AUSTIN, Texas – New School of Social Work students entering the 2011 fall semester at The University of Texas at Austin were welcomed in grand style during the university’s traditional Gone to Texas celebration Tuesday, Aug. 23, on the Main Mall.
The annual program, held every year on the evening before classes begin, underscores what it means to be a Longhorn and highlights the academic mission of the university. It introduces new students, including incoming freshmen, transfer, graduate and law students, to the traditions of the institution and core purpose, values and honor code of the university.
Ramon Gomez, director of community affairs for the School of Social Work, also scheduled a program earlier in the evening at the school to welcome new students and introduce them to fellow social work students, faculty and staff. Last week, incoming students attended a series of orientation meetings for their respective degree programs – BSW, MSSW, Ph.D. Total school enrollment has increased by 35 percent over the last 10 years to more than 800 students.
“From Oregon to Florida and many places in between, this year’s incoming School of Social Work class is eager to begin this new chapter of their lives,” said Gomez.
“They bring in a wide range of interests from working with children and families to working to eliminate poverty. They also bring a strong commitment to social justice. They’re ready to transform lives.”
Gomez said one of the new students told him, “Now that I have ‘Gone To Texas,’ I am ready to change the world.”
The Gone to Texas theme is inspired by a chapter of Texas history. More than 200 years ago, as adventurers pulled up stakes seeking a fresh start, three letters etched on homestead doors revealed their destination. “GTT” was written on the doors of people indicating they had “Gone to Texas.”
The event, presented by the Office of the President with support and sponsorship of the University Co-op, featured greetings from student leaders and President William Powers Jr. and included performances by student groups showcasing the diversity of the university community and the range of opportunity available to students.