JUNE 2014

Message from Dr. Vincent

Dr. VincentMany of you may not know the University Interscholastic League (UIL) is a unit within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. It is one of the ways the division extends its reach statewide, serving nearly every school district in the state. Started at The University of Texas at Austin in 1913, UIL enhances the educational experience of students through its academic, music and athletic contests.

Ask anyone who grew up in Texas about UIL and you are sure to elicit memories of UIL and visits to Austin for state competitions. UIL is truly a Texas tradition and we're pleased to have them in our division. In this issue you will read about two UIL essay competitions, the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Contest and the Latino Essay Contest. These competitions represent ways UIL has diversified its offerings in recent years, attracting more students than ever into the UIL family, including students at charter schools in the state.

Recently, the UIL Legislative Council made the difficult decision to move the state basketball tournament out of Austin to San Antonio in 2015. There has been concern the past several years about the lack of hotel space in Austin during the state basketball tournament, held in March. In recent years South by Southwest has been scheduled at the same time, making hotel space limited and at a premium.

We think the move for one year will give university and city leaders time to work with local groups and UIL officials to avoid scheduling conflicts and prepare for new hotel projects to be completed. We have been proud to host the UIL basketball tournaments on campus for nearly a century. Our campus and our city remain great locations for athletes and fans from around the state, and we look forward to hosting the tournament for the long term.

GJV signature
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
W.K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership
Professor of Law


DDCE Shares Stories of Integration with the Launch of the As We Saw It Project

As We Saw ItThe Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) is committed to creating spaces and cultivating conversations that support an inclusive and diverse campus community. These efforts are vital and timely, as the country engages in important conversations on civil rights and renegotiates institutional and political practices of equality, fairness and access. The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) with the help of DDCE is proud to be a part of the dialogue, and in some ways, leading the conversation.

Starting this June, DDCE will elevate the conversation through the launch of As We Saw It: The Story of Integration at The University of Texas at Austin. With the help of long-time Austin resident and writer Louise Iscoe and the Precursors—the first African American students to attend UT Austin— every month we will post a new segment on the history of integration with stories about the African-American students, faculty and others who demonstrated courage and convictions that helped shape UT Austin into the institution it is today.

Although DDCE's primary focus is on the future of equality, access, and social justice, we cannot forget the past as it plays a vital role in informing our future. John Lewis said it best at this year's monumental LBJ Civil Rights Summit, "we can't re-remember things incorrectly, or past hurts and misguidances will continue to lead us." Such words are ever important given the Fisher v. University of Texas case and the social and academic ramifications that will result when a final decision is made. DDCE is committed to helping document these oral histories and sharing these significant stories to encourage reflection and evoke forward movement.

We invite you to join us on this historical journey. Visit As We Saw It for monthly stories, photo galleries and updates here: http://ddce.utexas.edu/integration/. For questions about the project or to share stories or feedback, please email Virginia A. Cumberbatch at vacumberbatch@austin.utexas.edu.

Sit-in on The Drag White and African American students gather inside on of the many white only restaurants on the Drag (Guadalupe street) for a sit-in protest. (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History)

GAACC, Ko, Varghese and Souer Honored at Community Leadership Awards

On May 28, The University of Texas at Austin held a Community Leadership Awards ceremony and reception at the Asian American Resource Center, sponsored by President Bill Powers and Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community Engagement. Awards were presented to the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC) and three individuals: Ramey Ko, Lesley Varghese and Channy Soeur.

CLA photo collage

The GAACC drives local economic growth for businesses with ties to Asia and Asian Americans. It gives a platform and a voice to small Asian businesses and connects them with larger businesses. The chamber is also involved with the City of Austin and other multi-ethnic chambers of commerce to promote economic development and diversity. Business transparency, diversity and inclusion, respecting cultural differences and mentoring and education are included in the GAACC's' core values. Read more.

