works in mysterious ways . . .
On Sept. 14, Rabbi Harold Kushner lectured
a joint Christian/Jewish audience about handling grief and sorrow. He
pointed out that there are five gifts of religious commitment which all
people of faith share:
The plague of loneliness.
Belief in one God.
A cure for the fear of death.
Reaching out. People from all faiths showed up in force at the city-wide
memorial service held in honor of the seven who were slain at Wedgwood
Baptist Church. Right, Nicholas Syesta of White Settlement. Mayor Kenneth
Barr '64 told the crowd that Fort Worth is "still a good city and still
a safe city"; and students from Columbine High School also spoke words
The next day, Fort Worth resident Larry
Ashbrook entered the sanctuary of Wedgwood Baptist Church and opened fire
on a youth rally, killing seven and injuring seven before turning the
gun on himself.
The plague of loneliness. Isolation,
it seems, comes into every human life. Having lost his parents and living
alone at the time of the killings, Larry Ashbrook was an individual of
many failures and frustrations. In his despair he saw no hope for the
future. Dr. Andrew Lester, a professor of pastoral psychology at Brite
Divinity School, says that every human must have a future story and something
to look forward to in life. Ashbrook apparently anticipated nothing in
his future. Faith in God and connecting with a religious community, Kushner
said, "can cure loneliness."
Belief in one God. Kushner told
his TCU audience that they should "affirm life" and praise God as a part
of their everyday existence. He said God gives human beings "the strength
and perseverance to overcome" calamity in life. After the shooting, the
Fort Worth community quickly focused on prayer for the victims and thanksgiving
for the community itself. On the Sunday following the shooting, 15,000
people came to TCU's Amon Carter Stadium -- to pray, to show support for
the victims and to give thanks for God's blessings on the community. Rabbis,
ministers, Roman Catholic priests and the Imam from the Tarrant County
Islamic Association prayed together for the unity and restoration in Fort
Worth. It was an amazing sight.
Reverence. I was one of the worshipers
who attended Wedgwood Baptist that first Sunday service following the
tragedy that had occurred in that same sanctuary. It was an upbeat and
joyous place amid much sorrow. Church members call themselves "Wedgies"
and showed resilience under all the media scrutiny. The pews were not
full, but praises to God were loud and enthusiastic. Packets of tissue
sat every two feet on the pews. The people of Wedgwood reclaimed their
church, sang songs of praise and heard words of reconciliation and healing.
Kushner had told his TCU audience, "Sophisticated people of the twentieth
century have forgotten the comfort that can come from a religious faith."
One of the most heartfelt moments for
me occurred when the parents of Kristi Beckel came forward to join as
members of the Wedgwood congregation. Kristi had planned to join on Sunday
morning, too. The witness of Mr. and Mrs. Beckel said very clearly that
some healing had begun. Kushner says that "only with time and distance
can we see the tragedy in the context of a whole life and a whole world."
Practical forgiveness. In seeking
to forgive such senseless acts, Christians rely on God's word. The pain
remains but the Bible reminds the believer that the road of grieving and
forgiveness has been traveled before and they are not alone.
Kushner says in his book that we first
need to forgive God for not stopping tragedy. "God does not cause our
misfortunes. Some are caused by bad luck; some are caused by bad people;
some are simply an inevitable consequence of being human and being mortal,
living in a world of inflexible natural laws."
Considering what people of faith believe
about God, no one will forget the events at Wedgwood Baptist Church, but
we can be stewards of forgiveness.
A cure for the fear of death.
Affirming life is the best cure for the fear of death. Kushner says that
God's power is in "summoning friends and neighbors to ease the burden
and fill the emptiness . . . God gives us the strength and perseverance
to overcome [calamity.]" Indeed, the citizens of Fort Worth have seen
other tragedies this year. Last spring when three firefighters were killed
while battling a blaze outside city limits, officials denied the families
full death benefits. What did the citizens of Fort Worth do? They raised
the money to provide abundantly for the families left behind -- a lasting
salve for death's sting.
Kushner's visit to Fort Worth on the
eve of one of its saddest days is a coincidence; his visit was planned
for many months to benefit the Brite Divinity School's Jewish Studies
Still, God does work in mysterious ways.
And His healing has begun.
David A. Becker '73 is a writer and
seminary student at Brite Divinity School. You may write to him at email@example.com.
Tragic lessons, continued
"You all should be very proud of a great
newspaper today," said Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy.
