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February marked the 50th Anniversary of the McCombs School’s Business Honors Program (BHP). The milestone was commemorated Feb. 19-20 with a two-day celebration attended by more than 250 alumni and friends from across the globe.

Among the many distinguished guests and speakers were President Bill Powers, Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds, Red McCombs, Lynn Utter, program benefactors Beverly and Will O’Hara, Dean Tom Gilligan and eight of the 13 members of the inaugural class of 1964.

In celebration of this historic event, alumni and friends of the school joined in funding a BHP 40 Acres Scholarship that will provide full tuition, room, board and summer enrichment support.

BHP freshmen participate in a team building activity at the fall 2009 Freshman Leadership Kickoff.

BHP freshmen participate in a team building activity at the fall 2009 Freshman Leadership Kickoff.

BHP is an innovative degree program designed to offer unique intellectual challenges, professional development opportunities and extra-curricular activities to undergraduate students with outstanding academic performance and leadership potential. Of the 91 freshmen enrolled for fall 2010, the average class rank is in the top 2 percent, the median SAT score is 1453 and 15 are valedictorians of their graduating class.

BHP fosters a close-knit community among its talented student body, with approximately 500 students in the program. The honors curriculum is modeled after the MBA coursework and is taught by the school’s most esteemed professors. Classes are small in size and promote class discussions and presentations, group collaboration and the evaluation of real-world case studies. Past BHP graduates have distinguished themselves as Fulbright Scholars, a Truman Scholar and a Draddy Trophy recipient, signifying the nation’s top scholar athlete.

“The atmosphere in the BHP classroom is unlike any other,” said Michael J. Daehne, BHP junior and incoming president of the Honors Business Association, a BHP student group. “BHP challenges students to think outside the box, to question assumptions and stereotypes and to look for effective solutions to the world’s problems. But more than that, BHP is my home. It’s where I met my best friends. It’s what I brag about when I’m talking about UT’s academic excellence.”

One of BHP’s banner events is the Freshman Leadership Kickoff, an overnight getaway in the Texas Hill Country for the entering freshman class. Through a weekend of leadership and team building activities and informational sessions, new classmates bond and learn more about life at the McCombs School and the BHP.

Other signature events include the fall BHP Welcome Back Community Dinner, a networking and community-building event for all BHP students; the Sophomore Corporate Case Study, a competition designed to provide students with hands-on knowledge of case analysis; and the Junior Finance Bootcamp, a half-day refresher course to strengthen the competitive edge of BHP students in internship and job markets.

The success of the programs’ highly personal experience is highlighted by the 54 percent lifetime giving rate of BHP graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. This is nearly double the rate for the rest of the university.

Since its inception in 1960, the unique opportunities afforded by BHP would be impossible without the support of valued friends, alumni and corporate partners. Last year, the McCombs School launched a new initiative to foster corporate involvement with the program and its exceptional student population. Support extends beyond a financial commitment and allows companies to participate in signature events, connect with BHP students throughout their college experience and make a lasting impact on their lives and professional development. 

“Corporate support of the Business Honors Program is extensive and invaluable,” said Eli Cox, La Quinta Motor Inns Centennial Professor in Business, chair of the Marketing Department and retiring director of BHP. “Many executives generously speak in our classes, conduct mock interviews and judge case competitions. Additionally corporate sponsorship enables us to offer the extracurricular activities—such as the Freshman Leadership Kickoff and the Make-A-Mark Scholarship program—that make the program distinctive. We would not be able to aspire to the highest levels of excellence without close working relationships with our corporate sponsors.”

To learn more about opportunities for corporate involvement, visit  

Thank you to the 2009-10 Business Honors Program Corporate Partners for their generous support:

Gold Partners:




Wells Fargo

Silver Partners:



Goldman Sachs


  1. Madelyn Cox on Monday 21, 2010

    team building is necessary for making an effective employee relationship as well as in sports too’,-