October 16, 2023

Class Act

A new documentary captures TCU’s mission while chronicling three students’ undergraduate journeys

Ryan Freeny landed a job in Denver, and Olivia Fannon is head for a job in Wisconsin. Both said TCU set them up for success. Screenshot from Legacy

October 16, 2023

Class Act

A new documentary captures TCU’s mission while chronicling three students’ undergraduate journeys

The filmmakers behind Legacy, a project featuring the four-year journeys of three students in TCU’s 150th graduating class, didn’t want to their final product to have the feel of a 30-minute informercial.

“We knew we had to follow the good and the bad,” said Red Sanders ’04, president of Red Productions.

Red Productions president Red Sanders and producer Alyssa Vaught wanted Legacy to include any obstacles that the students might encounter as Olivia Fannon, right, did. Photo by Amy Peterson

Olivia Fannon, John Freeny and Thien An Nguyen encountered obstacles before graduating in May 2023. All three dealt with the pandemic as first-year students, and Fannon unexpectedly lost her father as a sophomore.

But the final product encapsulates that TCU “has the best student experience in the country, and it’s shown on the film,” Brad Thompson ’04 (MLA ’19), executive director of university events and community projects, said Oct. 11 after an advance screening for faculty, staff and students.  

Legacy debuted at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 on Facebook Live. The filming spanned four years and included monthly vlogs from the students while the university was closed because of the pandemic. They recount the difficulties they had in isolation, from missing their friends to having wonky sleep schedules.

The pandemic made things difficult on the film crew, which started with eight students before trimming to Fannon, Freeny and Nguyen because “they have the strongest stories,” said Alyssa Vaught ’16, Red Productions’ vice president of production.

Thien An Nguyen and Olivia Fannon became friends outside of the filming of Legacy, a documentary featuring three members of the Class of 2023. Screenshot from Legacy

All three credit TCU for preparing them for the real world. Freeny landed an internship in Denver after his junior year and was offered a job. Fannon said that she will begin in January as a project manager for a Wisconsin-based software company. 

TCU’s guidance, though, extended beyond the classroom. 

Nguyen, who is attending the Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine, said the film revealed to her how much she came out of her shell from her first year to her last, which she attributes to the culture at TCU. 

“You can just see how TCU loves you so much, and it teaches you to love yourself as well,” Nguyen said. 

Thien An Nguyen said that TCU allows students to be their true selves, something she realized during the filming of Legacy. Screenshot from Legacy

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