Tradition of Service
A Tradition of Continuing Service to the University
Throughout the Society’s existence, Abbots and various alumni have called upon all Friars for the purpose of initiating special efforts on behalf of the University. The University of Texas, as a public institution, has perennially been underfunded in comparison to its peer institutions. This has left the university with large classes, less than desirable faculty and staff salaries, and, for a long period, rickshaw buildings. Friars have long recognized the needs of the University and have been the chief organizers of the University of Texas’ development efforts in the twentieth century.
College Loyalty Alumni Support Program
In the early 1960s, Friars led a statewide effort to secure greater appropriations from the Texas state legislature for all public institutions in the state, including the University of Texas at Austin.
Abbot Charles R. Gregg wrote Friars across the state in early 1960 to involve them in a grassroots information campaign to inform the public and, more important, candidates for legislative office of the problems facing the University. By the following year, this effort had been taken up by Friars Allan Shivers and J. J. “Jake” Pickle and christened as CLASP, or the College Loyalty Alumni Support Program.
Former Governor Shivers, as overall chairman of the effort, which included 20 public institutions across the state, challenged alumni to participate in annual giving to their alma maters, and he organized a fundraising drive on March 19-31, 1962.
Abbot Joe Peck engaged the active Friars and Austin alumni in the effort through a series of meetings with UT Chancellor Harry Ransom, UT Development Board Executive Director Jim Triola, and Ex-Students’ Association Executive Director Jack Maguire. Together they developed a comprehensive program for alumni involvement for the University entitled “Continuing Service to the University of Texas and the State of Texas.” It was presented to the Friar membership at the April 9, 1961, breakfast and was unanimously endorsed. Its five general goals have since been the core of the Ex-Students’ Association’s and the Society’s outreach efforts:
- To develop backing for state-supported higher education in Texas
- To provide information for developing a better understanding of the state’s available fund, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the present division of the fund
- To cooperate with and assist the University Development Board to obtain greatly increased private gift support
- To develop the manpower inherent in our ex-students through wider support for the Ex-Students’ Association and its functions
- To facilitate recruitment of outstanding high school graduates for the University of Texas
Abbot Joe Peck also initiated an information campaign among Friar alumni whereby directors of UT departments and the dean of each college or school corresponded with alumni to inform them of current activities and future plans, as well as solicited contributions for various programs.
Friars as UT System Regents
Aside from development efforts, Friar alumni serve as University of Texas System regents and, when asked by the governor, submit and review nominees for the Board of Regents. It has been a rare occasion in the history of the University that at least one Friar alumnus has not been on the current Board. Some notable Friar regents include former governors Beauford Jester and Allan Shivers, Wales Madden, Lowell Lebermann, Pat Oxford, Cyndi Taylor Krier, and current regents Alex Cranberg and James D. Dannenbaum. Due to the good relationship between the Society and the Board, active Friars have regularly met with regents both formally and informally to discuss problems facing the University and to give student input on issues before the Board.