UT Austin/Facebook

The University of Texas at Austin has risen in the ranks in a highly anticipated new list of the country's best universities.

Niche, an education review and ranking website, has deemed UT Austin the sixth best public university in the U.S., up from No. 8 last year. The university receives an A+ grade in five of the 12 ranking categories, including academics, athletics, and student life. It gets an A for the diversity, value, and professors, an A- for the campus, and a C+ for dorms and safety.

UT Austin also ranked highly in other categories, including:

  • No. 1 of 405 Best Hispanic-Serving Institutions in America.
  • No. 3 of 931 Best Colleges for Communications in America.
  • No. 8 of 454 Best Colleges for Sports Management in America.

More individual rankings can be found here.

UT Austin regularly ranks highly on lists of the best colleges and universities in the country, including those published by Niche, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report.

"The University of Texas at Austin provided a great overall university experience," a student wrote in a Niche review. "Campus life was lively, with tons of student activities and organizations available. My professors included leaders in their fields and genuinely interesting academic leaders."

Topping Niche’s national list is Yale University, followed by Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth College.

UT Austin comes in at No. 2 on Niche’s list of the best colleges in Texas - but it's the best public university in the state. Here are the top 10 Texas schools:

1. Rice University (Houston)
2. University of Texas at Austin
3. Texas A&M University (College Station)
4. Trinity University (San Antonio)
5. Southern Methodist University (University Park)
6. Texas Christian University (Fort Worth)
7. Texas Tech University (Lubbock)
8. University of Houston
9. University of Texas Permian Basin (Odessa)
10. Baylor University (Waco)

“Choosing where to go to college is easily one of the most significant — and expensive — decisions of a person’s life. Niche’s mission is to ensure that every college-bound student has access to easy, transparent and free resources … to help them find their best fit,” Luke Skurman, founder and CEO of Niche, says in a news release.


A version of this article originally ran on our sister site InnovationMap.

Photo courtesy of The Harry Ransom Center

Austin's Harry Ransom Center gives a look inside more than 150 old books with fascinating histories

a bibliophile's dream

An extraordinary new exhibition of beautifully aged books is going on display at The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin on Saturday, August 19.

The Long Lives of Very Old Books meticulously shares the stories of each book's life throughout the passage of time. It highlights the ways ordinary people can use research to uncover these histories, allowing admiration for the old volumes through multiple perspectives. The exhibit will display more than 158 artifacts, most drawn from the Ransom Center's own collection, until December 30. They are separated into collections based on their state or edition: Survival, Recycling, Variation, Marking, and Repair.

There are many recognizable and prominent titles to be admired within the clear glass cases — like three copies of William Shakespeare's First Folio (in celebration of the tome's 400th anniversary) — to more esoteric finds, such as a 16th-century English book that was used as a Harvard student's personal diary in the 1960s and 1970s.

Most of the books in the exhibit were published before or around 1700, according to Aaron T. Pratt, the Ransom Center's Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, who curated the exhibition.

"The show is really interested in what you can learn from approaching books as unique artifacts that have made their way from the printing houses of early modern Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, to special collection libraries like the Ransom Center today," Pratt explains. "It's very rare to have a book that came out of the early modern period, and nothing happened to it for 300 to 400 years."

Diary of David C. K. McClelland, 1968–1971, in Hugh Broughton, Concent of scripture (London, ca. 1590).

The Long Lives of Very Old Books, Harry Ransom Center

Photo courtesy of The Harry Ransom Center

Diary of David C. K. McClelland, 1968–1971, in Hugh Broughton, Concent of scripture (London, ca. 1590).

Pratt shares that he wants the exhibit to enlighten curious minds on how to glean as much information as possible from the books outside of the text within their pages. He describes it as "another set of literacies" to understand and interpret the aspects behind a century-old book's binding, paper, or repair techniques.

"It's one thing to come in and read the content and understand it in a historically-situated way, that's hard," he says. "If you're looking at a book, there's just so many different ways to approach it. So a lot of what I do [as a] bibliographer [is] study books as material artifacts to understand how they were made and how they have circulated, as one way to define it."

