Spring 2006
Finding the real child
Houston Bowl Photo Gallery
Learning the Ropes
Social Climber
Following the Human Footprint
Alma Matters
Memīries Sweet
Riff Ram
Back Cover
Back Issues

TCU Magazine "Alma Matters"

Katherine Niederer ’07 may have been sore the next day, but it was the type of pain she could feel good about.

The finance/accounting double major from Argyle helped build FrogHouse, a Habitat for Humanity project headed up by the class of 2007.

Her specific task: hammering nails.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Niederer, who also played a lead role in the fund-raising aspect of the project. “But it’s totally worth the effort to get that kind of physical reward — building an actual house.”

Acting on the University’s mission statement, the junior class is playing the role of “responsible citizens.” The class raised more than $51,000 for the project in the fall, securing donations from campus groups — not alumni donors.

This spring, 300 volunteers from the student body and TCU community, including about 50 alumni, worked on the five-bedroom house on South Grove Street. A dedication ceremony was held in early March, though weather pushed back the finish date to early April. The 1,546-square-foot house will be home to a family of eight political refugees from Burundi when complete.

This is the first time a TCU class has built a Habitat house as a class project, said Sumer Jordan of TCU Transitions, adviser to the FrogHouse project, who would like it to become an annual junior tradition.

“The mission that we have as students and faculty is to impact students’ lives,” Jordan said. “This project promotes excellence and serves the mission of responsible citizenship within a global community. I think the most important thing is that these students are living the TCU mission.”

Update: After we went to press, the TCU Bookstore burned in a fire in the early morning hours of March 29. As new plans for the bookstore are made, we will pass along the information.

The TCU Bookstore is undergoing the first major renovation since the Barnes & Noble-owned store opened in 1997. The most noticeable addition will be a 5,000-square-foot second-story mezzanine that houses textbooks and other study-related materials.

Other features will include covered seating out back, an expanded café, a wider, tiled center aisle and new decorative flourishes, including large wall murals throughout the store celebrating TCU’s history as an academic, cultural and athletic institution.

During the remodeling phase, the building will remain closed. But the bookstore will still be open for business. An air-conditioned 5,000-square-foot modular building in the front parking lot will carry a limited inventory, including textbooks for summer classes and some general merchandise.

The project will be completed by the end of July and a grand reopening is planned for August.

Graduating students planning to walk at spring commencement ceremonies won’t have to walk very far.

After holding graduation off-campus at the Tarrant County Convention Center the last four years, TCU is bringing graduation back to campus. Two commencement ceremonies are planned for May 13 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

This spring’s commencement will be split into two ceremonies to accommodate all the visitors — a 10 a.m. ceremony and a 3 p.m. ceremony with a two-hour reception at the Dee J. Kelly Center sandwiched between. Graduates from the Neeley School of Business, the School of Education, the College of Science and Engineering and the Master of Liberal Arts program will graduate in the morning ceremony.

The afternoon ceremony will consist of graduates from AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Brite Divinity School, the College of Communication, the College of Fine Arts and the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Officials note that graduating students must attend the ceremony their college is assigned to, though they are welcome to sit in the audience for either commencement.

Piano Texas, the festival formerly known as the TCU/Cliburn Piano Institute, still maintains many of the same elements you’ve seen before, as both professional and amateur pianists converge on campus to tickle the ivories. Here’s a rundown of who’s doing what in the month of June:

Young Artists June 2-25
Only 20 artists up to age 30 are admitted, and six will compete to play in one of two concerto performances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The competition is open to the public.

Amateurs June 2-11
Anyone can submit audition tapes for one of 21 slots to participate in master classes, private lessons and public recitals. A competition will select six to eight amateur performers to play along side the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Teachers June 18-25 and June 22-25
This offers a chance for piano teachers to step in to a student role and work on their own craft. They’ll hear daily lectures from professional legends like Seymour Bernstein, Christopher O’Riley and TCU’s John Owings, and get a chance to step on stage to perform in their own recitals.

