SAC to be renamed after former UT President Bill Powers

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bill Powers

The Student Activity Center, one of the most popular student spots on campus, will be renamed after former UT President Bill Powers.

The UT System Board of Regents approved renaming the building as the William C. Powers Jr. Student Activity Center during a meeting Aug. 14. The formal dedication ceremony of the building will be held on campus in the fall, according to a press release.

“There could be no greater tribute than ... to have thousands of students pass through the halls of the Powers Student Activity Center,” UT President Gregory Fenves said during the board meeting. “The Powers Student Activity Center will be a daily reminder to our campus that the success of the University of Texas is the success of our students.”

President William J. Powers died in March at the age of 72. He served as UT’s president from 2006 to 2015 and was a faculty member at the UT School of Law for over 40 years. 

During his time as president, he oversaw Campaign for Texas, once the largest public university fundraising campaign in Texas history, the founding of Dell Medical School and the creation of the School of Undergraduate Studies.

Powers was also involved with the construction of 13 campus buildings during his tenure, including the SAC. During Powers’ first year as president, plans were approved for the SAC after decades of students lobbying for another student social site on campus.

“It’s very fitting that he is the person who established the student hub on campus, the SAC, because more than anything else, Bill dedicated his life and his career to UT students,” Fenves said. 

During the meeting, many regents spoke of their time with Powers on a personal and professional level and emphasized his dedication to his students. 

“He was all about the students, and when you walk that campus with Bill Powers, with his jeans and his good-lookin’ belt, he was like a magnet to those kids,” Regent Jodie Jiles said. “They were just all over him.” 

Janiece Longoria, vice chairman of the board, said Powers had an impact on those close to him. Longoria said she knew Powers when she was a student at the UT School of Law and he was a professor.

“Aside from all of those accolades, Bill Powers was an exceptional human being, and for anybody who had the privilege to know him, he was a loyal and true friend, a great husband, a wonderful father and a mentor to all his students,” Longoria said.