Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shakespeare Festival ends

After three weeks and 20 performances, the first Trinity Shakespeare Festival at TCU ended Sunday night. The festival, which included productions of Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet in repertory, will return in June 2010, thanks to a grant through the university's Vision In Action effort. The festival is currently seeking funding beyond that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

LaDainian Tomlinson back on campus

TCU football All-American and current San Diego Chargers All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson was on campus yesterday for an appearance at his annual summer camp in Fort Worth. LT went to every age group, making hand-offs to every camper and frequently saluting the kids' good form and stance.

About an hour later, Tomlinson spent about 15 minutes taking questions from the media. Having been away from campus since last summer, he remarked about the new Dutch Meyer Athletics Complex and Abe Martin Academic Enhancement Center.

“It’s good to be back at TCU again. They’ve done a great job with this place, building suites and everything else. Now, just looking for that BCS game."

Asked what had changed about TCU since his senior season nine years ago, he commented on the pictures of old Horned Frog heroes.

“What I see more than anything is the history. That’s the way that it should be. I love to see what they’ve done to the place with all the academic centers and the other things that have changed since I’ve been here. I’m looking forward to being around a little bit more as I go into the twilight of my career and then retirement, to come back here and watch some football games and tailgate. I’ve never been able to do that, so maybe in another five years or so.”

And, of course, having turned 30 on Tuesday, he answered a few questions about his future in the NFL and if he was slowing down.

“One thing that happens to guys as they get older is their energy level starts to decrease. It’s just human nature. Guys can’t work out like they use to. I don’t necessarily think that’s how it’s been for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any surgeries. My body still feels good and I work out just as hard as I use to. For me, that’s how I judge if I’m starting to slow down.”

Tomlinson also addressed the additional scrutiny he felt last season, in which he was injured.

“I can’t tell you how I feel inside, but I read the magazines. I’m just wondering what they’re going to say when I go out and lead the league again and win a Super Bowl. To me, that’s the number one goal. I haven’t won a championship yet and I said when I first got to San Diego that I wanted to bring a championship to the city, to the fans, and to the organization. I just have to finish what I started.”

He also teased a fun wrinkle the Chargers may have in store in the upcoming season.

“We’re doing the Wildcat [formation], but we’re calling it the ‘Frog.’ I’m lining up at quarterback. I’ve been getting on (head coach) Norv (Turner) about not letting me throw. He promised me that I’m going to throw two touchdowns this year.”

LT also gave a 20-minute Q and A with Frog Club Director John Denton at a meeting of the Committee to Back the Frogs. Invariably, the conversation turned to Tomlinson's NCAA-record 406-yard rushing game against UTEP in November 1999. But interestingly, it was a low point in that game that he remembers most.

"I remember late in the first half, we had the ball and I fumbled. They got the ball and went in and scored right before halftime to tie the game. In the locker room, Coach Fran got on my case, saying, 'Don't fumble the ball!' That got my focus back where it should have been, and I went out and got the record the second half."

He also joked with current head coach Gary Patterson, who was in the audience.

"We started getting good as we started getting depth. But I think Coach Patterson had 70 guys on defense, and we only got 30 for the offense. In practice, I think he was trying to put 12 or 13 guys out there."

Uber Geek Kids Capture TCU

My son, Will, just finished Uber Geek Computer Camp offered this week through Extended Education. He and a dozen or so other 5th and 6th graders were assigned to take photos around campus then create a slideshow with music.
Will was very excited about his work - a budding Steven Spielberg I'm sure - and devised an elaborate script with the evil bird empire fighting the friendly kingdom of squirrels. The concept had to be partially scrapped when the birds refused to cooperate, but here's the final edit of his work titled "The Bad, the Good and the Cool Things of TCU."
See how have images around campus you recognize.

Friday, June 19, 2009

TCU Listening and Spoken Language Summer Institute

TCU welcomed a collection of speech-language educators, pathologists and audiologists to a Listening and Spoken Language Summer Institute to expand and enhance the listening and spoken language opportunities for children who are deaf or hard of hearing through professional education and mentorship. The TCU Listening and Spoken Language Summer Institute is a two-week lecture series, concluding with hands-on practice in Auditory-Verbal techniques. Coaching sessions help professionals develop new knowledge and hone skills in working with parents and deaf children. The focus of the Summer Institute is to expand professional education and mentorship for participants, including educators, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists who work with children with hearing loss and their families. There will be an emphasis on hearing technology, auditory functioning, spoken language development, and strategies for facilitating listening and spoken language skills.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tisdale named associate director of Schieffer School

Journalism professor John Tisdale has been named associate director of the Schieffer School of Journalism. Tisdale, who has been at TCU since 2002 and served as the school's interim director in 2008-09, began his new role in June. Tisdale also teaches media writing and media history classes.