For more information, go to www.pianotexas.org

The second annual Schieffer Symposium boasts a panel of journalism industry experts and decision makers whose primary influence comes behind the scenes. Featuring Schieffer School of Journalism namesake Bob Schieffer ‘59, interim anchor of “CBS Evening News” and moderator of “Face the Nation,” the symposium is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 5 in the Brown-Lupton Student Center Ballroom.

The panel, which will discuss the changing communications landscape, includes Jill Abramson, managing editor of The New York Times; Larry Kramer, founder of Marketwatch.com and president of CBS Digital Media; Judy Woodruff, former anchor of “Inside Politics” on CNN and a correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer;” and Len Downie, executive editor of The Washington Post.
Tickets are $15 for the public, and students are admitted free. For more information, call 817-257-5976.

Let your ears travel south of the border in April with the return of the TCU Latin American Music Festival, running April 24-29.

The highlight is the Friday premiere of Mexican composer Samuel Zyman’s “Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano” by the TCU Symphony Orchestra. The performance will feature solo performances by School of Music faculty Curt Thompson, Jesus Castro-Balbi and Jose Feghali.

Other events during the week include panel discussions with Caribbean composers, a TCU faculty concert and performances by the TCU Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble.

Notable performances include:
April 27: TCU faculty concert of the works of Caribbean composers, $10 admission, 7:30 p.m., PepsiCo Recital Hall.
April 28: TCU Symphony Orchestra premiere of Samuel Zyman’s “Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano” and TCU choirs perform “St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass” for voices, steel band and percussion, $10 admission, 7:30 p.m, Ed Landreth Auditorium.
April 29: TCU Symphony Orchestra will perform “Kabbalah” by Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre, as well as “The South American Suite for Harp and Orchestra” with Uruguayan harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, $10 admission, 3 p.m., Ed Landreth Auditorium.

Tickets are available at the door or in advance by calling 817-257-7143. For a complete schedule, visit www.latinarts.tcu.edu

Take a little pineapple juice, add coconut, rum extract, cherries and ice, then splash in some sorority spirit, and you’ll have the winning recipe at the 6th annual Alpha Delta Pi Mardi Gras Mocktail Blend-Off in February.

The winning concoction, called Jamaican Me Crazy, belonged to Alexis Foster, Bethany Turner, Corinne Croucher and Courtney Tighe of Delta Gamma, who decorated their booth in Caribbean festivity, including palm trees, island music and umbrella straws. By taking first place, the quartet earned a trip for four to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for spring break. Not a bad way to remind students that alcohol-free partying is still a recipe for a good time.

The biggest winner, however, was the Ronald McDonald House for terminally ill children, which received $7,000 from the event. Participating students also contributed more than 74 units of blood during a blood drive.

Jamaican Me Crazy
2 cups Pineapple Juice
1 piece sliced pineapple
1/3 cup Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
1 1/2 cups rum extract
1/2 cup ice
5-6 cherries
Blend together. Makes about four servings.

Juan Hernandez ’78 (MA) (PhD ’81), a former top adviser to Mexican President Vicente Fox, told TCU students in February to pursue their passions in life and to realize the importance of education.

Hernandez, the featured speaker at the Leadership Council and Leadership Center’s 12th annual Leadership Institute Dinner, was chosen to speak at the event because of his leadership in the campaign and administration of Fox. Audience members included students from TCU’s sister university, Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico.

Even though Hernandez wanted to become a writer and poet from an early age and had little interest in earning a college degree, he eventually learned the importance of education. His time at TCU studying English and Spanish provided a foundation for his literary and political accomplishments. In addition to working with Fox, Hernandez has authored several books of poetry.

“My father told me you might consider studying anything — psychology, history, law — because it will give you material to write about,” Hernandez said.

After his address, Hernandez signed copies of his new book, The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?

Following her remarks at the 2006 Creative Writing Award’s program in March, author Kate Staples Lehrer ‘59 sat at a small table and carefully penned a short inscription inside a copy of her newest novel Confessions of a Bigamist.

