Magazine readers remember their favorite courses of yesteryear.
Physical Chemistry. Why? The enthusiasm exhibited by Dr. Elmer Alexander for his subject was captivating to me. A very intelligent man, who had trouble remembering how to open his car's hood.
Charles Ellis '65
History of the American West. Why? Dr. Ben Procter -- my favorite out of several world-class professors I enjoyed while at TCU. With reading glasses atop his head, and his shirttail hanging out, he towered over his students while he graphically described various torture techniques employed by the Comanches. And then he would end his class with something like: "One particular instance is so horrendous . . . No, you'll have to come to the next class to hear about it. I can't bear to tell it today." There was nothing that could keep us away from that next class!
Jeff King '81
Graduate school course in comparative economics taught by Dr. Mundkenke. It was an evening college course that met in a barracks. He taught even-handedly about capitalism, socialism and communism and told us that to keep our freedom we'd have to give up some of our liberties.
Cynthia Bergman '56
Richard Galvin's Introduction to Political Philosophy changed my life. His take on the great thinkers -- like Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau and Rawls -- would keep my mind buzzing with ideas all day after class and would stimulate countless late-night discussions of ethics and politics in Brachman Hall. Inspired by this experience, I now teach this very same course at the university where I work, hoping to instill this same magic in them.
David Lay Williams '92
My favorite class was Advanced Sculpture. This class met every Friday, ALL DAY -- and I loved it! It was such a small class that we got to know our professor, Thad, and the other classmates well. We enjoyed class so much that we even showed up on an official snow day. This class affected the way I teach art more than any other course I took at TCU. The most important thing I learned was how to fail, and how to try again. Because of this course, I often tell my students that it is OK to mess up because it teaches us to think and figure out how to do it right.
Alycia Abts '98
Arthurian Literature with Dr. Linda Hughes. Not only do I still love Arthurian Lit, but Dr. Hughes had to have been one of the best instructors on campus. Her enthusiasm and knowledge made that course what it really was, an oasis of enthusiastic scholarship in a desert of required course work.
David Mabry '91
The American Dream, an English course. I and my friends made it a point to take all the classes from "Dr. V" (Vanderwerken). It helped solidify my love of Fitzgerald and '20s literature, which I recently taught to my own students in English II. I remember going to take the final just to see what he would ask, even though I had an A for the course.
Libby Andrews Watson '99
While in graduate school and as part of my thesis, I designed and taught a class in stage movement. After working on prat falls, fighting, staggering, etc. we went out onto the grassy knolls and concrete paths around campus. We ran wildly into trees, flagpoles, buildings and tripped all over the place. We rolled around, jumped over imaginary benches and bumped into each other like pins in a bowling alley. At least one spring afternoon in 1967, the monotony of higher education was jarred and shaken.
Kay Ledbetter-Donovan '66
Modern Theology. Dr. Paul Wassenich made budding theologians like me feel important. Problem was, I was far from that academically. Yet his seminar style encouraged lively discussion. Remember that the '60s was a time of protest. True to form, one student proudly remarked that he saw nothing wrong with nudity, even if present in the classroom (it wasn't). Dr. Wassenich was so thrown off stride that he could only exclaim, "That's ridiculous. That's ridiculous." What was not ridiculous was his respect for students combined with a love of subject matter. Those were present in the classroom.
Ray Jennison '70, (MA '74)
Ecology of Fish with Ray Drenner. I took this class my senior year and it really pointed me toward what I wanted to study further and what my career should be. Dr. Drenner, through this class, sparked my interest in aquatic ecology. He later took me on as a graduate student and made me excel in my academic career. I owe a lot to that class and Dr. Drenner. I don't think that I could been so successful at any other university.
Jaron Hill '05
My favorite class was, of all things, a
running class. Dr. Betty Sue Benison was a real hoot and a half! She was a great motivator. My sister also went to TCU and we agreed to try a class in each other's major. So I took some kind of Home Ec course with Dr. Roberts. Shar didn't take to running like me. One day she skipped class, and to her astonishment, Dr. Benison called her at her dorm room. She was so impressed by the call she re-dedicated herself to the class. A few girls and myself thought we would train for the December '82 Dallas White Rock Marathon. We all finished, and received A's for the class. With all the recreational running I've done throughout my life, it's the only race I've ever run.
John Peterson '83
Survey of the Bible: New Testament. Dr. Robert Funk, professor. He encouraged us to use our rational minds to appreciate and understand the teachings of Jesus and the gospels. Dr. Funk went on to be a widely recognized biblical scholar. Some students thought he destroyed their faith, but he clarified and strengthened mine.
Edward H. Kolbe '55
My favorite class at TCU was taught by Dr. Luther Clegg. I enjoyed everything about that Children's Literature class: Dr. Clegg's lectures, his teaching style and particularly the required reading. It class was so engaging that I was able to forget my troubles during that semester. As a result of his teaching, I was more determined to become a teacher. Thank you Dr. Clegg. You are truly an inspiration.
