Summer 2006
Social Security
What Makes an Ethical Leader?
A Common Vision
Alma Matters
Mem´ries Sweet
Riff Ram
Back Cover
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TCU Magazine "AlumNews"
The Yes Man | Notables

Irie Session '06 (MDiv) once had a secret that kept her in a prison of shame and fear. "Keeping the secret of childhood sexual abuse has a pervasive negative impact on every area of a woman's life," Session said.

Telling her secret brought relief and spurred Session to minister to other women imprisoned by the debilitating effects of abuse. She began to speak on the subject and self-published a book, Tell the Secret, which has grown into a faith-based ministry of the same name. Specializing in spiritual workshops, youth education, support and outreach, Session uses the power of her experience to encourage other abused women to begin healing.

Working for women's health and empowerment is Session's calling. For eight years, she served as director of adolescent programs at Bryan's House, a non-profit organization in Dallas that treats children and teens affected by HIV/AIDS. Two years prior, she was an investigator for Child Protective Services. These days, she is an advocate at New Friends New Life, an outreach ministry that encourages women to leave sexually oriented occupations through education, material and spiritual assistance. Poor self-image and little education lead many women to jobs like these for survival. "We help them realize that God has a plan for them," Session said.

She hopes to return to Brite and study for a doctorate degree in ministry. She'd like to continue in full-time ministry, preaching the good news to those marginalized by society. As she said in her first sermon as assistant pastor at Destiny Worship Center Christian Church last year: "Everything that has occurred in our lives — the good, the bad, and the ugly — God will use to fulfill His purpose. Our purpose in life always has to do with two things — giving glory to God and offering compassionate service to others."

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Promise them hot rocks and they will stand on their noggins. You'd be surprised what Gemma Hobbs '92 has her students accomplish. Unless you knew her as head of Frog-Fit at the Rickel Building (today's University Rec Center), when she led aerobics classes with an energy bordering on whiplash, that is. Back then, the RTVF major who "failed miserably" at accounting and statistics had no idea how handy that minor in business would turn out to be. Now owner of Breathe Studios (  on Camp Bowie, she knows how to partner profit and pleasure. Why else would she offer yoga classes that end in massages?

Upcoming events at Breathe sound way too fun for your run-of-the-mill yoga shop. Hobbs, who had "In My Happy Place" T-shirts printed last year for members, has 10 instructors on staff teaching a range of yoga and Pilates classes. But she also brings in out-of-town masters like David Romanelli, founder of At One Yoga in Arizona, who brought a little decadence to a recent class by sharing the space—with Vosges chocolates. The fact that other trainers sign up for courses with Breathe supports Hobbs' claim that she employs "the best instructors in Tarrant County."  Hobbs has taught about 10,000 classes in the 16 years she has been a fitness, personal and yoga trainer.

Pregnant with her daughter Zoë eight years ago, Hobbs began to practice yoga. She trained in New York, California and Florida before deciding to open Breathe Studios in 2003. Her goal is to offer courses that are unavailable at gyms or church groups. So if you're looking to firm up your bottom, go elsewhere. But if you want to participate in a spiritual, fully present community, just Breathe.

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Ron Tyler '66 (MA), '68 (PhD) has come full circle in the Fort Worth arts scene. In June, the professor whose lifelong passion has been American, United States-Mexico Borderlands and art history will assume the reins of director of the Amon Carter Museum – the second time he has left a teaching career to make his mark on the Fort Worth institution.

When the Carter opened in 1961, the history of Western art was largely unwritten. In 1969, then-director Mitchell A. Wilder recognized the tremendous historical aspect of art – and the dearth of written art history – and hired Tyler as curator of history to put the museum's art into a historical context. Many of the museum's volumes of art history, now numbering nearly 200, came as a result of Tyler's work and today are key publications in the history of American and Western art.

