Dean Robert Hutchings Focuses on Changing Global Dynamic, Importance of Being ‘Change Agents’ in Building Dedication Address
March 24 Dedication Ceremony Opens Three-Day’ LBJ School Homecoming Celebration’
AUSTIN, Texas-- March 25, 2010-- LBJ School of Public Affairs hosted a formal building dedication, Wednesday evening, March 24, as the opening event of the School’s three day “Homecoming Celebration.” Participating in the program were William C. Powers, Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, Robert Hutchings, new dean of the LBJ School, Luci Baines Johnson, and James B. Steinberg, former dean of the LBJ School.
President Powers delivered opening remarks in which he expressed his thanks and appreciation to key individuals for their respective contributions to the success of the renovation project in addition to welcoming new dean Hutchings and returning alumni for the celebration.
"Today marks the kickoff of a three-day “LBJ School Homecoming Celebration.” We have much to celebrate. A new renovation. A new dean. And a special homecoming for LBJ alumni, family, and friends,” said Powers. “
In welcoming Dean Hutchings, Powers said, “We are indeed fortunate to have as our new dean an astute thinker and doer who will lead us into the next phase of the LBJ School.”
Dean Robert Hutchings, in his first public appearance as dean of the LBJ School, remarked that the dedication ceremony was “a time for celebrating change and innovation while also celebrating continuity,” referencing the presence of Former Dean James B. Steinberg and Luci Baines Johnson, who, according to Hutchings, brings to mind the ideals of public service that characterized President Johnsons’ life and work.
Additionally, he emphasized what an exciting time it was to be engaged in public policy. “We are on the cusp of the most profound shift in global power and influence a hundred years. We are witnessing a revolution in public affairs, as the ever-accelerating forces of globalization are rendering obsolete the old categories by which we mapped our world –east/west, north/south, developed/underdeveloped.”
According to Hutchings, those same forces are blurring the distinctions between issues we used to deem either international or domestic, as affecting the public or private spheres, and that the issues that are of most concern are simultaneously global and local.
“Understanding these forces in this new global context is the great challenge facing public policy schools,” said Hutchings. “…But our challenge is not just to understand and analyze but also to lead change – to prepare our graduates to be change agents, and to convey, through our research, solutions to the major challenges of our time.”
Hutchings concluded his remarks by referencing a quote from President Johnson “You will find meaning only by sharing in the responsibilities, the dangers, and the passions of your time.”
According to Hutchings, “The responsibilities, dangers, and passions may have altered somewhat since LBJ’s time, but the sentiment is every bit of inspiring – and challenging – as it was when he spoke those words.”
Additionally, President Powers took the opportunity to present an award of achievement to James B. Steinberg, former dean of the LBJ School, for all he has contributed to the School and the University during his time at the School.
Steinberg also spoke at the dedication, thanking President Powers and former president of the university, Larry Faulkner. Steinberg went on to put the importance of the building dedication into context and speaking of the opportunities the future holds for those in public service,
“I am specially pleased that this effort was achieved on the eve of the school’s 40th anniversary,” said Steinberg. “I think it’s an appropriate time to think about the future and what we can do together… I think that the LBJ School is positioned to make an enormous contribution to the challenges as we go forward into the future.”
According to Steinberg, the LBJ School is poised to meet global challenges with an unique confluence of multi-disciplinary skills.
“I think about all of the skills and talents that we have here,” said Steinberg. ‘Not just in the LBJ School, but the strong partnerships we have been able to build with the law school, the business school, and with the Jackson School, and all of the other elements of the UT community, the state and local government, the private sector and the local Austin community. There is simply no place else but this confluence of thinking and doing.”
Steinberg ended his remarks by formally welcoming the Dean and Mrs. Hutchings to the community.
“I have known Bob Hutchings a long time,” said Steinberg. “Our ships keep passing in the night as we keep going in and out of government. I am an enormous admirer of the contributions he has made both as an academic and as a public servant.”
The building dedication was the opening event of the three-day LBJ School Homecoming Celebration, March 24-26, marking the arrival of new dean, Robert Hutchings in addition to the official dedication of the newly renovated LBJ School building.
The celebration continues today, March 25, with the Hispanic Leadership Summit: “Education: the Key to Unlock our Future, ” a day-long examination of emerging policy issues, bringing together academic and prominent leaders from across the country, hosted by the Center for Politics and Governance. The summit will include panel discussions titled “Closing the Education Gap,” and “The Role of Universities in Developing the Next Generation of Leaders.” Events of March 24 and 25 are open to the public.
The homecoming celebration will conclude on March 26 with focus on LBJ students and alumni. Beginning in the morning, the School will host an “open house” for alumni who are invited throughout the day to tour the newly modernized LBJ School facilities. Current students will personally be conducting group tours as well. At noon, alumni from around the country will talk with current and admitted students about their experiences and careers working in various fields. The day culminates with a presentation by Dean Hutchings, to which the entire LBJ School community is invited, followed by the Dean’s reception, a “get to know you“ mixer hosted by Ambassador and Mrs. Hutchings at the LBJ School.
For more information on the three-day homecoming celebration, visit: http://lbj.utexas.edu/news/story/1019/
For more information on the LBJ School building renovation, visit: http://lbj.utexas.edu/about/facilities