Deborah Garza McGettigan '82
The late Paul Dinkins' World Literature class. His discussions made The Magic Mountain truly magic, Remembrance of Things Past truly memorable and the Dead Sea Scrolls come alive.
Shirley Ing Spieckerman '52
A course on death and dying taught by a chaplain. We interviewed the terminally ill, discussed funerals, burial, nurses, etc. The Elizabeth Kubler-Ross book on death and dying was the text. Excellent course. It was part of an MLA. It helped me resolve my "waste" issues from Vietnam. I've used the text to help others several times over the years as they attempted to move past anger of "why not me instead" issues.
Robert Estus '76
Writing Workshop with Dr. Fry. It was one of the few classes (besides band with Curtis Wilson) whose teacher I clearly remember. It covered the art and fun of writing, how to take the green ink and keep revising, and where to look in the newspaper for the best prose (sports!). Thanks, Dr. Fry.
Bryan Hildebrand '86
My first class with Dr. David Finn and my other classes with him. He was very significant in my choice to stay in marketing. Because of him, I became more involved in my classes and other organizations. He was so sincere and enthusiastic about marketing.
Nancy Meany Pricer '85
Inter-Relations of the Arts taught by Loraine Sherley. It gave me a wider view of the way in which the various parts of life tie together and impact one another. Music, dance, the visual arts, even architecture and on to the various forms of literature. All influence one another. In addition I learned some about the various components of the arts.
Ruth Taulbee Glaze '44
Two come to mind: Sects and Cults in American Religion, which provided such a fascinating look at the foundation of faith beliefs, and The Cross and the Sword in Latin America, which gave me a greater understanding of the intersection of religion and politics in the Latin American countries. Both classes were so different from my chemistry and biology classes, which dominated my schedule. Discussing and debating faith and politics was an interesting change of place!
Katie Bax Richardson '89
My favorite class was Musicals: From Broadway to Hollywood in the Radio/Television/Film department. I was lucky enough to get it my freshmen year and I remember thinking, "I can't believe this is a class!" because I enjoyed it so much and couldn't wait to go every week. It was the very beginning of many amazing memories in the RTVF department during my four years at TCU. I also distinctly remember Professor Richard Allen
playing "Getting to Know You" from "The King and I" as he called roll that first day!
Dalis Northup '00
I, Claudis: The First Five Roman Emperors. This class developed a love for the classics which has lasted to this day. It also had the hilarity of my liberal professor defending Caligula by day and protesting Reagan by night.
Scott A. Joseph '84
In 1952-53 I was the only student enrolled in a seminar on Contemporary Philosophy. The class met in the office of Cortell K. Holsapple, who was chair of the philosophy department and also dean of the evening college. My project was to study and offer a critique of the Ph.D. dissertation of Robert Robertson, who was teaching at TCU while completing his doctorate at the University of Texas. I was privileged to be a single student meeting with two professors.
Holsapple, Robertson and I met in Holsapple's tiny office in the Administration Building. There was scarcely room for the three of us ... and Holsapple's pipe!
My project did not advance the study of philosophy but it did create a passion for the subject which has persisted for more than five decades.
Robert H. Boyte '52, MA '53
My favorite class was Religion 101 with Dr. C. Cherventon. I was told by Jerr Hassell, Gene Brice and John Quick to be sure and take it and sit on the front row. He was the best professor I ever had.
Beth Smith Broyhill '54
My favorite class remains Small Group Dynamics for the Master of Education counseling program. It was the first class I took at TCU and my first encounter with grad school, 1,200 miles from home. Dr. Becky Taylor did a phenomenal job with the class. It wasn't just "school, it was therapy, it was hope. It confirmed the answer to my calling to be in the counseling profession. I loved it and I'm still in touch with Dr. Taylor and several others from that very first class.
Olivia Scalf '07
Photojournalism. Capturing a story visually for The Skiff opened my eyes in so any ways. Learning photography was exciting. Then putting that to use to accompany copy and bring a story to life, whether a soccer game or a sorority charity event, empowered me to look at journalism and life from a new perspective. Plus, it fed my latent creative passions. I still think back on it when I see news photos and when I take my own. I thrived on it and still do.
Liz Barrett '84
I had two favorites. The first was Introduction to Insurance. Dr. Ken Herrick was the professor. He made a very boring subject interesting with his knowledge and stories. I never missed a class. The other was Business Finance with Dr. Whitsett. He was a no-nonsense professor. I loved his approach on finance. He said credit cards will be a big problem in the USA and look what is happening today.
Ron Smith '72
Public health nursing (was my favorite course) because it prepared me for what would be my career for many years. Most schools I've heard of don't offer this course. It helped prepare me for autonomous work.
Gail Johnson Pitchford '72
Twice blessed are they who attended TCU in the early 1950s. Two of the most intelligent faculty members and best lecturers were available to students for the nominal fee of $9 (later $11) per credit. Dr. Winesanker used copious notes to impart knowledge in his music history classes. Sophomore English students found Dr. Dinkins' lectures on Hamlet spellbinding. Knowing the play from memory, he would often interrupt himself to divulge insight relating to the Dane's most inner thoughts. The teachings of these professors would mold a student's character and remain a part of one for life.
