The University of Texas at Austin

UT Bluebonnet Update: The Flowers are Safe

Over the last several days, wildflower lovers in Texas have been interested to learn about some maroon-colored bluebonnets that mysteriously appeared in gardens at The University of Texas at Austin. The bluebonnets grew from seed selectively bred at Texas A&M University, leading to speculation they were planted as a prank, though there is no evidence to support this.

The university would like to clarify that contrary to some reports, the bluebonnets are safe. UT Austin has no immediate or official plans to pull up the Aggie-colored wildflowers.

Mark Simmons, director of the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at UT Austin, says the flowers, which were bred from a naturally occurring variant of bluebonnets, merit the same consideration as any other wildflower appearing on the UT Austin campus.

Simmons’ group has been in the process of completing a horticultural plan within the overall campus master plan for the university.

"We are recommending that bluebonnets in general be used more extensively across campus," said Simmons, who praised the wildflower for its resilience, drought-tolerance and ability to crowd out weeds.

Regarding color, Simmons points out that bluebonnets have many natural variants, including maroon, pink and pale blue, but the vibrant blue color is dominant genetically. As a result, seeds from this year’s maroon bluebonnets are highly likely to cross-pollinate and over time yield seeds that produce vibrant blue flowers.

Regardless of color, Simmons points out, bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas, and “they’re also very attractive at this time of year.”

"I myself am a transplant from College Station," said Simmons, who earned his Ph.D. in rangeland ecology and management at Texas A&M, "so I understand some of the sensitivities around these maroon visitors."

UT Austin President Bill Powers had a positive take on the flowers’ presence.

"We don’t know for sure where they came from," Powers told KUT Radio earlier this week. “If it’s the work of some Aggies, hats off to them, it’s kind of clever. You know anyone wearing maroon would love to wake up and be in a better place.”

[Photos: Anna Donlan/The Alcalde]

Longhorns in Pursuit of Health When UT’s Dell Medical School opens in fall 2016, it will join a campus already devoted to health. Here is just a small dose of the medical work, research and education happening at UT.

Longhorns in Pursuit of Health 

When UT’s Dell Medical School opens in fall 2016, it will join a campus already devoted to health. Here is just a small dose of the medical work, research and education happening at UT.

How Do You Reinvent Health Care?

From the new dean of UT’s Dell Medical School: ”I’m interested in creating the med school that represents what we want health to be, what we want health education to be in the next century, and making it nimble enough to keep Austin at the leading edge in health for years to come.”

President Bill Powers is sponsoring a screening of the April 10 Civil Rights Summit remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush on the UT Main Mall.

A large screen will be set up on the south steps of the Tower (Main Building) and students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to watch a live stream of these historic addresses. 

Details on the Obama screening

Details on the Bush screening

How NASA Joined the Civil Rights Revolution

History forced President John F. Kennedy to commit the country to explore space at exactly the same time it forced him to confront the movement for civil rights.

Read an excerpt of the forthcoming utexaspress book “And We Could Not Fail,” about the people who broke the color line at NASA and the unlikely connection between Civil Rights and the Space Program.  

How NASA Joined the Civil Rights Revolution

History forced President John F. Kennedy to commit the country to explore space at exactly the same time it forced him to confront the movement for civil rights.


Read an excerpt of the forthcoming utexaspress book “And We Could Not Fail,” about the people who broke the color line at NASA and the unlikely connection between Civil Rights and the Space Program.  

We did it!
The inaugural 40 Hours for the Forty Acres raised $111,272, smashing our $40,000 goal! Those gifts will go to change the world through cutting-edge research, world-class faculty and a student body of tomorrow’s leaders. THANK YOU to every member of the Longhorn community who participated, and Hook ‘em Horns! 

We did it!

The inaugural 40 Hours for the Forty Acres raised $111,272, smashing our $40,000 goal! Those gifts will go to change the world through cutting-edge research, world-class faculty and a student body of tomorrow’s leaders. THANK YOU to every member of the Longhorn community who participated, and Hook ‘em Horns! 

Some Throwback Thursday goodies for all you Longhorns.

Did your time at UT change your life? Help future generations of students by giving to our 40 Hours for the Forty Acres campaign right now! $18,586 of our $40,000 goal raised so far! Every dollar counts.

Give at 40for40.utexas.edu 

40 Hours for the Forty Acres officially launched at 12:40 a.m. this morning, and generous Longhorns have already donated more than $14,000!
Will you help us meet our $40,000 goal by 4:40 p.m. tomorrow?
Give now to any UT cause you love: 40for40.utexas.edu

40 Hours for the Forty Acres officially launched at 12:40 a.m. this morning, and generous Longhorns have already donated more than $14,000!

Will you help us meet our $40,000 goal by 4:40 p.m. tomorrow?

Give now to any UT cause you love: 40for40.utexas.edu

Find out what can happen in just 40 hours on the UT campus and how you can join in.

Click to participate in the inaugural 40 Hours for the Forty Acres.

Alumni Artist Brings Skater Culture to VAC

You’d never know it from the beige brick exterior of UT’s Visual Arts Center, but inside is an underground skateboard world — complete with a clubhouse, a skate ramp, a campfire ring and a mysterious cast of characters known only as the “The Dwellers.”

Artist Michael Sieben, BFA ’99, is the Visual Arts Center’s artist-in-residence this spring, and he’s created the exhibition “It Will All Happen Again.”

For the show, which runs through May 10, Sieben draws inspiration from his childhood and skater culture to fill the two-story gallery. The show’s title references a line from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and indeed the show explores the line between youth and growing up and trying to hang on to youthful imagination.

[Photos: Sandy Carson]