Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Emeritus professor Bill Watson active in art world.

From time to time in the late 1990s, Emeritus Chemistry Professor Bill Watson and I shared an elevator as we headed to our respective offices in the Sid Richardson building. By day, the highly respected Watson guided students through the mental maze of chemistry and conducted research on x-ray crystallography, among other areas of chemical interest.

But, as I eventually discovered, Bill Watson is quite the Renaissance man, with many interests, including art. While still at TCU, he painted an outdoor-scene on one wall of his crowded office, turned old CDs into a mobile and added graffiti-like cartoon faces to a row of gray filing cabinets.

Retired for several years, Watson — who lives in Santa Fe — is now enjoying the art scene full time. Check out his work and activities at

Here’s what Joyce Asper with the Agora Gallery recently said about Watson’s creations on display at their gallery:

“Drawing inspiration from science, shamanistic ritual and medicine and native art, Bill Watson creates dreamscapes of exploration and connectivity. Highly stylized, many compositions feature animal or spirit forms and illustrate variations on folk tales and Native American beliefs.

Watson’s themes are emphasized by the intense, joyous colors he uses, running through a wide range of bright earth tones juxtaposed so as to create high impact and luminous draw. The various elements of the paintings are linked — often by lines or strings of abstracted shapes — and fill the canvas organically.

Watson employs deftly blended brushstrokes that give his surfaces a warm dappled feeling and leave a light surface texture that adds depth to the otherwise linear represented forms. The overall effect is of a narrative journey — a mysterious one, but one which arouses intense curiosity, pleasure, and sometimes even amusement.”

Check out Watson’s Website— Nancy

Monday, August 24, 2009

TCU offers Web page on swine flu preparedness

As school begins here and across the country, reports of a predicted new wave of H1N1 (swine) flu this fall have begun.

In response, TCU has announced an information and resource Web page related to the virus, which includes news updates, information links and fact sheets about symptoms and ways to prevent getting sick.

TCU will work with local health authorities to monitor H1N1 in the Fort Worth-Dallas area and its impact on the university. The university also will monitor the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization for information about the progression of the flu.


The Office of Student Affairs informed the campus late Monday afternoon, that officials have confirmed that 10 students have been identified as having H1N1/swine flu. All the cases appear to be mild and all are being treated with Tamiflu.

"Because more is now known about H1N1/swine flu, the CDC recently issued new guidelines for schools and colleges on how to handle H1N1/swine flu cases," said Don Mills, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. "Unlike last spring, the CDC does not recommend closure of institutions but rather recommends that each ill student avoid interaction with the general campus population and not attend classes until fever-free for 24 hours without the assistance of fever reduction medication. Additionally, students who are ill and live in the local area may go home if they wish. In the future, any student confirmed with Influenza Type A will receive medical treatment for H1N1/swine flu. "

The university is reminding faculty, staff and students to practice good hygiene and seek medical attention for any flu-like symptoms. If faculty, staff or students become ill, they are encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible and avoid contact with others, Mills said. Students may go to the Brown-Lupton Health Center during clinic hours. Faculty, staff and students also may seek medical attention through private physicians or local hospitals.

Mills also noted that TCU cleans general residence hall areas with hospital grade chemicals on a daily basis.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1,822 new students at Freshmen Assembly

They sat in the air-conditioned comfort of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in their purple Class of 2013 shirts - all 1,822 (or so) of them - future lawyers, doctors, editors, entrepreneurs, artists and who knows what else, clutching candles, belting out the alma mater and taking the first step toward their destinies.

As for the rest of the TCU Community, as English professor and keynote speaker Richard Enos put it, "We have the privilege of watching what you will become right before our very eyes."

With feelings of hope and promise and potential, a feel-good Freshmen Assembly adjourned. The school year has officially begun.

Enos, Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., Provost Nowell Donovan, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills and others spent the hour encouraging and inspiring the group with the simple charge of beginning their college careers being smart and successful.

And they're not the same thing.

"The world is filled with talented individuals who have done nothing," Enos preached. "Don't fall victim to the notion that quickness equals brilliance. Writing an A paper just before deadline or cramming the night before an exam might make you smart. But it is not a pattern for success. The cure for cancer will not be discovered in this way."

Using examples of Victor Hugo, Jean Francios Champollion and Isocrates, Enos urged students to embody three traits of individuals who can outsmart those smarter than they: talent, practice and experience.

"You are all talented," he said. "But talented unrealized is talent wasted. My hope is that as partners in the TCU learning community that we will help one another mature and teach the passion to be great and work hard."

Scharbauer Hall nearing completion

The 74,000-square-foot Scharbauer Hall is still a few months away from its December 2009 estimated completion date, but it's hard to tell from across the Campus Commons.

