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A UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS P U B L I C AT I O N F O R A LU M N I A N D F R I E N DS V O L . 6 7, N O . 3 | F a l l 2 0 1 7



Christina Kitchens [ page 1 4] Changing Leadership [ page 1 6] Marching for Glory [ page 32] | On the Air [ page 36] Fall 2017



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Move it.

Through ingenuity and collaboration, UNT’s Jim McNatt Institute for Logistics Research develops effective solutions for critical logistics and transportation issues confronting businesses, government agencies and the public. The multidisciplinary team conducts ongoing research in areas ranging from modeling and simulation of logistics systems to the engineering of responsive and sustainable systems. Jim McNatt Institute for Logistics Research — Improving complex systems to impact regional economies in a global network



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Christina Kitchens

Alumna makes splash in oil and gas finance industry and earns accolades to boot. By Monique Bird


Changing Leadership

UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson retires, NASA’s Lesa B. Roe is named.

32 Marching for Glory

Green Brigade Marching Band has provided decades of entertainment and music education. By Jessica DeLeón

36 On the Air

Alumni dominate the DFW area broadcasting industry. By Scott Brown DEPARTMENTS F R O M O U R P R E S I D E N T • 3

Caring community Ahna Hubnik


D E A R N O R T H T E X A N • 4

Vivid memories ... Union wonders ... Two favorites ... Advice for first-year students UNT TODAY • 6

Building Champions and Preparing Leaders

Class of 2021 takes flight ... Global Connection ... Ask an Expert ... UNT Alumni Association U N T M U S E • 2 3

Memory maker ... Textiles that tell a story ... Covering the world ... Movie with a message




Exhibiting creativity ... An advocate’s roots ... Human rights campaigner ... Harvey In the News


L A S T W O R D • 5 2

Campus memories from J.B. Floyd (’48, ’50 M.M.)

Cover: Mean Green student-athletes at Apogee Stadium. Photography by Michael Clements

Fall 2017




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n o r t ht exan .u /o n li n e

ONLINE FEATURES ROAD TO RIO Watch a video about the 737 that served as a canvas for John Bramblitt (’07), who became a painter after losing his sight. FREEDMAN TOWN 2.0 Learn how a student project in a UNT media arts summer class turned voices from Denton’s Quakertown past into an interactive video tour and soon-to-be app. MEAN GREEN PRIDE ON DISPLAY Watch a timelapse video of the Class of 2021, one of our biggest and strongest freshman classes, showcasing UNT spirit at Apogee Stadium during First Flight Week.


Connect with us at Follow us at

Path to Success


Watch us on universitynorthtexas. Follow us at


When you see this arrow, join our North Texan community online at



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Fall 2017

Visit The North Texan online to: • Keep up with what’s happening between issues of The North Texan • Tell us what you think about our stories • Learn more about your fellow alumni • Write memorials about friends we’ll miss • Enjoy an array of additional stories, photos, videos and recordings




Ahna Hubnik

UNT HAS LONG BEEN a caring university that puts the needs of students first in every situation. I’m proud of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, who immediately began helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with rescue efforts, volunteering at shelters and organizing donation drives (see back cover). To help our President Neal Smatresk welcomes new students to campus on the first day of fall classes. students who were impacted, UNT set up an emergency fund for them, and we responded to the higher education needs of students from other universities. In addition to reminding us that we’re a community of great compassion, this fall also marks an exciting time for us. We welcomed our largest and one of our brightest freshman classes. The Class of 2021 — all 4,908 of them, including 26 new National Merit Finalists who join our returning finalists for a total of 55 — brings promise and excitement to our campus. With these students in mind, we’re focused on understanding what will define UNT in the future and how we will get there. In this issue’s cover story, “Building Champions and Preparing Leaders,” you’ll read about our Mean Green athletics program’s new five-year strategic plan and future facilities road map, which emphasizes supporting student-athletes in the classroom and on the field (see page 26). Be sure to join us at football games this season, especially our Nov. 11 Homecoming game as we take on UTEP and celebrate this year’s theme, “Deep in the Heart of UNT” (see page 20). We also welcomed Lesa B. Roe, former acting deputy administrator for NASA, as our new UNT System chancellor. She replaces Lee Jackson, whom we say goodbye to after 15 years of dedicated service (see page 16). I’m excited to work with Chancellor Roe and explore ways to make our academic programs out of this world. Exciting initiatives and progress are underway at UNT. I look forward to seeing how we transform to become the university our future students expect and deserve. UNT proud,

Neal Smatresk President










(’96 )

(’96 M . E D.)







(’16 )






(’08 )



(’88, ’07 M . J .)





S COTT B R OW N ( ’10)



(’93 M . S ., ’0 0 M . A .)

(’10 M . J .)









(’92 )
















(’0 8, ’12 M . A .)

T h e Nor t h Texan The North Texan (ISSN 0468-6659) is published four times a year (in March, June, September and December) by the University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #311070, Denton, Texas 76203-5017, for distribution to alumni and friends of the university. Periodicals postage paid at Denton, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. The diverse views on matters of public interest presented in The North Texan do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the university. Publications staff can be reached at or 940-565-2108. Postmaster: Please send requests for changes of address, accompanied if possible by old address labels, to the University of North Texas, University Relations, Communications and Marketing, 1155 Union Circle #311070, Denton, Texas 76203-5017. The UNT System and the University of North Texas are the owners of all of their trademarks, service marks, trade names, slogans, graphic images and photography and they may not be used without permission. The University of North Texas is firmly committed to equal opportunity and does not permit – and takes actions to prevent – discrimination, harassment (including sexual violence) and retaliation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, family status, genetic information, citizenship or veteran status in its application and admission processes, educational programs and activities, facilities and employment practices. The University of North Texas System immediately investigates and takes remedial action when appropriate. The University of North Texas System also takes actions to prevent retaliation against individuals who oppose a discriminatory practice, file a charge, or testify, assist or participate in an investigative proceeding or hearing. Direct questions or concerns to the equal opportunity office, 940-565-2759, or the dean of students, 940-565-2648. TTY access is available at 940-369-8652. AA/EOE/ADA Created by the Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing


©2017 UNT URCM 9/17 (18-027)

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North Texan Let us know what you think about news and topics covered in The North Texan. Letters may be edited for length and publication style. Online: (follow the “Contact Us” link) Phone: 940-565-2108 Fax: 940-369-8763 Email:

Vivid memories

I may have left Denton with my undergraduate degree many years ago (a B.B.A. in 1983), but many wonderful and vivid lifelong memories remain. From coming to Texas for the first time in my life to living in Clark Hall — including Room 202 for two years — to being active in Talons to intramural sports, parties, studying, coffee houses, football and basketball games, rush parties and so on. I come back every year to catch at least one football game and always arrive plenty early to walk around campus to see what has changed since my last visit.



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I’m glad and proud to have been able to attend NTSU/ UNT. I currently work for the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin as continuity of operations coordinator, with business continuity certifications from DRI and FEMA. Bret Adams (’83) Austin

Union wonders

I’ve been reading with great interest about the new University Union building and can’t wait to visit it in person. In the meantime, I’m busy remembering the “new” Union Building in 1973, when, as an incoming freshman, I could hardly


Fall 2017

University Union. I remain proud of my UNT, and am looking forward to what the future brings. Terrie Heatherly Grimes (’77, ’79 M.Ed.) Dallas

Mail: The North Texan University of North Texas Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing 1155 Union Circle #311070 Denton, Texas 76203-5017

Coaches Caravan

believe all the wonders of the place. My friends and I spent many hours listening to the Lab Bands there, grabbing a bite to eat or, once, watching the Secret Service agents protecting Steve Ford as he made a talk there. I especially loved the little brook that ran through the building, and loved to sit nearby and listen to it. When I was tapped for Mortar Board in my 8 a.m. education class, Dr. Robert Bane decided that no one was going to be able to concentrate after that exciting event, so he dismissed class and gave me a half-dollar coin to go have breakfast in the Union Building. My whole class joined me for a very memorable meal! (And, as I type this, I can’t believe 50 cents was enough to buy breakfast, but it was!) As I reminisce, I know that many more memories are being made in the

