Tag Archives: University of Texas

Today in Texas History – September 14

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.

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And You Thought the Texans had Quarterback Issues?

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.

Today in Texas History – February 17

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.

Today in Texas History – August 31

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?

UT is Coming to Town

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.

Forget About Syrian Refugees, We Must Protect Ourselves from the Insidious Dangers of the “Stealth Dorm”

While Gov. Greg Abbott (TP- Texas) frets over Syrian refugees and boldly states that Texas will accept none (Red wonders exactly how that is going to work), our Poor Idiot Governor is ignoring the real crisis facing our state – the specter of the Stealth Dorm (ominous music plays).

It’s a good thing the Austin and Fort Worth City Councils are on the job, because they have recently passed anti-Stealth Dorm ordinances to deal with problems allegedly created by TCU and UT students cohabitating in willy-nilly fashion. The FW ordinance prohibits more than five unrelated people from occupying a single-family home, no matter how large it is, while the Austin ordinance puts the limit at four for new construction. The ordinances are allegedly justified as an attempt to preserve single family neighborhoods and avoid an end-around of municipal zoning laws.  The allegedly awful consequence of allowing people to decide where and how to live include increased traffic, parking problems, noise and “overflowing sewers.”  Red can see possible problems with the first three, but fails to see how 5 college students tax the sewer lines any more than a houseful of teenagers who are all related in some form or fashion.  The hubbub has caught the attention of the Business Insider which you can peruse if you want to know more.

UT Plans Move into Houston – UH Supporters Whine

The Texas Tribune reports that the University of Texas system is purchasing a 300 acre site in southwest Houston and has plans to possibly construct a UT-Houston campus.  UH supporters where immediately aroused by any encroachment on their perceived turf by the tremendous academic juggernaut that is the UT System.   The exact site can be seen here.

Chancellor Bill McRaven, who announced the plans at a Board of Regents meeting Thursday, said “all options are on the table” and that he hopes to convene a task force next year to come up with ideas for the Houston land.

“It is the fourth-largest city in the nation; it has an international footprint,” McRaven said. “Why wouldn’t we want to have a footprint in Houston? Don’t you think Houston is large enough for another academic institution?”

The board has authorized McRaven to finalize the purchase of the property, regents said Thursday. A final price hasn’t been determined. 

The property, which is mostly vacant, is in an area called Buffalo Point about 3.5 miles south of the Texas Medical Center. A rendering displayed during the board meeting showed the potential for as many as a dozen buildings on the site, as well as sports fields and green space. 

Houston is already home to one tier one private university, Rice University, and a growing research school, the University of Houston, along with many other smaller universities and community colleges. 

The announcement was a surprise to some in the area, particularly supporters of the University of Houston. 

State. Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, whose district includes the university, said he didn’t learn about the UT System’s plans until an e-mail was sent out right before the speech. He said his first reaction was that this could be a “hostile move,” with the UT System homing in on potential tuition revenue that might otherwise go to the University of Houston or other local schools. 

All too typical of UH, which is clinging to its turf as a second-rate academic institution run by an incompetent administration that fears real competition.  Think about it, what other city the size of Houston has only 2 major universities and so few other options.  Here we have Rice and Houston followed by the minor players Texas Southern, Houston Baptist, UH-Downtown and St. Thomas.  Not that students cannot get a good education at these other institutions, but it seems remarkable that there are so few choices in Houston.   It is past time for the UT System to make its presence known in the state’s largest city.  If UH can’t compete on its own turf, then too bad.