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Support outstanding students while honoring Bill Powers’ UT legacy with Longhorn-branded shoes for dads and grads.

By the time he steps down in June, President Bill Powers will have served more than nine years building support for affordable and accessible higher education, recruiting a diverse student body and faculty, reforming the undergraduate core curriculum, and bolstering UT’s position as a world-class institution.

Those who follow him will have big shoes to fill.

President Powers

President Bill Powers signs paperwork establishing a new scholarship in his name. Joining him are Vice President for Student Affairs Gage Paine and student leaders Austin Martel and Geetika Jerath.

With that in mind, the student-led Senate of College Councils is honoring Powers’ legacy by establishing the William Powers Jr. Endowed Scholarship. And to help the endowment grow, the campus-wide group has commissioned a classy men’s shoe — all proceeds of which will directly support the scholarship.

Geetika Jerath, an international relations/global studies major and 2014-15 president of the Senate, says Powers has frequently gone the extra mile to be responsive to students’ needs.

“His advocacy on our behalf has seen the passage of such initiatives as the Texas Exes’ Forty Acres Scholars Program, which brings the very highest achievers to UT,” Jerath says. “Under his leadership, student research opportunities have grown tremendously, the School of Undergraduate Studies was created, new degrees were added, and career services expanded.”

Like many other students, the members of the Senate of College Councils understand and appreciate the importance of philanthropy on campus. The group has a tradition of awarding scholarships to students based on merit, need, and leadership qualities.

The students have been working for some time to replace the senate’s non-endowed scholarship budget with a permanently endowed fund. Honoring Powers as his presidency ends presented a timely opportunity to make that change.

While donations have recently surpassed the $50,000 threshold that will allow endowment proceeds to begin supporting both undergraduate and graduate students in the fall of 2016, additional gifts are welcome to bolster the fund and the support it can offer students.

Meanwhile, urban studies major Austin Martel, the senate’s development chair, has spearheaded efforts with the Allen Edmonds shoe company to develop the unique Longhorn-branded Oxford style shoe.

Further student involvement came when an upper-division class taught by Ben Bentzin in the McCombs School of Business was enlisted to prepare a marketing plan targeting alumni, students, and their parents. The shoe is now available exclusively at the University Co-op, both in stores and online.


These Longhorn-branded shoes, available at the Co-op, benefit a scholarship that will be given based on merit, need, and leadership.

“For alumni, we plan on advertising through the Alcalde and showing the shoes to the Texas Exes chapters,” Martel says. “For students and their parents, we’re reaching out through various channels and hope that giving the shoes as a gift will become a graduation tradition.

“It’s a great way to support students while honoring the legacy of President Powers and his active role in helping us succeed.”

Click here for more information on where to find these shoes.

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