Policymakers | Trusteeship

It’s Bill Powers’ last day as UT president: What you should know about his 9-year legacy

AMERICAN STATESMAN   |  June 2, 2015 by Hannah Thornby

Bill Powers ends his nine-year career today as UT President. To reflect on his full legacy, we’ve gathered up nine years’ worth of Statesman stories from his tumultuous tenure.

•  Power’s tenure’s highs include 13 new major buildings and the establishment of the Dell Medical School, while his lows include a controversy involving meddling in admissions and a loan forgiveness program for UT law professors. Read our full recap of how UT changed under Powers here.

• “B+ is our biggest enemy” — One of Bill Powers’ most stringent calls during his tenure included increased funding for higher education. Powers, who oversaw a $3.1 billion capital campaign, worked to keep the school’s reputation as a top research university intact amidst significant state cuts for education spending.

• “It would have been better for Texans and the university had Powers stepped down immediately and acknowledged the breakdown in communications and trust critical to a productive partnership,” said Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, following Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s decision to back down from the decision to either fire or force Powers to resign last summer. Ciagarroa’s ultimatum was issued as a result of increasing tension between Powers and UT’s governing board.

•  “This is a great, great place to spend your career,” said Powers upon his last meeting with the general faculty back in January. Powers, who will continue to teach law at UT after he steps down from the president’s office, has spent a combined total of 38 years at UT.

• “I Stand With Bill Powers” — Throughout his career, which was marred by disagreements with UT regents and former Gov. Rick Perry, faculty and students took to social media to show their support for the former law professor.

• “Remind yourself that it’s all worth it” — Hear from the man himself on his accomplishments and blunders.

• You can catch up on all that happened with Powers or around Powers at UT here with our interactive timeline.


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