The LBJ School remembers Julius Whittier (MPAff ’76) | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Longhorns’ first African-American man to letter in football passed away on Tuesday morning.

The University of Texas at Austin lost one of its historical figures, trailblazers and true Longhorn Legends with the passing of Julius Whittier on Tuesday morning.

A San Antonio native and 1969 Highland High School graduate, Whittier was the Longhorns' first African-American athlete to letter in football and among the first African Americans to receive a football scholarship when he came to UT in 1969.

Whittier’s tenure at UT paved the way for other black athletes. Running back Roosevelt Leaks was recruited in 1971, Earl Campbell in 1974.

During Whittier’s time at UT, President Lyndon B. Johnson invited him to his ranch. During lunch, President Johnson recommended that Whittier continue his studies at the university’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

"That's when I first learned what the LBJ School was all about," Whittier said. "I say this earnestly, but the president told me specifically that he would enjoy knowing that I had at least examined the program at the School."

Whittier followed Johnson’s advice, enrolled and graduated from the LBJ School in 1976. He eventually graduated with three degrees: an undergraduate degree in philosophy, a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School and a law degree from Texas.

For much of his career, he worked as a senior prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney's office before retiring in 2012. He earned a spot in the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 2013, and in August was inducted into the San Antonio Independent School District Hall of Fame.

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We have lost two very interesting people from the Class of 76 in the last few months. First, Frank Sturzl, a formidable intellect and great sense of humor. Now Julius, who had multiple talents. Who knew a football player was also a ballet dancer and loved the art of it. He will be well remembered by his classmates and the larger UT community.

When I returned to UT in 1973, my husband and I rented a duplex in East Austin. Julius Whittier rented the other side. He was fun, funny, and so interesting. I’m so sorry to hear of his death. I went on to LBJ School, class of 1978, but Julius added law AND he met LBJ.

So sorry to hear of the passing of both my classmates. We were a small class who spent much time together. My sincere sympathies to both of their families and friends.

Frank was a dear friend of mine and I hated hearing of his passing. I was honored to get to know Julius too and am surprised that that we are losing him so young. Julius was sweet, straight forward and serious. My heart goes out to both families and to the LBJ School family who knew them both.

Those of us from the Class of 1979 had good examples to follow in each of these men. May they rest in peace.