CLA GroupshotDr. Madeline Hsu, Channy Soeur, Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Marina Bhargava, Rashed Islam, Ramey Ko and Lesley Varghese

Texas High School Students Help Preserve Legacies through UIL Essay Competition

UIL Recognizes Top State Finalists in African American and Latino History Essay Competitions

As a unit of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE), the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has been hosting the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition and the Latino Historical Essay Competition for several years now. The essay contests not only serve to encourage and develop high school student writing skills, but provide opportunity to explore, appreciate and connect to largely untold historical narratives of underrepresented cultural groups in the state of Texas.

UIL Barbara Jordan Finalists

Both competitions are open to all students in grades 9-12 attending UIL member high schools. Founded in 1995 as an event sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin, the competition provides students an opportunity to explore the contributions of African Americans to Texas history, as well as honoring the legacy of its namesake, Barbara Jordan.

UIL Latino History Finalists

The theme of the competition is "African Americans in Texas: Past and Present." Likewise, the Latino Historical Essay Competition, founded in 2011 by DDCE focuses on the "historical and cultural legacies of Latinos in Texas history."

This year's competitions offered an array of entries ranging from stories of hometown heroes of South Texas working to transform the medical care of the Latino community to the retelling of legendary firsts for African Americans in the fields of medicine and aerodynamics. Each State Finalist demonstrated the power of history and lasting legacy. Read more.


June 23: Adam K. Troy to Speak on The Power of Entrepreneurships

Adam K. TroyExecutive, social entrepreneur and Morehouse College alumnus Adam K. Troy will speak at The University of Texas at Austin on Monday, June 23, at 3:00 p.m. in Main 212.

Troy's presentation, "Lessons Learned: The Power of Entrepreneurships," is free and open to the public.

His expertise includes aligning government and private sector interests with that of community residents' and non-profit organizations toward the improvement of well-being and overall quality of life for residents in the communities where he works. Troy's success with profitable projects involving multiple partnerships among corporations, government, faith-based entities, and community groups has often been cited as a viable real-world approach to community partnerships grounded in market based realty. His program design and management experience spans a range of populations and indicators in such areas as: home ownership, financial literacy, youth leadership, and employment. Read more.

June 23: Colony Park Family Fun Fest

Colony Park Family Fun FestThe City of Austin and its community partners— including the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas— at Austin invite Northeast Austin residents to celebrate the final Master Plan for two large tracts of publicly owned land by participating in a free Family Fun Fest June 23.

The Family Fun Fest will include a Colony Park Master Plan Open House and a Community Resources Fair from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Facility and the adjacent grounds of the Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

The open house will allow the community to see how its ideas and preferences for the area translate into a Master Plan that will go to the Austin City Council in early fall. The Master Plan focuses on 208 acres of publicly-owned land off Loyola Lane as well as 93 acres of adjacent City-owned parkland.

The Family Fun Fest will include food, music, and an opportunity for residents to interact with local service vendors to receive information on educational, health, and social services, safety, and adult/youth programs. Read more.

June 27-28: Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color Hosts Student Leadership Summit

The Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of ColorThe Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color will host its inaugural male student leadership summit on June 27-28 on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin.

The Consortium is a statewide network of school districts, community colleges and public universities that was launched last summer in an effort to leverage their collective expertise to advance research on best practices to improve educational outcomes for male students of color.

This two-day summit, to be held at the Student Activity Center at UT-Austin, is an invitation-only event designed to build fellowship among Consortium member institutions as well as bring together emerging student leaders from across the state of Texas.

The summit agenda will focus on building leadership, networking, and career skills among young men of color enrolled at Consortium institutions across the state. It will feature two workshop tracks; a professional track focused on best practices and research dissemination on men of color, and a student track featuring workshops on leadership and career development. The summit will also feature two keynote speakers: Mr. Marco Davis from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and Dr. Luis Ponjuan, associate professor at Texas A&M University. Davis' appearance comes on the heels of President Obama's recently launched My Brother's Keeper Initiative focused on young men and boys of color. Read more.

Editor: Leslie Blair. Web: Jason Molin

DDCE Facebook  DDCE Twitter

Give Now

What Starts Here Changes the World: The University of Texas at Austin