I attended the Coaches Caravan at the Collective Brewing Project in Fort Worth this spring. There was a very good crowd with lots of excitement. The coaches gave a great impression and spoke very well about the future of athletics at UNT. I enjoyed speaking with head football coach Seth Littrell and new head basketball coach Grant McCasland (pictured with me at left and right) and visiting with other UNT alumni. Thank you for a very well-spent afternoon. Now that fall is here, I hope to see many of you at the games. Go Mean Green! Michael Davidson (’65, ’67 M.Ed.) Hurst

Two favorites “Ironic” may not be the right word, but I found it interesting and sad that my two favorite people at UNT recently passed away a month or two apart — Dr. Robert Toulouse and Mrs. Barbara Colegrove. As a journalism major for my undergraduate degree, I had Mrs. Colegrove for three wonderful classes starting in 1963. She had a unique spirit about her, gushing with enthusiasm and a

spiritual kind of joie de vivre. Whereas a couple of people in the department had seemingly designated me as a target on which they could apply extra pressure for whatever reason, she built a blazing bonfire in my persona. She encouraged me greatly, using all the right mechanisms and tools at her disposal. She was indeed my favorite undergraduate experience. Then, when I returned to North Texas in the early ’70s to acquire a master’s degree

in Spanish, Dr. Toulouse helped me with some issues concerning an acceptable time frame for completing all the requirements for my M.A., given that my thesis coordinator/advisor had a massive heart attack before I could complete the final phase of my degree plan.

@northtexan When you just can’t squirrel anymore. #UNT #untsquirrels #wddi #toohot #tgif — @UNTStaffSenate

George M. Gentry (’65, ’75 M.A.) Clear Lake City New Orleans jazz outside the Union = UNT students are just going to join you on stage. Happy! — @coffeesnob318 After visiting UNT I’m 100% sure what I want to do with the rest of my life. — @jonwonderboy

UNT Facebook Do you have any advice for first-year students at UNT? What do you wish someone had told you before you got to college? Step out of your shell and go to every on-campus event possible. Use every resource available on campus. The librarians ROCK! — Carla Trujillo (’05) Get up and go to class no matter how you feel or how prepared you are. As long as you continue to show up for class, you will be OK. — Steve Rudkin (’86) Get involved on campus as soon as possible. Don’t underestimate what feeling like you belong can do for your outlook later on when the newness wears off. — Lynda Schultz Poole Dorm food is actually really good! It’s gonna be the last time you don’t have to cook for yourself, so enjoy it. Key to surviving in your own place? Ramen. Lots of Ramen. — Thomas J. Rud (’89) In a big classroom try to sit in the front few rows. You will be more engaged, plus that’s where the best students sit! You will definitely want to make friends with these people. — Sarah Bentz (’09) Remember to enjoy this time! (And every time, no matter what your age is.) — Stephanie Martin Brown

Fall 2017


Favorite college experience so far: blasting Bohemian Rhapsody with my roommates & singing at the top of our lungs — @rinikels It’s getting real, y’all. Yesterday I was taking her to kindergarten, today it’s #UNTpremiere — @mrsdolan UNT is so diverse and the community vibe during this orientation is so real. Can’t wait to come back and live in it. — @DelanieJo61 Follow us on Twitter. We look forward to staying connected!




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Computer science degree at UNT’s New College at Frisco page 11

Ahna Hubnik

CLASS OF 2021 TAKES FLIGHT UNT pulls out the stops to welcome students to campus, share the Mean Green spirit and help them get ready to soar for a successful year.

Watch a video to see how the UNT community helped the Class of 2021 settle into residence halls at



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FIRST DAYS ON CAMPUS ARE THE PERFECT opportunity to show new students the caring UNT community they’ve just joined. This fall, UNT welcomed its largest freshman class to the student body of 38,000. From help moving into the residence halls to celebrations at New Student Convocation and Mean Green Fling, students were embraced by their Mean Green family. An Apogee Experience evening, above, was part of First Flight Week and included the marching band, athletes and a Class of 2021 photo on the field followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on the jumbotron. It was just one of many memory makers for the newest Eagles at UNT.


Michael Clements


About 500 UNT faculty, staff, students and local community members were captivated by the Great American Eclipse as they viewed the rare event through solar glasses and telescopes at UNT’s Rafes Urban Astronomy Center Aug. 21. Denton saw a little more than 75 percent of the sun obscured by the moon. In the total solar eclipse of 2024, parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area will be in the path to see the sun completely hidden — for more than 4 minutes.


DIVERSITY UNT ranked 36th in the nation for undergraduate degrees awarded to ethnic minorities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine.


UNT has 26 new National Merit Finalists joining the returning 29 finalists this fall for a total of 55 enrolled. Being named a National Merit Finalist is a distinction that speaks to a student’s high SAT scores, top class ranking and overall academic excellence.



UNT students choose from 221 high-quality academic degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized, with research and scholarship spanning all disciplines.

11 UNT ranked 11th in the nation for green power use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


UNT named a Best Public College for Lowest Student Loan Debt in the nation by

38,121 students choose UNT


residence halls, 6,200 students

ALUMNI UNT’s global alumni network has 407,000 members.


CBS News reported that Denton County is No. 1 for the strongest future economic growth among U.S. counties. With UNT as one of its top employers, the county is forecast for the strongest growth in the next five years, at 4.1 percent. Fall 2017




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Pass it on: Great things are happening at UNT. Learn about them here and share our successes with your family and friends.

• Breaking boundaries. Hilda G. Tagle (’71 M.S.), senior U.S. district judge for the Southern District of Texas, was the first Mexican American woman to become a county court-at-law judge in Texas, serving in Nueces County, and the first to become a U.S. district judge in Texas. This summer she received the Sarah T. Hughes Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the State Bar of Texas Women in the Law Section. After earning a master’s in library science at UNT, she went on to law school — and making history. • Former student-athlete honors. Brett Bell (’16), a recreation, event and sport management graduate and former UNT basketball player who worked at the Pohl Recreation Center, landed an internship after graduation with the Big 12 Conference where he helped plan wrestling championships and the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Now he has received the 2017 John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He’ll use it to pursue a master’s in educational leadership at TCU.

Michael Clements

Rotary Global Grant

Yacine Ndiaye (’16), born in Senegal, will study global health and epidemiology of infectious diseases in a master’s program at the University of Geneva this fall, thanks to a Rotary Global Grant.



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As a student in UNT’s Honors College, she minored in women’s and gender studies and biology while earning a biochemistry degree. She will study how to help residents of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations understand and fight diseases. “Every child is entitled to health and education,” she says, and plans to dedicate her career to advocating for the rights of women and children.


Fall 2017

Erica Aquilina/NRF

• Handbag totes sales on HSN TV. Merchandising and digital retailing graduates appeared on HSN TV this summer thanks to a project they worked on as students. At last year’s NRF Foundation Student Challenge, their winning design — a custom women’s handbag with compartments for digital devices and other essentials — caught the eye of judge Danielle DiFerdinando, founder and creative director of Danielle Nicole. She partnered with Katelyn Patrick Boutin (’16), Nichole Fallis (’16) and McKenzie Hibler (’16) (pictured with Danielle from left, holding the new bags) to bring it to market.

Tillman Scholar

Elizabeth Burgin, a doctoral student in the counseling program in UNT’s College of Education, was named a 2017 Tillman Scholar. She will use the scholarship to continue her research efforts, developing

counselor-specific competencies for military health care and military-focused adaptations to evidence-based treatments, with a focus on play therapy. Burgin says she is inspired by the Army communities she and her husband, Army Capt. Russ Burgin — now an ROTC instructor at UNT after several deployments in Afghanistan — have called home. “I want to be an advocate for wellness and mental health for service members and their families,” she says.