In an effort to not give too much away (and to encourage fellow bibliophiles to see the exhibit for themselves), here is a look at three books within three captivating collections found in The Long Lives of Very Old Books.

The first section of the exhibit, Survival, showcases books that have been preserved until today thanks to the work of people from earlier centuries who deemed them worth keeping, and the stories that can be told about the books that haven't had similar luck.

Several books in this section are the only existing copies known today, while others have much more available data regarding remaining copies. The Nuremberg Chronicle, for example, has over 1,200 traceable copies in similar libraries or private collections, despite an unknown total print run. Whereas an English translation of a poetry book by Pierre de Ronsard is the only surviving edition from before the 19th century.

The Nuremberg Chronicle was published in 1493, and features 1,800 illustrations that were printed using about 650 hand-carved wood blocks. Though it's not mentioned in the artifact label, Pratt shared a surprising detail about two specific wood block photos on the left page in The Nuremberg Chronicle that's on display.

"In this copy, these woodcuts should be switched in the order," he reveals. "Almost all other copies [are correct], but this copy is an example from before they fixed the error."

It's rare to find errors in modern books, but that was not the case in books published using older printing techniques, such as the Gutenberg printing press. Pratt explains that there's likely some typographical variation among every copy of every printed book from earlier centuries.

"Printers were very loathe to throw away sheets that had some errors in them," he says. "You and I can read through most errors, like a transposition of letters...Printers [back then] were like, 'They can figure it out,' or sometimes they would print an errata list on the back."

Another variation that can be found among the artifacts is the type of binding they are encased in. George Puttenham's The Arte of English Poesie attracts the most attention within the Variation collection. Pratt says the book was bound in a late 19th- to early 20th-century binding featuring striking gold and red accents on a black cover.

"This book was bound by a bindery that was started in New York City by a bunch of elite collectors there," Pratt says. "They were sick of sending their books to Europe to have them bound, so they brought some French people over who were good at binding and set up shop in [Manhattan]." (Update: Pratt reached out to amend his original statement.)

The Long Lives of Very Old Books, Harry Ransom CenterGeorge Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (London: Richard Field, 1589). Photo courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

One of the most fascinating things learned throughout the exhibit is the differing level of care that each volume was given in its old life before being acquired by the Ransom Center. The Repair collection features two cases: one focusing on paper repairs, another highlighting binding repairs.

An early copy of first book printed in the English language, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, is on display in the paper repair case. Delicately hand-sewn, zig zag stitches can be seen crossing from one edge of a torn leaf to another. Pratt estimates that this type of hand-sewn repair technique can date back to the 15th or even early 16th century. It also speaks to the things that bibliophiles will go through to fix a book themselves.

The Long Lives of Very Old Books, Harry Ransom CenterTroy: Raoul Lefèvre, The recuyell of the historyes of Troye (Ghent?: David Aubert? and William Caxton, 1473 or 1474).Photo courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

"This probably is an owner who doesn't want to go back to their binder, and just wants to fix it," he hypothesizes. "We've all fixed things at home that probably wasn't the best work, but we did it, and it's over with, and it's fine. And that's kind of what this is."

The Long Lives of Very Old Books will be on display August 19-December 30. Admission is free, and tours are available every Tuesday through Friday at noon, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm and 2 pm. More information about The Harry Ransom Center and the exhibit can be found on hrc.utexas.edu.

Photo courtesy of Texas Exes

UT Austin's Texas Exes awards 43 of the fastest growing, Longhorn-run businesses in Austin


Maybe it's not as much of a surprise given how big our city is, but did you know dozens of our favorite local businesses are run by University of Texas at Austin grads? Now, 43 of Austin's fastest growing, Longhorn-run businesses are receiving the recognition they deserve by their alma mater.