Waiting serenely for the book was Betsy Colquitt, emeritus professor of English.
After Colquitt left with book in hand, a woman in line asked Lehrer what it felt like to autograph her own novel for one of her most significant mentors.

“Oh, it’s so humbling,” Lehrer responded quietly, her face showing the emotional enormity of the moment.

It was an apt example of the underlying theme is Lehrer’s book: The concept of identity.

After reading excerpts from Confessions, and sharing her thoughts on juggling our many identities, Lehrer told students that in her role as a writer, she “gambles,” and that they should too.

“Writing is like jumping off a high dive,” she said. “You never know if you’re going to fly like a swan or crawl off like an idiot. But when we commit ourselves to anything, we invest in it. So every time I write, I’m gambling on a fantasy.”

More than $3,000 in prize money was awarded to students in this year’s 25 writing contests, which covered poetry, fiction, non-fiction and research.

While serving as TCU’s chancellor, Michael Ferrari guided the university through a period of major growth and development. Now there’s an award that pays tribute to his legacy.

The former chancellor was on hand at commencement in December to present the first Michael R. Ferrari Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership to economics Professor Ed McNertney. The $5,000 award, which is open to faculty and staff members, will be awarded annually.

McNertney was recognized for heading up the development of the new TCU Core Curriculum. McNertney chaired the committee responsible for finalizing the requirements and policies of the new core, which was implemented last fall.

Performers from Ballet Folklorico Azteca de Fort Worth, a dance troupe of local teens, set the festive tone at the International Week banquet March 4. International students donned their garb and showed off the moves of traditional dancers from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. More than 250 people attended the banquet, which is a 20-year TCU tradition.

TCU’s Board of Trustees at its February meeting approved an 8 percent increase in tuition and fees for the 2006-07 academic year. Full-time undergraduates taking 12-18 hours will pay tuition and fees of $22,980, compared to the current $21,280.

“TCU continues to offer an excellent education in a personalized setting,” Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said. “This increase, while keeping us comparable in tuition and fees to other private universities, will enable us to proceed implementing goals from Vision in Action, which include creating a dynamic learning environment where students’ individual strengths are developed by a challenging core curriculum and imparted by faculty who mentor and teach.”

There will also be a 5 percent increase in room and board rates, which places TCU near the national average price for room and board at private universities.

To help students adjust to the increased costs, trustees voted for an 8 percent increase in the amount students can request in financial aid.

The 6th annual exhibition of work by members of the TCU Honor Society of Artists & Designers, ran through March 23 in the University Art Gallery.

The first graduating class of the School of Nurse Anesthesia crossed the stage in December. The 53 graduates began the program in fall 2003 and all are now working in the nursing field.

The program is vital to the healthcare industry because of a shortage in hospitals of nurse anesthetists, especially in rural areas. The graduates spent their final year of the program in clinical residencies at hospitals in Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas under the supervision of doctors and certified nurse anesthetists.

The 28-month Nurse Anesthesia program requires applicants to have a bachelor of science degree, be a licensed registered nurse and have at least a year of critical care experience.

For more information, go to www.crna.tcu.edu.

You might say L. Paul Bremer had the weight of the free world on his shoulders. Bremer, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, was on campus in late January to speak about his time as a lead administrator of the U.S.-led coalition responsible for rebuilding that country after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

He shared his optimism about the new democratic government in Iraq and admonished audience members not to be discouraged over the continuing insurgency.

Bremer, whose visit was sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and TCU, was promoting his new book, “My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope.”

On the high voter turnout in Iraq’s recent election, Bremer commented: “We take elections for granted in this country. Every Iraqi who voted was taking their life in their hands.”

Bremer also said it’s important for the American presence in Iraq to continue for the foreseeable future because of security concerns and the need to help the country continue implementing its new political and economic system. “I think we’re on the right track in Iraq, but the American people need to be patient,” he said. “We ought to be a little patient in realizing how far we’ve come.”

