Hartzell Highlights UT’s Commitment to Invest in People, Unveils New Projects in State of the University

AUSTIN, Texas — Describing The University of Texas at Austin as an institution that is willing to take bold action, President Jay Hartzell touted the successes of the past year and outlined strategic priorities that will be UT’s road map for turning an idea and a hope into reality during his annual State of the University address.

“Our priorities today are advancing our vision for tomorrow, which is to capitalize on this historic moment of opportunity,” Hartzell said. “We are accelerating investments in students, faculty and staff; expanding university-affiliated housing options; increasing economic opportunity for the great state of Texas; and transforming our teaching and research to achieve maximum benefit for society.”

Hartzell spotlighted several positive initiatives that the university will work towards to become the highest-impact public university in the world. Those include:

  • The launch and implementation of UT’s 10-year strategic plan, called Change Starts Here, to achieve the university’s vision, and the continued rollout of the You Belong Here Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus.
  • Investment in people. The university has invested in scholarships such as the Texas Advance Commitment and has deepened its commitment to serve the “whole student” by bolstering its mental health services portfolio. Dell Medical School has helped train and attract hundreds of new doctors to the area. And this year, UT made a $53 million investment – ​​the largest recurring commitment in university history – to promote retention, professional development, and health and well-being among faculty and staff members.
  • The university is taking steps to address housing by breaking ground on new graduate school housing, and it acquired existing buildings for undergraduates and faculty members.
  • UT Austin will use some of its land to create a district for leading talent to collaborate, work in startup-oriented lab spaces, incubate ideas, create companies and jobs, and bring discoveries and cures to market.
  • Researchers are also working at the forefront of revolutionizing health care. Hartzell highlighted the Center for Computational Oncology, which is developing “digital twins” for patients, using new modeling techniques to predict the patient-specific responses of breast cancer tumors to treatments such as chemotherapy. The work exemplifies what can be achieved by applying the university’s strengths in computational artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science to complex challenges.
  • Moving forward, the university will focus on areas that align with UT’s strengths and the state’s assets such as energy and the environment, technology and society, and health and well-being.

Earlier this year, UT announced the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university and the state of Texas. The What Starts Here campaign aims to raise $6 billion by the end of 2025, with $1 billion allocated for student scholarships and success programs. Hartzell said the university is now more than half way towards its goal.

In his address, Hartzell also announced a significant investment by The University of Texas System Board of Regents that will restore and update portions of the iconic UT Tower.

For a full transcript of his speech, please visit the president’s website.

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