJL contains over 45 million pages of documents – including LBJ’s papers as well as those of his staff and many of his close associates. The Library building has been described as a ten-story unadorned travertine monolith. The architectural design was not critically acclaimed and described by some as a structure that would have pleased Mussolini. Red for one has always more or less liked the massive structure which is accompanied by an impressive fountain and a genteel garden as a tribute to Lady Bird. The Library archives are open to researchers and there are numerous exhibits for the general public.
From the Annals of Segregation – In 1946, Heman Sweatt met with University of Texas President Theophilus S. Painter and other university officials to present a formal request for admission to the UT School of Law. Sweatt was accompanied by representatives of the NAACP. Sweatt had already agreed to sue UT if he was denied admission and present a test case for the integration of higher education in Texas. UT denied him admission. Painter informed him that although his credentials were adequate enough he could not allow him to enter UT. As one court put it, “he possessed every essential qualification for admission, except that of race, upon which ground alone his application was denied.” The Texas Attorney General Grover Sellers backed up Painter’s decision. Sweatt filed suit against Painter on May 16, 1946. The trial court found that under the “separate but equal” doctrine, Texas had to build an equal law school within a six month time frame. After six months had passed the judge threw out the case because Texas A&M had planned a resolution to provide a legal education for blacks. Sweatt, with the backing of the NAACP, appealed. The case finally reached the United States Supreme Court in June of 1950. The Supreme Court held that black students were not offered an equal quality law education in the state of Texas, and as a result UT would have to admit qualified black applicants. On September 19, 1950, Sweatt registered for classes at the UT School of Law. However, as a result of the tremendous amount of stress and emotional trauma from the long drawn out court cases Sweatt’s mental and physical health had taken a turn for the worse. He later withdrew from the school.
From the Annals of the Wildcatters – In 1928, Carl G. (the Big Swede) Cromwell drilled the world’s deepest oil well. Cromwell was the drilling superintendent of the Texon Company. Texon was working the rapidly expanding field on University of Texas land in Reagan County. He also acquired his own leases and became known as an honest, generous, free-spirited wildcatter. In association with company engineer Clayton W. Williams, Cromwell experimented in drilling deeper than the average 3,000 feet. In 1926 Williams located a site and Cromwell’s crews began work. In late November 1928, because of mounting expenses and problems, Cromwell was directed to shut down. Instead, he disregarded orders, went into hiding, and kept drilling. On December 4, the well came in at 8,525 feet. It was the deepest oil well in the world for another three years.
From the Annals of the Authors – In 1964, J. Frank Dobie received the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B. Johnson. Dobie is most famous for his retelling of Texas folklore and vignettes of Texas history. Born in Live Oak County on a ranch, Dobie went to school in Alice and later studied at Southwestern University in Georgetown and Columbia in New York. He worked as a reporter, school teacher, professor and ranch manager. While at the University of Texas, he joined the Texas Folklore Society which became a lifelong calling. In 1929, JFD published his first book A Vaquero of the Brush Country – based on his work on his uncle’s ranch in South Texas. The book established him as a spokesman for Texas folklore and culture of the no-longer open range. His other books focused on similar Texas and Native American themes and included On the Open Range (1931), Tales of the Mustang (1936), The Flavor of Texas (1936), Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver (1939), and Tongues of the Monte (1947). He is remembered mostly today for the Dobie Paisano Ranch on Barton Creek near Austin (owned by UT) which provides authors with a fellowship and a place to write. Dobie died 4 days after receiving the award. Sadly, his books are read by almost no one anymore.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that University of Louisville graduate transfer quarterback Kyle Bolin might be considering the University of Texas as a possible landing spot. Bolin started 5 games in 2015 before giving way to 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the final game of the regular season. After Jackson threw for 4 touchdowns against Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl, Bolin became a pine-rider for the 2016 season. As a graduate transfer, Bolin would be immediately eligible to play for the Horns. After a lackluster season featuring respectable play from highly touted freshman QB Shane Buechele (21 TDs, 11 INTs, 2958 yards and 60.4% completion rate), new head coach Tom Herman could be looking for something more. Would he find it in Bolin? He was a second-stringer – albeit to the Heisman Trophy winner, but he was still not a starter in his senior year. Look for Bolin to more likely land at Northern Illinois where he probably walks into the starter’s job.
From the Annals of Higher Education – In 1867, Jessie Andrews was born in Washington, Mississippi. Andrews moved to Texas with her family in 1874 and her mother Margaret Miller Andrews operated a boarding house near the State Capitol. Andrews graduated from Austin High. After graduation, Andrews took the entrance exam for the University of Texas and became the first woman admitted in 1883. She majored in German and received her B.Litt. degree in 1886. She taught for a year at Mrs. Hood’s Seminary for Young Ladies and then joined the faculty at UT teaching German and French. She thus became the first female graduate and first female teacher at UT. During the First World War she became disillusioned with Germany and quit her faculty position to operate a store with her sister. Jessie Andrews Dorm at UT is named in her honor.
Photo from the Center for American History at UT-Austin.
From the Annals of Our Poor Idiot Governors – In 1871 James Edward “Pa” Ferguson was born in Salado. Ferguson was City Attorney and a banker in Belton as well as a political player when he decided to run for governor in 1914. He won election as an anti-prohibitionist Democrat but almost immediately got in trouble. Ferguson engaged in a personal vendetta against University of Texas professors who he believed should be fired. When UT refused to act, he vetoed the appropriations bill for the university with the ultimate result of him being impeached, convicted and removed from office. Ferguson was not done with politics as he later ran for the U.S. Senate and President as a minor third party candidate. He was able to secure the election of his wife Miriam “Ma” Ferguson who was the first woman elected governor of a U.S. State.
Red regards Pa Ferguson as one of a long line of worthless inhabitants of the Governor’s Mansion along with such notables as Pappy O’Daniel, Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe, John Connally, Bill Clements, George W. Bush, Rick Perry and our current poor idiot governor Greg Abbott. Really, where do they get these guys?
The Houston Chronicle reports that the University of Texas system will in fact be making its presence known in Texas’ largest city. UT will be paying $450 million over a period of 30 years for a 300 acre campus just south of the South 610 Loop. The land is likely the largest open parcel that close to central Houston and is surrounded by several other slightly used tracts that could be used for expansion. The purchase has raised outcries from University of Houston supporters who are feeling the heat of real Tier One university coming to town. For a city its size, Houston is severely under-universitied. Houston has UH and Rice as major universities and then a small number of other players including UH-Downtown, the University of St. Thomas, Texas Southern University and Houston Baptist University. Six real universities for a city of over 4 million is totally inadequate. Red welcomes UT to town. UT System Chancellor William McRaven said he wants to “astound people with our boldness.”
Perhaps this offends the powers that be at UH – who are more accustomed to astounding people with corruption and ineptitude. If they had any vision, they would see that adding another major university center to Houston can only benefit UH by making Houston a university city and expanding opportunities for cooperation. But they are too busy attempting to build walls to protect their fiefdoms, building expensive stadiums that are underutilized, and covering up any hint of scandal.