TCU Press recently announced the winner of its “You Be the Author” writing contest, co-sponsored by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which turns an aspiring novelist into a collaborator on a serial Western novel that TCU Press will publish next fall.

The winner, Mary Dittoe Kelly of Colleyville, who has never been published, gets to write a chapter in the novel, working in concert with established authors such Elmer Kelton, Dan Jenkins ‘53, Star-Telegram books editor Jeff Guinn, TCU Press Director Judy Alter and others.

The public chose three finalists by voting on submissions on the Star-Telegram Web site. The TCU Press editorial staff then selected the winner.

The book’s plot line involves a freed slave who fights for the Union Army in the Civil War but eventually settles in Texas. Because it is a serial novel, the writer of each chapter can alter the course of the story as they go.

TCU Press will publish the work, titled Noah’s Ride next fall, and Kelly and the other authors will make several publicity appearances, including a gala night at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth

Sept. 11 crushed Michelle Peluso’s business. Back in 2001, Peluso was leading a small-but-up-and-coming New York City-based travel business called Site59. Displaced from their office near Ground Zero and crippled by the near-shutdown of the airline industry, Peluso and company forged exclusive partnerships with airlines and hotels to get back up and running again. The success caught the eye of Travelocity execs, who bought them up.

Now Peluso is Travelocity brass — president and CEO to be exact — and has helped the travel giant redefine itself. Rather than fight with competitors over low prices, the company that brings you the Roamin’ Gnome focuses on experience guarantees. The result has been eight consecutive quarters of organic (25 percent or higher) growth.

In February, Peluso shared some stories of her re-ignited passion for the industry at the Charles Tandy Executive Speaker Series, as well as some positive-thinking business aphorisms. Here are a few of the best:
Put other people first. It’s the most important thing in leading a business. Your customers matter more than your business plan.

Take risks. That means facing doubters. And invariably overcoming failures. Creating a culture of creativity means tolerating missteps and learning from them.

Be passionate about winning. It’s the greatest indicator of success. And life is too short to be stuck and unhappy.

Dream big and be fearless. Too often we’re content to settle for the status quo and stay in our comfort zones. When we push ourselves, we see what we’re capable of.

Check your ego at the door. Being humble encourages teamwork and produces results.

Dateline Award
The Schieffer School of Journalism recently received The Advertising Club of Fort Worth’s annual Dateline Award at the organization’s February luncheon.

The honor recognizes people or businesses that have brought the most positive publicity and attention to Fort Worth or Tarrant County in the past year. TCU made headlines across the nation when it named the journalism department after Bob Schieffer ‘59, anchor of CBS News.

The Dateline Award has been handed out since 1958. Past winners include the Tandy Corporation, the Bass brothers, Pier 1 Imports, Texas Motor Speedway and the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art.

Strong bonds
Two of the nation’s premier investment firms, Moody’s Investor Services and Fitch Ratings, have assigned ratings of Aa3 and AA-, respectively, to the University’s $80 million variable rate demand revenue bonds, Series 2006. The ratings also apply to the $20 million the University plans to issue in 2007 as part of its construction project.

The ratings represent a strong and stable financial outlook for the University, said Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration.

“TCU is an excellent institution, and the thorough review of our finances and subsequent high quality ratings by these well-known agencies confirms the financial integrity and fortitude of this University,” he said.

The TCU Board of Trustees recently conferred honorary titles on Anne W. Marion and R. Denny Alexander. Marion, who served on the board from 1979 to 1992 and has been an emeritus trustee since 1992, was named an honorary trustee.
Alexander, a trustee from 1972 to 2005, was named emeritus trustee.

Students coming, staying
TCU has received 7,519 admission applications this year compared with 7,211 this time last year, a 5 percent increase.

Another impressive stat is that nearly all of the 2004-05 freshmen returned to TCU this year. Of last year’s freshman class, 84 percent returned for their sophomore year, and 91 percent of those in the Honors Program returned. Also, 94 percent of freshmen that began at TCU in the fall returned for the spring semester.

