Recollections: Education with meaning

In recent issues, we asked readers to share the most valuable lesson learned during their time at TCU. Whether a person, a class, a professor or an event, the examples shared by alumni inspired us.

Recollections: Education with meaning

Recollections: Education with meaning

In recent issues, we asked readers to share the most valuable lesson learned during their time at TCU. Whether a person, a class, a professor or an event, the examples shared by alumni inspired us.

I was given a latent passion I never knew I had for the history of philosophy and political thought, and I will always be grateful to professors Lockhart, Galvin and Franzwa.
David Lay Williams ’92

The most “important” thing I gained was weight. That’s right, I came into TCU as a scrawny 115-pound kid, but thanks to the new Rec Center, which opened my sophomore year in 2003, I put on 50 pounds of muscle and graduated weighing around 160 pounds. Gaining weight can be a good thing, and the Rec Center is still great!
Scott Baldree ’05

Glen Routt’s opening prayer at each class meeting impacted me. It made God very real to me. I felt he really cared about the students. This enhanced my preparation for ministry.
Harsh J. Brown ’54

In 1956, I was in Dr. Estus Polk’s class, where I was introduced to the world of ideas and the life of the mind. Because of this experience, I became a teacher and had a fulfilling career and a happy life. Thank you, TCU, for providing us with stimulating and inspiring teachers.
Don Vann ’59

The School of Education at TCU helped me to prepare for my first year of teaching at Houston Independent School District. Also my participation as a choir singer in the TCU Chapel gave me a dose of spiritual strength and hope for the future. Overall, my conversations with former U.S. Speaker Jim Wright at the TCU Library were meaningful.
Dan Rightmer ’74

In 1964, I was a retread coed in my mid-20s – a single mother with two young girls. My goal was to be a teacher. I took an honors course under Dr. Ben Proctor to see if I could make it. He was so great. He helped, counseled and encouraged me to continue my education. I did. From there, I went to Dr. George Tade, who was chair of Speech Communication, my major, for advice and counseling. He developed a plan so that I could get a BFA in two years plus summers using my former credits. Dr. Tade helped me get loans and grants so I could afford my TCU education. I made the Dean’s lists. More importantly, I loved every course I took with wonderful professors. This changed my life.
I graduated with certification to teach. I taught speech and drama for two exciting years from 1966 to 1968 at McLean Middle School. Then Tarrant County Junior College opened and I was offered a job if I had a Master’s. Again, wonderful Dr. Tade arranged a fellowship, with loans and grants for my MFA, which I completed in a year and summers. I taught there 26 outstanding years, retiring professor emeritus. Without TCU and the teaching and support I could have never fulfilled my calling to help others have the promise of a better life. My blood runs purple.
Jean Crow Crane ’65 (MFA ’69)

It has been quite a few years since I have been in Texas. TCU opened up a world of possibilities for me as a student to learn and grow. It is a blessing that I attended TCU School of Art and acquired artistic techniques that enabled me to convey my ideas by drawing, painting, etching, lithographing, silk-screening and photography. I am especially grateful to my teacher Jim Woodson for his abstract expressionism classroom instruction. I had an illuminating experience while Tony Jones was chair of the art department. I have concentrated on art for 35 years. Currently, I am retouching antique family daguerreotypes with oils. I love art. I think that artistry is a beautiful, magical way to express oneself. Thank you, TCU, for my BFA in 1976!
Debbie Overby ’76

While teaching at Dunbar Middle School in the early 1950s, Hazel Peace influenced TCU to provide extension courses for African-American teachers, and I was one of the teachers who took advantage of this opportunity. This opportunity nurtured my continuing love and respect for this dynamic university. I am an ardent supporter of all your athletic and academic activities to this very day.
In 1951, I was admitted to TCU as a graduate student in the class of Dr. Proffer who taught the course in “Junior College.” This may have qualified me to be selected the first African-American assistant professor of history at the opening of the South Campus of Tarrant County Junior College in 1967. After being the first black professor selected assistant professor of history and associate dean of Student Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1969, I led the fight to remove the Rebel flag as its symbol and influenced the establishment of the Minorities Cultural Center in the library. Then I established the first Black fraternity on that campus, Zeta Chi, and later, Eta Psi, at TCU.
In the fall of 1973, I was honored to be an adjunct professor at Brite Divinity School.
Reby Cary

I was a veteran under the G.I. Bill with a scholarship from TCU. After graduation and one year of law school at SMU, Dr. Comer Clay obtained a job for me as an insurance adjuster in Abilene. From there, I went on to a 30-year career in insurance claims and had my own company for the last 10 years of my career. Fort Worth has a great university.
Barney P. Giordan ’58

I can remember walking into M.E. Sadler’s office, unannounced, and sitting down. I said to Mr. Sadler, “Sir, this has been four of the greatest years I will ever have in my life.” He looked at me and said, “Bernie, you have been a big asset to TCU. You will be very successful in whatever you do.” I became a teacher. I had my ups and downs, but I managed to teach for 36 years. I’m retired now and 85 years old.
Bernie T. Robertson ’52

A career. A way of life. Options to try new opportunities, to strive to reach my potential, which I continue to explore. Self-confidence to get many of my writings published. A football team to root for and a baseball team to watch in the College World Series. Courage to wear purple a couple times a year.
Gary Lee Warman ’77