Special education study abroad



Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Sydney, Australia. “Students with disabilities have specific needs and desires that must be met throughout their lives,” Peak says. Throughout the trip, UNT students participated with people with special needs in community activities including grocery shopping, equine therapy and exercising at the local gym. They also partnered with clients at an adult day program, interacted with children attending special

schools and participated in lectures led by faculty at local universities. “It was a unique opportunity for our students to compare special education in those countries to what we do here in the United States,” says Peak, who conducted research about the immediate impact of a study abroad program on student learning outcomes throughout the trip. Peak will host the trip again next year, June 6-29. Learn more at

Pamela Peak

A dozen students had the chance to broaden their knowledge and skills in special education during a three-week study abroad trip in New Zealand and Australia this summer. Offered for the first time, the trip was designed to let students expand their definitions of special education and individuals with special needs. “So often when students think ‘teacher,’ they think academically. It’s more than teaching core subjects, but teaching life skills and how to treat students as individuals and with compassion,” says trip organizer Pamela Peak, senior lecturer in educational psychology in UNT’s College of Education. UNT students worked side by side with faculty while immersing themselves in a variety of special education settings in the New Zealand cities of Wellington, Kaikoura and Christchurch, and at the Wairoa School and Royal

Michael Clements

RALPH E. POWE AWARD Diana Berman, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, received the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities this spring. This award for young faculty is considered one of the most prestigious for professors in engineering, sciences, mathematics, policy, management and education. Berman is researching how structural modifications affect the performance of 2-D thin films used as lubricating materials in nano- and micro-electronics. Improved performance of the materials would reduce friction to help these devices run more efficiently.

UNT students visited the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Sydney, Australia, during a study abroad trip this summer.

Fall 2017




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New leadership

Pia Wood, an expert in U.S.-European relations and European foreign policy and politics with more than two decades of experience in

providing leadership in higher education international programs, has been named the new vice provost and dean of international affairs at UNT. She previously served as the associate provost of international education and director of the Center for International Education at the University of Tennessee. She starts her position in October. “My overarching goal will be to raise the global footprint and to enhance the international reputation of UNT,” she says.

Gary Payne


The Office of Research and Innovation has recognized a faculty member, a graduate student and an undergraduate student with UNT’s 2017 Innovator Awards for their work in finding creative solutions to today’s most pressing issues. Narendra Dahotre, interim associate vice president for research and innovation and a University Distinguished Research Professor in engineering, has spent his career using high-powered lasers to process and manufacture advanced and new materials. Dahotre, left, demonstrated his leadership in innovation with his technology “Laser-Assisted Machining of Hard Tissues and Bone,” which will enable surgeons to use a laser to abate bones and



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Fall 2017

Autism grant

UNT’s Kristin Farmer Autism Center received a $489,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Autism Grant Program that will enable the center and the Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program to continue its partnership for the next two years. The collaboration, which currently serves 96 families around the state, is aimed at

children with autism 3 to 5 years old and their parents. UNT’s center is providing training to Texas HIPPY staff, who then conduct weekly home visiting services. Program staff work to improve the family’s knowledge of autism spectrum disorder, teach basic skills associated with evidence-based autism interventions, increase key developmental and school readiness skills, and reduce parental stress.

Finding creative solutions tissues during joint (such as hip or knee) and other bone replacements and limb salvation surgeries. The use of a laser instead of conventional surgery tools like hammers and chisels offers a drastic reduction in trauma to the patient. It allows for fewer complications, less pain, faster healing times, higher accuracies and a reduced need for additional surgeries or postoperative interventions. The technology is currently licensed to an Australian start-up company, and Dahotre spent his sabbatical working with the licensee to help accelerate the development of the core technology into a viable medical technology. His research has generated funding support in excess of $7.5 million from government and industrial organizations. He is the author of four books, has been issued 16 U.S. patents, has published nearly 300 articles in professional journals and is a member of the National Academy of Inventors. Roberto Aguilar, Ph.D. candidate in chemistry and biochemistry, center, is taking a creative approach to his work on nanoparticle deposition technologies. He works in the lab of Guido Verbeck, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a member of UNT’s BioDiscovery Institute. Ryan Girardot, a senior marketing major, right, developed an EPLAY Basketball app through Player’s Revolution Sports, a company he co-founded and serves as CEO. The app uses a skill-assessing algorithm, called E-Score, to provide a quantified skill value to players.

Tech Titan finalist

Ram Dantu, professor of computer engineering and director of the UNT Center for Information and Computer

Security, was a finalist for a 2017 Tech Titans award. He was named in the Technology Inventor category that recognizes people or groups responsible for creating breakthrough ideas, processes or products that have advanced their discipline as a whole. Dantu has 25 patents and nine more pending. Innovative technologies he is developing include cellphone and smartwatch software that will

enable bystanders to properly perform chest compressions on heart attack victims. Computer science degree

UNT’s College of Engineering introduced a new degree program geared to meet growing industry demand — an executive master’s degree in computer science, offered exclusively at the UNT New College at Frisco. With concentrations in cybersecurity and data science,


the degree is designed for working professionals with at least two years of experience who want to build on their expertise. Classes are offered in the evenings in three eight-week sessions. As part of this degree program, students also can earn professional certifications or stand-alone professional development credits. For information, visit

Ask an Expert

How can you achieve entrepreneurial success?


hile many people may have an idea to start a business or make a product, very few go on to be successful. Christopher Penney, assistant professor of management in UNT’s College of Business, says there are many contributing factors to seeing an idea through to fruition, but following your passion is key. “There isn’t one golden ticket to success. It’s more of an attitude than anything,” he says, adding that it takes hard work. “The most passionate people are the ones who will overcome all the obstacles and gain success.” Create a mindset • Whether it’s a better dog leash or a new way to manufacture something, the first step is committing to your great idea. • Make a plan. What sets entrepreneurs apart from people with an idea is a willingness to put a business plan into place and act on it.

Keep perspective • Define your success — it’s not always measured by profit, but by goal accomplishment. • Stay humble and avoid the ‘me’ mentality. It’s vital to present a team front and share victories. Successful entrepreneurs realize they did not get where they are without lots of help.

— Jennifer Pache

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Ahna Hubnik

Stay open-minded • Adapt to an ever-changing business landscape. Your guiding principles should remain constant, but keep the business plan flexible.

• It never hurts to ask someone with more experience for advice. For example, when outfitting your business, a fellow business owner in your area might offer insight on local sign regulations, saving you from potential fines. • Brainstorm with others around you to help create and refine a more cohesive outlook. There might be flaws in your plan that you had not considered without their input.



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Michael Clements


Drone research

An open platform drone with a customizable central processing unit is the goal of Shengli Fu, associate professor and chair of electrical engineering. The National Science Foundation awarded him a

$250,000 grant to research and develop the drone, which researchers in computer and information sciences and engineering could tailor to fit their needs. The three-year grant is part of $1 million that has been divided among UNT, the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Applications range from emergency response to agriculture monitoring and environmental testing.

Green Pride

Career Connect

UNT’s Career Connect — a program that helps students get hands-on experiences related to their course of study — has launched an ePortfolio system. The system allows students to centrally document real-world experiences and marketable skills to help them stand out in their job search or pursuit of an advanced degree. Students build and archive a digital collection of careerrelated curricular and cocurricular experiences through partnerships with faculty, staff and community leaders. These hands-on activities are assessed

and verified so students can present proven skillsets in their ePortfolio on resumes, applications and professional networking platforms. “Career Connect makes it easier to collect these experiences, connect students to the community to gain skills beyond the classroom and showcase them to potential employers,” says Mike Simmons, assistant vice president for academic affairs and director of UNT Career Connect. Learn more about the program at careerconnect.