UT Austin's alumni association, the Texas Exes, celebrated 100 nationwide companies who were founded, owned, or led by Longhorns over the past five years with the inaugural Longhorn 100 Gala on May 18. Award recipients must have held a minimum annual revenue of $250,000 since 2019 to qualify, in addition to their Longhorn status.

Of course, Austin-area businesses took home the most awards, whose winners include popular restaurants, beverage brands, real estate groups, and more.

The five Austin-area shopping and retail businesses that were recognized include:

  • Poncho Outdoors
  • BURLEBO (Dripping Springs)
  • Korman
  • Texas Standard(not to be confused with KUT's statewide radio program)
  • Home Trends and Design, Ltd
Seven Austin-area restaurants, breweries, and beverages were also awarded:
  • El Arroyo
  • Rambler Sparkling Water
  • Beatbox Beverages
  • Desert Door (Driftwood)
  • Garrison Brothers Distillery (Hye)
  • Zilker Brewing Company
  • Independence Brewing Co., Inc.
Real estate groups, construction and architecture firms, and home improvement providers that won awards include:
  • OJO
  • Watters International Realty
  • Maestro Integrations
  • Amazing Exteriors
  • RiverCity Cabinets
  • Freedom Solar Power
  • The Steam Team
  • Austin Deck Company
  • Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
The five Austin science and technology companies that were celebrated are:
  • AlertMedia
  • Fractilia, LLC
  • E & Co Tech
  • Pushnami, LLC
  • Blacklake Security
Business and legal services providers that won awards include:
  • AffiniPay
  • Daito Design
  • Palisades Group
  • SOAL Technologies, LLC
  • Willi Law Firm, P.C.
  • Potts Blacklock Senterfitt, PLLC
Other Austin businesses that won awards include:
  • Carbon Better
  • Tower Rock Oil & Gas
  • Cypress Industries
  • Roots Behavioral Health
  • College Inroads
  • A Taste of Koko
  • 365 Things Austin
  • Third Rail Creative
  • Giant Noise
  • GSD&M
  • Stems
The full list of Longhorn 100 winners from around the state can be found on texasexes.org.
Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

UT Austin named best graduate school in Texas by U.S. News and World Report


The 2023 results are in, and U.S. News and World Report has deemed the University of Texas at Austin to be the best grad school in the state, with some of its departments landing among the top 10 and 20 in the country.

The university's Cockrell School of Engineering cracked the top 10 nationally, coming in at No. 7, while McCombs School of Business earned the No. 20 spot among business schools. UT Austin's School of Nursing also pulled in a No. 20 national ranking, while its College of Education nabbed No. 16. Finally, the university’s LBJ School of Public Affairs landed a top 10 spot in the “Best Public Affairs Programs” list, tying with eight other universities around the country.

U.S. News publishes its national "Best Graduate Schools" rankings every year, which looks at several programs including business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, and many others. For the 2023-2024 report, the publication decided to withhold its rankings for law and medical schools, which will be published later this year. It also changed the methodology for ranking education and business schools by focusing on outcome rather than a program’s reputation and selectivity.

“When prospective students are considering their options for graduate school, the Best Graduate Schools rankings are designed to help them identify schools that excel in the program they want to study,” said LaMont Jones, senior editor of Education at U.S. News. “With many options available, U.S. News provides a wealth of data in an easy format to help each student make the best decision.”

Because some category rankings have not been released, UT Austin’s Dell Medical School is unranked in the “Best Medical Schools: Research” and “Primary Care” categories. Additionally, the School of Law previously ranked No. 1 in Texas for the 2022-2023 academic year.

One notable difference from the 2022-2023 report was the university’s graduate geology program, which fell from No. 1 to No. 2 this year. The remaining four programs all maintained their top placements.

The No. 1 UT Austin graduate programs for 2023-2024 are:

  • Accounting, the McCombs School of Business
  • Petroleum Engineering, Cockerell School of Engineering
  • Latin American History, the College of Liberal Arts
  • Sociology of Population, the College of Liberal Arts

“It’s wonderful to be recognized among our peer institutions for the scholarship and accomplishments coming out of the LBJ School’s robust faculty, students, staff and alumni,” said LBJ School Dean J.R. DeShazo. “The dynamic capital city of Austin and state of Texas offer endless opportunities to get your hands on the most important policy challenges in the country.”

