Junior second baseman Stephanie Ceo is fresh off earning the Big 12 Player of the Week honor after posting a .500 batting average to go along with her first career grand slam. As a team, Texas just swept Oklahoma State and will take on Baylor on Wednesday.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns are heading to Waco to kick off their final series of the season against the No. 16 Baylor Bears. The first game of the series will be on the road, and the final two will be played at home over the weekend.

Texas (35–14, 10–5 Big 12) is ranked third in the conference and is riding the momentum from its sweep of Oklahoma State. Baylor (37–13, 11–4) sits second in the conference and is coming off a sweep of its own over Kansas. With the NCAA Regional tournaments starting in a few weeks, this series is pivotal.

“We’re still in this conference battle,” said junior second baseman Stephanie Ceo. “We’re going to continue to fight, and we’re going to continue to play each and every game to our best ability.”

Ceo earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors Tuesday following her performance against Oklahoma State. She went 4-for-8 with a .500 batting average through the weekend, acquiring six RBI while blasting two home runs, one of which was her first career grand slam.

The sweep pushed Texas’ road win count to a program-best 13 games, and this is important for the Longhorns as they play their final road contest of the season Wednesday night.

“Whenever you go into an opponent’s home, there’s a little more of a challenge and a little bit different energy,” Ceo said. “We’re going in focusing on the little things that are going to help us achieve our ultimate goal.”

With Baylor’s pitching staff ranked second in the conference, boasting a team ERA of 2.44 and an ace in junior pitcher Heather Stearns, who leads the Big 12 in strikeouts with 208 through 167 innings pitched, Texas’ hitters will have to make adjustments to find success.

“We’re seeing what their pitchers throw a lot of and adjusting accordingly, making their strengths our strengths, so we can battle properly,” junior catcher Erin Shireman said.

One of Texas’ biggest strengths is its pitching staff, which has improved steadily throughout the season, Clark said.

Baylor has a team batting average of .324, the second best in the conference, and a couple of big hitters in sophomore infielder Ari Hawkins (.422 batting average) and freshman infielder Shelby Friudenberg (16 home runs), so the Longhorn hurlers will need their best stuff on hand this weekend. However, with a defense that Ceo calls relentless behind them, Texas’ pitchers don’t need to carry the load on their own.

“We have this mindset on defense that whenever a ball is put in play, we will make the stop,” Ceo said. “Our pitchers knowing that they have a defense behind them that will put its all into every play makes them more confident.”

After Wednesday’s game, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 at 7 p.m., the series will move to Austin on Saturday and conclude Sunday. It will be a good test for the Longhorns as they prepare for the postseason, Clark said.

“You have to take care of your opportunities when you have them,” Clark said. “As the season goes on, every win counts.”

Freshman pitcher Erica Wright pitched a one-hit shutout in Texas’ 11-0 win on Friday.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

After dropping two of three to Texas Tech last weekend, Texas bounced back to sweep Oklahoma State this past weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Freshman Erica Wright pitched a one-hit shutout to start the series off for Texas (35–14, 10–5 Big 12) to grab an 11–0 victory over Oklahoma State (21–31, 3–13 Big 12) on Friday.

“[Wright] was really just beginning to get into a groove,” head coach Connie Clark said. “I thought her velocity was exceptional tonight, and with her movement, she was locating the ball well.”

On the offensive end, Texas continued to display a solid hitting performance this weekend. Coming into the weekend, Texas had outhit its opponents, .342 to .251, and the team continued to do so against Oklahoma State, outhitting the Cowgirls, .413 to .164.

The Longhorns complemented Wright’s pitching efforts in the first game, connecting on 11 hits, including three home runs.

After junior center fielder Lindsey Stephens and freshman third baseman Randel Leahy hit back-to-back home runs in the first, junior second baseman Stephanie Ceo eagerly joined in on the fun. With bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Ceo blasted a grand slam to left-center, Texas’ sixth of the season, to put the Longhorns in position for another run-rule victory.