"That was a well-written straight news story with a better lead than ours.
By Jeff Meddaugh '99
All that remained was ruin: shards of
glass, bullets and bombs; broken human forms without life and breath;
fragments of faith, hope and belief.
When I first heard about the shooting
at Wedgwood Baptist, just a few miles from the TCU campus, I was stunned.
As a student journalist and the editor-in-chief of the TCU Daily Skiff,
I was also moved to action.
Were we going to cover it?
Were any TCU students involved?
Did it affect our readers?
I don't think any amount of preparation
in the classroom could have readied the staff -- from editors to reporters
to photographers -- to answer ethical questions that were as important
as our coverage: Would our stories be presented tastefully without needlessly
dragging out the details of an already horrific situation?
What was our stance on reporting the stories of those who were grieving
What was our duty to readers?
Could we accurately portray the drama of the event?
Could our coverage be perceived as sensational?
What ethical decisions would I have to make?
What would come together -- seamlessly,
we hoped -- as that Thursday issue began in a scurry of Skiffers at a
college newspaper with little experience in this area?
Over three days, we carried stories on
various angles of the Wedgwood shootings -- police investigations, community
and campus reactions and memorials. Each day my intention was for reporters
and editors to collect pertinent information that would move the reader
to grieve, wonder or draw their own conclusions about the tragedy.
Journalism is as much about reporting
the news as it is about people. In the news- gathering process, numerous
Skiff reporters talked to police, friends of the victims, students and
other relevant sources.
Telling the story through photographs was
touch-and-go. Capturing grieving persons on film can easily prompt criticism
that journalism is intrusive, opportunistic and unfeeling. If someone
didn't want his or her picture taken, the request was honored.
And if that request was made even after
a picture was snapped, it was also given the same consideration. In fact,
after I was told that a woman in a photo that was chosen for the front
page had said she didn't want her image in the newspaper, I immediately
pulled the photo.
When such an event threatens the idea
of universal values -- independence, family togetherness, caring for others
and the pursuit of happiness, among others -- a community can't help but
be thrown into shock and outrage.
Three months later, we continue to learn
about and examine how the Wedgwood tragedy has affected this community.
As a human, I can only pray that it won't
happen again. As a journalist, I can only hope I always remember to embrace
that sense of humanity.
Skiff Editor in Chief Jeff Meddaugh
is a journalism senior from Broomfield, Colo.
A whole new Neeley
From E-Business to an Entrepreneurship
Center to a new Finance Center, TCU is changing the way it conducts business
BUILDING a solid business used to revolve
around bricks and mortar.
Now, says Management Prof. Jane Mackay,
it succeeds or fails based on "clicks" and mortar. That metaphor in mind,
TCU will "download" a one-of-a-kind E-Business program this spring.
The e-commerce initiative will provide
a distinct market niche for the 80 undergraduates who will enroll in the
program this spring, said Mackay, the program's director, giving them
the traditional tools of business but also the "technical backbone" to
put their education to work on the Web.
"Nobody else in North Texas is doing
this; our students will have the technical background to do anything on
the Web," she said. "They're going to have 27 hours that is directly applicable
to technology on the Web.
"If you think about purchasing an airline
ticket or making a banking transaction without a computer, it's almost
impossible now. This is not a fad; business will never be the same. And
there is no business environment that will survive without being web-based
at some point."
And the E-Business program is just the
beginning of a new business plan for TCU's biz school, Interim Dean Bill
Moncrief said, citing the formation of new entrepreneurship and finance
centers, as well as four new executive MBA courses.
"I am deeply excited about the Neeley
School's future," he said. "We are a school with huge potential and the
desire to meet and even exceed our dreams."
Indeed, in addition to E-Business, the
Neeley School has launched an Entrepreneurship Center, led by David Minor
'80, who turned a one-lawnmower operation in high school into an INC 500
company 15 years later.
"An entrepreneur is someone who's willing
to take a risk, someone who wants to create something from nothing," said
Minor, who assumed his new position in November. "It's not easy to go
out and hang your shingle and go to it. At the Entrepreneurship Center,
we plan to combine the talents of the faculty we have and those we're
going to bring in with the talent of practicioners, so there will be a
strong balance between ideas on finance, marketing and e-commerce and
the real-life experience of running a business."