The behemoth structure, which looms over the east side of the Commons in front of a bubbling Frog Fountain, will house the John V. Roach Honors College and AddRan College of Liberal Arts, starting in the Spring 2010 semester in January. It will have LEED certification as a "green" building.

Construction crews have completed the brick work around the perimeter and are working on the top stone harness piece the rest of August, said Harold Leeman, major projects director for the TCU Physical Plant.

Many of the interior details are being checked off the list too. The insides are all painted, save for the fourth floor. Even the ceiling tiles are in place on the first floor. No fixtures or furniture are installed yet, but that will come toward the end of the fall semester. Weather-appropriate landscaping around the building will be planted in December.

Meanwhile, the courtyard between Scharbauer and Reed Hall will be the final items completed, Leeman said. Reed's west side has new windows, but the sidewalks, garden circle and landscaping remain. Reed Hall itself will close for the Spring 2010 semester and open again in August.

In other construction efforts:
- Milton-Daniel Residence Hall, which closed in May for renovation, has gotten a new storm drain in recent weeks, and a new electrical system will be tied in possibly as soon as next week. Milton-Daniel is being renovated to house students of the Honors College. It is estimated to reopen in August 2010.
- Colby Hall will likely follow Milton-Daniel in renovations, and Sadler Hall may be in line for future upgrades.
- The Physical Plant will pursue existing building LEED certification for the Brown-Lupton University Union in September, essentially earning the "green" status on the back end, rather than prior to completion. "We're collecting data from some the meters in the kitchen and air conditioning units and what "green" chemicals are used to clean it," Leeman said. "Basically, it will get LEED status based on how the building operates, as opposed to how it was constructed."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TCU Football scrimmages after two weeks of fall camp

The TCU football team is 17th in the preseason Associated Press poll released this morning, matching its ranking in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll unveiled earlier this month.

The Horned Frogs have their highest preseason ranking since 1960, when they were 11th. It's the fifth time since 2000 that TCU has been ranked in the preseason. The previous four occasions saw the Frogs no higher than 20th.

With an 11-2 record in 2008, the Frogs were ranked seventh in last year's final Associated Press and USA Today polls. It was the fifth time in the last seven seasons the Frogs won at least 10 games, including four 11-win campaigns.

TCU opens the 2009 season on Sept. 12 at Virginia.

The AP ranking did not cheer up an upset head coach Gary Patterson, who labeled the defensive effort as "bad."

Pressed to elaborate, Patterson rattled off a list including "enthusiasm, tackling, accountability and heart," then, when pressed more, responded to Star-Telegram beat writer Stefan Stevenson, "Just write 'bad' with a period."

Dealing with a depleted unit, Patterson has been forced to give more reps to third-, fourth-, and fifth-string players. Solid performances from defensive end Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington and Tejay Johnson did little to temper his mood.

Patterson was complimentary of the offense, saying that the group "played well" and "showed they wanted it more."

Highlights of the day:

- Jeremy Kerley had two long punt returns, one for a touchdown, that drew oohs and ahhs, but were nullified by penalties.

- Kickers Ross Evans and Kevin Sharples were sharp on their field goal attempts. Evans closed practice with a 52-yard effort that cleared the crossbar with a few yards to spare.

- Under good coverage, wide receiver Antoine Hicks hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton.

- Running backs Chris Smith, Matthew Tucker and Andre Dean had touchdown runs.

2009 Preseason Associated Press Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses and total points received)

1. Florida (58) - 1,498
2. Texas (2) - 1,424
3. Oklahoma - 1,370
4. USC - 1,313
5. Alabama - 1,156
6. Ohio State - 1,113
7. Virginia Tech - 1,054
8. Mississippi - 1,047
T9. Oklahoma State - 989
T9. Penn State - 989
11. LSU - 914
12. California - 746
13. Georgia - 714
14. Boise State - 659
15. Georgia Tech - 593
16. Oregon - 587
17. TCU - 521
18. Florida State - 307
19. Utah - 289
20. BYU - 267
21. North Carolina - 261
22. Iowa - 229
23. Notre Dame - 225
24. Nebraska - 207
25. Kansas - 134

Friday, August 21, 2009

2009-10 Faculty/Staff Opening Luncheon

Let the record show that Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. was joking.

In a breezy, humor-filled pep talk to the university’s faculty and staff this afternoon, Boschini playfully attempted to extinguish any potential grumbling about inconveniences associated with welcoming the largest incoming freshmen class in TCU history, estimated at 1,866. (Now, it appears the number is closer to 1,822. Official numbers will be available on the 12th day of class.)

