University of Texas at Austin

Good morning, and happy Friday! Austinites are in for a cold and gusty day, with a high of 64 degrees and winds at 20 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service.

Lead Story: Texas is now the last big state to hold out against a push to expand Medicaid, after Florida Governor Rick Scott announced he would push for expansion.

Some Texas lawmakers, including Governor Rick Perry, are still firmly against expanding Medicaid. But others might be changing their minds. For example, State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, says she is all about flexibility.

Spencer Selvidge, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry announced the appointment of Jeff Hildebrand and Ernest Aliseda, along with the re-appointment of Paul Foster of El Paso, to the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday.

Hildebrand, of Houston, is chairman and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company. Aliseda is the managing attorney of Loya Insurance group and a municipal judge for the city of McAllen. Foster, of El Paso, is the executive chairman of Western Refining Company.


If teenagers believe people are able to change, it can help reduce aggression in school. That’s the major finding of a new study from the University of Texas. 

David Yeager is a professor of developmental psychology at UT. He and a team of researchers from Stanford and Emory Universities conducted eight studies with 1,600 teenagers from across the United States. They talked to rich kids and poor kids and teens from all different races and ethnicities. And they discovered that many kids who get picked on often feel like it will never end.

It looks like the 40 Acres can’t get enough of the Harlem Shake. Today, a local filmmaker set up at the University of Texas to film the third Harlem Shake video set on campus.

In case the meme’s passed you by, here’s the scoop: Harlem Shake is an instrumental track from American DJ and producer Baauer. Featuring what Pitchfork Media calls a “menacing, world-smashing bassline that would cause even the Cloverfield monster to shudder in his gills,” the track provides the ideal soundtrack for viral videos. Know Your Meme has a comprehensive timeline detailing the dance’s proliferation.

Update: Seven sports figures—including two former University of Texas at Austin Longhorns and a Central Texas native will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame this evening.

The inductees will be at tonight's banquet at Baylor University's Ferrell Center in Waco.

Seven is the final count of inductees for the Class of 2012—originally, an eighth inductee was to be announced but plans apparently did not work out (see below).

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The nine academic campuses in the University of Texas System will soon offer four-year guaranteed tuition plans as an option to their students.

At a Thursday meeting, the system's board of regents approved a measure requiring campuses to have the option in place.

Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers told the UT Board of Regents on Wednesday that his school is ready to begin searching for a medical school dean.

A UT-Austin medical school, expected to open in either 2015 or 2016, is beginning to get off the ground. In May, the Board of Regents pledged $30 million per year for the next eight years. In November, Travis County voters approved Proposition 1, which will contribute about $25 million annually to the school. And more recently, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation pledged $50 million to the school.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The relationship between the University of Texas School of Law and an affiliated foundation, which drew headlines over a forgivable loan program, will be again under the microscope this week when the University of Texas System's Board of Regents meets.

Guaranteed tuition plans and tuition freezes are also on the agenda for the regents' two-day meeting, which they will convene Wednesday.

Good morning. Austin’s in for temperatures approaching 80 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. A cold front is expected to blow into the region this weekend, bringing with it chances for showers and thunderstorms.  

Lead Story: Leaders of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas testified before a Texas house committee yesterday – but a couple of former leaders were noticeably absent.

KUT News

President Barack Obama honored two University of Texas professors with the National Medal of Science in Washington D.C. today.

Dr. John Goodenough is a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He developed materials used worldwide in lithium-batteries.

Michael Thomas/AP Images for Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation announced a ten year commitment to turn Austin in a center of health care excellence. The foundation is donating $50 million to the University of Texas’s new medical school. It will be called the Dell Medical School.

The foundation also pledged $10 million to Austin and Travis County community health quality and access programs over the next decade.

UT's Campus Enviornmental Center

University of Texas at Austin students who are part of the Campus Environmental Center are helping to reforest the burnt lands of Bastrop by sending the city more than 40,000 loblolly pine tree seedlings.

