Spring 1999
Home Sweet Housing
Season in the sun
The Ferrari Inauguration
Alma Matters
Mem´ries Sweet
Riff Ram
Class Notes
Editors Note
Back Issues

TCU Magazine "Cover Story"

Starting the Ferrari

He's been on the job now for nine months, but the Feb. 26 installation of Michael R. Ferrari gave TCU's ninth chancellor a shining moment to reveal his plans for the future. He drew inspiration for his address from poet Robinson Jeffers, who wrote, Lend me the stone strength of the past and I will lend you the wings of the future...

Frog pride. As the Alma Mater began at the end of the ceremony, Ferrari, above, took the cue from the students in the stands and with a huge smile displayed his horns. Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr '64, right was among those who offered support as he welcomed the Chancellor.

"The winds of change are blowing strongly across the landscape of higher education," Ferrari said. "TCU must take wing on these winds of change.

"The Clark brothers and those who joined them had a grand dream and unbounded determination. Those of us who follow are custodians of that heritage. We must do nothing less than lend our full energies to the 'wings of the future' at this eventful time to ensure that our University will stand proudly for generations to come."

Ceremonial trappings. Board Chair John Roach welcomed the Chancellor with the first handshake following the bestowal of the University Medallion, a ceremony that marks the official investiture of office. The medallion, created for Tucker's inauguration, is one of several academic traditions that celebrate the strength and continuity of the University. Left, gonfalons, or flags, for each college are one of two new traditions adopted for this ceremony. A University mace was also crafted. Both will be featured in all future ceremonies such as commencement and convocation.

Bearing gifts. The Symphony Orchestra presented one of the Chancellor's gifts, a commissioned work featuring a trumpet solo, composed by Music Prof. Curt Wilson. The faculty presented the artwork, right, of the Clark brothers, bordered by signatures of all the faculty and a pledge of their support. Other gifts were a globe from international students, a crystal vase from the staff and a bronze horned frog from the TCU Board of Trustees.

A bit of color. International students dressed in traditional ethnic costumes were among the nearly 500 marchers in the processional. Representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide joined the march, as well as faculty, students and administrators.

Carving a tradition

Centuries ago, when nobles marched, men bearing spiked maces led the way as protectors of the dignitaries. Academe later adopted the tradition and the mace, no longer a weapon, came to symbolized an institution's strength. A few months ago, an inauguration committee led by University Librarian Bob Seal commissioned a wooden mace for Chancellor Michael R. Ferrari's installment as TCU's ninth chancellor. But what lumber to use? Assistant Librarian Hugh MacDonald had an idea.

Red oak -- abundant and enduring -- was the favored building material when TCU began in Thorp Spring in 1873. More than a century later, one of AddRan's beams, salvaged and stored away in the library, would be ideal.

Or was it? As TCU woodsmith Robert Kramer chipped through the 126-year-old artifact, a crucial piece splintered away. Kramer, petrified that the wood had become worthless at his hands, measured what remained:

As alma mater herself just made it through the dark years of the Depression, so did that historic piece of red oak.

Kramer presented TCU with its first mace . . . with nary a millimeter to spare.

Wisdom from past inaugurations

Edward McShane Waits, 1916: "There is pleasure and profit in dreaming. The world's greatest educators are the world's greatest dreamers."

McGruder Ellis Sadler, 1941: Only a welcoming handshake marked the pass-age of leadership from President Waits to President Sadler in 1941.

James Mattox Moudy, 1965: "There is a distinct possibility that our nation is expecting too much or is expecting the wrong thing from education. Congressmen, schoolmen, parents and even our young people seem infatuated with it. It has become the nation's rabbit footŠthought to cure all ills and to guard against all evils." He then asserted what we need, "Šis a crisp, clear, sure and unmagical" view of education.

William E. Tucker, 1980: "We are under obligation to stand up against those who hawk a low view of higher education on the grounds that the free world needs more muscle (which is correct) and less learning (which is absurd). We must resist the short-sighted but widespread notion that the worthiness of a university is directly proportional only to the percentage of its graduates equipped for entry-level jobs."