Julius Glickman

Alumni launch online campaign and video alleging Regent mismanagement

A group of prominent University donors and involved alumni have launched an online campaign criticizing the recent behavior of the UT System Board of Regents.

Alumni Charles Tate, Joe Jamail and Julius Glickman founded the campaign, entitled “Wake Up, Longhorns,” after two years of disturbing actions taken by the Regents, Glickman said. The campaign encourages concerned citizens to contact state representatives.

“So many of the recent acts [by the Regents] can be categorized as taking us from excellence into mediocrity,” Glickman said. “That’s what this is really about.” 

Glickman cited pressure from the board to increase enrollment while refusing a request to raise tuition as just one of several examples of mismanagement. 

Jamail, Tate and Glickman are all members of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, an organization formed to “promote excellence, accountability and progress” in the state’s universities. Tate and Glickman also sit on the coalition’s executive committee. Jenifer Sarver, a spokeswoman for the coalition, said the two organizations have similar goals but are not connected. 

“Concerns over the micromanagement of the University by the board are a shared concern,” Sarver said.

Laura Bush, Julius Glickman, Charles Matthews, Admiral William McRaven, Melinda Perrin and Hector Ruiz are recognized as distinguished alumni by the Texas Exes (Photo courtesy of Mark Rutkowski).

Six of UT’s most distinguished alumni, including former first lady Laura Bush and Adm. William McRaven, traveled to campus Friday to be honored for their accomplishments.

For more than 50 years, Texas Exes, the University’s alumni organization, has annually honored as many as six UT alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to UT with a Distinguished Alumnus Award. This year, the organization recognized Laura Bush, former first lady and 1973 alumna; Julius Glickman, philanthropist, attorney and 1962 alumnus; Charles Matthews, former vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil Corporation and 1967 alumnus; Adm. William McRaven, commander of NATO Special Operations Command, leader of the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden and 1977 UT alumnus; Melinda Perrin, former chair of the Hermann Hospital Board of Trustees and 1969 UT alumna; and Hector de Jesus Ruiz, CEO of Bull Ventures, an education advocate who has served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and 1970 UT alumnus.

All six members were in attendance at the ceremony, along with some of UT’s most prominent figures and former Distinguished Alumnus Award winners.

UT President William Powers Jr. kicked off the ceremony by welcoming each award winner and talking about their impressive accomplishments.

“We’re just happy that we can say we knew them back when, and we are even more happy that we still know them today,” Powers said.

Each recipient gave a speech after accepting their orange blazer, a symbol of the award given to each of its recipients.

Bush talked about her time at UT in 1972, while working on her masters degree in information sciences. She said Austin was an impressive and welcoming place, even back then.

“I felt right at home, even though I was not really hippie material,” she said. “Case in point, I was a librarian who named her cat Dewey after the Dewey Decimal System.”

Perrin and Glickman chose to use part of their speeches to comment on the current debate over funding going on at UT.

Glickman said when he came to UT in the 1950s the state paid for 69 percent of the cost of his education. He said they now pay only an average 13 percent of a UT’s undergraduate’s education cost.

Both commented on UT’s need for additional funds in order to keep up its tradition of excellence.

“To prevail will require our united, passionate, engaged advocacy,” Perrin said. “Together we can help the University of Texas become the best public university in America.”

The crowd roared especially loud when McRaven accepted his award. McRaven organized and executed Operation Neptune Spear in 2011, the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

In his speech, McRaven talked about the tools that UT gave him, and the way he was able to go on and experience great success, despite his low GPA.

“The school taught me that failure was only a temporary condition,” McRaven said, citing his poor performance in UT classes.

McRaven gave some advice to UT professors with struggling students in their classes, students in the same situation he was in during the 1970s.

“For those professors out there who come across a struggling student, I would ask you to give them a break and never forget that great institutions like the University of Texas can take a common student and give them the tools they need to have uncommon success,” McRaven said.

Printed on Monday, October 22, 2012 as: Distinguished alumni awarded

Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh speaks Thursday evening at the 2012 Julius and Suzan Glickman Lecture. Hersh, well known for his criticism of the U.S. government, spoke about the state of the global war on terrorism.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

Today’s war on terrorism originated from an idea pushed by a president that terrified his country, said award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh.

Hersh, contributor for The New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize winner, visited campus Thursday evening to give a progress report on the state of the global war on terrorism as this year’s speaker for the 2012 Julius and Suzan Glickman Lecture.

“When other countries like Spain, England and India were attacked by terrorists, they responded using their justice system instead of military action,” he said. “We should’ve done the same, but we got caught up in Bush’s unjustified idea of what was going on.”

Best known for his investigative journalism, Hersh received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his exposure of the My Lai Massacre, in which the U.S. government covered up the killing of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians at the hands of American soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Stephen Sonnenberg, adjunct professor for the University’s Humanities Institute, said few individuals have the courage and conscious to expose a government that is acting against its society’s culture.

“It takes a very special person to uncover what Seymour did,” Sonnenberg said. “Optimism is an evolutionary phenomenon, and his work pushed for it.”

Summarizing the United States’ current relationship with the Middle East, Hersh said the Obama administration hopes to get out of Afghanistan before being “the last to die,” and Pakistan is under control. He said Syria is “an ugly picture,” and Iran and the U.S. want to avoid a preemptive Israeli attack against Iran.

“The Israelis have pulled down our pants,” he said. “We are just playing checkers while they are playing poker.”

Hersh is known for criticizing the U.S. government in his books on the war on terrorism. The United States should not be deemed a reflection of presidential decisions that were not fully thought out, Hersh said.

“We are not morally bankrupt,” he said. “We just have lousy leadership.”

Hersh praised today’s youth and said the Arab Spring was proof that younger individuals are learning that the key to bringing down an oppressor is in organizing themselves against it, even if it’s through Facebook and Twitter.

A governmental crackdown on the First Amendment through laws being passed in Congress will leave society on the streets, but the internet’s impact on the industry already has everyone running around, he said.

Hersh’s uncanny ability to find factual information not presented by the government or the press demonstrated society’s misguidedness, said Julius Glickman, UT alumnus and founder of the lecture series.

“His knowledge is proof that we aren’t getting as many of the facts as we need to make the right decisions,” Glickman said. “We need 10,000 more journalists like him.”