“TCU and the Schieffer School are very fortunate to have John Tisdale ready and willing to take on a permanent position in the leadership of our school," said John Lumpkin, director of the Schieffer School.

Tisdale has also led the search committees that resulted in the appointments of Dr. David Whillock as dean of the College of Communications and Lumpkin as director of the Schieffer School.

"My role is to help our new director and the rest of our faculty achieve the goal of providing our students with an education that prepares them for the 21st century," said Tisdale. "I believe that we have a window of opportunity to make the Schieffer School competitive with the most prestigious journalism programs in the country."

Prior to joining TCU, Tisdale taught journalism at Lamar University and Baylor University. He worked as a reporter or copy editor at the Beaumont Enterprise, Columbus (Miss.) Commercial-Dispatch, Orange Leader, Temple Telegram, and the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Tisdale earned a master's and doctorate in American history while advising the student newspaper at Baylor. He has recently published articles in The Oral History Review, the Journal of Mississippi History, and the Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record. His research area focuses on Southern journalism in the civil rights era of the 1950s.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Shakespeare returns to Fort Worth tonight

When Fort Worth lost its summer Shakespeare festival several years ago it was a tragedy, but thanks to TCU’s theatre department, perhaps it’s now all’s well that ends well.

Summertime Shakespeare returns to Fort Worth tonight as the theatre department stages a preview performance of "Twelfth Night." (Tomorrow night is the preview performance of "Romeo and Juliet.") Shows will be performed in rotating repertory, running through June 28 in TCU's air-conditioned Buschman and Hays theaters. They'll use the same cast, so you can see the same actor playing Romeo one night and Sir Andrew Aguecheek the next, for instance.

The festival will use professional and student actors and designers. For the first two years, it is funded by a $250,000 Vision in Action grant from TCU. Organizers hope to be self-sufficient by 2011.

T.J. Walsh, associate professor of drama, said he and colleagues saw an opportunity when the university’s VIA effot promised to fund initiatives that embodied the university’s mission statement, including connecting TCU to the community.

“We wanted to bring together our students and area professionals to give something really special to the community — a Shakespeare festival that’s done right,” Walsh said, who is serving as artistic director. Harry Parker, chairman of the theatre department, is managing director.

Ticket prices are around $20 and available on the festival’s Web site

“I know some people will miss being outside like the old festival was, but they won’t when it starts pouring rain right after the opening scene,” Walsh said. “Besides, we’ll offer a more intimate setting of 200 or so people — it’s the way Shakespeare should be seen.”

Walsh says he's excited that the festival allows TCU students to work alongside professional actors. Of the 18 actors of the inaugural company, 10 are students and eight are professionals. Students also make up much of the 15-person production crew.

“For our students the benefits are enormous,” said Walsh. “For one thing, they’ll be paid. We’re paying 40 to 50 people through the festival and in this difficult economic time, that’s a big impact. Plus, our actors will have to go toe-to-toe with very talented professionals. It’s going to be a challenge for them to step up.”

Frogs fall in Game 3 of Super Regional

The TCU baseball team came up short in their bid for a trip to Omaha with a 5-2 loss at No. 4 Texas Monday night. The Frogs fell behind 5-0 and tried to rally late, but the rally fell short as the most successful season in school history came to an end. The Frogs finish the year with a 40-18 record.

The Longhorns stole the momentum in the bottom of the first inning and never let go as they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Michael Torres singled on the first pitch he saw and scored on a long triple off the bat of Brandon Belt to put Texas on top. Russell Moldenhauer grounded out to make it a 2-0 game and Kevin Keyes homered to cap off the inning.

TCU says goodbye to seven seniors. Matt Carpenter, Matt Vern, Taylor Cragin, Hunt Woodruff, Chris Ellington, Corey Steglich and Ben Carruthers all completed a very successful four years at TCU.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Frogs win Game 2 of Super Regionals

Behind a stellar pitching performance by junior Paul Gerrish - and a couple of home runs from Matt Carpenter (shown above) and Matt Vern - the TCU baseball team beat the No. 1 ranked Texas Longhorns in Game 2 of the best-of-three Super Regionals in Austin.

