Friday, May 29, 2009

TCU helps PGA go green

Just a few months ago Michael Slattery got an unexpected phone call from the Crowne Plaza Invitation at Colonial.

Officials there and with the PGA tour were looking to green up their image and wondered if TCU’s Institute of Environmental Studies could help.

“They would provide a place for us to showcase the latest innovation in green design,” said Slattery, director of the institute.

He quickly called a meeting of his “Green Team,” including environmental studies professor Tony Burgess, graduate students Jon Kinder and David Williams and art professors Cameron Schoepp and Chris Powell.

“I said ‘this is an opportunity to show what we are doing and to how we can change things to create a more sustainable model for the future,” he said.

With little budget and lots of ideas, the team went to work.

The result: the Green Pavillion – a white modular structure where fresh breezes replace air conditioning from generators and native plants on the skydeck add to the natural habitat, drawing butterflies.

Sitting on a small hill by the first fairway at this week’s PGA stop in Fort Worth, the pavilion is already attracting lots of media exposure as well as curious onlookers who wonder, just what is that contraption?

The open air shelter has the typical amenities of an entertainment tent – there’s a bar and plenty of viewing spots to take in the golfing action, but with a much lower carbon footprint. Even the flooring, easily replenished bamboo, was chosen based on sustainability. 

Designed with the help of California architectural firm Anderson and Anderson, experts in modular design, the pavilion can be taken down and reassembled with relative ease.

“It’s really like a bunch of Legos,” said Williams.

He and Kinder spent most of this spring assembling the structure, which uses steel donated by Advantage Steel in Fort Worth and white shadecloth on eaves that will be able to move up and down depending on the sun’s position and time of day. Eventually, the structure will also have solar panels on the winged eaves, and will also integrate wind power from a turbine placed a dozen feet away.

Kinder and Williams graduated in May and now run Prairie Designs, a company that helps firms build greenroofs with plants designed to thrive in the hot Southwestern summer sun. They plan on continuing with this project as it evolves and takes their firm into new directions, Kinder said.

Plans are for the pavilion to travel to other PGA events and, further down the road, make appearances at NASCAR races, Slattery said.

“In order to have a healthier future, we have to design out way to that,” Slattery said. “We can’t just wait and hope something changes. This is one way to design something in a way that’s more sustainable for our planet’s future.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Henry's in the house

It was a sand box, not a sand trap where PGA Tour Professional J.J. Henry found himself Tuesday.

Surrounded by students in the KinderFrogs School at TCU, Henry passed out autographed golf hats, high fives and the occasional hug as his Henry House Foundation celebrated a $25,000 grant funding therapeutic play equipment with students, staff and parents. 

“It’s so special to be able bring a smile to their faces,” Henry said. “My wife and I are filled with gratitude to be here today. We’re just happy to be a small part of what’s being accomplished here.”

Henry, who played on the 2006 Ryder Cup team and won the Buick Championship that same year, founded the non-profit Henry House Foundation to generate public awareness and support for programs focusing on the welfare of children. The Foundation specifically targets children’s medical and support services in Fort Worth and Southern New England.

Much of the donated equipment has already been put to use including a padded balance beam, trampoline, mats and balls and more is on the way, said Marilyn Tolbert, Director and Jean W. Roach Chair of Laboratory Schools. She said the gift will enable the early-intervention educational preschool to stay current with the latest therapies on both an integrated and personal level.

 “What comes naturally to other kids, takes more time with Down Syndrome kids,” she said. “This enables them to get that extra work in to develop their gross motor skills, fine motor skills and their cognitive development as well.”

“Hey buddy, you look great in that hat,’ Henry said, giving five-year-old Travis Decker a high five after he donned the autographed cap.

“Who is your favorite baseball team – that Cats or the Frogs?” Henry asked.

“The Frogs!” Travis said and reached up his arms. Henry responded by picking him up and they two shared Frog hand signs.

A native of Connecticut, Henry, ’98 and his wife, Lee ’99 met on a blind date when the two were at TCU. They have two sons – ages 4 and and 9 months - and make their home in Fort Worth where he’s also playing in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial this week.

 “We’ve been watching all the changes on campus,” Lee said. “It’s unbelievable. The campus just gets better and better.”


Monday, May 25, 2009

Baseball team to host NCAA Regional

The NCAA announced today that the TCU baseball team will be one of the 16 regional site hosts for this coming weekend's NCAA Regionals, which are slated to begin Friday. The No. 10 Horned Frogs have never hosted a regionals or been a No. 1 seed. They accomplish both with today's announcement. It will be the sixth consecutive appearance in the postseason for the program.

Each regional field features four teams, playing a double-elimination format. Paired with the Frogs is Wright State of the Horizon League as the No. 4 seed, whom TCU will face Friday night at 7. In the early game, No. 2 seed Texas A&M will face No. 3 seed Oregon State.

The Frogs (36-16) entered last weekend ranked as high as No. 10 and currently have a Ratings Percentage Index of eight, both program bests. With a 15-5 record, the Frogs won their fourth straight regular season conference title.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nursing student saves life at 30,000 feet

A post-finals vacation in Las Vegas turned into a life-saving event for TCU nursing student Leah Joslin this week.

The 21-year-old rising senior, shown here in her purple TCU Nursing scrubs in the school's lab, was on a flight back to DFW when another passenger suffered a medical emergency, losing consciousness.

Joslin jumped up to help, pushing a passenger sitting on the aisle out of the way.

