The official University welcome event “Gone to Texas” brought together more than 8,000 students and members from the University community for a celebration on the Main Mall in front of the Tower on Tuesday evening. President William Powers Jr. opened the ceremony by welcoming students to the University the night before classes began for the fall semester.
“What an impressive sight to look out over the Main Mall and see this assembly of new Texas Longhorns,” Powers said.
Powers said students will face challenges in their time at the University. Powers said he was confident the new students would rise to meet those challenges, before announcing his participation in one himself: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
“A few days ago I was given a challenge when I was nominated for the ice bucket challenge,” Powers said. “Part of the challenge is passing on this wonderful opportunity and tonight I pass along [the Ice Bucket Challenge] to one of the newest members of the UT administrative team and one of the greatest Longhorns ever, Vince Young.”
The Gone to Texas program, a tradition of over 20 years, introduced new students to the traditions and core values at the University with various performances introduced by speakers from a wide variety of University schools and organizations, including Student Government President Kori Rady and Vice President Taylor Strickland.
“There’s been a lot of coordinating between the different groups so we’ve been working really hard,” Strickland said. “Personally, I had two rehearsals and I know there have been at least five run-throughs, so it’s been a lot of work, but it’s really nice that we think it went well.”
The ceremony also featured submissions from incoming freshmen who created videos about what a “Longhorn State of Mind” means to them. Gage Paine, vice president of student affairs, announced business freshman Steven Nguyen the winner before the Longhorn Band closed the event with “The Eyes of Texas” and “Texas Fight.”
Engineering freshman Katie Moore said hearing the band play “The Eyes of Texas” was her favorite part of the event.
“It’s really cool looking forward to seeing this again in four years,” Moore said. “We’re going to have worked very hard to get through the next four years.”