Thursday, April 30, 2009

No swine flu cases reported at TCU

While the Fort Worth Independent School District has announced closings, TCU officials said yesterday that there are no reported swine flu cases on its campus. The university's Brown-Lupton Health Center is working with the Tarrant County Health Department, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organziation, to monitor cases in the area. As of yesterday, there were 16 confirmed cases in the state of Texas and 10 probable cases in Tarrant County.

Yesterday was the last day of classes for the semester. Today and Friday are dead days. Exam week begins Monday. Campus members are encouraged to follow good hygiene methods, including thorough hand-washing, using alcohol-based hand cleaners and properly discarding used facial tissues.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tarrant District Attorney Tim Curry '61 dead at 70

Tarrant County District Attorney Tim Curry ’61 died early Friday morning. Curry, one of the longest serving district attorneys in Texas history, was elected to the post in 1972 and was still in office, although he had been diagnosed with lung cancer last year. He never lost an election. He was 70.

The office he led was large. The district attorney’s office, with a staff of 320 people, has a conviction rate of 90 percent.

Read more about his amazing career in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,

New opportunity for TCU research in Costa Rica

TCU's Institute for Environmental Studies has a new opportunity to use a research facility located in a Costa Rican cloud forest for academic research. In 2006, TCU students wrote a Vision In Action proposal for a permanent biological research station at San Ramon, Costa Rica. The San Ramon Tropical Research Station is now being used to conduct long-term studies in biological and ecological research.

See a video overview of the project on TCU's YouTube page.

Read cover story on the project from The TCU Magazine's Winter 2008 issue.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

AARP president addresses aging trends

AARP President Jennie Chin-Hansen spoke about "Current Realities and Future Trends in Population Aging" last night during the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences' Hogstel Symposium. Also sponsoring the event were JPS Hospital and TCU's Center for Healthy Aging.

Hawk Gawking

We’ve been a bit obsessed with a couple of new residents on fifth floor of Sid Rich –- a pair of red-tailed hawks.

The pair hangs out outside our window, checking out the Bowie Street scene and scanning the parking lots for prey.

“Earlier one was singing and the other got all puffed up which is always a good sign,” said art director Tracy Bristol. “I think they’re setting up house.”

This morning one of the hawks looked to be sunbathing and generally enjoying the recent warm-up. We grabbed our camera and took a few shots, feeling a bit like paparazzi working the bushes to get a shot of George Clooney poolside at the Beverly Wilshire.

According to Wikipedia, “the Red-tailed Hawk is carnivorous, and an opportunistic feeder. Its diet is mainly small mammals, but it also includes birds and reptiles. Prey varies with regional and seasonal availability, but usually centers on rodents, comprising up to 85% of a hawk's diet.

Additional prey (listed by descending likelihood of predation) include lagomorphs, shrews, bats, snakes, waterfowl, fish, crustaceans and insects. Prey range in size from beetles to White-tailed Jackrabbits, which are double the weight of most Red-tails.”

I guess lunchtime diners on the patio behind Dutch’s are safe – for now.

Have you spotted this hawk or others on campus? What about other campus creatures? Let us know.

Monday, April 13, 2009

TCU to review LLC housing concept

TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. today issued the following statement regarding campus living-learning communities:

TCU will not launch any new living-learning communities at this time. Instead, we will assess whether the concept of housing residential students based on themes supports the academic mission of the institution, as well as our objective to provide a total university experience.

Nowell Donovan, TCU academic vice chancellor and provost, will chair a committee of faculty, staff and students to review the concept and make recommendations for living-learning program guidelines. The recommendations will be forwarded to the executive committee of the Board of Trustees, who will forward them to the full Board. In the meantime, themed housing currently in existence will be allowed to continue until new guidelines have been determined.

The University will maintain its long-standing commitment to the inclusiveness of all people. To that end, our numerous and diverse support groups will continue to play a vital role on our campus.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Students help Fort Worth go green

It’s one thing to tell people to embrace sustainability, but Abby Schlipmann wants to give them the tools to actually do it.

A grad student in Environmental Science, she was one of the 12 TCU students who studied at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute last summer. The program is an intense three-week workshop that examines a variety of environmental issues including what Europeans are doing to lower their individual and nation’s carbon footprints.

They also began planning how to take what they learned back to TCU and Fort Worth. Now six members of the group have organized Urban Futures, a symposium bringing together a myriad of environmental experts to discuss ‘green’ issues in the local community. The Urban Futures: Utilizing Green Technologies symposium will be held on Thursday, April 9 from 4 - 7:30 p.m. at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

“We decided we wanted to showcase what Fort Worth is doing and what Fort Worth has to offer,” Schlipmann said. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from students, but mostly we’ve heard from a lot of businesses who are contacting us to participate and show off their products.”