Richard Roden '55
Billie Sue Anderson taught several classes for P.E. teachers. She taught me to be organized in subject preparation, well-rounded in teaching methods and caring in teaching the person and the subject. I took all her knowledge and applied it to my first teaching assignment. I was the only teacher who required notebooks in physical education. I still hear from my students today because she (Miss A) taught me to care!
Phyllis Ballinger '66
My favorite class was Choral Organization and Management with Dr. Ruth Whitlock. She was an absolute genius and an icon of choral music in Texas. I learned more in one year in that class than in all the others combined.
Mary Jane Phillips '89
I really enjoyed Dr. Ben Johnson's history classes. Although I knew better than to change my major to history, he sparked my interest in history that continues today.
Jesse Spurway '70
Craig Felton's Italian Renaissance Art. This quiet man had such passion when introducing me, as a freshman, to the world of artistic masterpieces. I took so many courses from him in the Art History department that I ended up with a minor in the subject. His love of art lives on with me today!
Debbi Jo Utter Froman '77
My home economics classes were my favorite. Professor Bennie Enlow made them so interesting that I decided to teach home economics as Professor Enlow did. I received my masters and did work on a doctor's later. I always enjoyed teaching.
Nellie Martin Churchill '49
My favorite was a course in the poetry of John Milton. Ann Gossman made Adam, Eve and Satan come alive as if she had conjured them. At the same time she demonstrated the many influences on the composition of Paradise Lost.
Robert Cowser '65
Advanced Educational Philosophy taught by Dr. Sandy Wall. He had an understanding and depth of the various philosophies and his students. As a retired teacher I heard other teachers talk of his brilliance of thought.
Lester Badger '57
All the education classes, especially the ones that included participating in elementary classrooms. Also loved the children's lit classes with Dr. Clegg. He made the stories come to life. He loved to read to us, and we loved to listen to him.
Patti Dye Rile '68 (MEd '88)
Ben Proctor, American History. What a terrific storyteller! Having played pro ball with the Green Bay Packers, he had a very distinct presence in front of the class. He was tall and balding and balanced his eye glasses on the tip of his nose. I can still hear him saying, "Fire when ready, Gridley. Also, Mrs. Lysiak's Calculus. She was wheelchair-bound and had a special golf car to get around in. She could fill a chalkboard faster than any other teacher I have ever had.
Bob Carlson, '83
My favorite class was student teaching in the third grade. My professor was Dr. M. Keeble. This was special because she was principal at Lilly B. Clayton Elementary when I was in kindergarten.
Charlotte Thames '63
Religion -- an academic presentation instead of faith-based. This was a basic course and as I recall, the professor was the best!
Sally Stevens '83
Dr. Winesanker _ Music History. I studied hours and hours for his exams. Made an A in his course. Dr. Huber ? German. I learned so much from her and was able to converse in German when I lived in Austria for a year.
Marian A. McElroy '54
Dr. Ben Proctor's class about the Westward Movement (USA). He brought such vigor and humor to history. I'll never forget the day a classmate reported about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a less-than-humorous topic, yet for some reason we were all crying with laughter. And I still know where Hubott Sink is! Dr. Proctor taught me how much fun teaching can be. He also taught us so much about writing. I tried to carry his methods with me into my English and history class. Need I mention his talent at playing the spoons?
Beth Bourdonnay Anderson '63
American History. Dr. W.C. Nunn. His classes were interesting from 7 to 9 p.m. The best part was when we went to the basement for a snack break. He entertained us with so many interesting stories from his life's experiences.
Dorothy Lane Niesen '53 (MA)
Dr. Porterfield's sociology classes. He knew the lyrics to the "oldies" and the popular songs at the time and used them in his lectures. He kept his classes interesting. I never missed one of his classes thinking I would catch a mistake in the lyrics, but I never did.
Howard Marshall '49
It was the spring semester of 1966 and I signed up for a graduate level English course because I had exhausted all of the then-available undergraduate English literature courses. The course I selected was 18th-Century Restoration Drama, taught by Dr. Snyder. I had taken several courses from him and loved his teaching methods. I had yet to get a grade better than a B from Dr. Snyder, but took this graduate-level course anyway. He was an awesome teacher and brought this course absolutely ALIVE! I never missed a class, was never late and did well enough to finally receive an A from a professor for whom I still have the greatest respect and admiration
Henry Dittman '66
Marching band. We were like a family. Practices three or four times a week, games usually every Saturday and we traveled to away games and marching contests or exhibitions.
Jonnathan Radenz '99
Individual Differences, a graduate course in psychology of education. It helped me as a head college swimming coach at UTA and NC State to better prepare my training sessions, from the average athletes to the Olympic ones.
Don Easterling '55 (MEd '60)
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