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Celebrating the Life

Alec and the Engineering library

On November 1, 2013, the McKinney Engineering Library closed and most* services and collections have moved to our new location on the sixth floor of the PCL (Map). *Reserve materials (such as textbooks) will be available from the Kuehne Physics-Mathematics-Astronomy Library (PMA) in Robert Lee Moore Hall (RLM).

Alec is now with the Cockrell School of Engineering Foundation.  He will eventually live in the new EERC.

History of Alec video: Engineering Traditions - UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering (Alec starts at 1:30)

Multiple Alecs

Alec dressed in Rose bowl attire
The winning Alec of 2008

There were at least three different manifestations of Alec housed in the library:

Alec and his Room

Susan Ardis, Head Engineering and Science librarian, shares her memories of Alec:

"Alec has been housed continuously in the McKinney Engineering Library in ECJ since 1980. His first home was an enormous glass and aluminum display case which was over 10 feet tall with a 3 foot by 3 foot aluminum incased concrete base. Interestingly the case was made by an Aggie Engineer - more on how we know this later. Alec and his case stood in front of the case holding the torso and other memorabilia from the first Alec.

In 1984 Richard McKinney endowed room in library to be called The Alec Center for Creativity. Once the room was created it seemed like a good idea to put Alec in his room. However, given the size and weight of the case this proposal was given a lot of study. After a number of consultations with Physical Plant it was decided that the best plan was to remove the base. The glass part of the case had its own base and could be used to display Alec in his room.

wooden torso and hand holding cup
Alec's torso, now facing the library's Alec Room

In January 1988, six men from Physical Plant came to the library with dollies, hydraulic jacks, pry bars and a large concrete saw. As one of them said, “ma’am you sure got one big heavy case there.” It took over 2 hours to remove the base and 2 hours to move him with the jacks to a dolly and then scoot him into his new room. Alec resides there today. Once the glass top was severed from the base we discovered to our amazement a small paper sticker that said, “[t]his case was made by an Aggie Engineer.” We all got a good laugh. One of the workmen said, “well it was overbuilt that’s for sure!”

Alec's legs deemed part of Austin's best

In 2003 Alec gained city-wide attention when the Austin Chronicle celebrated Alec for having the "Best legs of a patron saint" in its annual Best of Austin issue. Fittingly, Alec was discovered in his own center for creativity. Read the news item here (scroll mid-way down page).