Share your UNT spirit

Every Friday is Mean Green Pride day at UNT. Join our tradition and celebrate your UNT spirit by wearing green on Fridays and taking Flat Scrappy with you around town or around the world. When you share your pride on social media, you may win a prize! All you have to do is snap a spirited selfie while you’re wearing your Mean Green gear on Fridays at work, at home, at a campus event or in your community, like alums Billy Flanigin (’86) and his wife, Allison Crow, pictured with Scrappy. Then share it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #MeanGreenFriday. Each week, one winning photo will be chosen. Winners’ photos will be displayed on the contest website and will receive a prize bag filled with UNT gear like T-shirts and sunglasses. To learn more about Mean Green Pride day, or to see our latest winning photo, go to or search for #MeanGreenFriday. “You also can download Flat Scrappy, a spirit campaign started by UNT Staff Senate, at and share your adventures with us on social media using #FlatScrappy or, if you’re traveling, #EaglesAroundTheWorld. You can get your UNT gear, including UNT’s official tartan designs, at Barnes & Noble bookstore on campus or online at, at Apogee Stadium’s Mean Green Team Store and at



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Fall 2017

NASCO partnership


Funding from private partner Lease Analytics will help support the Human Intelligence and Language Technologies Lab at UNT, housed in the College of Engineering. Researchers in natural language processing and machine learning are developing new techniques to improve machine understanding of text and spoken language — work that will have applications in industry and government agencies interested in data analytics. Using this funding, the researchers will specifically look for new ways to tag oil and gas leases and contracts to improve classification and searches.

Kasey Kamenicky (’04)/FW Creations

GAME INFORMS ELECTRONICS Materials engineering professor Gayatri Mehta continues her study of the latest version of the UNTANGLED online game series, which researches electronic algorithms. Gamers have to unlock a series of blocks inlaid on a graph while adhering to specific constraints. This process mimics the challenge of efficiently organizing components within electronic devices. By analyzing the players’ solutions collected from the game, Mehta and her team can develop algorithms leading to architecture designs that could be used in portable devices.

The North American Strategy for Competitiveness tapped UNT’s Jim McNatt Institute for Logistics Research this summer to marshal the NASCO University Consortium and address transportation, trade, policy and infrastructure issues facing companies and government entities globally. The institute will shepherd the consortium and help member institutions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico secure research funding and leverage the collective expertise of students, faculty and staff. The goal is to improve the North American economies.

UNT Alumni Association The UNT Alumni Association is offering a series of events through the fall so that alumni can come together to network and reconnect. Many of these programs broaden the association’s regional reach and cater to a diverse group of alumni. UNT alumni can look forward to Regional Alumni Receptions in Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties. They can attend the event nearest them and enjoy an upscale evening of appetizers, drinks and a UNT update from President Neal Smatresk. “We received great feedback from our family-friendly regional events this past year like UNT Day at the Fort Worth Zoo and our visit to the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas,” says Rob McInturf, executive director of the UNT Alumni Association. “We want to give alumni more opportunities like these to celebrate UNT in the upcoming months.” Alumni, family members and friends are invited to gather at the Alumni Pavilion GameDay Grille before every Mean Green home football game. The Alumni Pavilion is located at the northeast entrance of Apogee Stadium, and entrance is free to Alumni Association members and a guest. The Alumni Pavilion also will host a Homecoming open house and bonfire dinner Friday, Nov. 10, before game day Nov. 11 when the Mean Green take on UTEP. For other Homecoming events, see page 20. “Whether you graduated 40 years ago or yesterday, you will always be an integral part of the Mean Green family,” says McInturf. To view all upcoming events, visit To join the association or learn more, visit, email or call 940-565-2834.

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Christina Kitchens G by Monique Bird

rowing up in a West Texas oil family, Christina Kitchens (’99, ’05 M.B.A.) says an oil and gas career was the last thing she was interested in as a young adult. “We went through the downturn in the 1980s. Things were bad in the industry and many found themselves out of a job,” she says. “Having experienced the cycles of the business, my family often told my brother and me to do anything but oil and gas.” But life had other plans for Kitchens, who’s now the fourth generation of her family to go into the field. She started her career in the Xerox finance department as a student and worked her way up. She finished a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UNT, focused on performance management, and earned an M.B.A. in strategic management. In 2001, she’d nearly passed up an opportunity to work in Citigroup’s credit and energy finance division. A Citibank mentor encouraged her to reconsider. The experience she then had in finance coupled with know-how that comes from growing up in oil country made her a great fit. Her career “took off ” at Citibank, where she assisted with oil and gas lending and the integration of First American Bank, a newly acquired Texas bank, in the mid-2000s. “I was in charge of many energy-related and integration projects, setting up energy portfolio management and moving products to the Texas marketplace,” she says. She stayed with Citibank for eight years and then continued to advance in her career

Alumna uses leadership and management skills learned as a student to grow energy finance divisions for leading U.S. banking institutions.



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by building out groups at Sovereign Bank, F&M Bank and CTB Energy Finance. She landed with East West Bank, based in Pasadena, California, in 2015. One of the 25 largest public banks in the nation, it is consistently named a Top 15 on Forbes’ list of 100 Best Banks in America. The bank tapped Kitchens, as group managing director of energy finance, to expand its Texas foot­print in commercial lending by launching a national energy finance platform. “This was an opportunity to give this bank energy exposure going into the recent downturn,” says Kitchens, whose accolades include being named to The Dallas 500, D-CEO’s list of the most powerful DFW business leaders. She also was named one of the Top 20 people under age 40 in energy by Oil and Gas Investor and recognized in Who’s Who in Energy by the Dallas Business Journal. East West is the third bank for which she’s built an energy division. “The energy industry is so very important,” Kitchens says. “When people think about oil and gas, they often think about putting fuel in their tanks and the big companies of the world such as Exxon. They don’t think about the independent and mom-and-pop energy providers or advancements on the tech side.” Her experience in the UNT College of Business’ Professional Leadership Program led her to make a difference for others. “That program pushed me and was the seed for me launching the Women’s Employee Network Program at Citibank,” says Kitchens, also a founding member of the Women’s Energy Network and the Texas Energy Update. “I wanted to provide a conduit to support and attract more women to the industry,” she says. “Everything is better with diversity of experiences and people who know how to bring different people — and therefore different perspectives — to the table.”

Michael Clements

Christina Kitchens (’99, ’05 M.B.A.) Dallas, Texas On leadership: In the M.B.A. program, we had group projects on the management side. On a couple of occasions my group said, “You sure do like to be in the driver’s seat,

so we’re going to let you drive.”

to do it, is going to show up

in Odessa and he followed me

Those things gave me confidence.

and figure it out. In this case, I

when I transferred to UNT to be

They were saying that I had per-

happened to really take to it. I also

near my brother, Jason Kitchens,

mission to lead. It helped me focus

love playing golf, oil painting and

who was enrolled as a student and

and understand that leading was

collecting first-edition books.

played Mean Green football. Our parents were overseeing an oil and

part of my personality.

UNT family:

gas project in Kazakhstan for many

Favorite hobbies:

My husband, Lorenzo Robles

years, so I was the big sis who had

I’m an avid clay shooter. I was

Jr. (’09), is now working as an

to keep the all-too-popular brother

often invited to clay shoot with

IT manager for UNT’s College of

on the straight and narrow.

clients. I am one of those people

Science while pursuing a master’s

who, even if I don’t know how

in history. We’d known each other

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Visit online to read more Q&A.




