The Longhorn Center for Community Engagement proudly hosts a free, monthly seminar in partnership with the Renaissance Retirement Center in Austin Texas. Invited speakers are leaders in their respective fields and represent a variety of academic departments throughout The University of Texas at Austin. Each presenter shares their recent research or academic interests and the implications of their work on society.
On Thursday, January 23rd, UT Finance Professor, Regina Hughes was the first guest lecturer of the year for the residents of the Renaissance Retirement Center. Professor Hughes hit the ground running with a heated debate and discussion that involved many of the residence thoughts and opinions to fill the room.
“Should college athletes get paid?” Professor Hughes asked as she passed around charts and graphs of UT’s own financial picture, and a summary of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel’s recent media attention. Inspired by an article written in Times Magazine featuring Manziel’s story, where he allegedly sold merchandise with his autograph, Professor Hughes felt the question was debatable, and wondered if Renaissance Residents felt the same.
Although this week’s crowd was dominated by women who are not typically interested in discussing sports, they were very involved and outspoken as to whether or not college athletes should be paid a salary by their universities. “They shouldn’t. They already get a right to education,” commented one resident. “They should get paid for their injuries,” rebutted another. “Players are making money for the university, why not get something?” said a third. Professor Hughes then detailed exactly how the athletic department makes their money—surprising the whole room with how much they make on a season alone.
The discussion then expanded to other topics related to finance, ethics, and college athletics . Residents touched on other sports and whether those athletes should get paid. Professor Hughes facilitated discussion on the special circumstances of UT’s trademark, on the new UT football coach, Charlie Strong, and even on UT’s new school of medicine and its potential benefits to the city of Austin.
Surprised by numbers, questions and opinions, the Renaissance Residents enjoyed the debate and exercises that Professor Hughes brought in for them. Many where outspoken of their opinions, while some sat quietly and internally debated the question. One way, or another, Professor Hughes had the crowd very involved and interested. At the end of the lecture, one resident approached Professor Hughes to compliment her by saying, “Can students choose their professors? Because I bet your class is always full!”
Professor Hughes loved the reaction from residents and how involved they all were. “I think they were surprised by the topic,” commented Professor Hughes, “but they were very engaged!”
If you would like to nominate a faculty member for the honor of serving as one of our guest lecturers for the Community Engagement Lecture Series, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.