Here’s how UT Austin compares nationally in U.S. News’ overall rankings:

Photo courtesy of ApartmentAdvisor

Austin named the No. 8 best U.S. city for college grads in new report


Here’s a few nerve-wracking questions that Austin’s college seniors have likely heard multiple times throughout the semester: What are your post-grad plans? Will you pursue a graduate degree here, or will you move elsewhere to continue your studies? Do you plan on working in the city or going back to your hometown?

Graduation is a freeing experience, but working on those future plans can be intimidating. Luckily for Austin’s graduating class of 2023, staying in your college city isn’t as bad as you think it is. And according to a new report from ApartmentAdvisor, Austin is the No. 8 best city in the nation for college grads just starting out in the workforce.

Austin’s affinity for tech startups and entrepreneurship was the main reasoning behind its ranking. The report spoke highly of the University of Texas at Austin’s Technology Incubator, which was founded in 1989 and currently stands as the longest active tech incubator in the country.

The city’s high growth rate for entry-level jobs is a major draw for recent graduates, especially since LinkedIn declared Austin the No. 1 city for grads to land entry-level jobs in 2022. Other key factors include a low unemployment rate and what the report calls a “healthy” median income-to-rent ratio, even though Austin’s apartment rent has increased nearly 10 percent since last year. The city’s bustling nightlife is always a fun after-work perk, but it won’t come cheap.

ApartmentAdvisor analyzed 84 of the largest American cities across several economic criteria such as average salaries, rent prices, access to nightlife, and others to determine their rankings.

The top 10 best cities for college grads are:

  • No. 1 – Madison, Wisconsin
  • No. 2 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • No. 3 – Seattle
  • No. 4 – Atlanta
  • No. 5 – Salt Lake City
  • No. 6 – Pittsburgh
  • No. 7 – Denver
  • No. 8 – Austin
  • No. 9 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 10 – St. Louis, Missouri

Austin was the only Texas city to make the top 10, giving it the title of best city in the state for college grads. Eight other Texas cities made the list, including Lubbock (No. 22), Dallas (No. 25), Houston (No. 39), Amarillo (No. 54), San Antonio (No. 60), El Paso (No. 65), Corpus Christi (No. 67), and Brownsville (No. 78).

The report can be found on apartmentadvisor.com.

Photo courtesy of UT Jackson School of Geosciences

Researchers at UT Austin name ancient beaver fossil after favorite Texas gas station


The legend of a treasured gas station chain continues with a new chapter: a rediscovered beaver fossil is being named after Buc-ee’s.

The ancient animal was named Anchitheriomys buceei (A. buceei) by Steve May, a research associate at the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences and lead author of the Palaeontologia Electronica paper that describes the beaver.

A. buceei fossils were rediscovered by researchers in UT Austin’s collections and include fossils from six different Texas sites. May decided to name A. buceei after Buc-ee’s after spotting a “This is Beaver Country” billboard in 2020 that reminded him of the fossils he was studying at the time.

Though Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982, CEO Arch “Beaver” Alpin III said in a press release that his business’ history is longer than he thought, and that he may “need to rethink [their] beginnings.”

Occurrences of A. buceei can be found between 15 and 22 million years ago along the state’s gulf coast. At first glance, they don’t appear much different from current native Texas beavers. But according to the report’s co-author Matthew Brown, who is also the director of the Jackson School’s vertebrate paleontology collections, they are nearly 30 percent bigger than today’s beavers.

A partial skull fossil of the beaver was originally collected in 1941 by paleontologists. One of the original finders was Texas A&M University museum curator Curtis Hesse, who passed away four years later before he could name it a new species and publish his study.