The symposium will include local exhibitors from all sectors of ‘green’ technologies, including energy, ‘green’ design, environmental consulting and agriculture.

Following an introduction from Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, LEED-certified architect Peter Pfeiffer of Bailey and Pfeiffer Architecture Firm in Austin, TX will end the event with a keynote speech titled, Mainstreaming Green – Real, Relevant, and “Do-able” Green Building in an Urban Setting.

“Ninety percent of the most effective green building strategies you can employ are those that are implemented at the very start of the project design process,” said Pfeiffer. “Real green building is more about smart design decision than about the expensive techniques that you tack on.”

Tickets are $35 per person. TCU students with valid ID are admitted free. Admission includes complimentary valet parking and an assortment of hors d'oeuvres. For more information and to make online reservations visit the Urban Futures Web site,

Monday, April 6, 2009

Alumni Egg Hunt draws hundreds

The 15th annual Alumni Egg Hunt on Sadler Lawn drew more than 1,000 youngsters on Sunday. In addition to the scramble for eggs, kids aged 2 to 9 enjoyed an afternoon of facepainting, balloon animals and posing for pictures with SuperFrog. Children took home various non-candy loot, including stickers, toy figures, balloons and bubbles.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Purple-White Spring football game

Approximately 800 Frog fans attended the football team's Purple-White Spring Game on a sunny Saturday despite brisk winds and a chill in the air. The White squad won the informal scrimmage, 10-0, but the crowd seemed thankful just to see some football.

"I liked seeing how [quarterback] Andy Dalton has progressed," said season ticket holder Christian Ellis '95, who attended the game with his two sons. "He looks even more confident than last season, almost like he's more comfortable as the team's undisputed leader."

Jerry Dunn '76 was curious about what the defense would look like with the loss of Jason Phillips, Robert Henson, Stephen Hodge and Matt Panfil. "They actually looked better than I expected," he said. "The new linebackers Tank Carder and Daryl Washington are faster than last year's group. The safeties looked really good too. I'm leaving more relieved than I thought I would be."

The Athletics department also hosted a sale of uniforms and apparel worn by former varsity players and coaches.

"I'm always looking for good TCU gear. I just wish there was something that fit," said Liz Perkins '00.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Brite recognizes Black Church Leader

Brite Divinity School presented its Black Church Leader Award tonight to Dr. James A. Forbes Jr. Brite President Newell Williams and Brite Dean Nancy Ramsay commended Forbes for a distinguished career shepherding and guiding pastors of different faiths and modeling the Christian faith.

Forbes is the emeritus pastor of Riverside Church in New York City and was the first African-American to serve as senior minister of that multicultural congregation, which is among the largest in the nation. Forbes is also co-founder of the interfaith organization A Partnership of Faith, which brings together clergy from the city's Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim communities.

"I am very humbled and very honored to be recognized by Brite and the Black Church Studies program," Forbes said.

Forbes is no stranger to awards. In 1996, Newsweek tabbed him as one of the 12 "most effective preachers" in the English-speaking world.

The award presentation was a part of Brite's "State of the Black Church" summit, which featured a panel discussion luncheon and evening banquet.

Trustees, donors "top" Scharbauer Hall

Clarence Scharbauer III and wife Kerry couldn't be prouder as they walked through the unfinished first floor of Scharbauer Hall this afternoon. The building will not open officially until January 2010, but the couple, both TCU trustees and lead donors for the facility, can already envision the possibilities.

"Imagine the discussions that will happen in this room," Clarence said as they strolled around the future 50-seat debate chamber. "This is where some of the most enlightened conversations and academic arguments at TCU will take place."

The tour followed an informal "topping" ceremony with donors, trustees, administrators and faculty in which Linbeck crew members hoisted a small tree to the roof, following an old pagan ritual to appease tree gods for providing the building material for construction. The tradition made its way to America via European immigrants. In the last century, it has become an important iron worker tradition to signify reaching the highest level of a construction.

When it opens for the Spring 2010 semester, the 73,000 square-foot Scharbauer Hall will be home for the AddRan College of Liberal Arts and the John V. Roach Honors College. The facility will be the university's first U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified facility.

In an interesting twist, attendees were invited to sign the underside of tiles that will be placed on the roof when construction is completed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

TCU creates singular sensation

The musical A Chorus Line got me through high school.

A theater geek, I listened to my scratched LP over and over attempting the difficult intro choreography to "I Hope I Get It."
The adolescent-angst anthem "Hello 12, Hello 13, Hello Love" was seemingly written for me at the time, especially the classic line "Too young to take over, too old to ignore." Now as a mother of two teenagers, the line has renewed resonance.