Vlad Codrea, a graduate research assistant at UT, is overseeing the project at the tree nursery at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, the Campus Environmental Center will extract the tree seedlings from their containers and package them to be sent to Bastrop.

Codrea said the project actually began in March 2011, before the Bastrop fires, when he first asked for funding for a tree nursery from UT's Green Fee Committee. The Committee reviews environmental projects pitched by UT students and awards grant money so the students can complete these projects. Codrea was awarded a $54,198  grant over four years.

University of Texas at Austin

A University of Texas chemist has been honored with a $500,000 prize for inventing a key technology used to produce virtually all modern computer chips. The Japan Prize is awarded annually to people who make major contributions to the fields of science and technology. 

C. Grant Willson, along with a colleague and a grad student, figured out how to print complex computer circuits on silicon wafers. Chris Mack, an expert in lithography, says Willson’s work is everywhere.

KUT News

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers says UT could save up to $490 million dollars over a decade by changing its operations system.  

Powers presented the cost-cutting recommendations, "Smarter Systems for a Greater UT "at a press conference today. The recommendation came from a committee of local business leaders Powers put together last April. The committee put forward measures raising the prices of housing, food and parking, outsourcing some parts of UT’s operation and commercializing UT-generated technology.

Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Preliminary budgets in the Texas Legislature show cuts to higher education funding. Today and Monday, state lawmakers will hear from individual state universities and university systems about what funding they need.

The state’s higher education institutions will present their funding requests to the Texas Senate Finance Committee. The Texas State University System, the Texas Tech University System, the University of Houston System and the University of North Texas System will present today. The University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems will speak to the committee on Monday.

UT Football, KUT News

Update: Case McCoy and Jordan Hicks will not face charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault in San Antonio on the eve of the Alamo Bowl.

The San Antonio Express-News reports: 

[Bexar County] Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said his office reviewed details of the investigation into Jordan Hicks and Case McCoy, but that no case was formally filed. Police informed the district attorney's office that the investigation is closed, Herberg said.

Original post (Jan. 14, 8:14 a.m.): University of Texas at Austin football players Case McCoy and Jordan Hicks have been reinstated to the team after they were suspended for violating team rules.

We all think we know what happy means. But when you get down to it, how would we actually define it? Raj Raghunathan has tried. He teaches marketing at UT’s McCombs School of Business. He studies, among other things, consumer behavior, decision theory, and happiness. Raghunathan says different people define happiness differently, but a couple of traits are universal. It’s a positive emotion, and we want to experience it. But, he says, pursuing society’s most common markers of happiness won’t actually get us there.

Frank Meaker,

With classes back in session on the 40 Acres, it won’t be long before students are huddled around books and notes, cramming for exams.

It’s a time that Frank Meaker has come to catalog – but not on a way you’d expect.

Meaker’s been with the University of Texas for 25 years; for the last 10 years, Meaker’s worked at the Perry-Castañeda Library as a maintenance specialist. Toward the end of each semester, he noticed the whiteboards in study rooms would be filled with drawings – some crude, some detailed, but all a window into stressed-out students’ minds.

UT researchers have developed 61 new strains of genetically-engineered bacteria, which they say could improve and transform vaccines.

The strains of E. Coli are part of a new class of adjuvants, which are substances mixed in with vaccines that stimulate and improve the human body’s immune response to vaccinations. M. Stephen Trent, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at UT who worked on the research, said these new strains gives the medical field more options for vaccine development.

courtesy Andrew Magill at

The University of Texas is warning students to be cautious of emails from private companies that advertise student loans from for-profit lenders.

Those emails may use misleading wording in the subject line that could suggest that they were sent by the university. But the Office of Student Financial Services at UT does not promote or endorse any private lenders, according to spokeswoman Jamie Brown.

She says that even with reputable companies, students should shop carefully.