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Lee F. Jackson to retire after 15 years of service “It has been a great privilege to lead the UNT System team, our board and our three campuses in service to the North Texas region.” — Lee F. Jackson, the UNT System’s second chancellor

After 15 years of serving the UNT System as chancellor, Lee F. Jackson retires this year. Jackson, the second chancellor in UNT System history, is the longest-serving university system chancellor in the state of Texas. He has guided the UNT System and its three universities — UNT, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Dallas — through a period of unprecedented growth since being appointed by its Board of Regents in 2002. Prior to Jackson’s arrival, the UNT System was made up of two universities — UNT and UNT Health Science Center. As the population base in the Dallas-Fort Worth area grew from 5 million to more than 7 million during Jackson’s years of service, the UNT System added UNT Dallas — the first public university located in the Dallas city limits. He also has helped to institute many new degree programs and professional programs in engineering, law, pharmacy and medicine. “Lee Jackson has served the UNT System for 15 years as chancellor and our region for four decades if you include his time as a Texas state representative and Dallas County judge,” says Regent Laura Wright (’82, ’82 M.S.). “His contributions to the North Texas region are significant and the Board of Regents is deeply appreciative of all he has done to help our universities grow and prosper.” Under Jackson’s leadership, the UNT System achieved recognition for UNT as one of Texas’ Emerging Research Universities and achieved Tier One status — the highest designation of research-intensive universities from the Carnegie Endowment. Additionally, a new teaching center, UNT New College at Frisco, opened and property in downtown Dallas was acquired to



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UNT System UNT System

UNT System

Above, Jackson spoke at numerous graduations through the years; top right, he honored Dallas city manager and alum T.C. Broadnax (’93 M.P.A.) in January; bottom right, he and UNT administrators broke ground for the new College of Visual Arts and Design building last winter.

house UNT System administration, UNT Dallas College of Law, UNT Art on Main and other teaching programs. He also helped to recruit top higher education professionals for a talented leadership team that provides many of the non-academic and planning services to all three UNT System campuses. “During his tenure, Lee Jackson supported the creation and implementation of programs that have helped transform UNT and the system as a whole,” UNT President Neal Smatresk says. “I’m grateful for his years of service and the work he’s done to help UNT expand its geographic reach in the North Texas region and increase the number of students we are able to serve.” Prior to his work for the system, Jackson had a 30-year career in state and local government. The son of two UNT graduates, he served 15 years as Dallas County judge. He began his career working as an assistant to the Dallas city manager and won honors during 10 years of service in the Texas House of Representatives. “It has been a great privilege to lead the UNT System team, our board and our three campuses in service to the North Texas region,” Jackson says. “I have especially enjoyed the energy and excitement that come from a constant flow of students striving for success in a growing region.”

To learn more about Jackson’s milestones as UNT System chancellor, visit

AC C O M P L I S H M E N TS Under Lee F. Jackson’s leadership, the UNT System has: • Increased its student enrollment from 27,770 in 2002 to 43,380 as of Fall 2016 • Increased the number of degrees granted annually from 4,968 to 9,200 • Achieved recognition for UNT as a Carnegie Tier One research university • Created new programs in engineering, law, pharmacy and medicine • Expanded the programs and prominence of UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth with new clinical and teaching partnerships • Established a new public university at UNT Dallas • Supported 27 new buildings and 24 major renovations in the UNT System • Elevated standards for attractive building designs and visionary campus master plans • Acquired property in downtown Dallas to house UNT System administration, UNT Dallas College of Law, UNT Art on Main and other teaching programs • Supported creation of a new teaching center, UNT New College at Frisco



Lesa B. Roe named UNT System chancellor “I will bring to the UNT System a deep understanding of, and a deep belief in, the power of research.” — Lesa B. Roe, the UNT System’s third chancellor The UNT System Board of Regents voted Aug. 17 to appoint Lesa B. Roe, former acting deputy administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as the new UNT System chancellor. Roe, the first woman to hold the UNT chancellorship, will begin working in the UNT System offices in early October. With more than 30 years of experience in corporate-level strategic positioning and execution for NASA, a multi-billion-dollar federal agency, Roe has a track record of driving efficient productivity, combined with experience working with federal and state-level legislators. “Lesa Roe is a change agent and that’s what excites me about her arrival to the UNT System. She led incredible, high-impact programs at NASA, including the International Space Station and the Mars rover landing,” says G. Brint Ryan (’88, ’88 M.S.), chair of the UNT System Board of Regents. “At the same time, she also led an initiative to make NASA’s business model more efficient, which is very relevant to our Board of Regents. As we got to know Lesa through the search process, she really checked all the boxes as far as skills and experience, and we’re eager to get to work with her as we continue to build the UNT System.” Roe shares with The North Texan in the following Q&A why she’s the right fit for her new job and how she intends to lead the UNT System into a new era. Q: What are your career highlights with NASA?

UNT System

A: What I loved about my time at NASA was being part of a great team — incredible people accomplishing incredible things together. At NASA I led a team that landed Curiosity on Mars. We made breakthrough discoveries together and pushed the limits of human reality together. When we landed the rover on Mars, everybody in the control room just exploded with excitement, and that feeling —



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Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

Lesa B. Roe, former acting deputy administrator for NASA, was appointed the UNT System chancellor in August. accomplishing something that’s never been done before — sticks with you forever. I’m excited for the opportunity to help the UNT System team similarly push the limits of what can be accomplished in higher education through research and innovation. I’m confident that, together, we can achieve jaw-dropping milestones to change the world. Q: What will be the initial priorities that you will focus on as UNT System chancellor? A: My new UNT System teammates will quickly discover that I love to learn. I have a passion for the process of learning — researching, interviewing, observing, experimenting. I’m going to learn all that I can about the UNT System and our institutions. I’ll be meeting with President Smatresk and his counterparts, Michael Williams at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and Bob Mong at UNT Dallas. I want to understand their visions and find ways to align our goals within a unified UNT System. I strive to be a strong leader, but approachable. Teamwork is fundamental to the success of any organization. Q: How does it feel to be the first woman to hold the UNT System chancellorship? A: I’m proud to be named UNT System chancellor and I believe I’m the right person for the job. I’m a first-generation college graduate who is completely self-made, and, yes, I’m a woman. I’m also the first and only woman to lead Langley Research Center in its 100-year history. If my success as a woman can inspire a young girl to dream big, that makes me feel great. But the real story, what I would tell any young female with professional aspirations, is that I got here through hard work and being part of a great team.

Q: How will your background in engineering help foster a focus on STEM for the system? A: I have a passion for STEM and my interest in science, technology, engineering and math goes beyond what I did at NASA. STEM can be intimidating for young people and I enjoy finding ways to help students gain new perspectives in what I think is a truly fascinating field. All three of our universities are committed to STEM initiatives and the Dallas-Fort Worth area job market is rapidly expanding in the tech sector. The UNT System is investing more than ever before in research, and game-changing discoveries in STEM-related fields are on the horizon. My background in engineering is a good fit for where we’re headed and it’s a space I’m comfortable operating in. Q: How will you help to elevate the UNT System in the ranks of research universities? A: I will bring to the UNT System a deep understanding of, and a deep belief in, the power of research. NASA changes what’s possible through research. We built an International Space Station. We landed on Mars. Clearly, our Board of Regents is committed to research and that was one of the most attractive parts of the job for me. At NASA, research was a critical piece to who we are and the UNT System is similarly committed to developing its capacity for research. I’m proud of UNT’s designation as a Carnegie Tier One research university, and now we need to collaborate as a team and find the best ways to take that next step.

Learn more about Roe’s background and career highlights at Fall 2017




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Homecoming 2017 Calling all alumni and friends home to UNT to celebrate during Homecoming 2017. A variety of events and activities, themed “Deep in the Heart of UNT,” will take place throughout the week of Nov. 6 and will culminate Nov. 11 at Apogee Stadium when the Mean Green football team faces off against UTEP. Join in on Friday night’s traditional Spirit March to the bonfire, one of UNT's oldest traditions. And Saturday, plan for a full day of events that include watching the parade and tailgating at Mean Green Village, followed by the game at Apogee Stadium.

For more information visit THURSDAY Nov. 9 7 p.m. Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards Celebrate the Alumni Awards event at UNT’s Apogee Stadium HUB Club. Reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. For tickets: 940-565-2834 or FRIDAY Nov. 10 6 p.m. Delta Sigma Phi Gamma Xi 65th Anniversary Hawthorne Hill Ranch in Krum, Texas Tickets, $75 For tickets: and select 65th Anniversary


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SATURDAY Nov. 11 7:15 a.m. Fun Run Free and open to everyone, the 5K intramural run starts in front of the Pohl Recreation Center. Registration until 7 a.m. For information: 940-565-2275 or visit 8-10 a.m. Delta Sigma Phi Gamma Xi Chapter Meet and Greet Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity House, 929 Maple St.

7 p.m. Spirit March Begins at Fraternity Row on Maple Street and proceeds to bonfire site near UNT’s Apogee Stadium.