“I don’t want to hear any complaints. Be nice to these kids,” joked Boschini, who frequently went off script and showed much of his personality. “If you like having a job, a good job, if you like health care, raises, then make sure those ... kids feel like they’re appreciated and welcome.”

The crowd roared with laughter.

As TCU officially began its 137th academic year with the annual Faculty/Staff Opening Luncheon, held in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, the chancellor addressed the blessings and challenges TCU will see in 2009-10, especially in light of the troubled economy.

With an estimated 8,696 students enrolled for Fall 2009, TCU has its largest student body in history, with residence halls at approximately 109 percent of capacity.

The endowment has eclipsed the $1 billion mark again, the chancellor said, showing a steadiness that is far outpacing what most institutions are experiencing.

Meanwhile, the Campaign for TCU now totals more than $205 million and continues to support scholarships, academic programs and faculty research.

The university has seen the completion or near-completion of three updated facilities: The Mabee Foundation Education Complex, which opened last year; Scharbauer Hall, which will be home of the John V. Roach Honors College, when it opens in January 2010; and dormitory Sherley Hall, which opened this week to freshmen men and women.

“I heard one dad comment that it’s nicer than the Hyatt. It’s also more expensive,” Boschini joked.

The Board of Trustees, in April, did set tuition at $28,250 for the academic year, but Boschini was quick to add that the university has also administered its greatest-ever portion of financial aid – $150 million in scholarships, grants and loans. Much of it comes directly from the university, which increased institutionally funded financial aid to $73 million this year, in part to help students affected by the economic downturn. The university also set aside $350,000 to help students who have been most affected by the economy.

The chancellor also noted that TCU had welcomed some 150,000 visitors to campus during the summer, from a record 392 freshmen at Frog Camps to orientation sessions to various workshops and institutes. Then he stepped aside as other summer highlights were shown on a video slideshow, comically narrated by Frog Club President John Denton ’85.

The crowd also heard briefly from Faculty Senate Chair Art Busby, associate professor of geology, who announced that the panel would organize a first-ever All-Faculty Picnic in late March to promote community across disciplines. The group will also continue its focus on peer-to-peer exchanges, tenure issues and the economic downturn.

The Rev. Angela Kaufman ’95, chair of the Staff Assembly, said she and staff representatives would take their monthly meetings “on the road” to various locations on campus to encourage greater participation and community.

Student Government Association President Kelsie Johnson encouraged faculty and staff to join students in living up to the university reputation of family friendliness.

“As the campus changes and the faces around it change, one thing remains: the spirit of the Horned Frog family, even if we’re having an Octo-mom experience,” Johnson quipped.

At the end of the hour, Boschini announced Susan B. Adams, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs and dean of Campus Life, as the recipient of the Chancellor’s Staff Award for Outstanding Service.

“Kelsie [Johnson] was right: None of us could do all of the jobs around the campus alone, but collectively, we can make TCU an exceptional place,” Adams said.

Other finalists included: Mary Kincannon, associate registrar; Ross Bailey, associate athletics director for facilities; Stan Hagadone, associate director of admission for Brite Divinity School; Cheryl Wilson, controller for Finance and Administration; Henri Etta Kilgore, budget manager for Marketing and Communication; and Sondra Harris, executive assistant in the Alumni Office.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TCU ranked 110 in U.S. News rankings

School may not start until Monday, but the country's eyes are on colleges today. The controversial, but highly visible U.S. News & World Report College Rankings hit the news this morning. TCU was ranked 110th, within the top 2 tiers.

The ranking's methodology is based on 15 indicators, from a reputation survey to admission statistics, faculty numbers, financial resources, alumni participation data, giving, graduation and retention rates and others.

"Certainly, TCU has a very positive story to be told," said Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. "Simply put: We offer a very high quality major university education in a newly revitalized and intellectually stimulating campus environment. For the type of leader-potential student we admit, we believe TCU is the best choice they can make for their own personal development. The university is making significant strides forward, even in these hard economic times."

Recent news stories in Inside Higher Education and The Chronicle of Higher Education have suggested that the primary ranking problem for many institutions is with the peer review portion of the survey. Many opponents of the rankings claim that established institutional CEOs rank their own institution at the very top every year and also tend to list the same other institutions in roughly the same spots as in previous years, thus suggesting that they don't have enough information or time to fairly assess institutions they don't know.

Boschini's response: "Indeed. a very few institutions do seem to break the mold and get recognized each year. Our plan at TCU is to keep on track with our top quality programs and campus experience, and to keep telling our story as aggressively as we can. We believe that over time our story will be heard by those who ranks colleges and universities, just as it is now being heard by our prospective students and other constituents.

