Former University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers has died

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Bill Powers, who served as president of the University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2015, has died, according to the university. 

A school spokesman said he passed away on Sunday from “complications from a fall several months earlier” and from a rare muscle disorder. 

Powers presided over the school during a period of significant change. His tenure brought the launch of the Dell Medical School and he kickstarted an effort to increase the university’s four-year graduation rate to 70 percent. 

The latter part of his tenure also included turmoil, with two different factions in university leadership clashing over the vision of the school. 

“Bill put every ounce of himself into defending the soul of our university,” said current UT-Austin President Greg Fenves, in a letter to the campus community. “He bravely stood up for what was right, and he fought against a view of higher education that would have compromised UT’s constitutional charge to be a ‘university of the first class,’ while setting a dangerous precedent for public research universities across the nation.” 

This developing story will be updated. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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