Google helps offer UT Mail to alumni

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The University will now offer the UT Mail service to its more than 450,000 alumni free of charge, President William Powers Jr. announced on Wednesday.

The University launched UT Mail, powered by Google Inc., last Spring as a life-long email replacement for UT Webmail and the new service has more than 35,000 current student users. Powers said some of the benefits to UT Mail include showing off UT pride, more storage space and better privacy for users.

John Lovelace, Management Coordinator for Information Technology Services, said UT Mail was mainly intended to be a service for current students, but there were always plans to make it available for alumni.

“The opportunity existed to provide the service and it was extended,” Lovelace said. “In my opinion, the biggest benefit is that it’s a UT branded account and it’s a very desirable email address.”

Lovelace said that in the past UT students would lose their UT email address a couple of months after they graduated. He said about 15,000 alumni have now signed up for a UT Mail account. Alumni can sign up for an email account by using their old UT EID or the email on file with the University. If alumni don’t remember their UT EID or are not registered, they go through a simple verification process before they can sign up for an alumni account.

Advertising professor John Murphy said the UT brand is hugely powerful, especially in athletics and the sale of UT-branded merchandise, partly because of the huge alumni base prominent both in the state and nationwide.

“The biggest benefit I see for UT is connecting with alumni and generating goodwill among this important public,” Murphy said. “This connection could potentially pay off in gifts in the future, active support for issues that UT considers to be important and in many other ways that are not obvious now.”

Google, Inc. spokesman Tim Drinan said the company is thrilled UT has taken advantage of Google Apps for Education, a free package of email and collaborative applications designed specifically for educational institutions that offers free accounts to students and alumni. Customers that choose to switch to UT Mail have 25 gigabytes of storage, can opt to turn off advertisements and have the Google guarantee the site will be available 99.9 percent of the time.

More than 15 million students, faculty and staff use Google Apps worldwide, including Brown University, Northwestern University, Harvard University, Yale University and Vanderbilt University.

“Google Apps was designed to help people work together more effectively,“ Drinan said. “We believe that university communities can benefit from tools that help connect the right people, ideas, and information in more natural ways.”

Bill McCausland, chief operating officer for Texas Exes, said the organization was thrilled to be working with UT to make alumni more aware about UT Mail. McCausland said before UT Mail, Texas Exes offered a forwarding service with an @utexas.net address because of high demand.

McCausland said he and his daughter have signed up for a UT Mail account.

“I think it’s a great move starting with the students,” McCausland said. “They will have an address they can take with them. This was driven by the need for students and we’re really pleased this can be made available to alumni.”

Published on Friday, November 4, 2011 as: University, Google offer email services to all alumni