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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Statement on analysis by Moody’s Investors Service

Please see the following joint statement from Regents Chairman Paul Foster and Regent Jeff Hildebrand, regarding the recent analysis by Moody’s Investors Service.

"While we are disappointed that Moody’s Investors Service chose to portray last week’s censure of UT System Board of Regents member Wallace Hall as a “credit negative” for the System, we strongly disagree with the characterization that governance struggles have hampered the Board’s ability to implement key initiatives and that the UT System lacks a unified strategic direction.

"It is important to point out that the UT System not only holds an Aaa rating – the highest possible rating from Moody’s – but also AAA ratings from Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s Corporation. We are the nation’s second-largest system of higher education with operating revenue of $15 billion and cash and investments of $30 billion. And, as Moody’s points out, our many financial strengths, including a robust reporting infrastructure, careful monitoring of business lines, and strong fiscal stewardship, support a stable financial outlook. Philanthropy continues to be at an all-time high and this Board’s investments in UT institutions, and UT Austin specifically, are unprecedented, including providing more than $500 million in additional funds beyond UT Austin’s regular revenue stream from the Available University Fund to support initiatives like recruitment and retention of star faculty and new student programs.

"The Board of Regents has recently enacted changes to its operating procedures to assure the most efficient and effective governing practices possible, especially in the areas of public transparency and accountability. We will soon be announcing a search committee to identify stellar candidates to succeed UT Austin President Bill Powers. We are confident that we will find a distinguished and capable leader for this job, just as we were able to identify an internationally renowned leader and true American hero, Adm. William H. McRaven, as the sole finalist for the position of chancellor.

"Once appointed, Adm. McRaven will succeed Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., through a structured transition plan with Chancellor Cigarroa leading the System through the end of 2014. Also, Bill Powers will serve as president of UT Austin until June 2015, allowing ample time to identify new leadership.

"It is time all UT supporters unify their focus on what matters most:  Providing a world-class education for students at UT institutions, expanding medical education and high-quality healthcare throughout Texas, and supporting life-changing research that provides benefits for all of society."

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds


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