UATX LIVE Offers an Inside Look at a University of Austin Education
Admissions
Feb 21, 2024

UATX LIVE Offers an Inside Look at a University of Austin Education

UATX founders, faculty, supporters, and affiliates met with prospective students and parents during a weekend of events on campus and in downtown Austin.

Maggie Kelly
Maggie Kelly
University of Austin

'One hundred intrepid young people, some of whom are here tonight, are going to be in the founding UATX class of 2024,' said historian and founding University trustee Niall Ferguson.

The University of Austin’s prospective and accepted students have had a glimpse at what’s in store for the Fall 2024 founding class.

Over the weekend of February 9-11, UATX founders, faculty, staff, supporters, and affiliates engaged with students and parents during a weekend of events on and off campus. 

Mike Murphy, father of prospective student Ellie Murphy, experienced UATX Live alongside some 40 other families.

“I came into the weekend with modest expectations -- this is a brand new university after all -- and I came away deeply impressed with the faculty, administration, and founding leaders as well as with the physical space,” Murphy said.

“Everyone at UATX that we encountered was smart and warm and genuinely interested in my daughter and her academic interests,” he continued. 

“I have little doubt the team will be very successful in launching and growing a world-class university that will thrive and endure in educating and equipping the next generation of our nation's leaders in the fearless pursuit of truth.”

UATX Live speakers included Bari Weiss, founding University trustee and founder of The Free Press; journalist and head of strategy at The Free Press, Nellie Bowles; and Michael Shellenberger, a publisher of the Twitter files and the University of Austin’s CBR Chair of Politics, Censorship, and Free Speech.

In between speaker events and panels, families and guests toured UATX’s new campus at 6th Street and Congress Avenue.

The atrium of the University of Austin’s new Scarbrough campus in downtown Austin

Kicking off the weekend, Weiss spoke to economist and Harvard professor Roland Fryer on how his career and research on race and policing have challenged settled wisdom.

UATX founder Bari Weiss sits down with economist and Harvard professor Roland Fryer at UATX Live

“I want you to change the world,” Fryer told the audience of prospective students. 

“And you’re at the right place to get a good start to do so.”

On Saturday morning, students participated in seminars led by the University of Austin’s academic deans.  

Provost and Dean of Intellectual Foundations Jacob Howland introduced students to the cave allegory in Plato’s Republic as an image of the liberation from ignorance and prejudice that true education provides. Howland served as McFarlin Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tulsa and Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is the author of five books and one edited book, including two on Plato.

Down the hall, Dean of Arts and Letters Patrick Gray, a Shakespeare scholar with advanced degrees from Yale University, the University of Oxford, and the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, led small groups in dissecting philosophical perspectives on tolerance and violence. 

Meanwhile, Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics David Ruth, formerly an award-winning professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy, offered a seminar on chance and probability theory.

Dean of the Center for STEM David Ruth teaches a seminar during prospective student weekend 

Dean Morgan Marietta of the Center for Economics, Politics, and History, who taught at the University of Massachusetts Lowell for eleven years and studies the political consequences of belief, led a seminar on “Free Speech on Campus and Under the Constitution.”

Prospective student Dylan Wu reported his engagement with the faculty was “fantastically intellectually stimulating, and a night-and-day difference compared to my previous experience with colleges and universities.”

“The professors are all intellectually welcoming, and astonishingly well-spoken and learned,” Wu said.

Prospective student Dylan Wu (left) makes connections on campus 

Wu also said UATX Live “gave a good sense of what Austin life would be like for the students from out of town,” with attendees seeming “to really enjoy the Austin energy.”

Bari Weiss and Nellie Bowles discuss entrepreneurship and leadership at the Scarbrough campus

At a gathering Saturday evening, author, historian and founding University trustee Niall Ferguson looked ahead to the start of the University’s first academic year, now just a few months away. Ferguson received his PhD from Oxford University in England. He has taught at Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, NYU, and the London School of Economics. He is currently a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute.  

“One hundred intrepid young people, some of whom are here tonight, are going to be in the founding UATX class of 2024,” Ferguson told the group.

Historian Niall Ferguson discusses building the university anew

“We are in the midst of hiring world-class faculty to teach them, and to teach them to the highest possible pedagogical standards,” he said. 

“We’re going to set a new standard for excellence in the classroom.” 

Ferguson plans to teach a course during the University’s first year.

On Sunday, University founding trustee and Board Chairman Joe Lonsdale, managing partner of venture capital firm 8VC, welcomed students to a gathering with the UATX Talent Network at his Austin home.

UATX Chairman Joe Lonsdale (center left) discusses the future of UATX in conversation with Director of Special Programs Ben Crocker

“You’re here because you’re leaders,” Lonsdale told the students. As such, it is the job of UATX students to “keep society functioning” and renew civilization. 

That task begins this fall. Emma Shay-Tannas, who has accepted an offer to join the Fall 2024 entering class, said she is eager to begin.

“At UATX Live, conversations flowed seamlessly, time flashed by and no topic was left off the table,” she said of the weekend.

Accepted student Emma Shay-Tannas gets to know prospective future classmates

“Discussions from the seminar continued outside the classroom,” she said. “We forgot about our phones. The genuine interest that all the students had in listening to others was remarkable. I have never experienced such a concentration of people with that intellectual fire, passion and intensity.”

“After this weekend, I know that UATX is my home and I cannot wait to start.”

The University of Austin has a rolling admissions process. Students interested in applying can access the application at uaustin.org/apply.

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