Multiple UT alumni are keynote, featured speakers at SXSW conference

Fiza Kuzhiyil

Editor's Note: This story first appeared in The Daily Texan's March 10 print edition.

From the Forty Acres to the virtual stage, several UT alumni will be speaking at the 2021 South by Southwest online conference from March 16-20. One alumna will give a keynote presentation, or an hour-long presentation given by headlining speakers to set the tone or the “key note” for SXSW.

The Daily Texan compiled a list of the four notable alumni to watch at this year’s presentations. 

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey, UT Minister of Culture and Academy Award-winning actor, is a featured speaker this year. McConaughey, part-owner of the American professional soccer team Austin FC, will be in conversation with Don Garber, Major League Soccer commissioner. In the past two decades, Major League Soccer has changed North American soccer by engaging millennial and Generation Z fans. McConaughey and Garber will discuss how the League is increasing fan engagement and how Major League Soccer clubs are making their way into mainstream culture in North America.

Tune in Thursday at 10 a.m. CST to hear this conversation. 

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, a Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs alumna, is a keynote speaker this year. Abrams is a voting rights advocate and author of The New York Times bestselling novel “Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America.” She served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 11 years. In 2018, she became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, making her the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States.

She will be in conversation with author N.K. Jemisin on Tuesday, March 16 at 1 p.m CST. 

Emmanuel Acho

Emmanuel Acho, former Texas linebacker and Fox Sports host, will talk about digital inequities creating barriers to opportunity.  The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on societal inequities, and this session will discuss how to increase digital accessibility. Acho will join in conversation with Talia Milgrom-Elcott, founder and executive Director of 100Kin10; Trinity Thorpe-Lubneuski, senior director at Comcast; and Jessica Anderson, director of Strategic Giving at Dell Technologies. 

You can check out “Progress Starts With Us: Access and Inclusion For All” on Tuesday, March 16 at 11 a.m. CST.

Andy Langer

Andy Langer, UT alumnus and Texas Monthly writer-at-large, will be in conversation with Willie Nelson in a keynote session. Langer is also the afternoon host of Austin City Limits Radio. He will discuss Nelson’s musical career and his recent artistic endeavors in writing, business and activism.

You can listen to “Willie Nelson in Conversation with Andy Langer” on Wednesday, March 17 at 1 p.m. CST.