The Neeley School's Finance Center will
build upon the strength of its nationally respected Educational Investment
Fund; the new program may mark the start of a unique investment management
Bell-Helicopter Vice President Sandi
Walker counts herself among those who approve of the Neeley School's new
"I applaud the actions of TCUŠ introducing
new curricula that address key business drivers such as e-commerce," she
said. "The whole pace of change is forcing industry to rethink how we
do things and get creative where there are no rules. If we don't, we will
not survive. I think the same may well apply to the universities of the
future. If they have to wait until everything is settled, they will be
woefully behind and out of step with the rest of the world."
"We joke around here that it's a new
day at TCU, but I think that's really how a lot of us feel," she said.
"We are a good school of business, no question about it. But now we have
the drive to get into the top 50 in the country."
out a new shingle. As the
director of the Neeley School's Entrepreneurship Center, David Minor
'80 hopes to show would-be entrepreneurs the art of the deal. Minor
cut his first business contract as a landscaper, which would make
him a millionaire 15 years later, with his grandmother. "It was her
lawn mower, and she said I could mow anyone's lawn as long as I mowed
hers for free." David and his wife Terri live in Fort Worth and have
two sons, David and Matthew.
Top foods at today's Main...
1) French fries
2) Salad (make your own from salad bar)
3) Display cooking
4) Vegetable of the day
5) Chicken strips
6) Bulk candy (at Staples store)
8) Biscuits and gravy
9) Individual cereal box
10) Grilled chicken sandwich
Students want it their way. One-choice
lunches of the past have been replaced by a smorgasboard of selections
at TCU, including a cyber cafe, complete with Internet accessed computers
(above), for those just passing through. Made-to-order meals cooked in
front of the customer seems to be a national trend and explains why "display
cooking" ranked number three, said Dining Services General Manager David
Ripple. With a different menu every day -- Oriental or Mexican food bars,
ribs or brisket and the trimmings, sizzling salads topped with hot meats
and cajun or creole fare -- cooks prepare entrees in individual servings
while students watch. In addition, omelets sell like, uh, hotcakes, on
students team up with NASA to take their education up, up and away. Students
come to TCU in search of higher education, but three engineering seniors
took that notion to extremes this past summer.
Students Ryan Coles, Roberto
Hernandez and Isaac Varner were one of only 32 undergraduate teams who conducted
zero-gravity experiments this past summer as part of NASA's 1999 Reduced
Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.
To achieve "weightlessness" while still
in the Earth's atmosphere, NASA flies a KC-135 aircraft through 40 parabolas
-- quickly climbing to 33,000 feet and then diving to 24,000. Students
have 25 seconds of zero-gravity at the top of the maneuver to conduct
experiments, and 25 seconds of double-gravity at the bottom to reset their
instruments. (The aircraft has also been used for motion pictures such
as Apollo 13.)
The TCU threesome traveled to Lyndon
B. Johnson Space Center in early August for two weeks of physicals and
motion-sickness training before boarding the two-hour roller coaster-like
flight over the Gulf of Mexico. The team's experiment aimed to verify
the viscosity (or thickness) of a known liquid, in this case glycerol.
A zero-gravity environment allows viscosity to be tested without using
containers for the liquid, which would hamper the outcome. The students
assembled a structure that emitted two opposing drops of the liquid and
then incrementally inched the two together. A high-speed digital camera
recorded how long the two drops took to merge into one.
"I think it gave us a finer appreciation
for what NASA is doing," Coles said. "We had to make sure that we could
do everything without gravity."At one point, the experiment's motor that
moved the drops together seized and was repaired by the students as they
fought intermittent battles between the forces of gravity and weightlessness.
"Getting to experience weightlessness
is something that very few people get a chance to do,"said Engineering
Prof. Andre Mazzoleni, the team's faculty advisor, half-lamenting that
faculty were not allowed on board. "Also, it was a chance to participate
in a research project from start to finish. The students wrote the proposal,
designed and executed the experiment, and now they're analyzing the data
and will present it at a technical conference. This was just a really
neat thing for them to do."
speakers happen to good people
Rabbi Harold Kushner tells two packed
TCU crowds to take fewer guilt trips
Christian clergy were the first to pick up
Rabbi Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People for their congregants,
making it a best seller in 1991.
That's when Kushner realized his message
had relevance not only for Jews, but for Christians as well. "At a certain
level of human experience we transcend all those denominational levels,"
Kushner's address illustrated what the
year-old Jewish Studies Program at TCU is all about, said Brite Divinity
Dean Leo Perdue.
