The Friar Society

of the University of Texas at Austin

Academic Excellence

Achievement Awards and Programs

Over the years, the Friar Society has contributed to the betterment of the University by establishing various awards and programs. The Society’s recruitment efforts, the Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship, the Tany Norwood Award, the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship, the Heman Sweatt Civil Rights Symposium, and the Edward S. Guleke Endowed Student Excellence Award are just a sampling of the Friar’s efforts to improve the University.

Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship

At the spring 1980 Breakfast, Friar C. B. Smith challenged members to establish a Friar-endowed professorship as a gift from the Society to the University in honor of the University’s Centennial in 1983. With his initial contribution of $10,000, along with $90,000 from fellow Friars and a $100,000 matching contribution from the UT System Board of Regents, an endowment was established. Following discussions with Friars Thomas Law, Allan Shivers, Lowell Lebermann, and John Hill, the group decided to dedicate the award to undergraduate teaching excellence, and the name “Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship” was christened.

The awardee is selected annually by a committee consisting of active and alumni Friars, and is recognized as the best undergraduate teacher at the University. The selection progress is rigorous, involving nominations by fellow faculty and students, examination of Course-Instructor Survey data, classroom observations, and interviews with current and past students.

The Centennial Teaching Fellowship Committee makes a recommendation to the president of the University, who makes the final decision. A $25,000 fellowship is then awarded in an ad-hoc “classroom interruption” ceremony, involving Friars, fellow faculty, administrators, and the media. The first recipient of the fellowship was Professor Robert Prentice of the Business School (1986-87).

Tany Norwood Award

In Fall 2006, the Friar Society created an award to recognize outstanding contributions to student life made by a staff member or an administrator. The annual award was named the Tany Norwood Award after the organization’s longtime advisor and assistant dean of students. Nominations are welcome from any member of the university community. The recipient is announced at the annual Friar cocktail reception.

Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship

To be a world-class institution, the University must attract world-class lecturers to speak to the University community on a regular basis. It was with this goal in mind that Friar Janet Bauerle led a consortium of eight student organizations on campus in 1980 to create the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship.

In addition to the Friar Society, Friar Bauerle included the Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa (now defunct), Orange Jackets (women’s honorary service and spirit organization), Silver Spurs (men’s spirit organization), Spooks (now the Texas Spirits, women’s spirit organization), Texas Cowboys (men’s honorary service and spirit organization), Texas Posse (now defunct), and Senior Cabinet (now the Cabinet of College Councils).

Funding was raised by the participating organizations as well as by an optional $1 “Dollar for a Scholar” student fee that was collected during the University’s Centennial.

The first Centennial Lectureship speaker, Bill Moyers, was brought to campus in March 1985. He gave an open lecture to students, made himself available for lunch with students, and spoke to various classes University-wide. The endowment provided for speakers in following years, but it was abandoned in 1992. In the fall of 1999, Friar Ted Bosquez led a campus effort to restart the Centennial Lectureship, bringing General Colin Powell to campus in the fall of 2000.

Heman Sweatt Civil Rights Symposium

In the spring of 1985, Friar Randy Bowman spoke at the semester Friar breakfast about the need for a memorial to Heman Sweatt, UT Law School’s first African-American student, in order to counteract the widespread lingering perception among Texas high school students of the University as a racist school.

After formulating a proposal for an annual civil rights symposium with fellow Friar and former Black Students’ Association president Darrick Eugene, the Heman Sweatt Civil Rights Symposium was approved and endorsed as a joint project of the Friars and the BSA.

Since 1987, the Sweatt Symposium has engaged the campus in dialogue about race and civil rights through a two-day seminar held each spring. With the growth of the University’s Multicultural Information Center, an umbrella support center for minorities on campus, the Society no longer plays a key role in the planning and organization of the event, but it is still an attraction for many students.

Edward S. Guleke Endowed Student Excellence Award

Friar Ed Guleke was tragically killed in a 1976 accident during a mountain climbing trip over Mt. McKinley. As a student, Friar Guleke was the epitome of student excellence at the University, actively involved in Alpha Phi Omega, the Student Association, Omicron Delta Theta, and as an Orientation Advisor. His scholarship was exceptional as well, as Ed was named Phi Beta Kappa and was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist.

In memory of Ed Guleke’s dedication to the university and personal excellence, his friends and the Society established the Edward S. Guleke Endowed Student Excellence Award in his honor. The award is given each spring to one student who demonstrates the student excellence exemplified by Friar Guleke.

Leaving Their Mark

This account of the Society’s service to the University would not be complete without mention of the many contributions to the improvement of the University by Friars while they are active students.

Because the chief criteria for membership in the Friar Society is the accomplishment of a significant contribution, more than 600 projects have been undertaken by Society members since its inception in 1911. From the founding of key campus organizations such as the Texas Cowboys and the Neighborhood Longhorns service organizations, to the construction of Memorial Stadium, the Student Services Building, the Texas Union, and the Student Activity Center, Friars have left their mark on the University, and they will continue to do so.