downtown Austin

Dr. Gregory Fenves, President, University of Texas at Austin

Posted by on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 in Blog

Meeting held on January 19, 2016, Recorded by Jackie Sinex

President Harold Ingersoll called the meeting to order. Pledges were led by Harvey Ford, the invocation was led by Jack Wolfe, and the Four Way Test was led by Paul Liebman. Joe Breeland greeted attendees at the top of the stairs, and Carl Noble welcomed guests to the meeting.

Rotary speaker Dr Greg FenvesSeveral new members were introduced to the Club, including Karen Collins (sponsor Diane Ventresca), Pauline Gubbels (sponsor Elvin Pool), and Andy Swanson (sponsor Jim Bushnell). A hearty welcome to Karen, Pauline and Andy!

Tillery Castillo and Karen Waryas reminded the audience about tonight’s Membership Soiree at the Headliner’s Club. Joe Breeland announced opportunities for advertising a member’s business in the newsletter. Jim Bryce gave a Global Awareness Update related to diminishing Polio cases, citing that only a small number of cases still exist in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, recent terror attacks did affect this effort, with many security personnel killed.

President Harold and Mary Reynolds reminded us about the volunteer needs on Saturday January 30th for Stop Hunger Now. We watched a video about the Stop Hunger Now program, which benefits many thousands of students in many different countries across the world. By supplying meals to the schools, school enrollment dramatically increases and way of life improves. We need at least 50 volunteers to participate on January 30th.

Michael Portman announced the upcoming Austin Rotary Club Foundation Celebration Dinner on Thursday March 3rd and asked us to SAVE THE DATE. He then presented Paul Harris Fellow awards to Ladd Pattillo (PHF +8), Jerry Ray (PHF +4), Ernest Smith (PHF, Initial), Pat Von Dohlen (PHF +4), Tim Von Dohlen (PHF +5), and Karen Waryas (PHF, Initial). Congratulations to each of you, and thank you for your continued support of Rotary!

Michael led the Thank Goodness Basket, starting with his story about camping and kayaking in the cold Colorado River. Sherry Workman updated us about the Interact Club at Fulmore Middle School and requested help with donations for PAL Packs the students are working on. Members should bring donations to the next meeting or to the one on February 2nd. Bill Baker is excited that his children and grandchildren are visiting soon on February 11th. Mark Johnson shared that his daughter just left for Paris and eventually Prague to study abroad.

Ann Graham introduced the speaker, University of Texas at Austin President Dr. Gregory Fenves. Dr. Fenves began his career as a professor in the Engineering program and also served as Dean of the School of Engineering before moving to UC Berkley. Ann highlighted the Rotary Club of Austin’s own efforts related to education and literacy.

Dr. Fenves stated that, like Rotary, University of Texas at Austin is also about service – service to society. The location of the University in the city of Austin lends to its success. He quoted Daniel Patrick Moynihan that the way to build a great city is to “create a great university and wait 200 years”. He referenced that it is about long-term investment in future, creation, economy, and way of life. Great innovation has resulted from Austin, including leading companies like Dell and Whole Foods. He elaborated that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice, and U.T. has embraced
progress. He reminded us that “all Texans are shareholders” of the University, and “they expect us to be the best”.

Dr. Fenves shared examples of resolving conflict of Eastern development in Austin by collaborating with area communities and being able to proceed with valuable residential and parking solutions that will take cars off the road during athletic events. U.T. Austin continues to collaborate with other educational institutions like ACC as well. He referred to Project 2021 – an outlook of what graduation programs will look like in future years. U.T. Austin is a “huge research engine” and will be the first major research institution to add a new medical school in about 50 years. The new
Dell Medical School will welcome its first students in 6 months. The future includes efforts to plan use of Brackenridge land, as well as determine plans for a new arena venue to replace the Erwin Center. Dr. Fenves answered several questions about motivating students to graduate in 4 years and challenges in making higher education affordable.

President Harold adjourned the meeting.

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