Summer 2003
Far from Normal
A man on a mission
Alma Matters
Memīries Sweet
Riff Ram
Class Notes
Back Cover
Back Issues

TCU Magazine Class Notes


Popular pundit

When Jay Warren '94 worked as campus editor for the TCU Daily Skiff, he had "an interest in political journalism," he said. He has since made a career of bringing significant political stories into the lives of television news viewers, which is "not easy, because viewers often think political news is boring or irrelevant to their lives," he said. His hard work has paid off. In an April ceremony held in Las Vegas, Warren was recognized for his work as chief political reporter for Roanoke, Va.'s NBC affiliate, WSLS-TV. He received the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement from the USC Annenberg School of Communication. Warren earned the award for two news series reports he created for the 2002 congressional elections, "The Road to 2002" and "No Choice." The first focused on how key issues such as the economy, homeland security and agriculture affect viewers in their daily lives. "No Choice" takes an innovative look at the power of incumbency. "I really wanted to look at why we don't have more competitive races" he said. Warren's work has also recently been recognized with the Virginia Associated Press Award for Outstanding Effort by an Individual Reporter at a Television Station.

Something About Mary Alice

Mary Alice Bennington Yelverton '50 has had an "interesting" 81-year-long life, she says. And she's been documenting special events, health issues, celebrity gossip and other miscellaneous news in her weekly column for The Boerne Star newspaper, "Mary Alice's Potpourri" for the last 20 years. Yelverton's popular column contains news items that are of particular interest to Boerne area residents, along with wit and wisdom from her own life. Her column also features an antique post card from her collection of more than 3,000 each week. Her interest in celebrities began when she was young, and continues today as she keeps Boerne Star readers informed of her correspondence with such notables as Ben Hogan, William Holden and Katharine Hepburn. The recognition Yelverton has received from her column is "truly humbling," she says. "I'm so happy to get to know the people in this area, and the appreciation for my column is wonderful." And although her column deals with the area and residents of Boerne, Yelverton maintains that she still "loves TCU and Fort Worth."

Citizen Barr

Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr '64 was taking phone calls from the news media one afternoon when his daughter, Katherine, dropped by for an unannounced visit. "My daughter just walked through the door and surprised me, so now my day is greatly improved," Barr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Any day my wife or daughter stops by is a good day." Words such as that are commonplace for Mr. Mayor, who in March announced his intention to retire, thanking his wife and daughter for seven years of unwavering support. "I have to recognize the incredible support. When the going got rough, there was never a doubt about whose corner these two ladies were in," he said at a media press conference. Barr leaves City Hall having revitalized older central city neighborhoods while luring large economic development projects into Fort Worth. Barr benefited from good economic times, and he is generally credited with expanding city services while reducing the city's property tax rate. Barr will now devote his attention to The Barr Co., a family-run printing business that his father -- former Fort Worth mayor Willard Barr -- started more than 55 years ago. The economic downturn, coupled with advances in desktop publishing, have hit the printing business hard. "I've been friends with Ken for 40 years, and he was in tears over this," said Councilman Jim Lane '66, one of Barr's old fraternity chums. "I've watched him grow, mature and struggle. We've been there together during the great victories and when we've gotten our fannies kicked around. "This is a sad day, and I am going to miss him." So will the city.

Champion of deaf education

Back in her college days, Gayle Goldberg Stout '57 had a budding daily radio show on KTCU called "Something for the Girls: A Program about Style and Beauty." She also enjoyed leading roles on the stage in the theater department. But it was a venture into deaf education that excited Stout most. Decades later, thousands of deaf children and their families are glad Stout didn't wind up in Hollywood. Instead, she's become an internationally known author and expert in teaching deaf children. At a time when many educators tried unsuccesfully to reach out to their deaf pupils and became frustrated, Stout and co-author Jill Windle believed children with hearing impairments could learn to listen if it was fun. So the two crafted The Developmental Approach to Successful Listening, a curriculum that teaches educators to break information into manageable chunks so that children can learn at their own pace. Stout, who teaches at The Houston School for Deaf Children, also encourages children and their families to take advantage of hearing aids and cochlear implants because her program and the technology together can help them function alongside their hearing peers. Her curriculum has sold more than 10,000 copies since the early days, when she mailed the program -- by written request only -- out of her garage. Now, Stout is an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston, in addition to her duties at HSDC. "My philosophy is to walk hand in hand with hearing impaired children and their parents," she says. "And I have seen many of them come full circle at their weddings and graduations. It is very gratifying to see them succeed."

Nice guys finish first

Jeremy Stefanek '94 never expected to win the Denver mayoral election in May. In fact, his name never made it on the official ballot. Something about a technicality and the required number certified signatures of registered voters. (He was 22 shy.) No matter. Stefanek considers his first venture into local politics a success and thinks his campaign just might have been the most influencial in the race. A former computer software executive, he became a local favorite among voters (and even his own opponents) because he ran "the cleanest, nicest campaign in the history of Denver city politics," according to the Rocky Mountain News. Stefanek imposed his own version of campaign finance reform far below what is allowable in Colorado. He insisted his contributors put in no more than $50. He also wouldn't accept corporate donations. He collected $5,000 in all, far below the million-dollar coffers of other candidates. "I have been so fed up with negativity and dirty campaign tactics in local politics that I wanted to prove to everyone that a positive campaign based on what a candidate does well could be accomplished," Stafanek says. And that's what he did. Opponent Penfield Tate, who got to know Stafanek through several debates, said he "brought an honesty and genuineness to the race that was very refreshing." Other candidates followed suit and remained above the fray normally associated with contentious Denver politics. "I won. I did what I set out to do. This election was based on candidate's accomplishments, not tearing the other guy down," he says. Next up for Stefanek, the statehouse.