Golden Spur
John L. “Chip” Merrill, director emeritus of Ranch Management, was recently awarded the National Golden Spur Award, the ranching and livestock industry’s highest honor, by the Ranching Heritage Association.

Merrill, who directed the Ranch Management Program for 33 years, is credited with expanding the Ranch Management curriculum and solidifying the program’s reputation for educating standout managers in ranching and related agricultural industries.

Advancing Higher Education in Uncertain Times
By Larry D. Lauer
Council for Advancement and Support of Education

TCU Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communication Larry Lauer examines the swift and fundamental changes coming to the world’s colleges, universities and schools. The changes will lead to advancement professionals taking a more central role in the academy. But with the greater prominence will come higher expectations, greater accountability and the need to practice advancement crafts with more sophistication. To order go to www.case.org.

New from TCU Press: "Fort Worth"
By Leonard Sanders
TCU Press

This epic novel captures the history of Cowtown by following the fortunes of one family, the Spurlocks, through the Civil War, World War I and II and the oil boom. Written by the late Leonard Sanders, the historical novel is a reprint edition, with a foreword by Jim Wright. For more information, call 1.800.825.8911 or e-mail tcupress@tcu.edu.

Donald Frischmann, associate professor of Spanish at TCU, is co-editor of Words of the True Peoples/Palabras de los Seres Verdaderos. The three volume, multi-lingual anthology of contemporary Mexican writing is the first of its kind published in the United States. Using the 13 indigenous languages of 33 poets, dramatists and prose writers, the anthology has been a six-year labor of love for Frischmann and co-editor Carlos Montemayor.

Q: What was your impetus for compiling this collection?
A: I have dedicated the greater part of my professional life to documenting and publishing on relatively unknown areas of Mexican culture. Five centuries of racial and cultural prejudice has had much to do with the literary academy’s neglect of indigenous people’s verbal creations. Anthropologists have documented much of their oral tradition; however, our focus in Words of the True Peoples is on written works. My co-editor and I felt that the literary and cultural traditions of the indigenous people of Mexico could no longer be ignored. We are very happy that my funders — TCU, the University of Texas Press, the Fulbright Commission, the NEH and the International Bank of Commerce — agreed.

Q: You have described Words of the True Peoples as an opportunity for Indigenous writers to “say who they are in their own words.” How difficult was it to translate those words into English?
A: Those narrative pieces that were stylistically closest to oral sources were the easiest to translate; the original short stories were often more difficult, due to the authors’ deliberate use of more complex syntactic structures and the poetic nature of their writing. The 94 poems we have published in Volume 2 also presented a broad range of difficulty due to poetry’s intrinsic polysemic nature. Many poems contain fascinating culture-specific references that the writers often did not attempt to include in their own Spanish-language translations. Where those translations seemed vague, I sat down with the poets and examined their compositions line by line to “recover” important elements present in the Indigenous-language texts; for that reason, some of my English versions are more complete than the writers’ own translations into Spanish.

Q: In your Introduction to Volume I, you say that your aim in translating indigenous Mexican writers has been, “to encourage people to pay attention to the contemporary voices that address from the depths of time.” What do these writers have to teach us?
A: Traditional indigenous worldview might help Western civilization save itself from natural disasters spurred or intensified by human actions. If one views all that exists as sacred, then one must be willing to accept disaster as the just price for environmental pollution and the destruction of other species. The Tojolabal Mayans believe that everything that exists — rocks, plants, animals and humans — share one same living spirit they call yaltzil, “heart,” capable of happiness or sadness, and belonging to one community. The essence of life on Earth is not the accumulation of possessions, but rather, sharing the Earth’s gifts with the deities and ones neighbors through community festivals. I feel that the “Indigenous way” can be a pathway of salvation for Western peoples, to at least counterbalance the forces of ego and avarice that increasingly and dangerously dominate and threaten our civilization today.

Q: What’s the next step?
A: First, to complete all revisions to Volume 3 (Theater) so it may appear in late 2006. I’m also looking at produc