Spring 1998
Paths less traveled
Alma Matters
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Purple Heart
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TCU Magazine "Alma Matters"

Don't miss Verbatim at the bottom of the page!

Moral might

It was a February evening of reflection, ending with more than one participant wondering if the standing-room-only crowd had just "been kicked."

Well, figuratively, yes. Booted in the conscience by former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, first speaker of TCU's new Frost Foundation Global Lectureship Series.

"I really want this great nation to be not only a military superpower, and economic superpower, but also, and most importantly, a moral superpower," Arias told students and community members in the Dee J. Kelly Alumni and Visitors Center. Which means, he added, having friends, not just interests in foreign countries.

"The enemy for you in this country is increasing poverty and increasing inequality," he said, speaking of third-world countries. "Unless the Unites States desires to become a fortress besieged by large and growing armies of the poor, it should actively foster social change in Latin America.

"It is much better to invest now in economic and social development than send soldiers later on to put an end to the violence in these countries."

Speaking out against the recent U.S. decision to export high-tech weaponry to developing countries, Arias noted that the U.S. is now the largest exporter of arms. Ten years ago it was Russia.

"If you want to cut public spending," he said, "you need to cut where this spending is wrong, and that is in the maintenance of huge armies and the procurement of high tech weapons that are not necessary. Our children in Latin American -- and this is also true for the children in India, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Angola, Mali -- what they want and what they need are schools, not F-16s."

Bloody-good study

When students begin storming the new TCU beachhead in London in the fall, about a dozen of them will also be contributing to the national economy as interns -- jobs that will earn them college credit.

And when not grinding the stone, the interns will join fellow TCUers in site-based courses such as The London Theatre, where they will attend a variety of live performances or "The Making of Modern England," a class that will guide them through historical sites and galleries, even stopping at some London coffeehouses.

"The idea is not to have students sitting in classes listening to a professor lecture," said Delia Pitts, director of international education. "They will be visiting the galleries of the British Museum, going behind the scenes at the theaters and hanging out where the Bloomsbury writers wrote."

Win-ing speaker

Winthrop Rockefeller '74, lieutenant governor of Arkansas, delivered the keynote address at winter commencement to some 635 graduates earning 477 bachelor's degrees, 116 master's, 16 doctorates, and another 16 degrees from Brite Divinity School. The ceremony also included presentation of the Dean's Teaching Awards to Honors Program Kathryne McDorman, Education Prof. Michael Sacken and Management Associate Prof. Chuck Williams, each of whom received $2,500 for significant teaching achievements.

Romeo and Julietskova

Theatre junior Michael Newberry, portraying Romeo's cousin Benvolio, practices in February a fight scene for a 1940s cold war version of Romeo and Juliet, pitting the American Montagues against the Russian Capulets. In six performances, the Russian State Theatre Koleso of Togliatti delivered its lines in Russian while the TCU troupe presented in English. Last spring, TCU theatre faculty and students exported their production of The Fantasticks.

Home on the ranch

With the arrival of new director Jeff Geider '81 -- a coming home of sorts, he said -- the Ranch Management Institute is ready to saddle up and move on out -- to alumni and others who want the latest know-how from the experts. The first event? Probably a marketing seminar held on campus, said Geider, a local rancher and commodity broker. The Institute also will serve as the continuing education arm of the Ranch Management Program, providing seminars and short courses to ranchers in the field, both nationally and abroad.

Take one. . . get two

That's what happened when one of this year's visiting Green Honors Professors came to campus for four days in February. Hollywood cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld, a director of photography whose credits include Dairy of a Mad Housewife and Young Frankenstein, brought his wife Julia Tucker, a script supervisor whose work includes The Rose and Turning Point.

"The students were very excited about the chance to work with a professional like Gerry," said Richard Allen, associate radio-TV-film professor. "And they were very taken with Julia as well and learned a lot from her. She was incredibly open and giving in her lectures." In addition to several days of practical demonstrations -- students worked with Hirschfeld as he set up lighting as though he were filming a serious picture with a big budget -- students participated in a variety of workshops and demonstrations.

Ok, but can you mix a dry martini while using a slide rule?

TCU students surely have changed over the past 30 years, but so have the questions being asked of them. The American Council on Education surveyed the nation's (and TCU's) incoming freshman in 1967; the Higher Education Research Institute did so in 1997. Now, primarily for grins, we compare the TCU results (some categories are more of a subtle comment).