I finally got to see the show when the national touring company came to town and even caught the flop movie starring Michael Douglas the following year - 1985.

Now I'm excited about TCU's take on the Tony award-winning show. Cast members include: Julian Arredondo, Josh Banks, Meg Bauman, Sydney Baumgart, Laura Campbell, Caitlin Davis, Collin Duwe, Arrington Foster, Daniel Frederick, Alyssa Gardner, Randy Jackson, Mrla Massey, Andrew McGlothen, Kelsey Milbourne, Scott Moffitt, Ryan Mulkey, Julia Pool, Justin Rapp, Lindsay Ray, Rachel Rice, Craig Robertson, Angelika Ruiz, Matt Slayter, Preston Swincher, Melissa Terrill, Alex Valle, Alyssa Wall and Chelsea Wilson.

TCU faculty on the production staff include: Jennifer Engler (director and choreographer), Michael Heil (scenic designer), Jill Browning (costume coordinator) and Michael Skinner (lighting designer).

Tickets are $10/$5 for students and seniors 60 and over. Due to the mature content of the show, the department is warning parents not to bring children under age 15.

Call 817-257-5770 for reservations.

I hope I get there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

5th annual Schieffer Symposium

The national media is not giving President Barack Obama less scrutiny or reporting on him with less veracity than his predecessors, panelists told a crowd of about 700 at the fifth annual Schieffer Symposium tonight in the Brown Lupton University Union's third floor ballroom.

"For all the adulation, I think that there's been a level of scrutiny" on the stimulus package and examination of his Cabinet choices, said The New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks.

"Obama and the Press: Is the media doing its job?" was topic of the evening, with Bob Schieffer '59 once again moderating the discussion, this time with guests Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of the PBS show "Washington Week;" Mark Shields, a commentator on PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Leher and a nationally syndicated columnist; Trish Regan, co-anchor of CNBC's "The Call" and correspondent on "NBC Nightly News;" and Brooks.

Brooks acknowledged that the press has a mostly liberal-leaning bias, but it is unconscious - in framing the issues to which America pays attention.

"Most reporters are motivated by a desire to get on page one" and not any political leanings, he said.

Any bias the media has is toward "winners," Shields said, especially an unexpected one.

Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's advisor and campaign strategist, was hailed as a genius after the Republicans won the White House in 2000 and 2004, yet few view him as such today, Shields said. Obama was an underdog went the election season began, he continued, and his meteoric rise fueled much exposure.

"But I don't think he's getting a free ride," Shields said.

The media has been "completely overwhelmed" in covering Obama during his short time in office, Ifill said, but the expansive reporting is a result of the numerous challenges the administration faces.

Although the new president had been on television every day last week, Schieffer said he ran out of time to ask Obama all the questions he had prepared when he interviewed him at the White House for "Face the Nation" last Sunday. "It underlines just how many problems he faces right now," Schieffer said. "He had a 55-minute press conference days before and the topics of Iraq and Afghanistan were not even mentioned."

Schieffer asked the panel if Obama is attempting to address or fix too many problems at once.

The public and the business sector agree that while their is respect for Obama's ambition, there is great skepticism about the effectiveness of the stimulus package, Regan said.

"The attitude is that it's not enough to make a difference," she said. "He should tackle one thing at a time, and the most important problem he can address is solving the financial crisis and loosen up credit flow."

Much of the evening's discussion centered on how Obama was handling the financial and automobile industry crises, the war and the early returns on Obama's decision-making.

Earlier in the afternoon during an informal session with local media, Brooks said, "Obama certainly does not feel he is getting sweet press."

Ifill added that news coverage is largely influenced by events.

"I'm not certain I would call it bias as much as intensity," she said. "I sometimes think our coverage is being driven by the intensity of voters for whether you call it change or whether you call it reversal of direction. Whatever, they are hanging a lot on the outcome of everything he does and says and everything he wears and says. You name it - there is just this obsession. And so we just try to keep up by covering it."

Commentary from a green Frog

In today's Austin American Statesman, TCU alum Jim Marston '75 offers a biting critique of the Texas Board of Education's decision to require teachers to lecture on arguments against the existence of global warming.

Marston, director of Environmental Defense Fund's Texas office and national director of the group's State Climate Initiatives program, argues that the decision will negatively impact Texas students' prospects for the future and the state's reputation in an increasingly competitive science and technology-based economy.

"At a time when the states are competing for the biggest pieces of the "green" tech revolution that offers the best hope for reviving our economy and laying the groundwork for a prosperous, post-fossil fuel future, the board's stance is, to say the least, not helpful," he writes.

A graduate of New York University Law School, Marston is also president of the Texas League of Conservation Voters, president of the board of directors of the Texas Observer, and
chairman of the Central Texas Clean Air Force.

Check out his commentary here