University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin, UT, or Texas) is a Texas public research university. It is the oldest institution in the University of Texas System, having been founded in 1883. It is also the largest institution in the system, with 40,916 undergraduate students, 11,075 graduate students, and 3,133 teaching faculty as of Fall 2021. Major college and university rankings place it among the best institutions in the world, and admittance to its programs is regarded very selective.
UT Austin is one of the public Ivies in the United States. The institution is a prominent academic research center, with research spending exceeding $679.8 million in fiscal year 2018. In 1929, it became a member of the Association of American Universities. The institution is home to seven museums and seventeen libraries, including the LBJ Presidential Library and the Blanton Museum of Art, and it also runs a number of ancillary research facilities, including the J. J. Pickle Research Campus and the McDonald Observatory. As of November 2020, the school had 13 Nobel Prize winners, 4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 2 Turing Award winners, 2 Fields Medal recipients, 2 Wolf Prize winners, and 2 Abel Prize winners as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. The institution has also been associated with three Primetime Emmy Award winners, and its students and alumni have won a total of 155 Olympic medals as of 2021.
The Texas Longhorns are a team of student-athletes. The Longhorns have won four NCAA Division I National Football Championships, six NCAA Division I National Baseball Championships, thirteen NCAA Division I National Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, and more men’s and women’s sports trophies than any other Big 12 member.
The university’s land totals 1,438.5 acres (582.1 ha), including the Main Campus in central Austin, the J. J. Pickle Research Campus in north Austin, and other sites around Texas. The main campus consists of 150 buildings totalling more than 18,000,000 square feet (1,700,000 m2).
The Beaux-Arts Main Building, which has a 307-foot (94-meter) tower built by Paul Philippe Cret, is one of the University’s most noticeable features. The Main Building, which was completed in 1937, is located in the heart of campus. The tower is normally illuminated in white light in the evening, but it is lit burned orange for exceptional occasions such as sporting successes and academic achievements, and it is darkened for sad occasions. At the top of the tower lies the largest carillon in Texas, with 56 bells. On weekdays, student carillonneurs perform songs in addition to the normal pealing of Westminster Quarters every quarter-hour between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. The observation deck reopened to the public for weekend visits in 1998, following the installation of security and safety measures.
The university’s seven museums and seventeen libraries have approximately nine million books, making it the country’s seventh-largest academic library. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center’s collections include one of only 21 complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible and the first permanent photograph, Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras. The 155,000-square-foot (14,400 m2) Blanton Museum of Art, the newest museum, is the biggest university art museum in the United States, with roughly 17,000 works from Europe, the United States, and Latin America. The Perry-Castaeda Library is located in the heart of campus and houses the primary University Libraries activities as well as the Perry-Castaeda Library Map Collection. The Benson Latin American Collection is home to the most extensive collection of Latin American resources among US university libraries, as well as extensive digital collections.
The University of Texas at Austin features an extensive tunnel system that connects the campus’s buildings. The tunnels were built about 1928 under the direction of UT engineering professor Carl J. Eckhardt Jr., who was also the head of the physical plant at the time. They are around six kilometers long. The tunnel system provides communications and utility services. It is not open to the public and is protected with quiet alarms. The institution has produced its own power since the late 1940s. Its natural gas cogeneration facility currently has a capacity of 123 MW. At the J. J. Pickle Research Campus, the university also runs a TRIGA nuclear reactor.
The university’s campus facilities are being expanded. The state-of-the-art Norman Hackerman building (on the location of the previous Experimental Sciences Building) opened in 2010 and houses chemistry and biology research and teaching facilities. The university broke ground on the $120 million Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall, as well as the $51 million Belo Center for New Media, in 2010. In January 2011, the new LEED gold-certified 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) Student Activity Center (SAC) opened, featuring study rooms, lounges, and food vendors. The SAC was built as a consequence of a student vote in 2006 that increased student fees by $65 per semester. The Moody Foundation endowed the Institution of Communication with $50 million in 2012, the highest endowment ever given to a communication college, thereby calling it the Moody College of Communication.
The university maintains two public radio stations, KUT for news and information and KUTX for music, both of which broadcast locally on FM and live via the Internet. Capital Metro is used by the university to offer bus transportation for students on the UT Shuttle system and across Austin.
Next Point of Interest: Lake Travis