“We were ready to hit the field from pitch one, and we were ready to fight,” Ceo said. “All of the preparation at-bat happens in the dugout and once you get out there, you just keep your eye on the ball.”

Sophomore Tiarra Davis took the mound in the second game. Despite battling injury all season, she struck out four and brought her record up to 5–4.

“For Tiarra to get in five innings today from the circle was really exciting,” Clark said. “I don’t know if she had her best stuff physically today, but mentally, that’s as good as I’ve seen her.”

From the plate, Ceo homered again while Stephens and sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning each went 2-for-4 to lead the Longhorns to victory over the Cowgirls, 9–0.

“Man, [Ceo] just saw the ball all weekend and was one of our strongest hitters,” Clark said. “Really happy to get that production from the bottom of the order.”

The third game wasn’t much different. Wright kicked it off with five strikeouts, one hit and two walks in four innings to improve to 16–6. Before the end of the game, senior Gabby Smith and sophomore Lauren Slatten also saw the mound and earned two strikeouts apiece to lead Texas to a 7–2 victory.

“It was a goal today going in to get Gabby and Lauren a little work, and that was accomplished,” Clark said.

Photo Credit: Andy Nguyen | Daily Texan Staff

Startups are critical to major, established companies because they embrace risk to support new technologies and ideas, the founder of Dell Inc. said.

Students presented their own startups for products such as life-coaching apps and concussion-detecting mouth guards to investors — including Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. — at Longhorn Startup Program’s “Demo Day” on Thursday.

Dell said his company has grown to be the world’s largest startup since he first began the company at age 19 in his UT dorm room. There are hundreds of businesses within Dell Inc., because the company is willing to innovate and take risks on startups, Dell said.

“Big companies, as they grow — they tend to want to not take risks,” Dell said. “Our industry is changing so rapidly. I think it’s important to be able to go back to that risk-taking and embracing new ideas as a key thing.”

Dell said people in the U.S. are blessed to have a culture that embraces risk and innovation and allows people to try things, even if they aren’t guaranteed to be successful.

Professors Joshua Baer, Bob Metcalfe and Ben Dyer have taught the Longhorn Startup course, a class where students create startups to present at Demo Day, for the last four years. Baer said the class will change in a few ways next semester — such as including open pitches for ideas and “co-founder speed dating” — as he takes over as the course’s main professor.

“The fall seminar, in a lot of ways is going to be similar to what we have now — same great speakers that are coming in inspiring and sharing their stories and teaching students about what they’re working on,” Baer said. “The big difference is there won’t be a Demo Day in the fall, we’ll just do a Demo Day in the spring.”

Biochemistry senior Yousef Okasheh, who presented his startup during Demo Day, said his app “Who’s Hungry” makes it easier for friends to meet up and eat together. Okasheh said he gained inspiration for his app from Yik Yak, an anonymous group app.

“We plan on switching this market by influencing the student leaders on campus,” Okasheh said. “This was a tactic that was used by the app YikYak … and proved to be very successful for them due a very low user-acquisition cost.”

Martin Thompson, left, president and CEO of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, speaks about his experience as a high-level executive in the SAC on Thursday evening. He attributed his success to strong leadership and communication skills.
Photo Credit: Andy Nguyen | Daily Texan Staff

Martin Thompson, president and CEO of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, offered career advice to students at an on-campus talk Thursday. Thompson emphasized leadership and communication skills as important qualities that distinguish high-level executives from other employees.

“Learn how to write, learn how to speak and learn how to work with people directly,” Thompson said. “You need to have a know-how, but what separates people are the things above the know-how.”

According to Thompson, students should focus their leadership development around courage and integrity.  

“You need integrity because people need to be able to trust that they can follow your lead,” Thompson said. “You also need courage, because you are going to have to do some challenging things.”

Thompson shared the questions he asks when hiring individuals, which he formed while working in the sales department at Clorox bleach company.

“Can they work with other people effectively?” Thompson said. “Can they communicate? What kind of energy do they have?”