(Photo by Jon Uzzel)

Campus move-in

This week brought thousands of families to campus for residence hall move-in, and for the fourth year, faculty and staff volunteers were there to help. Lugging suitcases, laundry hampers, guitar cases and more, approximately 150 helpers lent a hand over four days in one the best shows of the genuine friendliness found at TCU, said Dave Cooper, associate director of Residential Services.

I helped out at a very slow Brachman Hall. With classes starting Monday, most students seemed to already be here. Here's a look at Campus Move-In 2009 by the numbers:

1,860: Number of new students moving into housing on Aug. 12, 14, 17 and 19. ( That's up from the earlier estimate of 1,750 in the press release.)

150: Number of faculty, staff and students volunteered to help new students move in. Only about 30 of the 150 are students.

450-500: Number of volunteer hours expected to be contributed by people helping freshmen move in.

3,900: Number of freshmen and upper classmen living in campus housing this fall.

600: Number of fraternity and sorority members living in Greek housing.

2,003: Number of rooms in campus housing, including Greek housing.

1,713: Number of rooms in campus housing, excluding Greek housing.

350: Number of rooms in Milton Daniel that are not in use during renovation. (Colby Hall will be next, by the way. Look for it to close in Summer 2010 and reopen by August 2011.)

7: Residence halls designated exclusively for freshmen - Colby (All freshmen women); Clark (co-ed and freshmen Honors housing); Foster (co-ed housing and Freshmen Interest Groups); Waits, Brachman and Moncrief also house co-ed freshmen.

4: Semesters that freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, which includes TCU-affiliated housing at the privately owned The GrandMarc at West Berry.

3,900: Beds on campus, including in fraternity and sorority houses.

25: Percent of students living on campus who are juniors or seniors.

(Photo by Glen E. Ellman)

New TCU Football Web video is out

The latest TCU Football Web video is out, and it features junior quarterback Andy Dalton.

If you missed the first one, it highlighted senior defensive end and consensus All-American Jerry Hughes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baseball coach throws out first pitch

Baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Texas Rangers' home game with the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

A crowd of 40,311 was on hand at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

TCU has won conference championships all six seasons Schlossnagle has been in the Horned Frog dugout. During that span, TCU has posted the six-highest single-season win totals in its history.

Schlossnagle has been named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year all four years TCU has been in the league. Including the 2003 campaign, when he was head coach at UNLV, Schlossnagle is a five-time conference coach of the year.

The 2009 Horned Frogs (40-18) won the Fort Worth Regional before falling in the deciding game of the Super Regional to Texas, leaving TCU just one game short of the College World Series.

(Photo courtesy TCU Athletics)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Football team ranked 17th in Coaches' Poll

The TCU football team is 17th in the preseason USA Today poll, representing
its highest preseason ranking since 1960 when it was 11th.

It's the fifth time since 2000 that TCU has been ranked in the preseason.
The previous four occasions saw the Frogs no higher than 20th.

TCU, with an 11-2 record, was ranked seventh in last year's final Associated
Press and USA Today polls. It was the fourth time in the last six seasons
the Frogs reached 11 wins.

TCU opens the 2009 campaign on Sept. 12 at Virginia. The Frogs are one of
just two teams in the nation to have an open date on Sept. 5.

Three Mountain West Conference teams are ranked. Utah is 17th with BYU at No. 24.

2009 Preseason USA Today Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses and total points received)

1. Florida (53) - 1,466
2. Texas (4) - 1,386
3. Oklahoma (1) - 1,358
4. USC (1) - 1,321
5. Alabama - 1,134
6. Ohio State - 1,126
7. Virginia Tech - 1,020
8. Penn State - 988
9. LSU - 917
10. Mississippi - 889
11. Oklahoma State - 861
12. California - 711
13. Georgia - 707
14. Oregon - 694
15. Georgia Tech - 559
16. Boise State - 542
17. TCU - 461
18. Utah - 404
19. Florida State - 371
20. North Carolina - 293
21. Iowa - 257
22. Nebraska - 236
23. Notre Dame - 194
24. BYU - 178
25. Oregon State - 165

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TCU commerical shoot on campus

TCU shot its upcoming television spot - the one that will air during football games in the fall - in front of Sadler Hall and Frog Fountain this afternoon. About 20 faculty, staff members and administrators lent a hand as extras during a scene depicting a political speech being covered by a student journalist.

With angry skies threatening to wash out the effort, Red Productions (founded by TCU alum Red Sanders '05) kept a nervous watch but continued filming until dusk, wrapping the session in front of Frog Fountain.

The video above shows a take from the public speech scene.