On November 17, 1882, on the original “College Hill,” an official ceremony was held to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone of the Old Main building. University President Ashbel Smith, presiding over the ceremony prophetically proclaimed: “Texas holds embedded in its earth rocks and minerals which now lie idle because unknown, resources of incalculable industrial utility, of wealth and power. Smite the earth, smite the rocks with the rod of knowledge and fountains of unstinted wealth will gush forth.” Smith’s words were prophetic. The Permanent University Fund, which enabled UT to be born after oil was discovered on university land, now provides 30 percent of the University’s endowment of $7.2 billion, the largest endowment of any public university in the U.S.
UT Austin believes Greek life supports and promotes cultural appreciation and scholarship, as well as leadership qualities and service to the community. Caroline McCaul has familial connections to several Greek chapters, including Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, joined by her Grandmothers Frances Lott McCaul and Peggy Pitman Mays. Her aunt Kathy Mays Johnson was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta at SMU, and Aunt Patti Sullivan Mays was a member of Delta Delta Delta at Vanderbilt University.
Caroline McCaul has enrolled in the elite Communications College at University of Texas in Austin, with 20 Pulitzer Prizes awarded to former students. Alumni of the UT Austin College of Communications include Walter Cronkite, Betty Nguyen, and novelist Raymond Benson, among others. 28 Rhodes Scholars, 26 Truman Scholars, 20 Marshall Scholars and 9 astronauts call the University of Texas at Austin their alma mater. Caroline McCaul joins other notable performing artists from UT Austin, including Janis Joplin, Jayne Mansfield, Eli Wallach and Matthew MConaughey.