Business honors freshman Sai Yeluru said the McCombs School of Business structures its coursework so that students are required to develop their interpersonal skills.

“One of the classes that we are required to take is BA 324, which focuses on improving student’s writing and speaking skills,” Yeluru said.

Plan II freshman Kavi Shah said he realized the importance of interpersonal skills, such as communication and teamwork, in the business world after Thompson described his hiring practices.

“I used to think that communication and interpersonal skills were important only on the surface level and paled in comparison to academic achievements,” Shah said.

Thompson explained his concept of “know-how,” or necessary business knowledge, that serves as the basis for his decisions on who to hire.

“A marketer needs to know [about] consumer goods: product, price, promotion and placement,” Thompson said.

Thompson said Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, is his inspiration in the corporate world, because of Iger’s career path.

“He started as a weatherman, and it turns out that he is now running the biggest entertainment corporation in the world,” Thompson said. 

Thompson said his first job was carrying golf clubs as a caddy. He said Iger obtained the necessary skills to get to his current position.

“To go from one thing and ultimately grow, learn, develop and get broader perspective and end up in [Iger’s] position just says something.”

Photo Credit: Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

The path of an entrepreneur can be very risky to undertake, said Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

League, who spoke Wednesday at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, described the hardships of breaking into the entrepreneurial world at a talk that was part of UT Entrepreneurship week — a series of lectures designed to encourage students to develop their own businesses.

“You have to be prepared for the absolute worst — like bankruptcy, losing all your relationships and completely ruining your reputation.” League said. “Yeah, if you’re not comfortable with that, pick a different career path.”

An important rule for young entrepreneurs is that they be frugal with expenses, which includes self-education to save on expenses, League said.

“In the early days, instead of spending $20,000 on a lawyer, we learned to do contracts on our own,” League said. “It is possible, and vital, to learn any trade as an entrepreneur.” 

League pursued a career in engineering before he leased a movie theater at the age of 23 with no prior business knowledge. The theater failed after two years, but it provided an entrepreneurial education, League said.

“My wife and I spent $5,000 a year total on personal expenses,” League said. “We literally lived behind the big movie screen, and we would shower in the mop closet.”

After this, League moved to Austin to open Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. He revolutionized movie theaters by providing an eclectic movie selection and a dine-in experience, interview conductor Nick Spiller said. 

Promoting innovative ideas and programs is a key to success, according to League. He said an example of this would be showing international movies that would otherwise not have an American release.

“I worked at the Alamo Drafthouse, and we had a program that featured Asian films once a month,” finance sophomore Johnny Vo said.

The dine-in experience is a key feature of the Alamo Drafthouse, an idea that was rooted in entrepreneurial curiosity and willingness to find inspiration anywhere, according to League.

“My wife and I spent our honeymoon spying on a movie theater that partnered with restaurants,” League said. “We liked that as a distinguishing factor.”

When they attempted to get a wine license, they discovered there is a manner of discrimination against young entrepreneurs that is very rampant.

“I looked too young, so I had to hire a middle-aged white guy in a suit to get the license. Then, I had no problem,” League said. “You have to accept this discrimination is there — just learn to play it.”

The UT System Board of Regents authorized Mark Houser to become the CEO of the University Lands Office on Tuesday.

Houser, president and CEO of EV Energy Partners, LP and executive vice president and chief operating officer of EnerVest, Ltd, will be the first person named to the CEO position. The position was created “as part of a long-term plan to better manage and protect university lands,” according to a UT System press release.

The University Lands comprise 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas that the Texas Constitution in 1876 to provide support for higher education granted to UT and Texas A&M to provide support for higher education. The revenue from leases for gas and oil on the land have contributed to the Permanent University Fund, which is worth $17.5 billion today.

Jeff Hildebrand, Board of Regents member and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company, an independent oil and gas exploration company, said the changes in the way oil is extracted in the energy industry has led to the need for increased leadership.