TCU and Texas will square off again Monday night at 6 on ESPN2 with the winner earning a trip to the College World Series - a program first for the Horned Frogs.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baseball heads to Super Regionals

Approximately 50 fans helped send off the TCU baseball team this morning with a purple pep rally before it departed for the Super Regional in Austin. Frog supporters munched on donuts and juice as Coach Jim Schlossnagle and the players waved and sang the alma mater before boarding the buses at 9 a.m.

First pitch for Game 1 of the Super Regional starts Saturday afternoon at 5:05 on ESPNU.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An inside peek at the new Sherley Hall

A couple of the magazine staffers got to tour the newly renovated Sherley residence hall today, and we came away very impressed.

First some background: The all-female dorm, built in 1958, was closed in May 2008 for a complete remodeling. It will open in August as an all-freshmen hall for men and women.

Sherley will be TCU's first (silver-level) LEED-certified facility on campus, making it a verifiably "green" structure. (Scharbauer Hall, which comes online in January 2010, will also be designated at that level, too.) Just inside the door of Sherley's marble-tiled entryway, residents and guests will be able to follow a touch-screen display about the building's energy efficiency, "green" construction and more.

The lobby resembles the one in Clark Hall, although it is slightly larger. It will feature a large flat-screen television and soft seating. The entry also includes a front desk for on-duty resident assistants and the hall director.

Men and women residents will be divided by wings over three floors with a common area in between each on every floor. Each wing shares a common bathroom, which appear to be nicer (and provide more privacy) than what many of us have at home. The bathrooms include nine separate mini-rooms, each equipped with a commode and shower stall. Thieves and pranksters beware! Each mini-room locks to add privacy and prevent theft of clothes and personal items.

Windows were enlarged in the hallways to bring more light in. "Sherley has long central hallways, and we wanted to add natural light so it would have a not-so-institutional look," said Craig Allen, director of residential services who conducted the tour.

There are 314 beds, adjustable for a traditional low setting or a high bunkbed style that is the most popular. (The beds were used last year in the Clark Hall renovation and were received positively by students, Allen said.) Each room will come with a desk and dresser for each resident and two data ports, although the whole building is wireless ready. There are also a walk-in closet and mini-fridge in every room.

Interestingly, every room is equipped with a phone jack, although Allen estimates that 90 percent of students don't use them. The age of cell phones reigns supreme.

On each floor in Sherley is a new wrinkle in TCU student housing: the 9-bed supersuite, with three double rooms, one triple and a large L-shaped common area.

At the corners of each hall will be large study lounges with soft seating, a table and six chairs and a dry erase board. Stairwells were pushed to the outside of the building to accommodate the lounges.

On all three floors, the east and west wings meet in a common area: lobby on the first floor, ping pong table on the second and billiards on the third. They'll also be a 48-inch flat-screen television and plentiful soft seating. Off the hall is a large room for quiet study.

The basement offers more amenities, including a baking kitchen with oven, microwave and oversized sink. "There's no stove top," Allen said. "When we surveyed students, many of them told us they just wanted a place to bake a frozen pizza or make cookies."

But the main attraction is the 36-seat mini-theatre with 10-foot screen and surround sound. Students will be able to bring their own DVDs and play them or it may be used for wing functions. Around a corner are three gaming stations with 42-inch monitors and a set up for Wii.

"We toured several of the new apartments around the campus perimeter, and we feel like we have nicer amenities than they do," Allen said. "Students are going to love living here."

At approximately $3,100 a semester, plus meal plan, they'll be getting their money's worth.

Residential Services will having a hard time topping Sherley when Milton Daniel Hall undergoes renovation during the 2009-10 school year and Colby Hall does the following year.

"We're going to have to look at balconies or skylights," Allen said. "I don't know what more we can do."

TCU baseball on to the Super Regionals

The Frogs' 3-0 run through the Fort Worth Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament this past weekend sets up another first for the program - the first appearance in the Super Regional Round.

TCU will face the Texas Longhorns in Austin this coming weekend for a best-of-three series. The winner advances to the College World Series. Here are the game times:

Game 1: TCU vs. Texas, 5 p.m. (televised on ESPNU)

Game 2: TCU vs. Texas, 2 p.m. (televised on ESPN)

Monday (if necessary)
Game 3: TCU vs. Texas, 6 p.m. (televised on ESPN2)