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Progress Report Austin 6 - The University of Texas First Class (1962)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1962

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  •  Narrator Bonner McLane's advertising agency, Winn-McLane handled marketing for the Austin National Bank 
  •  Longtime KTBC newsman, Joe Roddy 
 
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The University of Texas First Class…? Is the title, and the question, posed by this installment of Progress Report Austin, a series produced by the Austin National Bank. This film was the sixth part of the series. In investigating the question of whether or not the University of Texas is truly a first class institution, the film focuses upon six areas: the background of the university, the university's physical expansion, staffing at the university, the student body, the new international role of the university, and what the future holds. In seeking answers the film features interviews with many prominent members of the university, including: Chancellor Harry Ransom, University President Doctor Joseph Smiley; Director of the International Program, Doctor Joe W. Neal; University professors Doctor Clarence Cline and Doctor Wilson Stone, as well as university alumnus. In addition to presenting this range of interviews the film also presents many classic images of the university at a time when its student body was a scant 18,500.
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation.  At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades - during the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
 
A particularly notable moment is his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas. 
 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
 
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
 
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.