More information about A. buceei can be found on UT Austin’s website.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

A whimsical new brunch, brisket croissants, and Negroni week top Austin's tastiest food news

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


Shake Shack, the famous fast-casual burger chain, is opening the Greater Austin area's first drive-through on September 28. Although much of the appeal of Shake Shack is the not-quite-fast-food atmosphere, sometimes you just need a burger quickly — thankfully, both dine-in and drive-through experiences will be offered at this location. The "first wave" of guests on opening day at 1402 N. Interstate Hwy. 35 will receive branded keychains and matchbooks. The company will also donate $1 for every sandwich sold at the location that day to local high school career exploration group Ladders for Leaders.

Austin loves JuiceLand, its homegrown juice and smoothie staple that's been around for more than 20 years and just opened its 35th Texas location. The new location on Menchaca Road and Slaughter Lane brings the chain deeper than ever into far South Austin (1807 W. Slaughter Ln.) and neighbor's the company's corporate office. Like any other location, the menu includes lots of fruits, veggies, and supplements, making it good both for a tasty refreshment and an easy meal replacement on a busy day.

ICYMI: Uchi spin-off Uchibāannounced its opening date: October 6. While Uchi focuses on sushi, this Dallas-born concept will be all about the bar and more casual snacks — things like bao, dumplings, and yakitori. The bar will offer some unique cocktail and spirits experiences that are like omakase for delicious drinks. Meanwhile, an aging Austin staple of 15 years, Circle Brewing, is in its final hours as it permanently closes, and a new Hill Country wine tasting room by Invention Vineyards may be a consolation prize for those willing to make the drive.

Other news and notes

Austinites have been excited about Elementary, the pop-up-turned-culinary-playground, since its opening in July. Now it's adding even more whimsy via a new brunch service. Some food highlights include the "Furikake Grown Up PB & J" on sourdough toast, augmented with tahini mascarpone, honey, and sesame, and the "Frosted Flake White Russian" with oat-infused Tito's Cereal Milk and...corn, somehow. Brunch service kicks off this weekend, September 23-24, from 10 am to 3 pm. Reserve on Resy.

Two big names in the Austin food scene — Sarah McIntosh of Épicerie and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue — have joined forces for one fatty treat. (Don't worry, that's where all the flavor comes from.) The limited-edition brisket-filled croissant is garnished with candied jalapeños, cream cheese, and watermelon rind relish for a decadent snack that has all the elements of a well-balanced sandwich. They'll be for sale at Épicerie until mid-October.

If Negroni are sbagliato, we don't want to be right. The classic drink, most commonly made with Campari, is in the spotlight until September 24 as part of "Negroni Week," a worldwide charity campaign launched a decade ago by the spirit company and Imbibe Magazine. In Austin, participating bitter-but-citrusy drinks can be found at Eberly (in three variations including sour and tequila twists), Kalimotxo (featuring salted vanilla), Uncle Nicky's (one of Austin's most aperitivo-friendly locales), Otoko (more news from them up next), and more.

Otoko and Watertrade, the luxe omakase and bar combo at the South Congress Hotel, have announced their fall "Dram Sessions." No, we're not talking about the viral rapper, but this is "capers on a square plate" energy. These small whisky pours ("drams," to Scots) will educate tasters via different distilleries around the world, and they'll come with paired bites and optional caviar to elevate the already fancy experience. Nikka Whisky gets the spotlight first on September 24. Book as early as possible on Tock.

Anticipated Japanese spin-off Uchibā sets opening date in downtown Austin

See You at the Bā

The newest Uchi group restaurant has been looking stately at the base of the Google Tower on 2nd Street, with signs up that it's opening soon. Now Austinites can save the date for the much-anticipated opening of Uchibā: October 6.

From the outside, it looks very similar to North Austin's Uchiko, with plenty of casual outdoor seating and shade that will welcome visitors who are just stopping by or are waiting for tables. The downtown location — much more in the thick of things than Uchiko or even the original Uchi location on South Lamar — will likely get significantly more foot traffic, so the welcoming patios look like they'll be in use often.

