This year’s Gone To Texas program welcomed more than 8,500 incoming freshman and transfer students, the largest student influx in UT’s history, on Tuesday night on the Main Mall.
President Greg Fenves along with Student Government President Kevin Helgren and Student Government Vice President Binna Kim greeted the students.
“Gone To Texas is a rite of passage for every new student,” Fenves said. “Welcome to the Longhorn family, and welcome to the journey that will shape the rest of your lives.”
President Fenves also took a selfie while on stage, documenting the large audience.
Helgren then took the stage to greet the new Longhorns.
“Whether you are an incoming freshman, a transfer student, a Dell Medical student … you all from this point moving forward have something in common,” Helgren said. “You all have Gone
Helgren said Gone To Texas is the start of what will hopefully be an incredible four-year journey.
“It’s really a giant pep rally that aims to excite the incoming class,” Helgren said.“This marks the beginning of their opportunity to go out and change the world.”
Sergio Cavazos, president of the Senate of College Councils, spoke about the core values of the University and the student honor code, something he said he is very passionate about.
“You are now a part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” Cavazos said.
Prior to speaking, Cavazos said as a freshman, Gone To Texas was the first moment that he truly felt a part of the campus.
“It really builds that sense of community that we all find here on the 40 Acres,” Cavazos said.
“Be comfortable in your own skin on campus and really get involved as much as you can. Know that it’s okay to fail. If things don’t work out, eventually they end up working themselves out,” Cavazos said.
Acting freshman Brandon Pegram said he went to Gone To Texas because of the tradition.
“During my first year at UT, I expect a lot of changes in my life,” Pegram said. “I expect to move forward and to progress as a person.”
Pegram said he is a bit nervous about his classes, living on his own and the new campus carry law, but is excited to be a Longhorn.
“I just love being here and I’m glad that I came to Texas.” Pegram said.
Rhetoric and writing freshman Paige Kubenka said the event helped her feel more connected to her classmates.
“It was a really amazing experience to see all of my incoming class gathered together in front of the Tower,” Kubenka said. “It made me feel like part of this community, this family, to be able to sing ‘The Eyes of Texas’ with my classmates as the Tower was lit with our graduation year.”