History of the UT Austin College of Liberal Arts


UT Austin College of Liberal Arts boasts the largest number of majors than any other college within the institution. From social sciences to humanities, interdisciplinary fields, and foreign languages, students can choose from a wide array of degrees, depending on where they want to specialize. Regardless of their choice, all students can expect that the college will help them lead, communicate effectively, and ponder things from a critical perspective. Moreover, the College of Liberal Arts values citizenship, ethics, integrity, and global issues awareness, integrating them into their curriculum to produce top-class graduates.


The University's Old Main building in 1903

The College of Liberal Arts was born in 1883, the same year the flagship institution of the University of Texas System was founded in Austin. Its first departments began its humble beginnings in the Old Main Building.

Though the institution has run for over 130 years, it was only in 1970 when the College of Liberal Arts was formed, after the College of Arts & Sciences split into two, with the College of Natural Sciences being on the other end.

The move became controversial, which resulted in Regent Frank Erwin firing Dean John Silber, the Arts & Sciences head. Nevertheless, the separation proved to be momentous for both colleges, having been able to excel and achieve greater heights in their own rights.

Some of the notable alumni from the College of Liberal Arts include actor Eli Wallach, “Let the Great World Spin” author Colum McCann, Nobel Prize-winning writer J.M. Coetzee, chronicler Walter Prescott Webb, computer Scientist Robert Taylor, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and political consultant and commentator Paul Begala.

Paul Begala earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degree at UT Austin College of Liberal Arts, where he also taught briefly

Dorothy L. Gebauer Building (GEB)

Dorothy L. Gebauer Building is the home of the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office. Gebauer, the former Dean of Women, became a strong influence and inspiration for many students across several decades, and the building was named in her honor.

The old-fashioned structure is situated on the east of the Tower (the Main Building) at the heart of UT campus. The GEB, as shortly called, was designed and erected in 1904 by Coughlin & Ayres firm. Today, GEB stands as the oldest building within the original 40-acre area of UT Austin. Different study centers also occupied the building, from Journalism to Engineering, Geography, and Speech, at varying times.

In 1991, an elevator was set to be installed in the building. However, the structure was no longer deemed safe, and a proposal was raised to demolish GEB. Fortunately, it escaped terrible fate, and substantial renovations started in 1997 to save the building. Three years later, it has become the home of the College of Liberal Arts’ administrative offices.

Patton Hall (RLP Building)

A new building was erected in 2013 after the Old Main Building faced the wrecking ball in 1930. It boasts a total area of 200,000 square feet, able to shelter much of the Liberal Arts college under its roof. Various centers, programs, and centers are situated on the six floors of the RLP Building. From offices to labs, classrooms, meeting rooms to student lounges, all are equipped with cutting-edge technology, conducive for mingling, relaxing, and learning.

Final Words

We can expect that UT Austin College of Liberal Arts will continue to present their wide array of subjects to their learners in multifaceted perspectives, improve and polish their communication skills, equip them with both analytical and critical skills, and support them from both academic and personal interests. With that, the institution is surely set to make history and enliven its mission, serving as a good foundation to all of its students.

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