Inside, key words are "relaxed hideaway" and "intimate," despite the 117 seats across the 5600 square feet. This will be achieved, according to the release, by warm "furniture, fabric, art, accessories, [and] lighting."

Uchibā will serve up some of its sister restaurants' popular dishes, but the main concept is the bar, which is right there in the name (loosely translating to Uchi Bar). The new restaurant features a full bar, and sushi bar with a yakitori grill — those skewered meats and occasional veggies that bring the charred flavor to Japanese cuisine.

Unique to Uchibā are:

  • Two menu categories: Izakaya-inspired Buns, and Bao and Dumplings
  • Uchibā Salad
  • Crispy Tofu
  • Hot Rock
  • Karaage
  • Fried Green Tomato
  • Sake Maki
  • Spicy Tuna Roll
  • Every dessert on the menu

Although Uchi is one of the most famous sushi restaurants in the country, drawing notable visitors, these newer arrivals expand the brand to something a little more accessible to casual visitors who may not want to order (or spend on) an entire omakase meal. The option is certainly there to splurge, but a quick stop at the bar will likely lure new visitors in.

"The core of Uchibā is inspired by the Izakayas that our team visited when traveling through Japan," said Chef and Owner Tyson Cole in a release. "Like Uchi and Uchiko, we have a sushi bar; cool and hot tastings, but we really lean into items like Bao, Buns, Skewers and Dumplings as a part of the intimate bar experience and we are pushing the boundaries of cocktails beyond their role as a complement to food."

By "beyond," Cole is talking about an expansive menu of wines, beers, and more than 30 Japanese whiskies, including one that'll run visitors $300 a pour: a Yamazaki 18-year old Mizunara 100th Anniversary Edition. Most interesting, this new restaurant isn't leaving the omakase spirit behind; It's applying it to drinks, making "perfect bites" of food and spirit pairings, and designing well thought-out journeys through specific categories, like agave spirits.

Uchibā is located at 601 West 2nd Street, near the bridge to Austin Public Library's central location. Operating hours will be Sunday through Thursday from 4-10 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 4-11 pm. Happy Hour at Uchibā will be from 4-5:30 pm on weekdays. Reserve at uchirestaurants.com or call 512-916-4808.

\u200bUchib\u0101 Austin plates

Photo courtesy of Uchibā

Uchibā announced it will open on October 6.

Amazon goes on holiday hiring spree with 4.1K open positions in Austin

Holiday News

Soon the holidays will be here, and that means an influx of seasonal work from Amazon, which is on a holiday hiring spree.

According to a release, the company is hiring 250,000 employees throughout the U.S. in full-time, seasonal, and part-time roles across its operations network.

More than 28,000 of those will be in Texas with nearly half — 13,000 employees — to be hired in Dallas-Fort Worth. (Houston will be hiring more than 5,100, Austin more than 4,100, and San Antonio more than 2,600 workers. Waco gets 1,700-plus new positions, and El Paso, more than 300.)

Those include a diverse range of roles, from packing and picking to sorting and shipping, available to applicants from all backgrounds and experience levels.

Customer fulfillment and transportation employees can earn, on average, over $20.50 per hour for those roles, and up to $28 depending on location. Interested candidates can see hiring locations and open positions at amazon.com/apply.

"The holiday season is always a special time at Amazon and we’re excited to hire 250,000 additional people this year to help serve customers across the country," says Amazon SVP John Felton. "Whether someone is looking for a short-term way to make extra money, or is hoping to take their first step toward a fulfilling and rewarding career at Amazon, there’s a role available for them."

According to Felton, a fulfillment or transportation employee who starts today will see a 13 percent increase in pay over the next three years, on top of offerings like pre-paid college tuition and health care benefits on day one.

Jobs in Amazon’s operations network include: stowing, picking, packing, sorting, shipping customer orders, and more, available in hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S., with a range of full- or part-time hours.

For anyone interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Amazon, they offer free behind-the-scenes tours to the public at amazontours.com.