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Goodbye and Good Luck: Bill Livingston 1920-2013

WWII veteran and former UT acting president died this morning
Richard Whittaker, 4:10pm, Thu. Aug. 15, 2013
Image courtesy of University of Texas
Former UT acting president William Livingston, 1920-2013

It's a sad day on the 40 Acres: Former acting UT president Bill Livingston died this morning, aged 93.

A native son of Ohio and a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Livingston came to UT in 1949 as a Government lecturer. Aside from his classroom impact, he also leaves a long legacy as a key figure in the university administration. Over his 58 year career with the university, he took leadership roles in the Graduate School and the Faculty Senate, as well as chairing both the Department of Government and the Comparative Studies Program. In 1992, Livingston (then the dean of Graduate Studies) became acting president after president William Cunningham stepped down to become UT system chancellor: Livingston held the post until the permanent appointment of Robert Berdahl in 1993, and remained at the university until his retirement in 2007.

For many students, he was most familiar as the distinctive voice of TEX, UT's telephone-based registration system, with his signature sign-off/tip of the hat to Edward R. Murrow, "Goodbye and good luck." However, he was a pivotal player in the development of many key programs at the school, including serving as chair of the committee to establish the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He also helped establish the James A. Michener Center for Writers: In fact, he and Michener were friends, and he delivered the eulogy for the writer on his passing.

In a statement, UT President Bill Powers said, "Bill Livingston embodied all the best qualities of a university leader: erudition, eloquence, sweeping vision, warmth and good humor. The University of Texas is a better place for his lifetime of service. He was an inspiration to generations of Longhorns, and we all will miss him."

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