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TCU Magazine "Capturing Budapest"

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Deans list

The University names five (three newcomers and two current TCU deans) of the seven who will lead its new colleges

Dean Mary L. Volcansek
Add Ran College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Personal: Born April 2, 1948, in Lubbock. Volcansek married retired English professor Harry Antrim in 1982, a union in which Volcansek happily acquired two stepchildren. The couple now enjoy time with their two grandchildren. They have one family cat, Mimi, but also spearheaded an effort to spay, neuter and vaccinate stray cats in their neighborhood.

Education: PhD, Texas Tech University, 1973
MA, Texas Tech University, 1971
BA, Abilene Christian College, 1969

Professional: A faculty member and administrator since 1973 at Florida International University, Dr. Volcansek has been a professor of political science since 1986. The author of eight books and 20 articles. she founded FIU's summer study abroad program at Cambridge University and directed her department's graduate program with 35 master's and doctoral students.

On any given day, Mary Volcansek can be found in her yard, pulling weeds, trimming back overgrowth and nurturing the many exotic orchids flourishing at her Miami home.

She calls her garden "cathartic," a welcome change from a rigorous schedule of political science classes and research.

Yet, some might say the new dean of AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences is really just doing more of what she does best -- coaxing growth by providing a rich environment of necessary resources.

"The role of the dean is to foster faculty visions," she said. "I hope to be able to motivate, prod and jostle faculty to think about things they would like to see changed, things they would like to improve, goals and dreams that they have, and see what can be made a reality."

The soft-spoken Volcansek (pronounced Vol-CAN-sek) wasnÕt looking for a deanship when she heard about the TCU opening, but the "serendipitous" opportunity to return to her home state seemed too good to let pass.

In fact, her whole life has been "without great malice aforethought," she said, and many of her greatest learning experiences have been a matter of chance. True.

After living through a night of terror during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Volcansek found new joy in things usually taken for granted, like electricity, water and windows in your house.

"My husband and I spent four hours in a closet with a friend and four cats while the water rose on the floor, listening to wood tear and things break and crash," she said. "But coming out of that you learn about the good in people, how much people will help people."

Well traveled, including several stints living in Europe, Volcansek brings to TCU a global perspective. The latest of her eight books covers the Italian constitutional court.

"Being exposed to how itÕs done elsewhere, to different cultures, different histories, different languages, is such a crucial part of education," she said.

But Volcansek knows that most of what any TCU student will learn will happen right inside the college she now leads.

"AddRan will define them throughout the rest of their life as an educated person," she said. "The ability to appreciate literature or to understand history or how the economic marketplace works is essential.

"A business school will not be a good business school, and engineering or the sciences will not be able to achieve their goals unless we are top notch, too."