Working as an athletic training student at TCU allowed me to be involved with all of our athletics programs. We (the athletic trainers) were part of the building blocks of each team growing and excelling. Looking back on the wins and moves that helped pave the way to new facilities, conferences and championships, it makes me feel accomplished. Now I can say I was truly involved in building something great.
Courtney Hobbs ’06

Having grown up in Oklahoma City and moving “all the way down” I-35 to Fort Worth, I hadn’t seen much of the world in my first two decades. The vacations to both coasts and the mountains were great, but the most meaningful education and experience came via the TCU-in-London program. For a month in 1995, I learned more than any semester’s worth of teaching and was encouraged to challenge the routines and conventions I might normally embrace and to discover the global community and its members.
Mark Z. Mourer ’95

When I came to TCU in 1960, I was interested in journalism and newspapers. When I found out that the business manager of the Daily Skiff made twice as much money as the editor, I changed my focus to advertising instead of journalism. I went on to get an MA in advertising at the University of Illinois and returned to TCU to teach advertising from 1964 to 1966. (I did become the Skiff’s business manager from 1960 to 1962.)
C. Dennis Schick ’62

Dr. Jeff Ferrell and Dr. David Vanderwerken are outstanding professors. These men gave real-world meaning to the classes they taught. I remember going dumpster diving for an assignment for Dr. Ferrell’s criminal justice class. Dr. Vanderwerken’s Faulkner literature class taught me about the depth of the human spirit to persevere. I still think about the things I learned from both of these terrific professors.
Brian L. Allen ’07

The most meaningful and useful activity during my teaching block was creating a trash bucket. The bucket consisted of “trash” collected and sorted. We then used the common items for classroom instruction and supplies with children. I still catch myself wanting to keep others’ trash as my treasure! It has helped me become a creative teacher and mom, as well as cost effective!
Kristen Abernathy Belcher ’05

The most meaningful activity for me was dorm life. Through high school, I had always been shy and reserved, seldom fitting in with my peers and classmates. I lived at home my freshman year of college, but I came to realize that I was missing out on a huge part of college life by doing so. I moved into Pete Wright for my sophomore year, then to Clark for the next two years. Dorm life gave me the opportunity to move out of my shell and to discover communication and leadership skills in myself that I hadn’t realized I had. These skills led me into a satisfying career in public service, which has proved invaluable to my success.
David A. Montgomery 69

By far the most meaningful activity I was involved in was the swim team (1977-81, team captain 1978-79, four year letterman). I learned how to win humbly, lose graciously and persevere through change and adversity. These experiences and many others would serve me well going through dental school, my residency and later in my periodontal practice. But most important of all were the bonds of friendship I formed with my teammates that persist today, especially my best friend, Tim Gallas ’82.
Dr. Kevin F. Stevenson ’81

My writing for the TCU Daily Skiff (as a major in journalism) helped me the most. Although I had a double major in education and became a teacher of history, I began to write a history column on Western history for my local newspaper, the Azle News. I’ve done this for 45 years. I’ve also written 10 non-fiction books on various historical topics. Obviously, the journalism helped.
Dr. J’Nell Rogers Pate ’60

I was a theatre major and the opportunity to participate in productions all four years at TCU helped me develop into the artist I am today. Currently I’m the production manager for a small theatre west of Denver and have been blessed to work in theatre professionally since graduation.
Lara Maerz ’99

We have been blessed with 58 years of marriage. We were married in University Baptist Church. Gretta enjoyed 40 years of a nursing career; George, 40 years in education. We had friendships made in dorm life, Baptist Student Union activities and excellent caring professors. All this still is meaningful today!
Gretta Davis Hill ’56
George L. Hill ’55

Most meaningful to me were the spring practicums jointly with TCU and University Christian Church. We taught children in weeklong classes under expert professors. I took those methods and practices in course preparations with me into both public schools and college classes during my career. I loved teaching on all levels. How much any of us owe to “the teachers,” Dr. Wassenich, Dr. Fower, Ms. Angel, etc., of TCU!
Mozelle Carver Vickers ’65 (MA ’69)

My involvement with the Navigators while at TCU did more to shape my life than anything before or since. The godly example of men like Earl Soule, Gary Long and Ben McGee had a huge impact on me to live a life of character, integrity and faith. I’ll be eternally faithful.
Al Sibello ’76

I graduated from TCU in 1966 with a degree in religious education. That degree gave me a step up into church work, and church work gave me a step up in the support of those living and dying from AIDS.  Today, that work continues in the care of the survivors. At a recent retreat, a fellow told his own story of survival. He was riding his bike in Oklahoma City when a driver, who was texting, hit his bike broadside. His hip was broken and he was bleeding. People stopped to help but as they walked toward him, he yelled at them, “Don’t come any closer.  I am HIV positive.” The people stopped and waited for emergency help.  A woman stopped her car and got out. He gave her the same directive.  The woman went to her car and got out a diaper. She opened the diaper and kept her hand on the plastic side as she put pressure on his wound. So, I suppose I could say that my degree from TCU made it possible for me to hear this story and that is worth a lot to me.
Penny Redwood Fruth ’66