“The dynamic of University Lands has changed, and our management philosophy should change accordingly,” Hildebrand said. “We need a leader and expert in the field to ensure we are managing the land efficiently and getting the most value from University Lands for the benefit of UT and A&M students for generations to come.”

A group made up of informal advisory experts and an energy management consulting firm called Opportune, hired by the UT System, made recommendations in 2013 about additional staff for the University Lands office. The recommendations were meant to improve the functionality of the office.

“We expect a significant return on an investment in leadership and additional staff in the University Lands Office, and that return will directly benefit UT and A&M institutions,” said Scott Kelley, executive vice chancellor for business affairs at the UT System.

Houser will be stepping down from his position at EV Energy Partners at the end of February.

Junior Stephanie Ceo is ready to step into a leadership role this season after posting a .348 batting average and 34 RBIs so far in her career at Texas.
Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

When Texas’ softball season ended at the NCAA Lafayette Regional final last May, its offense was struggling.

The Longhorns only managed four hits against Louisiana-Lafayette, with the lone score coming off a solo home run by senior Gabby Smith. 

But as the team heads into a new season, it has two veteran juniors returning in place to lead this season’s offense in the right direction.

Junior right fielder Lindsey Stephens and junior second baseman Stephanie Ceo are the only two players on the current roster who played in all 58 games last season.

Stephens, who is one of 50 players on the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year watch list, had one of the most dominant offensive seasons in Texas softball history in 2014 with a .371 batting average for the year. She led the team in six offensive categories and ranked in the top 10 in nine offensive categories in the Big 12.

“She’s one of our captains,” Clark said. “She’s really going to step up and do some things really well. She definitely will help us offensively.”

Despite last season’s postseason struggles, Stephens said she believes her team has the confidence to succeed this season.

“We have such a strong foundation,” she said. “Everyone on this team is ready to learn, ready to make adjustments and ready to take that next step.”

Ceo is also expected to capitalize on her leadershipskills in the upcoming season. The junior hit .362 last season and recorded 10 multi-hit games. Ceo’s biggest talents were often on display at the plate in the postseason, where she notched team-high postseason batting averages as a sophomore in 2014 (.375) and as a freshman (.400) during the Women’s College World Series (WCWS).

In June, Ceo watched as her older sister, Courtney, competed for Oregon in the WCWS. This season, Ceo hopes to have that same experience.

“Last year had a lot of learning moments that we went through,” Ceo said. “Now we get to build off of that.”

But before the Longhorns start thinking about the postseason, they will have to focus on their tough non-conference schedule.

Texas will face several ranked opponents early, including No. 2 Oregon on Friday night at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona. Sunday afternoon, it faces No. 16 Arizona State.

The Longhorns will start their season by playing 11 teams that are either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason Softball rankings. Eight of those games will occur throughout the month of February and serve as challenges the Longhorns must face if they want to reach their ultimate goal.

“Not only do we want to get to the World Series, but we want to win the World Series,” Stephens said.

Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger spoke at the SAC Auditorium on Tuesday about his business experiences. Bettinger offered many pieces of advice, including how to deal with failure.

Photo Credit: Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger spoke to McCombs students at the SAC Auditorium on Tuesday about his experiences in business and their application to students’ futures and careers. 

Bettinger discussed his views on failure, which he said he learned when he started his business career. 

“We fail as human beings, but failure is not permanent. Failure is temporary. We’re not failures,” Bettinger said. “Through my experience, failure is about what we can do to get out of it and what lesson we can take away from it to turn it into good.” 

During his senior year of college, Bettinger said he failed a final exam that asked him the name of the woman who cleaned the building. Bettinger said the test taught him what his professor said was the single most important lesson in business.

“It’s not about how smart you are,” Bettinger said. “It’s not about how strategic you are. It’s not about your ability to design what-if scenarios or war games versus competitors. Business is ultimately about people.” 

Bettinger said he was able to take this lesson from his professor and realize that business is an interaction between people based on trust, respect and an honorable serving to someone else. 

In order to be successful with others, Bettinger said, one must prioritize between work and personal life. When he was asked to be CEO, Bettinger said he told then-CEO Charles Schwab he would not be able to move because of his family.

