excerpt from daily texan, march 2, 1993

A two-year member of the UT System Board of Regents pledged Monday to "make the UT system a paradigm for what a great university system should be" after being elected chairman of the board. Waco businessman Bernard Rapoport was unanimously elected to a two-year term as regent chairman in an executive session meeting of the board. Ellen Temple of Lufkin and Lowell Lebermann of Austin were elected vice chairs of the board. Rapoport emphasized the need to make college accessible for all qualified students and to improve the quality of teaching and education in the UT system.

"I would like to see any qualified child come to the UT System who wants to," Rapoport said. "That is the first commitment a democratic society has to its constituents." Rapoport was appointed to the board by Gov. Ann Richards in 1991. He succeeds Louis Beecherl, whose term expired in February.

Both Rapoport and UT System Chancellor William Cunningham said they were not overly concerned about impending state budget cuts or their effects on the UT System."It's no problem," Rapoport said. "The vast majority of our legislators are very intelligent and share our commitment to higher education." Cunningham said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the budget.

Rapoport added that he wanted to establish a new commitment to minorities in the UT System. "It shouldn't matter what gender, race, color or creed a person is," he said.

Monday was the first meeting for three new Richards appointees: Lebermann, Peter Coneway of Houston and Martha Smiley of Austin. Smiley said she was "very much" looking forward to serving on the board. "It is an honor to serve on such a great institution," she said. Rapoport said the current board was about as good as anyone could assemble.