During his commencement address to UT graduates and their families on Saturday, Gates praised Bill Powers, saying, “You are blessed to have him as your leader. The best I can wish for all Longhorns is that people like Bill Powers and [former president] Larry Faulkner continue to lead this great university long into the future.” Gates also made reference to another issue in higher education, the value of research, which has been questioned by critics:

“You have experienced the unparalleled learning that takes place at the University of Texas – learning enriched by the teaching and research that has made American higher education the envy of the world….” What is discovered in the lab one day is taught in the classroom during the next. This blending of teaching and research makes UT, A&M and all great universities unique incubators of human talent, discovery, and economic development and innovation.”