university system, Texas, United States

University of Texas, state university system based in AustinTexas, U.S. Branch campuses are located in Arlington (founded 1895), El Paso (1913), Edinburg (Pan American branch; 1927), Richardson (Dallas branch; 1961), Odessa (Permian Basin branch; 1969), San Antonio (1969), Tyler (1971), and Brownsville (1973). Health science centres are located at Tyler (1947), San Antonio (1969), and Houston (1972); the Medical Branch at Galveston (1881); the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (1941); the Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (1943).

At Austin, the largest campus (founded 1881) in the University of Texas System, about 100 undergraduate degree programs and about 180 graduate degree programs are available in 15 schools and colleges. The master’s degree programs in theatre and architecture are especially well regarded. The university awards about 75 doctoral degrees. It also has one of the largest academic library systems in the country (eight million books). More than 85 organized research units are housed on campus, including the Center for Biological and Medical Engineering, the Bureau of Economic Geology, the Institute for Neuroscience, and the Bureau of Business Research. Also on campus are the Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (with the presidential papers and memorabilia of the 36th U.S. president), and the Center for Studies in Texas History. Off-campus facilities include McDonald Observatory (dedicated 1939) on Mount Locke near Fort Davis and the Marine Science Institute (1946) on the Gulf of Mexico at Port Aransas. Enrollment at the Austin campus is almost 50,000, making it one of the largest university campuses in the United States; total enrollment for the system as a whole exceeds 215,000.

Lawmakers of the republic and the state of Texas made several attempts to establish a state university, beginning in 1837. The state constitution of 1876 provided an endowment, and the state legislature in 1881 established a campus at Austin and a medical branch at Galveston. The University of Texas at Austin opened in 1883, and the Medical Branch opened at Galveston in 1891. The tower of the Main Building, a distinguishing feature of the campus, was erected in 1937. In 1966 a student atop the tower shot and killed 16 people and wounded 31 before he himself was killed by a police officer. Oil was discovered on university lands in west Texas in the early 1920s.

Zoologist and cytologist Theophilus Shickel Painter joined the faculty of the University of Texas in 1916 and became president in 1946. Notable alumni and faculty members include Nobel Prize-winning geneticists Joseph L. Goldstein and George Davis Snell, astronauts Alan L. Bean and Robert Laurel Crippen, sociologists Charles Wright Mills and Kingsley Davis, inventor George Washington Pierce, linguist Hans Kurath, political scientist V.O. Key, Jr., ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, Nobel Prize-winning physician E. Donnall Thomas, and long-jumper Bob Beamon.

universityinstitution of higher education, usually comprising a college of liberal arts and sciences and graduate and professional schools and having the authority to confer degrees in various fields of study. A university differs from a college in that it is usually larger, has a broader curriculum, and offers graduate and professional degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees. Although universities did not arise in the West until the Middle Ages in Europe, they existed in some parts of Asia and Africa in ancient times.

Early universities

The modern Western university evolved from the medieval schools known as studia generalia; they were generally recognized places of study open to students from all parts of Europe. The earliest studia arose out of efforts to educate clerks and monks beyond the level of the cathedral and monastic schools. The inclusion of scholars from foreign countries constituted the primary difference between the studia and the schools from which they grew.

The earliest Western institution that can be called a university was a famous medical school that arose at SalernoItaly, in the 9th century and drew students from all over Europe. It remained merely a medical school, however. The first true university in the West was founded at Bologna late in the 11th century. It became a widely respected school of canon and civil law. The first university to arise in northern Europe was the University of Paris, founded between 1150 and 1170. It became noted for its teaching of theology, and it served as a model for other universities in northern Europe such as the University of Oxford in England, which was well established by the end of the 12th century. The Universities of Paris and Oxford were composed of colleges, which were actually endowed residence halls for scholars.

These early universities were corporations of students and masters, and they eventually received their charters from popesemperors, and kings. The University of Naples, founded by Emperor Frederick II (1224), was the first to be established under imperial authority, while the University of Toulouse, founded by Pope Gregory IX (1229), was the first to be established by papal decree. These universities were free to govern themselves, provided they taught neither atheism nor heresy. Students and masters together elected their own rectors (presidents). As the price of independence, however, universities had to finance themselves. So teachers charged fees, and, to assure themselves of a livelihood, they had to please their students. These early universities had no permanent buildings and little corporate property, and they were subject to the loss of dissatisfied students and masters who could migrate to another city and establish a place of study there. The history of the University of Cambridge began in 1209 when a number of disaffected students moved there from Oxford, and 20 years later Oxford profited by a migration of students from the University of Paris.

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