The man’s lips turned blue, a sign Joslin recognized that he was oxygen deprived. She asked the flight crew for oxygen, a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff and started administering the oxygen and taking his vital signs. Within about 10 seconds, she detected a faint pulse that grew stronger.

“We finally did get a blood pressure reading that was within normal range,” she said.

The passenger and his wife were Italian and did not speak English, but after she revived him, she was able to stabilize him by mimicking what she wanted him to do. Joslin stayed with the man and his wife until the plane landed and paramedics arrived.

"He was so cute. He kept apologizing to me profusely," Joslin told WBAP-AM. "As I left, his wife took my hand, kissed it and said, 'grazie.'"

Her quick-thinking heroics also made the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and KTVT Channel 11 news.

“I feel proud of my education,” she told Channel 11. “I feel like, wow, I really do know something.”

Joslin followed a practice taught to everyone in the nursing program, Glen Raup, TCU assistant professor told the Star-Telegram. You respond to a medical emergency by initially evaluating airway, breathing and circulation problems, and then looking for other difficulties the person might be having, Raup said.

"Nurses are trained to assess the situation and then intervene when appropriate as based on their training," Raup said. "You hope that when it comes time to apply those skills that nurses will step up, as was the case with Leah."

Joslin is pursuing a double major: nursing and writing with a minor in religion.

Her career goals include working in a trauma intensive care unit, helping babies born premature, and participating in research dealing with genetic diseases such as autism and Down syndrome.

But she isn't the first Frog to respond during a recent in-flight emergency.

Kate Lunati of Atlanta, Ga., was returning from a mission trip to Central America when she helped start an IV for a young woman who was suffering from severe dehydration.

In an article written by TCU student writer Rachael Carranza, Lunati described how "my faculty had warned that we were now prepared to assist on airplanes on the rare occasion that there was no one else available."

"The experience on that flight inspired me to discover myself," she added. "It was tangible, and I could feel it move through me, erasing doubt and instilling confidence."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Graduation stories

Today, the university holds its Spring 2009 Commencement ceremonies. A total of 1,417 students are expected to graduate during split ceremonies, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

The morning event will consist of 664 candidates receiving degrees from the Neeley School of Business, College of Education, College of Science & Engineering and the master of liberal arts graduate program. The 753 students who will graduate in the afternoon represent AddRan College of Liberal Arts, College of Communication, College of Fine Arts, and Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences. Brite Divinity School will graduate 26 students during the afternoon ceremony.

- The class of 1959 will be in attendance, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation. Fifty years ago, they received misprinted diplomas with the wrong date on them.

- For the first time in TCU history, the university will award quadruple degrees to one student (English, French, political science and fashion merchandising).

- The first Doctor of Nursing Practice class of 23 students earn diplomas.

- The Office of Web Management provided streaming video of both ceremonies for the first time.

- One man from the class of 1959 and his graddaughter from the class of 2009 are in the same commencement ceremony.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

TCU Virtual Experience

The campus tour has always been, perhaps, the influential moment for students and parents considering TCU.

Starting today, that quintessential look around the quad now can have guests in their pajamas. Admission has launched the TCU Virtual Experience, a digital trek around the buildings, programs and people that make Horned Frog Country unlike any other.

The site features an 11-minute overview of the university with 14 stops around campus. Users can skip to any section at any time, watching just the parts they want, or watch the full tour. The site also has six high-definition videos of different parts of the TCU experience, such as student life, academics and athletics.

More than a dozen students, some of whom graduate on Saturday, share personal accounts of their lives as Horned Frogs.
Read what the Office of Admission thinks about the Experience on the magazine Web site:

- Rick

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Frog Drummer on Letterman

You can catch the drummer Jordan Richardson '03 on all three major TV networks this week.
Jordan sharpened his skills as a drummer in the TCU Jazz Band from 1999-2003.
That work translated into a dream profession: drummer for the hot new rock band Ben Harper and Relentless 7.
Relentless 7 plays tonight on CBS’s Late Night with David Letterman.
The group performs tomorrow night on the ABC’s Michael J. Fox special "Adventures of an Incurable Optimist" and NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
The Relentless 7 “White Lies for Dark Times” album was released Monday in stores and on iTunes.
Check out Relentless 7 by clicking on over to

Monday, May 4, 2009

Golfer on a winning streak

She doesn't just beat the likes of Michelle Wei and Annika Sorenstam. She doesn't just have a pro golf career that has surpassed $3 million in earnings.

And golfing great Angela Stanford '00 didn't just take home the Frog O'Fame award at Saturday night's Alumni Awards banquet.

TCU Athletic Director Danny Morrison also handed Stanford the Carolyn Dixon Award Honorary Award for Distinguished Service to Girls and Women in Sport in front of the crowd of about 160 at the Brown-Lupton University Union.

The honor, named after the late long-time TCU associate athletic director, goes to a woman who helps support female athletes. The Carolyn Dixon award was established in 2006.

Stanford is a generous donor to TCU scholarship programs and recently she gave a new, customized van to the women's golf team, said Davis Babb, associate athletic director.

"She's just a giver," Babb says.

In November, Stanford's Let Your Light Shine tournament in Fort Worth not only raised $62,000 for Fort Worth charities but it also included a junior clinic and a chance for the public to golf with LPGA pros and the TCU women's golf team.

Her TCU coach Angie Ravaioli-Larkin says Stanford is one of the best athletes in the world and one who still "bleeds purple."