"Jewish Studies will help students recognize
the contributions the Jewish faith and scholarship has made historically,
but also the diversity and contributions that the living, breathing Jewish
culture is making today," Perdue said.
Kushner told a packed Ed Landreth Auditorium
that his most recent book, How Good Do We Have To Be, is about guilt.
After noting that even though all religions help people feel good, when
done wrong, religion can make people feel guilty and unworthy. Kushner
said his crusade is to advocate a second kind of religion, "To tell people
you're good, you're clean, you're worthwhile.
"The lesson we ought to take from reading
the Scriptures is that we can be a really wonderful person without being
a perfect one. You can make some mistakes but still be one of the people
that shapes the world for the better.
"This sense of our inadequacy, that we
can't measure up, drains all the pleasure and all the joy and all the
hope from our lives."
The Jewish Studies Program has four components:
-- the Roslyn and Manny Rosenthal Chair for Judaic Studies (a search for
a scholar to fill the seat has begun),
-- the Gates of Chai Lectureship in Contemporary Judaism,
-- the Jack B. Friedman Judaic Library in Honor of Barbara Friedman Rakoover,
-- and a planned visiting scholars program.
Perdue said that since Brite is an ecumenical
and interfaith seminary, studies of all faiths -- and visits by scholars
like Kushner -- are an integral part of the education of the students.
"We come to learn from each other," he said, "rather than think we have
all the answers."
When Eileen invited Jorge to her room that
October evening, she only knew she didn't want the wonderful evening to
end. She thought she knew this guy. She thought she was safe. She didn't
know that he would not listen when she said no.
Jorge raped Eileen that night in Foster
Hall's lounge. With about 60 wide-eyed people watching.
Jorge Castaneda and Eileen Trilli are
two of the five members of TCU's new Assault Prevention Theatre -- which
combines the talents of theatre students and the educational goals of
"I thought the theatre students could
just do it better than I could standing there talking about rape and dating
violence," Crime Prevention Sgt. Connie Villela said. "It is much harder
to turn off when someone is acting these things out right in front of
The four students in the troupe who perform
the 15-minute vignettes were trained by rape crisis counselors at the
Women's Center in Fort Worth. When the performance is over, they answer
questions from the audience, still in character, Villela said.
The scripts were written by the students
with help from Villela, who knows the scenarios from working in law enforcement
and as a rape counselor for 10 years. The troupe plans to offer their
educational skits to local high schools as well as perform around campus.
Freshman Lindsey Leigh Rich said watching
the graphic scene "ripped my heart out. "I know people who have been raped,"
she said. "But this kind of thing is really good because it lets those
girls know there are others who have gone through this and that there
are places to get help."
A home movie housed in the Mary
Couts Burnett Library and filmed in Fort Worth on the day of John F. Kennedy's
assassination made a big media splash in October when Librarian Glenda Stevens
asked the press for help finding the filmmaker. The University has had the
film, depicting the Kennedys at a breakfast event, for 10 years, but until
now it has not been available for public use because of copyright laws.
The media blitz worked; the film was taken by a now-deceased Fort Worth
businessman who gave a copy to then-Congressman Jim Wright, who donated
his congressional papers to the library. The library is also the home of
the Marguerite Oswald Collection, which is a collection of books and information
surrounding the Kennedy assassination gathered by Lee Harvey Oswald's mother.
Additionally, TCU is the new permanent home of the Amon G. Carter papers,
which contain almost 150 linear feet of personal records, scrapbooks, photos,
clippings and memorabilia belonging to the late Star-Telegram publisher
and philanthropist. Archival assistant Joseph Helmick (above left), who
will be working closely with the collection, "tries on" one of the treasures,
boots belonging to Will Rogers, a close friend of Carter.
A real art exhibit.
Three of the four artists selected by the
Arts Council of Fort Worth to create public sculptures in open-air studios
at the Botanic Garden during the summer had TCU connections. The two-month
symposium featured Cameron Schoepp '87, now teaching sculpture at the University
of Dallas; Chris Powell, art studio coordinator and sculpture instructor
at TCU, and Alice Bateman, who is teaching 3D design here. Their summer
works of limestone were installed at various Fort Worth locations: Shoepp's
in General Worth Square downtown, Powell's at Capps Park and Bateman's at
Titus Paulsel Park. All the artists used power tools, like Powell above,
to speed the process, but it made for a dusty two months.