June 2, 2017
The first University Leadership Network cohort is graduating — and beating the odds in the process.
At the Celebration of Leadership on May 4, university leaders joined ULN directors, coordinators and students to celebrate the end of the academic year and give special recognition to the Class of 2017 — the first to complete all four years of ULN programming.
When they arrived on the Forty Acres in August 2013, it was predicted that only 33% of the class would graduate in four years. This class is now expected to graduate at a rate 75% higher than predicted. Many students are starting jobs at companies like KPMG, St. David’s Medical Center and the Texas Legislature, and others have been accepted to graduate and doctoral programs at universities including Harvard and UC Berkeley.
At the Celebration, UT Austin President Greg Fenves lauded the accomplishments of ULN students. He said, “As a whole, 70% of ULN students are the first members of their families to go to college. That’s a very big deal. Being the first. You are the pioneers. You have set the standard, and now other members of your families will feel empowered to follow your path. That’s how progress happens. Brave, talented people venture where others have never been before. And then the world changes.”
Executive Vice President and Provost Maurie McInnis remarked on the unique experiential learning opportunities ULN students had in the 2016-17 academic year, including:
- 671 on-campus internships
- 515 off-campus internships
- 137 non-profit experiences/other projects
- 82 research positions
- 14 study abroad trips
“By the time you move on from the Forty Acres, you’ll have developed personally and professionally, explored your major and future career, taken on more responsibility — and, as a result, higher expectations — and prepared yourself to transition to the next phase of your life,” McInnis said.
Graduating seniors are leaving UT Austin with all that and more. Several members of the Class of 2017 were honored by departments across campus for their remarkable contributions to the UT Austin community:
- Raul Pineda was named the 2016-2017 President’s Student Employee of the Year
- Marilu Sanchez received both the Texas Parents Outstanding Student Award and the Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award from the Texas Exes
- LaDee Maxie was honored with the Heman Sweatt Legacy Award
- Gustavo Molinar and Tiffany Shelby were selected for the Dean’s Dozen by Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly
- Gustavo Molinar also was a finalist for the Texas Parents Outstanding Student Award, as was Santos Acosta
- And Gladys Acosta was recognized as one of Moody College of Communications’ 2017 Outstanding Graduates
ULN is a nationally recognized need-based scholarship program for students with demonstrated financial need who may be unprepared for the rigors of UT Austin. Leadership training, experiential learning opportunities and community and university service are at the forefront of the ULN experience, helping students develop skills consistent with graduating in four years.