New East Mall Project Exhibit, March 20-31

Dear UT Community, 

As President Hartzell shared in a campus-wide announcement last fall, an exciting initiative continues to move forward to reimagine the East Mall landscape as a celebration of the history, legacy, and impact of the Precursors, UT’s first generation of Black students. 

Led by UT’s Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative (CCI) and in partnership with the globally renowned non-profit firm MASS Design Group, the East Mall project honors those who opened doors for future generations and educates our community about the Precursors’ historical significance and the public history narratives that have defined our past. 

While CCI and Mass Design Group continue to make progress on the long-term vision and permanent design of the new East Mall space, I am pleased to announce a series of temporary exhibits and site activations, starting this spring, that are open to the public with the purpose of engaging our campus community on the social and environmental histories of the East Mall site, as well as offering a glimpse into what the site will become. 

The first site activation will be on display on the East Mall lawns adjacent to Speedway from March 20 to March 31. It will feature 118, 6-8 feet tall interactive markers that will allow people to walk through and view the names and photos of Precursors who enrolled in 1956 and those who have been interviewed in the University’s Precursors Oral Histories Project. Unique QR codes on each marker will link to detailed information about that Precursor, including photos, available interviews, archival information, and additional academic research related to the East Mall project that is currently being conducted by CCI. 

I hope you will find some time to visit the exhibit, interact with the markers and learn more about these extraordinary pioneers who helped shape UT and make it an institution accessible to all Texans. I encourage you to visit the Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative website for more information about this and future East Mall site activations. 


Sharon L. Wood
Executive Vice President and Provost

Messages from the Provost