Winter 2008
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TCU Magazine "Academe"
Articles:  Making a DIFFA-rence

Our Mission

To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community

Throughout the ages, mankind has rallied to words that represent something so meaningful they are willing to give their lives. Think: 'We the people.' 'Remember the Alamo.' 'I have a dream.'

Until 2000, TCU's mission statement consumed a couple of pages and was virtually unknown. Chancellor emeritus Michael Ferrari knew that clarifying TCU's mission was essential to the University's future. He imagined a solitary purpose sentence that would be equally appropriate on office stationery or a billboard on Interstate 30.

He assembled a diverse cadre of campus leaders and challenged them to craft a mission that would "fit on a coffee cup." A sentence that people could easily remember and rally around.

Today that statement is everywhere: on formal napkins, classroom bulletin boards, even student election campaign posters. It is incorporated into class syllabi and is beginning to seep into the fabric of students' everyday lives.

As an honor to the retiring Ferrari, the Student Government Association asked students last year to submit essays answering the question: How does one embody the University's mission statement about being an ethical leader and responsible citizen?

Nearly 40 students responded. Following are excerpts from the four winning essays:

Jeremy Burge Business
Management/ Finance

As suggested in the opening words of TCU's mission statement, participation in the global marketplace of ideas is made possible by the thirst for education. Perhaps the greatest education of all comes with the realization that human interaction and responsibility drive the many forces of society. Furthermore, the development of skills pertaining to those functions requires a stimulating and enriching environment, one I am proud to say that I find at my alma mater.

Beyond mere deliberation, however, comes execution. Herbert Spencer, the great English philosopher, articulated what is perhaps one of the greatest notions of higher learning by stating, "The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action." There is no substitute for intellectual breadth, but there also exists no justification for allowing great ideas to fade into obscurity.

Just as thinking and acting are coupled in TCU's mission statement, so too are they merged in the pragmatic settings of the everyday world. When I leave TCU, I will take with me the spirit of encouragement and initiative that inspired my actions and enriched my college experience.

Ruth Morris
Social Work

A large part of one's life is spent continuously learning, and sharing that knowledge with others. During my years at TCU, I have had extraordinary professors in the classroom and opportunities brought in to learn. More importantly, I have been given the privilege to share my knowledge with others in many ways. As an Orientation Student Assistant and Connections Mentor, I have been given the chance to share my knowledge and love for TCU, and more importantly my love for people.

Being a mentor has given me the opportunity to help fellow Horned Frogs succeed in college and in life. I have also helped to educate my peers and faculty about disabilities, through sharing with classes about my own personal disability. For the last three semesters, I have facilitated discussion in the Social Work Diversity class about my experiences.

Abby Crawford
Political Science/Speech communication

For me, the words of the TCU mission statement are so much more than words, and the meaning extends far beyond the boundary of Stadium Drive. Yes, I could recite my resume and fill your head with all the documented ways I "embody" the mission of the University.

But I am not there yet. Embodiment implies that you have it down, but I would never claim to be completely developed as a leader, as a citizen, and especially as a sister. The statement begins, "To educate individualsÉ," so, instead of being satisfied with where I am or what I have done, I strive to be a lifelong learner.

Terrell Cline Carter

I spent one summer as an intern for Congressman Jim Turner, two summers on medical mission trips to Nicaragua and South Africa and will now be spending this May touring the western states in a TCU biology course. From the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., to the grass huts on the plains of South Africa, and the jungles of South America, I have developed a unique and important sense of how government can both help people and destroy people.

I have learned to take my place in a world very much unlike what I call my home and have served as a representative of not only the U.S. but also of TCU. I have learned to treat all persons, no matter the color, the politics, or the religious beliefs with respect and understanding. Through these experiences, I have developed deep understanding of people very different than myself.

I have learned that the world is a small place holding people of very differing cultures and conflicting views, each of which must be respected.