From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Chance Sampson or Kelvin Bass
(512) 463-0123
Thursday, June 30, 2005

Senator West Says Faulkner Set High Standard For Next UT Leader

AUSTIN -- State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) says the University of Texas will be hard-pressed to surpass the level of leadership displayed by retiring President Larry Faulkner. Today (Thursday), Faulkner confirmed that he will leave the post he has held for more than six years. During his tenure, Senator West says that Dr. Faulkner has always been forthright when faced with challenging issues.

"If Larry Faulkner gave his assurance that an issue would be addressed in a certain way, that assurance is something I have come to count on," said Senator West. "Often when a person leaves a high-profile position, people are glad to see him go. Dr. Faulkner leaves with all his political capital in tact. I am sad to see him step down as president of the University of Texas at Austin."

Senator West says he appreciates the leadership Dr. Faulkner has shown in addressing issues of diversity at the University of Texas, particularly at its Austin campus. During 2004, Dr. Faulkner personally traveled to several Dallas area campuses and other parts of Texas, to recruit students from under-represented high schools to the state's flagship university. Several years ago, the University of Texas under Faulkner's leadership, created the Longhorn Opportunity Scholarship that offers financial assistance, academic support and other incentives to attract minority students and those from under-represented high schools to the university.

"He truly began to change the image of UT-Austin so that now, young people all across this state have begun to think of it as their university," said Senator West. " I have a great deal of respect and admiration for him."

Recent challenges include the debate over the state's Top 10 Percent rule on college admissions. While seeking relief from growing Top 10 student enrollment, Dr. Faulkner's comments on the law's merit, countered those who called for its repeal. Since coming to Texas from the University of Illinois in 1997, Dr. Faulkner now has the third most tenure among University of Texas presidents. Senator West extends his gratitude to Dr. Faulkner for his many accomplishments in leading of one of the nation's premier academic institutions. Faulkner announced March 2006 as his retirement date, but could remain past that time to help ensure a smooth succession.

For more information, please contact Chance Sampson or Kelvin Bass at 512-463-0123 or 214-467-0123.