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Goodybe and Good Luck

Beloved former University of Texas president and World War II hero dies

William Livingston UT
William Livingston left quite a mark on the University of Texas. Courtesy of UT History

A longtime University of Texas at Austin professor, president and World War II hero died Thursday morning, ending a Longhorn life well lived.

William S. Livingston worked at UT from 1949 until he retired in 2007 — and did about just about every job imaginable on campus in those six decades, including a stint as acting university president from 1992 to 1993. He was the chair of the government department, vice chancellor of academic programs, and vice president and dean of graduate studies at various points. He also spearheaded the development of the renowned Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

 Livingston was an Ohioan by birth but a Texan by love. His 58 years at UT is one of the longest tenures in university history. 

Heck, he even served as the distinctive voice of TEX, the university's 1990s telephone registration system. Livingston memorably signed off each of his recorded messages with “Goodbye and good luck.”

But his first and most enduring love was teaching as a political science professor.

Livingston was an Ohioan by birth but a Texan by love. His 58 years at UT is one of the longest tenures in university history.

And he never strayed far from Austin. Livingston died at age 93 in a North Austin retirement center. He leaves behind his wife of 70 years, Lana; two sons; two married grandsons; and four great grandchildren.

"Bill Livingston embodied all the best qualities of a university leader: erudition, eloquence, sweeping vision, warmth and good humor,” University of Texas at Austin president Bill Powers said in a statement.

“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.”

Livingston came to Austin as World War II hero — getting awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service. He was wounded by a German land mine during a combat operation.

Information about a memorial service will be released at a later time.

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