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About Us

The Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) is a learning community at The University of Texas at Austin, serving over 2,000 students in its freshman-to-senior pipeline. Our four signature programs are: Gateway Scholars, Longhorn Link, McNair Scholars, and Summer Bridge. LCAE offers a variety of services that students can benefit from, such as smaller class sizes, reserved seats in competitive courses, tutoring, academic/career advising, internship opportunities, peer mentors, scholarships, and more. For additional information, please visit each programs individual site or contact us via phone (512-471-1205) or email (

1800486_10152040073994499_6537122208715684642_nLet’s be honest. Gateway has been the essence for most of my growth as a student on this campus. It all started with a speech during the Gateway Orientation at the beginning of my first year. At the orientation, Dr. Leonard Moore, sparked us with a pre-lecture to kick off the semester. My first impression of Dr. Moore is one I will never forget. My train of thought was like, “Why is this man so hyped? Wait, is this how college will be? A Black professor during my first semester at UT? This is cool.” I told you I would be honest. Dr. Moore’s lecture left an impact on me that helped me make most of my decisions throughout my college career.

He encouraged us to follow our passion. Immediately, I had an inner dialogue with myself. “Ja’Michael, are you really following your passion? Do you really want to be an Advertising major?” Not to knock advertising, but I had already been contemplating my decision of settling with becoming an advertising major, instead of going with my first choice of being a theatre major. I decided to pursue advertising because of my insecurity in believing that a theatre degree could provide me with substantial skills to impact society and have a successful career.

I did not want to regret that decision, so I took Dr. Moore’s advice and decided to follow my passion. My first year’s goal was to figure out what I needed to do to become a theatre major. I spent my freshman year taking classes, seeking out opportunities, and having conversations with upperclassmen and professors about theatre. By the end of my first year, I had taken two theatre classes and performed in two shows on campus. Once my second year rolled around, I had officially become a theatre major.

Now that I’ve graduated with my Bachelors of Arts in Theatre & Dance, I have no regrets about the decision I made. Throughout my four years here, I have gotten so many opportunities and met so many amazing people. From having an incredible summer studying abroad in Florence, Italy to traveling to New York City and Washington, D.C. to network with artists, the experiences I’ve had during my undergraduate career have helped me see clearly how possible it is to pursue my passion.

I guess the moral of the story is to follow your passion. Yes, follow your passion wholeheartedly! But, I’m writing to highlight how Gateway has impacted me. Because of Gateway, I have spent the past four years of my life following my passion, being a leader on campus, inspiring others by sharing my experiences about being a student, and gaining relationships with some of the nation’s most driven individuals that will be catalysts in their fields someday. Gateway made this huge campus seem like a small community to me.

With that being said, thank you Gateway Scholars Program! I appreciate all of the resources and opportunities you provided, and the amazing mentors and staff! I am grateful for everything you did for me and what you will continue to do for undergraduate students on this campus!

Looking Back on Gateway: Ezequiel Calderon

June 8, 2014

I made my first friends in the Gateway Scholars Program. That’s a big deal as a first-generation college student from Pasadena, TX that had nearly no connections at UT their first year. I was very fortunate to be involved with two new friends in a First-Year Interest Group, or FIG, and the Gateway Scholars Program. […]

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Student Highlights: Larisa Martirosova

May 12, 2014

The last four years at UT have been incredible. As I prepare to move into the next chapter of my life, I can’t help but to feel bittersweet about leaving a place I called home for the last few years. Even though first semester of freshman year was a bit rough for me, getting adjusted […]

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Featuring LLP Senior Joseph Gallardo: Mentor and Role Model

March 31, 2014

Joseph Gallardo has gone from being a high school dropout to one of the top students in his class, a mentor to other students at The University of Texas at Austin, and is currently preparing to take the LSAT. Gallardo, a senior who is majoring in public relations, government and business foundations, was a high […]

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Taylor Turner Selected for Archer Fellowship

February 18, 2014

Taylor Turner, a third-year Gateway scholar and mentor, was selected for the prestigious Archer fellowship where she is spending the semester learning and interning in Washington D.C.  As she experiences life in our snowy capitol, she reflects upon her journey thus far. “What starts here…” Gateway helped smooth my transition onto the 40 acres, built […]

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Dr. Moore Serves as Keynote Speaker for American Football Coaches Association

January 21, 2014

Dr. Leonard Moore, associate vice president for academic diversity initiatives and director of the African American Male Research Initiative in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, will deliver a keynote address on Jan. 14 during the American Football Coaches Association annual meeting in Indianapolis in a session […]

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Ja’Michael Darnell: A Young Man with Great Ambition

December 18, 2013

“Taking the IE journey helped me realize I can confidently graduate from this university with the knowledge and skills needed to become a passionate and successful playwright or actor.” [Fall 2013 IE Kuhn Scholar Ja'Michael Darnell, the first in his family to attend college] Ja’Michael also notes: “As a result of IE I wrote a […]

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Dr. Chen: Leaving LCAE

December 11, 2013

On Tuesday, December 3rd, Dr. Ge Chen celebrated her retirement with a room full of staff and faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Chen, Assistant Vice President of Academic Diversity Initiatives at UT, has been with the university for 20+ years.  Before becoming Assistant Vice President, Dr. Chen was the Executive Director for the […]

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Gateway’s Merry White Elephant Gift Exchange

December 6, 2013

On November 21, the Gateway Scholars mentors held a white elephant gift exchange. While the game started off calmly with mentors opening up new presents, it soon became exciting with presents being stolen, restolen, and destolen. Among the most popular gifts were holiday socks from Urban Outfitters, a glow-in-the-dark soccer ball, and a toy rocket. […]

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The Grand Commission on Young African American Males

November 11, 2013

African American males are frequently portrayed as troublesome thugs; however, four African American male graduate assistants from the Longhorn Center of Academic Excellence (LCAE) disproved this stereotype. On October 26th at the Grand Commission on Young African American Males at Sigma Pi Phi’s Southeast Regional Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, these young men discussed their desire […]

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