The go-ahead for a university to be built in Texas was first given in 1839, but a series of set-backs meant the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) was not established until almost a half century later. It was 1883 when UT Austin first opened its doors, with one building, eight professors and 221 students.
Today, UT Austin is a world-renowned higher education, research-intensive institution, serving more than 51,000 students annually with a teaching faculty of around 3,000.
It comprises 18 top-ranked colleges and schools, 17 libraries, seven museums and one 307-foot tower – the most iconic building on campus.
The university ranks among the top 20 American public universities, according to US News & World Report, with its graduate degree programmes in accounting, Latin American history and petroleum engineering being judged by the same as the nation’s best.
Possessing a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a strong community focus, the university states its core purpose as being ‘to transform lives for the benefit of society.’
UT Austin has an alumni numbering close to half a million individuals. Among them are the award-winning actors Matthew McConaughey and Marcia Gay Harden, film director Robert Rodriguez, and journalists Bill Moyers and Walter Cronkite.
With Austin being the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, students can take advantage of a multitude of arts and cultural opportunities on campus and in the wider locale. More than 200 music venues exist in the city, as well as a thriving film scene and year-round sunshine.
Several global tech companies (Apple, Samsung and IBM among them) have major operations in the area and Austin is, according to Forbes magazine, one of the country’s best cities for tech startups.
The university is also home to one of the largest college stadiums in the US. Its football teams, known as the Longhorns, are represented by a mascot called Bevo, a Longhorn steer that is said to embody the pride and tradition of Texas football.