1967 Participated in demonstrations 8.9%

1997 Participated in demonstrations 36.3%

1967 Can mix a dry martini 15.2%

1997 Drank beer in the last year 48.1%

1967 Married women belong at home 55.1%

1997 Mother's career: homemaker 16.1%

1967 Individual can't change society 29.5%

1997 Person can influence social values 47.5%

1967 Essential to develop a philosophy of life 81.8%

1997 Essential to develop a philosophy of life 50.2%

1967 Can use a slide rule well 36.5%

1997 Used a computer 72.2% in the last year

1967 Will get married while in college 13.3%

1997 Will get married while in college 4.1%

(Hot-button issues of the day)

1967 Women should be subject to the draft 19.6%

1997 Legal status for same-sex couples 40.3% (Tranquilizers, TV, same thing)

1967 Took a tranquilizer in the last year 11.2%

1997 Spent more than 20 hours watching TV 3%
Compiled by Julie Finn '98


Adding successes. In January, Associate Mathematics Prof. Rhonda Hatcher, above with husband and colleague, Math Prof. George Gilbert, was presented one of three national Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching in Mathematics, given each year by the Mathematical Association of America to those whose teaching effectiveness has transcended his or her own institution. Last year, Hatcher received the Texas Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award from the MAA and was a 1994 winner of the TCU Deans' Teaching Award.

Geronimo! A geology graduate student most of the time, Steve Singletary skydives any other time, making sure he always jumps with his Frog-emblazoned helmet. "The Frogs are so that other divers who are falling with me know I'm a flying Frog," he said. "TCU has a prominent presence in the 'drop zone.' "

What goes up... For first-year engineering students in one departmental course last semester, the challenge was to create a self-powered device, less than a square foot in size, that could climb an 8-foot rope reaching from floor to ceiling. Freshman Clint Symank and his team members, above, earned the Horatio Alger award for their machine's lengthy four-minute climb, but the winning contraption, to the chagrin of some, was a simple helium balloon. "It's not exactly what I had in mind," course lecturer Pat Walter said, "but it fit the design specs, and if you think about it, it turned out to be a pretty darn good idea."


Talk about a correspondence course...

Students in Bob Frye's English composition class at Texas Christian University are required to exchange letters with the professor every week. . . In his letters he makes direct responses to a particular student's letter or writes about topics altogether separate that are occupying his mind at the time -- such as literary works. He has written about Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and William Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey, for example.

The students, in turn, are free to pick their own topic when they write to him. He asks merely that they think about "the variety of what's going on around them," and describe the subject in vivid detail. The letters together count toward the students' final grades.

This letter exchange has resulted in more than 5,000 letters from students and about 300 written by Dr. Frye (in the last 20 years).

His aim, in part, is to "pose this question for myself and the other students: How can we as writers say something worth each other's time and energy?" -- The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 16

The ankle bone is connected to the shin bone. . .
"The ability of my grandchildren to have the same opportunity I did depends on our willingness as a state to be competitive in the 21st century . . . . "The economic engines that drive small business are the generators like Intel, American Airlines, Federal Express. . . . Small business comes to our state to service the Intels and to assist the Federal Expresses. The best thing we can do is attract the economic generators . . . that is the lifeline to small business." -- Attorney and businessman Tom Luce, who helped bring FedEx, Intel and American Airlines to Alliance Airport, at January's Charles Tandy American Enterprise Center Executive Breakfast

Love is a basic human right, pilgrim

As part of Human Rights Week in January, Alcohol and Drug Education Director Angie Taylor reminded students that although males and females are the two genders, sexuality can vary greatly within the two. For example, "male-ness" can fall along the lines of the effeminate artist known formerly as Prince, the in-touch-with-his-feminine-side Bill Cosby, or the ever-macho John Wayne.

"Sexuality is a continuum," Taylor said. "We think either straight, bi or gay, but there's a different mode for each of us being attracted to someone."

Billy ball abounds

. . . one man's dream is another man's nightmare. Tubb's lust for triple digits is so acute that, with 10 seconds left and his team leading Baylor 97-74 on Dec. 13, he stood on the sideline wildly exhorting the Horned Frogs to "shoot the three." . . . . Tubbs, the unapologetic opponent crusher. . . has about as much sympathy as he does mercy for his victims.

"Our job as coaches is to make our team look as good as it possibly can, and the other team as bad," he says. "That's called winning." -- Sports Illustrated, Jan.

I'll take sticks and stones, please

What president was called, among other things, a Swollen-Headed Nitwit, an Unprincipled Charlatan, a Ham Actor, an Imposter, Public Enemy No. 1, a Socialist, Svengali, a Sorcerer? Bill Clinton? No, it was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Clinton has surely had a rough time of it since entering presidential politics in 1992, but he isn't the only chief executive who has been savaged by his enemies. President-bashing is, in fact, an ancient if not particularly honorable practice in the United States. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 14, opinion column by Emeritus History Prof. Paul Boller