During his 17 years in various positions at the Carter, Tyler worked on numerous exhibits that focused on America and the West, researching and illustrating history using art. When he left in 1986 to join the faculty at the University of Texas, he held the position of assistant director for collections and programs and had countless books and publications to his credit. He also served as director of the Texas State Historical Association from 1986 to 2005, where his administrative experience helped groom him for his current position.

As he embarks on his second career at the Carter, he said he looks forward to continuing some of his original interests. Although the museum already has a tentative schedule of exhibitions for the next five years, he said many of them happen to be in his interest area.

"Someone asked me if I had been looking for a situation like this; I told them I've been looking for a situation like this all my life," he said. "I was fortunate that it came looking for me. I thought it was improbable that I would come back to the Carter, but it certainly worked out."

Tyler replaces Rick Stewart, who stepped down to assume a curatorial role. He had been director since 1995.

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After Joshua Dacus '01 earned his real estate broker's license, a scuba license and a pilot license, he found himself still yearning for more. So the 30-year-old went for ice cream – three franchises full of it.

Dacus, a former computer network designer, opened his third Cold Stone Creamery franchise in April 2005. He came up with the notion after visiting one of the stores in New Mexico owned by some friends. He was passionate about the product, and after visiting the headquarters, he fell in love with the company. Dacus now runs the Fort Worth store and also owns those in Arlington and Burleson.

So how much of the treat does he eat? With three shops and a family – his wife is Ashley Russell Dacus '02 — he says he doesn't have much time for it. "I have two half-gallons in my freezer that I packed two weeks ago." His favorite mixture combines sweet cream ice cream with Reese's, either fresh peanut butter or peanut butter ice cream, and a brownie. "Depends on how my blood sugar is that day," he said.

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Air Force Capt. Michael McCarthy '96 went along for the ride with an army convoy into southern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. "It isn't the first thing most social workers believe will be part of their job," he said.  As an Air Force social worker, however, it was part of his deployment duties, and it earned him the Social Worker of the Year 2004 award.

Not that he'll take the credit.  "I won Social Worker of the year because I was lucky enough to draw unusual missions and was always blessed with a phenomenal support staff and command structure," McCarthy said. "I think it was largely situational."

Still, his "situations" have been extraordinary.  His first day of active duty was September 4, 2001 at Andrews Air Force Base.  He was deployed to the Pentagon to assist with the trauma of September 11th.  "I've been put in situations where people who have uniquely acute trauma," he said.

McCarthy and his social work colleagues help keep military personnel mission ready, and that includes taking care of the family.  "The military at large was bright enough to realize that healthy families make for mission readiness," he said.   He helped create a program for new parents to ensure that babies reach their developmental milestones.  "We have a lot of things that they don't on the outside, and we're doing a good job taking good care of our families," he said.

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How many lives have you improved over the last five years? Kenneth Kirkham '83, D.D.S , can claim roughly 10,000. In 2000, along with the Rev. Mark Hanshaw, Kirkham launched Hands of Healing.

Hands of Healing sends medical and dental health professionals to South and Central America and Mexico to treat everything from abscessed teeth to heart disease. "For most of the people we treat," says Kirkham, "we are both the first and the last dentists they will ever see."

Hands of Healing received non-profit status in 2005, and has donated $2 million in health care services since its inception. Two dozen teams have treated more than 10,000 people in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala and — as of February 2006 — India.

Although the 20-25 physicians, dentists, vets, nurses, and technicians who volunteer for each trip pay their own airfare, hotels and food, this is no holiday.  The teams see between 150 to 400 people in a typical day, which begins after traveling two hours or more in country by bus to remote mountain regions.

In Spanish-speaking countries, translators relate patients' complaints to the medical team. Hands of Healing teams also rely on the support of local communities to translate Mayan and other indigenous languages into Spanish.

The relief and gratitude glimpsed on the faces of patients, however, needs no translation. It is what inspires Kirkham and his colleagues to spend their holidays working gratis in primitive conditions — and what keeps them coming back year after year. "I find that if I haven't been on a mission in a year or so I feel a void," says Kirkham. "I get so much from it. I can say it is the only thing in my life that I do unconditionally."

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