8 p.m. Bonfire Northwest side of the stadium. Alumni are invited to the Alumni Pavilion. RSVP: 940-565-2834 or


9 a.m. Golden Eagles Class of '67 Breakfast/Reunion Union Jade Eagle Ballroom Reservations, $20. RSVP: 940-565-2834 or


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10 a.m. College of Health and Public Service Alumni Brunch (formerly College of Public Affairs and Community Service) UNT on the Square RSVP: homecoming

2:30 p.m. Alumni GameDay Grille Join UNT Alumni Association members and friends for an open house two hours prior to kickoff at the Alumni Pavilion near UNT’s Apogee Stadium. For information: 940-565-2834 or visit

11 a.m. Homecoming Parade Watch the parade starting at UNT and making its way around the Denton square. See the route at

4 p.m. Mean Green vs. UTEP Ticket options start at $12. For information: Speak with a ticket sales consultant about individual, family or group seating options at 940-565-2527 or visit

1:30-3:30 p.m. Mean Green Village Tailgating around campus starts early and ends 30 minutes before kickoff. Organization, department and college tents at UNT’s Apogee Stadium add to the Homecoming spirit along with live music, the Junior Mean Green Fun Zone and the Mean Green March featuring the cheerleaders, dancers, marching band, head coach Seth Littrell and Mean Green football team.

Mean Green Village Tailgate Tent Info. Tailgate tent package options include game tickets, parking passes, tents, tables and chairs for alumni groups, departments, schools and colleges that plan to host tailgate functions near the stadium before the Homecoming game.  or tailgate tent package reservations, contact F, 940-565-2527 or visit Deadline: Oct. 30

Share your photos from Homecoming on Twitter and Instagram — #UNTHC17 — to win prizes.

Fall 2017




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College Of Music Gala

Alexis Ohanian


8 p.m. OCT. 25 | UNT COLISEUM

Leading Ladies of Broadway performed by UNT Symphony Orchestra and student vocal soloists, conducted by David Itkin followed by dinner. Proceeds support scholarships. Presented by College of Music.

Internet entrepreneur and investor, co-founder of Reddit and Initialized Capital, bestselling author of Without Their Permission. Presented by Distinguished Lecture Series.

EVENTS Tickets:

Tickets: 940-369-8417,


The Crucible

Poetry Night

7:30 p.m. NOV. 9-11; 2 p.m. NOV. 12 | UNIVERSITY THEATER


Arthur Miller drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem. Winner of 1953 Tony Award for Best Play. Presented by Department of Dance and Theatre.

Electrifying spoken word poetry performed by Karla Morton and Edyka Chilomé, two of DFW’s most captivating and prominent artists. Presented by Mary Jo and V. Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series.

Tickets: 940-565-2428,




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Read about Texas border art project

Gary Payne

page 24

MEMORY MAKER Alum John Ford Coley, whose music has brought special memories to his fans, reminisces about Denton as a 2017 Arts Walk of Fame honoree.

Learn more about Coley’s rise as a musician and about other alums who are Denton Arts Walk of Fame honorees at

AS ONE-HALF OF THE GRAMMY-NOMINATED singing duo England Dan and John Ford Coley — portrayed in the recent HBO show Vinyl — Coley often hears about how their soft rock hits such as “I ‘d Really Love to See You Tonight” and “Love Is the Answer” have touched fans’ lives. Coley, who attended the university in the late 1960s, came back to Denton this summer when his name was unveiled in a sidewalk paver on Hickory Street downtown. The Denton Arts Walk of Fame honors artists who have made their mark in the city. “I have a truckload of wonderful memories of my time in Denton,” Coley says, adding how gratifying the recent honor is for him. “It’s difficult to describe how meaningful it is when someone appreciates what you’ve done or created,” he says. “I still get moved. Fall 2017




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Junebug Clark

A different stage

Mark Donald, lecturer in UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism, has written mostly long-form narrative nonfiction during his career. But he was so compelled by the story of his father — a British soldier who hunted Nazis during World War II — that he wrote the play Magnum’s Opus. The show was presented at a staged reading at the Dallas

Music Winning works

Jen Mabray

Dance and Theatre

Holocaust Center in August. He says the play allowed him to explore the subject more deeply on an emotional level than a nonfiction narrative would have allowed. “Writers toil away at their computers, and it’s a fairly solo act. But the staged reading of a play is a collaborative process,” he says. “The characters don’t just come alive on the printed page, but actors breathe life into your words — your characters, thoughts and feelings take human form. The transformation is as awesome as it is humbling.”

Jason Bergman, assistant professor of trumpet, received some inspiration from UNT alumni and faculty for his CD, The Lightning Fields, which earned the silver medal at this year’s Global Music Awards. The title piece was written by Grammy-winning composer Michael Daugherty (’76). “Song for a Friend,” composed by trumpeter Kevin McKee, honors John Wacker (’08 D.M.A.),

director of bands at Western State Colorado University, who died in a car accident. McKee also wrote a piece inspired by Bergman’s last name — “The Adventures of Berg Man” — which sounds like a soundtrack to an action movie. Bergman recorded the album with Steven Harlos, professor of piano, and Nicholas Williams (’97, ’04 M.M., ’09 D.M.A.), assistant director of wind studies and conducting and director of UNT’s Green Brigade Marching Band, (see pg. 32) who served as the sound engineer. “It wouldn’t have been possible without their collaboration and very hard work,” Bergman says.

Textiles that tell a story Analise Minjarez (’13) and Sarita Westrup (’12, ’16 M.F.A.) knew they had a connection as students during a weaving course, when they were both working on pieces inspired by Mexican tradition. Now they combine their love for the Texas-Mexico border and fibers with Tierra Firme — an experiential research project that investigates the place and identity of artwork along the Texas-Mexico border. As part of the project, they’ve created art pieces that have been exhibited all around the state, including the Perot Museum in Dallas and Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas. “The frontera is a place of great value with people and landscapes that fuel the Tierra Firme creative collaboration,” Minjarez says. “We feel that the borderland Brad Luttrell

needs sustenance and support from the North Texas region and we translate stories of home with a visual vocabulary that can transport the viewer to borderlands.” Works as part of the project include the Bienvenidos Portal Portrait, an interactive installation in which people can dye cloth in an indigo vat and hang the cloth on a dry line that moves through an arch. The mass of blue on the cloth represents both a wall and the blue sky of the border region. Another piece is El Norte, which they created during a trip from Minjarez’s hometown of El Paso to Westrup’s hometown of McAllen. The suspended net and hanging crepe, dyed from avocado pits, hibiscus flowers and black beans, represents a border wall that is designed for viewers to walk through. Their use of fibers began when they learned to sew from family members. “I instantly felt a connection and a buzzing sensation when I would work with cloth,” Westrup says. “Who knows why you have an affinity for an object or material, but I knew that I had to learn more about the process of making cloth.” Minjarez began as a communication design major, but realized she preferred the hands-on method of fibers to being on the computer. “Fibers is the best way for me to be the most honest and connected to my border story,” she says.



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TV and Film

Ericka Estrella

Movie with a message

Jamie Brooks (’11) was a middle school student in Amarillo in 1997 when a brawl broke out in his hometown between some jocks and punk rock kids, resulting in the death of Brian Deneke, 19, from a deliberate hitand-run. During the murder trial, Deneke’s character was questioned because he looked

like a punk rocker. And his assailant received only 10 years probation. Brooks, pictured at left in photo, brought that story of social intolerance to the big screen with Bomb City, which has won audience awards at both the Dallas International Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival. Oscar-nominated director Richard Link­ later hosted the movie at the Austin Film Society. Deneke’s family also has been supportive of the film. “It’s been an incredible journey so far, and hopefully the film will continue to inspire audiences,” Brooks says.

Ahna Hubnik

Influential professor

When Nada Shabout was studying modern Arab art as a graduate student, she didn’t have all of the resources she needed. She has made it her mission to promote that field. Now the art history professor is co-editing the book Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. And, Artsy. net named her as one of “Eight Influential Female Art Historians You Should Know,” citing her for “increasing the visibility of art from communities that often go overlooked in the contemporary art world.” “It’s been a great ride,” says Shabout, who also is coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative at UNT. “To be recognized with art historians who’ve done great work is an honor.”

