Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel

Each year, the Alcalde asks alumni to vote for their favorite professors: the teachers who inspired them and helped make their college experience unforgettable. This year’s Texas 10 represent a variety of academic areas, ranging from international security to theater arts, but all have left an
indelible mark on their students. After a challenging year, during which a global pandemic forced professors everywhere to reimagine their entire approach to teaching, we caught up with these talented instructors to learn more about their life’s work.

The Spanish colonial style of the center’s archways, aqueducts, and Observation Tower (pictured here) are meant to evoke the early architecture of Central Texas.

“Beautification is far more than a matter of cosmetics,” former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, BA ’33, BJ ’34, BL ’64, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, said in 1968. “For me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the man-made world into harmony; to bring order, usefulness — delight — to our whole environment, and that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping.”

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Credit: Casey Dunn

In 1971, the same year David Lake arrived on the Forty Acres, the very first Schlotzsky’s opened amid a row of small, shuttered storefronts on South Congress Avenue. The previous year, Armadillo World Headquarters opened at the corner of South Congress and Barton Springs. There were signs of new life on the run-down street (once known as the bustling “Avenue,” in the 1800s) but it was a sleepy kind of rebirth. Guero’s Taco Bar was still Central Feed and Seed.

Lake, BS ’76, says that as a kid growing up in the Mount Bonnell neighborhood of Austin in the ’50s…

A new project aims to capture the Black student experience at UT.

Photographs by Adraint Bereal | By Danielle Lopez

“Black Homecoming” features Black students and alumni in front of the UT Tower celebrating during the annual Black Homecoming.

Adraint Bereal, BFA ’20, grew up in a predominantly Black and Latino area in Waco. He dreamed about being a Longhorn for as long as he can remember. But when Bereal started at UT Austin in 2016, he says it felt like a week went by before he saw another Black student walking around campus. He felt disappointed. The campus community wasn’t quite what he had expected.

Then one day in the Student Activity Center he came upon a room full of Black students in a meeting and peeked his head through…

Ten UT Austin students share their thoughts on a college experience they never saw coming.

By Danielle Lopez

There’s no telling how we’re going to feel looking back at 2020 — or if we’ll even remember the day in, day out all that well in the distant future. In April, Vice ran a story that addressed how for people who’ve spent the pandemic isolating at home, with little to break up the monotony, most of this will be a blur. For health care workers and anyone else on the front lines, this pandemic might be a point of trauma.

But as much as it seems like the world as we knew it is standing still…

By Danielle Lopez | Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world found ways to honor those who deserved celebration. For birthdays, friends and families tailgated outside their loved ones’ homes; universities hosted elaborate virtual commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020; and people in cities across the country stepped outside on a nightly basis to clap for health care workers.

In April, the Texas Exes was set to host its second annual Texas Excellence Awards, recognizing outstanding members of the campus community. Though we couldn’t welcome these recipients onstage this year, we are celebrating…

By Alcalde Staff | Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel

Every year, the Alcalde flips the script and gives alumni the chance to give their favorite professors an A+. Through nominations from former students, the Texas Ten honors professors who have made a difference in the lives of Longhorns. From the musician who instills the power of music in young children to the engineer who loves to problem solve and the mathematician who is determined to see his students succeed, there is no doubt the 2020 class of the Texas Ten is one deserving bunch.

John Rumrich

Professor, Department of English; Celanese Centennial Professorship | Years at UT: 35

Live in the Moment: Lately, he has been thinking about this quote from John Lennon…

Turning glass into tools on campus.

Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel | By Danielle Lopez

Adam Kennedy is part of a rare breed. Working out of his glass shop in Robert A. Welch Hall, Kennedy is one of a few in-house university glassblowers left in the country. While there are others like him at Texas universities such as Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and the University of Houston, and nationally at Princeton and Yale, Kennedy is UT Austin’s only scientific glassblower.

Since 2010, Kennedy has been shaping glass into customized pieces for colleges across the university. From creating vials to hold uranium to helping construct a device that…

Meet the 2020 President’s Leadership Award winners

By Danielle Lopez| Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel

Look around UT Austin’s campus and you’ll find no shortage of talented young minds. But even in a crowd this impressive, there are the ones who stand out. Since 1985, the Texas Exes has recognized students who have demonstrated remarkable leadership within the Longhorn community with the President’s Leadership Awards. From motivating others to changing what health care looks like to exploring our galaxy and beyond, these six recipients are deeply passionate and endlessly curious. The best part? They’re just getting started.

Mamadou Balde

Senior, Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Conakry, Guinea
Credentials: National Society of Black Engineers member…

The Forty Acres is home to minerals and gems from all over the world. Here they are like you’ve never seen them.

Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel

Rosasite: A carbonate mineral named after where it was originally discovered in 1908: the Rosas mine in Sardinia, Italy. New Mexico, USA

Just off of San Jacinto Boulevard, up two sets of long, narrow steps stands the Texas Memorial Museum, a towering white-stone building framed by tall green oaks. Inside, through a thick Art Deco glass door and underneath the 82-year-old building’s lofty, ornamental ceilings are 140 rare and magnificent minerals and gems from all over the world. The specimens were collected and bequeathed to UT by E.M. Barron, a former Texas legislator and World War II colonel from El Paso who turned his attention to minerals later in life as the founder of Southern Gem Mining Company…

The Alcalde

All things University of Texas—sports, feature stories, alumni news, and more—from the magazine of the Texas Exes. Find more at

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