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TCU Magazine "Alma Matters"

Daytime drama

Lies, innuendo and backstabbing for a grade!

Allister is in love with Elizabeth, the wife of Nathaniel, his mentor and best friend. Juli, Allister's assistant, has an obsessive crush on Allister, and Art, Allister's right-hand man, is love-stricken over Juli.

And, to think, the convoluted love quadrangle happened right on the TCU campus. Welcome to Studio 13, radio-TV-film's student- written, -produced and -acted soap opera that debuted this spring, a behind-the-scenes story of an imaginary network soap opera called Carson's River.

The story began last fall during RTVF Prof. Richard Allen's Writing for Television course. The class created Studio 13 on paper. This spring, about 100 students -- including those from editing, producing, acting and directing classes -- brought it to life. Allen, a daytime-drama veteran and currently an associate writer for CBS' As the World Turns, believes TCU is the only university with an academic -- as opposed to extracurricular -- program like this.

RTVF senior and executive producer Dalis Bondurant said the 10 episodes aired on the campus station as well as on local cable. The work was immense, but the response great.

"We had a packed house for every new episode, people were really excited about it," she said. "And we all love doing it. It's so amazing to create something from scratch, dream it up in your head and then see it on TV."

With Honors

When selecting each year's Honors Professor, it's not just whose most popular, but who most inspires. This year, the contest was so close that two professors were named -- English Asst. Prof. Bonnie Blackwell and Philosophy Prof. Richard Galvin.

Of Galvin, one student said, "He intimidates, fascinates, frustrates and inspires, all at the same time." With the two professors, center, are Honors Program Director Kathryne McDorman and the Honors Convocation speaker, Robert Pinskey, the nation's poet laureate.

Pinskey has been canvassing the country for its favorite poems, now online at You can read some of the Honors students favorite poems at

Top brass

While Army ROTC cadets descended upon the Worth Hills campus for field maneuvers in February, top senior military officers from each of NATO's major military units came to campus in April. Portugese Air Force Major Carlos Soares from Allied Atlantic (ACLANT) and British Army Lt. Colonel Peter Reynolds from Allied Command Europe discussed conflicts around the world.

Something to scream about

Nine students with something to say in March participated in the first TCU Scream Night, part of International Week. Using a concept from a popular Japanese TV program, students gathered on the Student Center roof -- on a platform eight feet from the edge and tied with a rope for safety -- and took turns screaming their statements to a group gathered below, who echoed their words. "They could voice their frustrations in front of everybody," said International Week Chair Tomomi Nakata, a psychology senior. "They liked the interaction; I think people enjoy participating more than just being in an audience." Clockwise from far left are freshman Takeshi Sugawara (from Japan), sophomore Irene Bermudez (Panama) and junior Alonso Sanchez (Mexico).

A Truman and a Goldwater

Two TCU students made the papers this spring by landing prestigious national scholarships. Junior Marshawn Evans was selected as one of 79 students from 598 applicants nationwide as a Truman Scholar, a $30,000 graduate study award given annually to students geared toward careers in government or non-profit sectors.

Evans plans to head to law school and eventually to be elected as a judge or attorney general. A TCU twirler, Evans during high school founded a youth violence prevention program called America CAN! (America's Children Achieving Now!) and continues to speak in schools, detention centers and at conferences.

Joshua Thaden, a pre-med/physics sophomore, received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. A 21-year-old Sheldon, Iowa, native, he was one of 309 juniors and sophomores selected from 1,100 who applied for the $7,500 scholarship. He plans to pursue a PhD in molecular biology and a career in biomedical research after graduation.

Chancellor Striebinger?

Finance and marketing junior C.J. Striebinger started out his first and only day as TCU's chancellor in April by parking his sport utility vehicle in Michael R. Ferrari's choice space, but Striebinger found that the chancellorial perk pales in comparison to the headaches associated with TCU's top job. As part of the annual Big Switch, sponsored by Student Foundation, the young TCU executive dealt with staged crises that included a resigning vice chancellor and a campus assault.

Start the presses

Their own newspaper was on the minds of students from the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico, when they extended The TCU Daily Skiff staff an invitation to visit the UDLA campus last year. In February, editor Joaquin Herrera, reporter Katherine Garcia and advisor Eva Rumpf spent three days helping the UDLA students get La Catarina (the ladybug) started. In April, several UDLA students spent three days on the TCU campus, observing how TCU's 98-year-old student newspaper is produced. "They are excited and dedicated to their new paper," Rumpf said. "They only have one computer and a very small staff, and that really helped us here realize how far we've come."

Into the golden years

With 43 years at TCU, History Prof. Ben Procter led the list of faculty retirements announced this spring. Others included Fred Erisman, English, 35 years; Margaret McWhorter, design, merchandising and textiles, 28 years; David Sloan, design, merchandising and textiles, 28 years; Evelyn Roberts, nutrition and dietetics, 21 years; Gerald L. Grotta, journalism, 20 years; Lawrence M. Charlesworth, radio-TV-film, 15 years; Danna Strength, nursing, 13 years; Ken Raessler, School of Music, 11 years; and Dora Castillo, communication sciences and disorders, 10 years. Admissions Dean Sandy Ware is also leaving TCU after 14 years and record-breaking enrollment numbers, to join her husband Wayne, a retired pilot, in building a log home in Colorado. "The TCU family is unparalleled in my professional experience," she said. "I will continue to wear purple, and I will always be (an adopted) Frog."

A miracle

A TCU contingent traveled to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in March to confer a dietetics degree upon student Robbyn Kindle, the 33-year-old student who garnered campus support in February after it was learned that she needed $150,000 before she could be placed on an organ-donor waiting list. Within days, the campus raised almost $80,000, with Dallas businessman Mark Bunting contributing the remainder.

