Alumnus of the Year 2014


B.A. Chemistry, 1967

William Powers Jr. has worn many hats since earning his bachelor’s degree from Cal in 1967: Navy veteran, editor of the Harvard Law Review, legal consultant to the U.S. Congress and the Brazilian legislature, and ultimately, one of the leading academic administrators in the country. He is now president of the University of Texas at Austin, and in October 2013 begins his one-year service as chair of the Association of American Universities.

In 2001, Powers chaired a special committee investigating the financial transactions of Enron Corp. The final document, the eponymous Powers Report, is now considered the definitive study of the fiscal malfeasance that led to the downfall of Enron and foreshadowed the financial crises of the subsequent years.

One of the nation’s foremost scholars in personal injury and product liability, Powers joined the faculty of the University of Texas School of Law in 1977. He later served as dean of the law school and in 2006 was appointed president of the university. He also serves as UT’s Regent’s Chair in Higher Education Leadership.

As president, Powers has made great progress in transforming UT into one of the finest public research universities in the nation. Additionally, he has strengthened the undergraduate core curriculum, inaugurated the School of Undergraduate Studies, and aggressively recruited a diverse student body and faculty.