“Where you spend your time is what matters to you,” Bettinger said. “Know your priorities and live your priorities. Understand what your priorities are and [the] work-life balance solves itself because you’re living life doing things that matter.”

Nick Sajatovic, supply chain management and geography sophomore, said Bettinger’s approach to handling business and life will stay with him as he moves further into his career.  

“Priorities are something that you decide for yourself,” Sajatovic said. “Going on into my future, I will assess what I do in my daily routine as well, and set my priorities [for] each day and for the week and for the month to see what really needs to be done.”

Business freshman Abhishek Ramchandani said the lecture helped him understand concepts not taught in class. 

“The advice he gave you cannot get in the classes,” Ramchandani said. “I came today for his insight.” 

FILE - In this March 20, 2013 file photo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the company's annual shareholders meeting, in Seattle, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

On June 15, Starbucks announced its College Achievement Plan in partnership with Arizona State University. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and many news headlines, including the company’s website, lauded Starbucks as offering “full tuition reimbursement” for Starbucks employees who are completing a bachelor’s degree at ASU. Unfortunately for these working students and us at UT, who are also facing privatization, that promotion is false.

The Starbucks plan only applies to Starbucks employees pursuing an online degree, which has consistently fallen short of goals around retention, passing, metrics of learning and degree completion.

Starbucks will bear no more than 30 percent of any student’s four-year tuition and fees. There are two parts of the Starbucks plan: a scholarship that reduces the sticker tuition amount and reimbursements for out-of-pocket payments. The scholarship is funded by ASU, not Starbucks, and reduces tuition about $6,500 from the $30,000 for freshman and sophomore years, and $12,600 from $30,000 for junior and senior years. After that, a student may have his or her tuition further reduced by federal grants, military education benefits or need-based aid. Then, juniors and seniors must pay out-of-pocket (or take out loans) for what remains. If they complete 21 credits, which costs about $10,000, within 18 months, Starbucks will issue a reimbursement for that amount. Starbucks will not reimburse any tuition for freshmen and sophomores, meaning that ASU’s scholarship for those first two years is essentially paying students to work while they are in school.

Working students consistently have higher levels of stress, lower academic outcomes and less time for extracurricular activities. These conclusions are consistent across scholarly studies of this issue, but are also obvious to most students, especially since the average student is working more than 20 hours a week. The Starbucks plan is only available for students working there 20 hours a week on average. A recent survey showed that students who work 20 or more hours a week typically have to reduce their academic course load to deal with the stress. However, Starbucks will not reimburse tuition unless a student completes 21 credits within 18 months, which puts working students in quite a precarious position.

Starbucks is not doing this for charitable reasons. It has two profit-related goals, the first of which is broad public relations. This is evident from the Starbucks press release and a variety of major news headlines falsely stating that Starbucks will fully reimburse their workers’ tuition — one headline even states that Starbucks is paying them to get a degree! Starbucks, like most retail companies, consciously attempts to remove the negative sting of profit-making and capitalism by selling an image of intimate relations to its customers and workers. The second goal is to advertise the Starbucks brand to the college. The ASU-Starbucks contract shows that ASU will be fulfilling most of the responsibilities to run the program, but it also requires ASU to assist Starbucks with marketing projects such as joint press releases, promotional “swag,” social media communications, and online advertising for anyone on Starbucks wifi. Starbucks advertising will be present even within educational spaces: ASU must work with Starbucks to develop a mandatory, one-week, non-credit course for students in the Starbucks plan, develop coursework such as “modules on retail management”, construct ASU study spaces inside Starbucks stores, and deliver coursework over Starbucks wifi. They want students who are working at a Starbucks store to also complete their college education there, with a few tasty beverages to get through the boring videos and all-nighters.