In April, Kindle underwent a successful 12-hour operation that replaced her pancreas, liver, kidney and lower bowels. Nutrition and Dietetics Prof. Evelyn Roberts reported that Kindle was calm before surgery, remembering a dream she had had several nights before.

"There was a person standing by my left shoulder," Kindle said. "I think it's my Guardian Angel."

Sounding a different note

A blast of rich melody, booming brass and soaring strings colored the sunny Latino beat that rung from campus when the Latin American Music Festival hit town in April. Leading talent from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Peru performed on exotic instruments like the tiple, bandeoneon, zampona and siku. World premieres of five musical works were the highlight of the annual three-day festival, which also featured folk, salsa and ballet folklorico dancing. TCU student Arturo Rodriguez, a former Mozart medalist, conducted Mosaico Mexicano, the symphonic work he wrote as a tribute to legendary Mexican composer Manuel Esperón. The piece played to rave reviews recently in Mexico, at a TCU Orchestra concert that Esperón attended. Rodriguez is also writing a symphony for the White House- commissioned Mars Millennial Project that will premier on campus in December.

Best little author

A large guffaw burst from author and playwright Larry L. King when he was introduced as one of America's "most distinguished literary voices" at the Adams Writing Center's Creative Writing Awards ceremony in April. King, who has retained his rough-and-tumble West Texas attitude, told the several hundred gathered that at age six, he decided he was going to be a famous "arther" when he grew up. He made good on that promise, first as a journalist, then author and playwright, adding such works as Best Little Whorehouse in Texas to his resume. During his address, the former Nieman Fellow at Harvard read from his latest book A Writer's Life in Letters, or, Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye, telling the audience, sometimes in spicy language, that he wanted the young writers present to understand the "salts and sours" of book publishing.

Capitol Women

When Sarah Tilghman Hughes campaigned in the 1930s for a second term in the Texas House, her opponent ridiculed her candidacy, saying, "We should slap her face and send her back to the kitchen."

She won, but was the only woman in the Legislature that year. At the beginning of her third term, she was appointed to the 14th District Court in Dallas, a position that would mark her as the first woman to serve as a state district judge.

But when a state senator objected to the appointment because she was married -- and thought she should stay home and wash dishes -- the women of the city banded for her support and she was reelected to the position seven times.

Years later, Hughes credited that senator for uniting Texas women. Such were the challenges of women in politics in Texas in the early years. Eighty-six of these ambitious and accomplished women are the focus of a new compilation, Capitol Women: Texas Female Legislators, 1923-1999, by Nancy Baker Jones '69 and Ruthe Winegarten.

Drawing on many years of research, historians Jones and Winegarten have brought together, into one volume, these stories, as well as four essays that provide historical and cultural context for the biographies. It is an easy and fascinating read that will surely inspire many budding women politicians as well as be a solid resource for further study of the influence of women in Texas politics.

LEAPing into action

Nearly 400 students showed up on a rainy Saturday in April to do something for someone they didn't know. They went to nursing homes and schools, food banks and the zoo, where they provided helping hands and friendly smiles. It was the inaugural LEAPS (Leaders Encouraging All People to Serve) all-campus service day, sponsored by Student Development Services. "The idea came out of the students' desire to do more service in the community," said Penny Woodcock, program coordinator for the TCU Leadership Center. "They really wanted a unified campus event so Fort Worth would see this big group of Horned Frogs all working together." Above, Phi Kappa Sigma member William Brewer plays bingo with a resident of the Mariner Health Center.

In Brief

New appointments. At its spring meeting, the Board of Trustees confirmed two new officers of the university, Carol N. Campbell as vice chancellor for finance and business and treasurer and Larry D. Lauer as vice chancellor for marketing and communication. Campbell came from Carleton College, where she served as vice president and treasurer for the past decade. Nationally, she chaired the steering committee for the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Lauer, a 34-year veteran of TCU, has served the last 15 as associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs. He has served for the last year as executive director of the Commission on the Future of TCU.

Other Board news included a $1.6 million increase in financial aid and scholarships, including support for the minority-aimed Community Scholars program and additional grants-in-aid for women's athletics; additional funding to support library and technology enhancements, diversity initiatives, institutional marketing efforts, TCU's move to Conference USA, increased alumni involvement in the university, The Commission on the Future of TCU strategic planning process, community outreach and partnerships, academic facility enhancements and debt service commitments related to major capital improvements.

Many returns. More than 600 students have learned their financial trade through the Educational Investment Fund at the M. J. Neeley School of Business, with a portion of their EIF returns going toward TCU's Annual Fund. This year, that contribution hit $56,223, the largest single gift made to the Annual Fund this year.

Rising to the occasion. This fall, TCU will open an intensive early intervention preschool called the Rise School, for Down syndrome children. To be housed within Starpoint School, the center will include therapy within traditional preschool instruction, to help Down children matriculate into mainstream kindergarten programs. Former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings, who has a Down syndrome child, attended the April announcement as did Kimberly Blackmon, daughter of William Blackmon III '70 and Linda Oglesby Harman '69, and granddaughter of William "Floppy" '43 and Genevieve Able Blackmon '44.

All the news fit to win. At the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Conference in April, the TCU Daily Skiff took third place for best overall newspaper in1999, and Skiff staff members also garnered 27 individual awards for work produced in 1999. Image magazine won first place for best general magazine overall and another top award for the most points in various individual contests.

Nobel speaker. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel will be the featured speaker for the third annual Gates of Chai Lectureship on Sept. 20. His lecture is tentatively titled, "The Seduction and Dangers of Fanatacism."