No limits

Theera Leetrakul

While Betty Lynch King (’01 M.S.) was studying for her master’s degree in library science, her then teenage son, Christopher Brian King (’08), was wandering the halls of the Art Building. “I felt like I fit in there,” says King, who majored in communication design when he later attended UNT himself. “I knew I wanted to work in graphic design, but I also studied English literature and those classes really kindled my interest in working with writers.” King has created book covers for Doubleday and Melville House and is now a senior designer for Penguin Press. His work has been seen on covers for The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto and for The Last Interview series featuring portraits of such authors as Gabriel García Márquez, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut. “The hardest part is coming up with an idea, but thankfully I have some of the world’s best writers providing my source material,” he says. “Most of the cover ideas come from conducting research into the books’ contents, and the best part is that every project brings with it a deep dive into a subject I didn’t know about before. I learn so much from our writers and editors.”

In his native Thailand, Pramuan Burusphat (’79 M.F.A.) is considered a pioneer Fall 2017


of conceptual photography with works that incorporate collage and drawing. The New Zealand resident recently had a retrospective of his work shown in Bangkok at the Kathmandu Photo Gallery and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. “My photography is about my passion and curiosity about changes in life and art,” he says. “I naturally have gone in this direction because of my initial love for painting and drawing. I think art has no limitation or restriction — rules are made to be broken.”

In the cards

Taylor Robinson

Visual Arts

Covering the world

Jackson Robinson (’06) treats a deck of cards the way a gallery artist treats a canvas. He created Kings Wild Project, an illustration and design company that specializes in luxury playing card designs. He has illustrated 40 limited edition decks featuring historical themes or literature, such as King Arthur and Sherlock Holmes, based on a style he learned in his art history classes. “Creating art for playing cards allows me to share my artwork with people in a very tactile way,” he says. “It not only is art, but also functions as a playable deck of cards that people can enjoy while creating memories with friends and family.”



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Gary Payne

by Jessica DeLeÓn

UNT’s student-athletes are ready to win on the field and in the classroom. UNT athletics’ plan will help them get there.


occer player Tori Phillips experienced the glory of winning at the college level after a hard-fought season in 2015, her sophomore year. That’s when she and the team captured the Conference USA tournament championship and its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. “It was like, ‘Wow, is this really happening?’” she says. In the three years Phillips has played at UNT, the soccer team has won the regular season conference title each year. Now as a senior, she wants to win the conference tournament again, not only to return to the NCAA tournament, but this time to advance. “It’s like a habit,” Phillips says. “We expect nothing less than to win. We want more.” And that’s just the type of attitude UNT’s athletics program wants studentathletes to bring onto the field and into the classroom. This month, the department unveiled a five-year strategic plan aimed at creating a winning atmosphere, and placing an emphasis on the support of student-athletes. New leadership is making the plan a reality. Last fall, football coach Seth Littrell led the Mean Green to the second-best turnaround in the country in his first season. Basketball coach Grant McCasland comes to UNT with 18 years of experience for his debut season this fall. Overseeing the department is Wren Baker, the new vice president and director of athletics, who previously worked as interim and deputy director of athletics at the University of Missouri. “Our plan is a holistic approach to help develop student-athletes as people, students and competitors,” Baker says. “By investing in their growth and other key strategic areas across the program — upgrades in facilities, fiscal accountability and enhanced fan experiences — we are focused on creating champions and leaders.” Baker says his mission is to lead the athletics program to as high a performance level as UNT’s academic successes. “When you look at the quality of our academics as a Tier One research university, we’re as good as — if not better than — our peers,” he says. “It’s also

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Andy Flusche (’17), a fifth-year defensive lineman, also experienced victory when the Mean Green won the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl. The team returned to the bowl in 2016, losing a hard-fought game to Army. This season, Flusche expects to do better. “It’s our one and only mission — to win a bowl game,” he says. “That’s the first step we need to take as a successful program. And that’s not our ceiling. Our sights are set on a conference championship.” The new strategic plan provides ways to help the teams accomplish these goals. Its 20-year facility plan will serve as a road map for creating more state-of-the-art facilities and enhanced game-day experiences for Mean Green fans. Among the planned spaces is a $16 million indoor practice facility, expected to break ground in 2018 south of Apogee Stadium. It will feature a full football practice field along with 10 additional yards for skill work. Track and field athletes will have their own sprint lanes. Netting and lighting will help make it a multi-

important for athletics, in the way that we prepare women and men for life, that we reflect that same quality.”

Game plan for success

Michael Clements

Phillips knows that winning feeling as center back for the soccer team, which is going for its fourth consecutive Conference USA championship in 2017. And coach John Hedlund notched the 300th victory of his career last fall in his 23 seasons, all with the Mean Green. These wins add to Phillips’ confidence. Each week, the team puts in six hours of practice, plus weight training, and plays two games. “We have every tool to succeed,” says Phillips, an integrative studies major. “The nutritionist is always willing to help get our diets on track. And we have tutors for any class that we need along with an academic center that’s open whenever we need it. Our coaches push us to have a great team GPA. That’s why we’ve prospered as we have.”



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purpose space for other teams. Also planned is a new soccer field, including premier track facilities south of the Waranch Tennis Complex, which will impact one-third of UNT’s total student-athletes. Future projects based on fundraising goals and achievements could include a natatorium for swimming and diving teams, as well as an arena for basketball and volleyball. Some facility improvements already have been made over the last year. An outside company is maintaining all of the natural grass surfaces for soccer, softball and football practice. In addition to upgraded hospitality and concourse space and coaches offices at the UNT Coliseum, upgrades have been made to the football and women’s basketball locker rooms, including new lockers, paint, carpet, lighting and new technology, such as mounted TVs. Students also can relax in new lounge areas and eat healthy snacks and get hydrated at nutrition stations. The women’s basketball locker room features special touches that coach Jalie

Above, senior soccer player Tori Phillips has helped her team win the Conference USA regular season championship three years in a row. Top right, Mean Green football’s 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl championship trophy. Bottom right, Andy Flusche (’17), a fifth-year defensive lineman on the football team.


Mean Green student-athletes advanced to NCAA postseason play last season, including three golfers competing in the NCAA Regionals and six track and field athletes advancing to the NCAA West Preliminaries.


Gary Payne

conference The Mean Green have won championships, including 34 since 2000.


UNT offers sports as an NCAA Division I school — the highest and largest division among colleges and universities.


Mitchell (’02) uses to help motivate the team, such as the mantra “PRIDE (passion, resilience, investment, discipline, excellence)” and the alma mater painted on the wall. “If you say Mean Green, I need you to believe it,” she says. “I expect people to know our alma mater and say it with great pride. Bleed it!” And in addition to newly painted tennis courts, a new scoreboard has been installed at the tennis facility. Tennis coach Sujay Lama says it has been a great asset for the team. Since the spectators can see the score, the tension is heightened, allowing them to get into the game. And prospective students are impressed too.

Michael Clements

UNT placed student-athletes on Conference USA’s 2016-17 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Forty-five of those studentathletes earned a GPA of 3.75 or better and received the Commissioner’s Academic Medal.

“When they see facilities like ours, it really adds a lot to what we’re doing,” Lama says. “We’re able to recruit from the best students.”

excellence, in academics and tennis,” Lama says. He notes a majority of student-athletes will not turn professional, and what will carry them through life is their education. “When you build a culture of excellence, the kids take pride in that. They say, ‘I can’t let my teammates down.’” The new plan also includes initiatives that will put a spotlight on student-athletes, current and former, and their achievements. The lobby in the Athletics Center is being reconfigured to highlight UNT’s legacy of excellence in athletics, including stories of Hall of Fame athletes in kiosks and memorabilia showcasing great moments in UNT history.