Starbucks is a company in a capitalist economy; its bottom line is the profit-motive, and its plan for ASU students is privatization, which has been hitting universities across the nation, including UT Austin. In reaction to the undemocratic attempt by the UT System Board of Regents to fire UT President William Powers Jr., there were outpourings of support for Powers from the Texan and other papers. All of these evaluated his record incredibly positively, but without any mention of the waves of privatization over which he has presided. Most recently, Powers has begun pushing for a privatization overhaul of student services, staff jobs and faculty recruitment as part of the “Smarter Systems” plan. UT hired the consulting company Accenture to develop this plan, despite its notorious failures with the state of Texas. After a 2005-2006 privatization contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Accenture was denounced by the Texas Comptroller for forcing unnecessary “massive state worker layoffs.” Smarter Systems advocates UT implementing “Shared Services,” a controversial administrative centralization plan which UT students, staff and faculty have opposed due to staff layoffs. Smarter Systems advocates restricting faculty recruitment and research to “corporate leaders” and areas with greatest “commercial success” — essentially, applying the profit motive to education. Like the Starbucks plan, Smarter Systems seeks to profit from students: it advocates privatizing student dorms, food and parking.

This would mean that Jester, other dorms, and all of the subsidized UT cafeterias and parking lots would be run by private companies, and thus also have higher costs, euphemized in Smarter Systems as “market rates.” Under Powers, UT has already implemented the in-store study spaces part of the Starbucks plan — the Student Activity Center and Texas Union are food-monopolized by private companies (with a Starbucks in each).

The current capitalist era is one with Gilded Age levels of inequality. This comparison also holds in terms of higher education and affordability. Industrialist  Andrew Carnegie was one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, with annual earnings thousands of times greater than those of his company’s steelworkers, and yet he maintained his image with philanthropic endeavors in higher education, as well as in other areas. Similarly, Starbucks has one of the highest CEO-to-worker pay ratios in the country, with CEO Howard Schultz making $28.9 million annually while the average full-time barista makes $17,580 — that’s 1,644 to 1. The robber barons are not interested in lessening the affordability gap, and it’s not just a problem at ASU. Half of UT Austin students graduate with debt, the average amount being $26,097, and are entering a job market that is still unfriendly to the idea of paying off that debt. The Texan, to its credit, recently published a series on student debt and affordability. However, we have to start talking about the cause of these problems: an unequal economy which forces students to work while they study, take out loans and pay more with each privatization scheme.

Rathi is a computer science honors junior from Austin.

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a UT alum, and his wife Renda Tillerson donated $5 million to help fund the Cockrell School of Engineering’s new research center, which will centralize engineering student services and include new research laboratories.

The center is part of a $310 million project to replace the current Engineering-Science Building on San Jacinto Street with a new research center. The demolition is scheduled to begin in September, and the center is scheduled to open in August 2017. 

Cockrell school interim dean Sharon Wood said she believes having alumni who are willing to donate to better the education of future students shows the value of the education they received.

“It’s really inspiring to know that these alumni that are so successful … have chosen to invest in us,” Wood said.

John Ekerdt, associate dean of the engineering school, said he believes alumni understand how use their engineering degrees to become successful — allowing them to contribute to future students’ success.

“These alumni are making investments in the students of today and of the future so they can make contributions in their own careers,” Ekerdt said.

According to Ekerdt, the new research facility will allow for expanded learning, focusing on collaboration between students.

“This building is designed with a mission of new education, collaborative spaces and new forms of learning,” Ekerdt said. “It will be a site for the discovery of new knowledge.”

According to Wood, projects such as the research center would not be possible without generosity from alumni.

“We depend on our alumni to help us move forward, especially in these difficult financial times,” Wood said. “It would definitely not be possible without their generosity.”

Witnessing successful alumni give back to the school allows students to see their own abilities, according to Wood.

“It helps students understand and see the potential that they have as they grow and their careers continue,” Wood said.

Petroleum engineering sophomore Nick Lavigne said alumni like the Tillersons make him proud to be a part of the engineering school.

“It’s really cool to see successful engineers come out of UT,” Lavigne said. “I can say I’m getting the same education as some of the most successful people in the country.”