Centurions UT Dallas header

The Centurions held their annual spring meeting at The University of Texas at Dallas on April 26, delving into UTD’s history, growing campus, key initiatives and its meteoric rise to becoming the top-ranked public university in Dallas-Fort Worth. 

Recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the nation’s 10 fastest growing universities, UT Dallas boasts a culturally diverse student body exceeding 30,000, with over 4,000 first-generation students.

Centurions spring meeting group photo

Six of those first-generation UT Dallas students met with the Centurions in small groups to share their journeys and experiences at the university. A panel discussion followed, during which the students explained how resources provided by the institution, such as mentors and other forms of assistance, aided in their academic and personal growth on campus.

UT Dallas Provost Inga Musselman welcomed the Centurions and opened with a detailed overview of the institution and its priorities as a Carnegie R1 research institution. Courtney Brecheen, senior associate dean of undergraduate education, and D’Ric Jackson, assistant director of undergraduate programs, presented insights into UT Dallas’ student body and the Office of Undergraduate Education’s efforts to support student success.

Centurions Dallas panel

The spring meeting also provided an opportunity for the Centurions to fulfill their commitment to service. As part of the program, Centurions Chair Carla Juarez announced a joint donation of $20,000 from the Centurions and the UT System Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee (CECC) to support UT Dallas’ First Generation Student Programs.


2023 Fall Meeting at Bauer House, Austin

A fantastic turnout of returning and new members gathered at Bauer House, the official residence of the Chancellor, for the Centurions 2023 Fall meeting on October 27.

 

The Centurions welcomed 19 new members, including four from Stephen F. Austin State University, which officially became the UT System’s fourteenth institution on Sept. 1. In all, 15 of the new members were on hand. Centurions membership continues to grow and includes representation from across the UT System.

 

passing the gavel

 

Carla Juarez of Dallas officially assumed her duties as chair. Carla thanked Kevin Zlotnik for his extraordinary leadership over the last year and a half. In addition, the group elected Andrew Grabato from Austin as chair-elect.

 

The Centurions were greeted by Chancellor James B. Milliken to kick off the meeting. He provided a detailed overview of the state of the UT System and its key initiatives and programs, and an update on the 88th Texas Legislative Session.

 

The Chancellor also shared the following:

 

Enrollment

The inclusion of Stephen F. Austin State University puts the UT System in every region of Texas and brings UT System enrollment to an all-time high of more than 256,000 students. Multiple institutions reported record enrollment for Fall 2023, and particularly so for first-time-in-college students, including at UT Arlington, UT Austin, UT El Paso and UT Permian Basin. UT Austin received a record 66,109 student applications, a 10% increase from 2022, and 9,385 first-time, first-year undergraduate students enrolled.

 

Rankings

Multiple UT institutions were recognized in 2023 in numerous categories of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings as well as other prominent ranking services, earning top national and state honors for overall excellence, social mobility, innovation, service to veterans and several professional programs including engineering and nursing.

 

U.S. News and World Report rankings highlights include:

    • UT Austin No. 1 public university in Texas, No. 9 national public university, and No. 1 in Texas for innovation and service to veterans. UT Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering also ranked No. 1 for undergraduate engineering.
    • UT Dallas No. 3 public university in Texas and No. 5 in engineering.
    • UT Rio Grande Valley No. 1, UT Arlington No. 3, UT San Antonio No. 7 in Texas for social mobility.
    • UTHealth Houston Cizik School of Nursing No. 1 in Texas and No. 16 nationally for undergraduate nursing.

 

Expansion of health care

In August, the Board of Regents announced a monumental health care initiative in Austin: the UT Austin Medical Center, which will be built where the Erwin Center currently stands. The medical center will accelerate and expand UT Austin’s burgeoning medical district into a world-class academic medical center for education, research and patient care. It will start with two hospital towers, the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and a UT Austin hospital.

 

The group also heard from Dr. David Lakey, the UT System’s vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer, who provided insight into the System’s $16.5 million investment to expand and enhance student mental health resources at all UT academic and health institutions. The latest program launched this fall provides all students with a free, 24-7 virtual mental health support service.

 

The Centurions will next convene for the 2024 Spring Meeting at UT Dallas and will continue its support to aid institution programs that help first-generation students.

Fall meeting collage

 


2023 Spring Meeting at UT San Antonio

The Centurions convened on the campus of The University of Texas at San Antonio on March 31 for the group’s annual Spring Meeting and Luncheon.

 

Zlotnik address the CenturionsThe highlight of the four-hour experience was Centurions Chair Kevin Zlotnik surprising UTSA leadership who oversee the university’s student success programs with a $25,000 joint contribution from the Centurions and the UT System’s Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee to benefit the First to Go & Graduate program.

 

Much of the Spring Meeting was centered around the theme of first-generation students – students who are the first in their families to attend college – and efforts to improve retention and graduation rates of this growing segment of students who make up 45 percent of UTSA’s enrollment of 34,000.

 

The Centurions heard from several UTSA leaders, including Tammy Wyatt, PhD, vice provost student success, and Jaclyn Shaw, interim vice president, research, economic development and knowledge enterprise, about the university’s commitment to serving as a model for the modern urban university and embracing its Hispanic serving identity.

 

Staff from the Student Success office briefed the Centurions on several of its programs, including other first generation programs, Bold Scholars and Mentor a Student, followed by an enlightening student panel discussion that featured five first-generation students who talked about their experiences at UTSA and the assistance those programs provide.

 

The Centurions then toured the UTSA campus, including the Student Success Center, Whataburger Resource Center, Tomás Rivera Center for Academic Excellence, Academic Innovation Center and College for Health, Community & Policy Student Success Center.

 

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house

 

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house

 


2022 Fall Meeting at Bauer House, Austin

The Centurions gathered in September 2022 for the Fall Meeting and Luncheon at Bauer House, the Chancellor’s residence in Austin. Centurions heard from and engaged with the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Archie Holmes and Chief of Staff for Academic Affairs Lydia Riley.

Chancellor Milliken welcomed new members and provided Centurions with the latest information on the UT System and UT institutions, including:

    • Addressing workforce needs through micro-credentials; and meeting urgent workforce challenges in cybersecurity, including a commitment to doubling the number of women in cyber-related fields by 2030
    • Expanding the research mission, such as the landmark educational and research agreement with the Army Futures Command that will spur new medical inventions and techniques that will save lives and eventually also serve civilian medical needs
    • A healthy financial review and forecast
    • A review of the Permanent University Fund (PUF)
    • An encouraging philanthropy report 

Following the meeting, Centurions had an opportunity to mingle and mix with members of the Chancellor's Council Executive Committee.

Chancellor Milliken giving a speech at the fall Centurions meeting

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house

Centurions Fall Meeting at the Bauer house