Culture of excellence

Another emphasis of the strategic plan is supporting the student-athletes’ performance on and off the field. The athletics department hired a nutritionist and sports performance specialist. And a new learning specialist will guide students in their academics. One of the department’s proudest achievements is its top 10 percent placement in the Academic Progress Rate for football and tennis. “From day one when I came here, I really wanted to contribute to that culture of Fall 2017




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Gary Payne

UNT’s Apogee Stadium holds 31,000 fans and has eco-friendly features like wind turbines, unlike any collegiate stadium in the nation. Opened in 2011, it was the first newly constructed college football stadium to earn LEED Platinum certification.

The plan also includes initiatives that establish budgetary processes, develop a revenue plan and maintain a compliance program that will meet the expectations set by the NCAA and Conference USA. “We’re doing everything we’re being asked to do,” Mitchell says. “We’re making sure we comply every year and represent our university in the best light possible. That’s what pride is about — you represent your team family, but you also represent your university.”

This past spring, the inaugural Scrappy Awards banquet took place to recognize outstanding team and individual academic and athletic performances. Also, the North Texas Letterwinners Association was launched to engage and grow relationships with former student-athletes. The association features a new website,, to encourage alumni to reconnect with their alma mater. And the first ever Champions Weekend, honoring past stars, took place Sept. 22-23. Athletes from the 1967 and 1987 teams attended the home football game against the University of Alabama-Birmingham that Saturday, and the members of the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl team were presented with their bowl rings. Some of the initiatives of the strategic plan take place behind the scenes. To bring more attention to the Mean Green brand, the athletics department hired a director of creative content and signed a multiyear agreement with the Plano-based company Learfield to enhance sponsorship opportunities.



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Mean Green pride

As much as the plan focuses on studentathletes, it also accounts for the fans. A new Creative Advisory Committee — made up of alumni including Vimeo head of creative Graham Douglas (’05) and Texas Rangers marketing vice president Becky Kimbro (’09) — will meet quarterly to offer ideas to help reinforce the Mean Green brand and successes. Douglas, along with documentary filmmaker Ashton Campbell (’03), who has produced several sports programming |

Fall 2017

projects including UNT athletics’ Beyond the Green series, approached Baker with the idea for the committee. Douglas frequently attended football games as a student and, now that he lives in New York City, witnessed the Mean Green victory over Army last year at West Point, N.Y. “I’m really excited about the direction of UNT athletics,” says Douglas, adding that he tries to make it to a game when he comes to town. “There’s just something special about spending a day at Apogee,” he says. “I take any excuse to go to Denton for a few days. If you can loop a football game into that, it’s a perfect weekend.” The facilities road map also outlines incorporating the land along Bonnie Brae and Interstate 35 into an enhanced space to create an “awesome tailgate parking experience,” Baker says. The new direction pleases alumni such as local businessman Jim McNatt (’66), and his wife, Linda, who continue to support important Mean Green athletic initiatives. McNatt didn’t attend football games as a

2017 remaining schedule Mean Green football • Sept. 30 at Southern Miss, 6 p.m. • Oct. 14 vs. UTSA, 5:30 p.m. • Oct. 21 at Florida Atlantic, TBA  ct. 28 vs. Old Dominion, 5:30 p.m. •O  ov. 4 at Louisiana Tech, 2:30 p.m. •N  ov. 11 vs UTEP, •N HOMECOMING, 4 p.m. • Nov. 18 vs. Army, 5:30 p.m. • Nov. 25 at Rice, noon

Mean Green soccer

student, but he now sits in the HUB Club of Apogee Stadium for every home game with a group of about 20 friends. He is eager, but patient, to see the changes the coaches will make to the program. “Let them have time to do what they’re capable of doing,” McNatt says. “I think we’ll see some fun.” Don Lovelace, who attended North Texas in the 1960s and is owner of Denton-based Lily of the Desert, the largest certified organic grower and processor of aloe vera, agrees. A supporter of athletics and namesake of the softball field, Lovelace Stadium, Lovelace says he’s impressed by the new hires, such as Littrell and McCasland, as well as the priorities in the strategic plan. “I think we’re in a new chapter with UNT athletics,” he says.

The student-athletes encourage students, alumni and other fans to come to the games and take part in the Mean Green pride. “Our offense is explosive,” Flusche says. “Our defense has playmaking ability. We’re going to have exciting games this year.” Phillips vows she and her soccer teammates will make alumni proud. She remembers the number of fans who showed up when the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority pledged to raise $1 for every fan in attendance at an October soccer game promoting breast cancer awareness. “We want to bring honor to UNT and to the people who supported us,” she says. “Come to a game because it’s fun to celebrate what makes us a Mean Green family and watch your school win. Because of the drive we have, we’re not going to lay down to any team.”

Learn more about the athletics department’s new strategic plan — focused on growing and developing resources for the support of student-athletes and enhancing the fan experience — and find out how you can help to inspire Mean Green pride and support at To support student-athlete success by making a donation today, visit

Michael Clements

Recent upgrades to UNT athletic facilities include renovated women’s basketball and football locker rooms, newly painted tennis courts and new scoreboard, more strength and conditioning support in the weight rooms and the renovated “E” practice facility.

•O  ct. 1 at Western Kentucky, 1 p.m. • Oct. 6 vs. UTEP, 7 p.m. • Oct. 8 vs. UTSA, 1 p.m. • Oct. 13 vs. UAB, 7 p.m. • Oct. 19 at Charlotte, 6 p.m. • Oct. 22 at Old Dominion, noon • Oct. 27 vs. Rice, 7 p.m.

Get your tickets! Individual game and season tickets are on sale now and fans can purchase them through the ticket office. New special ticket promotions are available to UNT graduates from 2013 to 2017 in the Young Alumni Section, and 2017 graduates are eligible for two free tickets. Visit or call the ticket office at 940-565-2527 or 800-868-2366.

Mean Green For Life Are you a former UNT letterwinner? If so, register with the North Texas Letterwinners Association at In addition to special benefits as an active member, you’ll have opportunities to support the athletics programs, help mentor student-athletes, and inspire and instill a sense of history, tradition and pride for future Mean Green generations.

Embodying the spirit and pride of UNT, the Green Brigade Marching Band uses teamwork and talent to add excitement to fall football. And its alumni keep the rhythm

Nicholas Williams (’97, ’04 M.M., ’09 D.M.A.)

and passion in their

Michael Clements

careers as educators and entertainers. 32


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Fall 2017

Marching for Glory


by Jessica DeLeón

UNT’s Green Brigade Marching Band — the largest spirit organization on campus — plays an essential part in creating a winning atmosphere for the football team. Director Nicholas Williams (’97, ’04 M.M., ’09 D.M.A.) leads the nearly 400-member band to pump up the fans and athletes at the games. Band members start practicing at Fouts Field before the first day of the fall semester, putting in “almost 40,000 hours of work” with three practices a day, Williams says. The band not only provides entertainment, but it also serves as a music education lab. While any student is encouraged to try out, many are music majors and go on to be band directors for high schools and colleges. Others play for highly selective military and professional marching bands. On their resumes, they can say they’ve played with the best. The Green Brigade was recognized as the Best Damn Band in the Land by the Bleacher Report in 2011 and Best Drumline in 2012. “Being part of college athletics is exciting — the game, the fans, pregame and halftime events, parades and spirit marches, “Williams says. “When I hear the drumline approaching for the first time, I get goosebumps.”

Becoming the music

Williams’ first try in the music world — playing the clarinet — wasn’t easy on the ears. “I made a lot of squeaks and squawks,” he says. His mother made him switch to the trumpet in sixth grade, opening opportunities for him. He rose from high school drum major to Green Brigade director, putting in countless rehearsal hours. “It is a lot of time, especially in high school,” Williams says. “But the rewards are definitely worth it.” After playing in the Green Brigade and earning his bachelor’s degree, he taught high school band in Plano ISD and was an instructor at Drum Corps International, a nonprofit organization for junior drum and bugle corps. He landed the director position in the Green Brigade in 2002 and completed his graduate studies. In addition to leading the Green Brigade and the Basketball Pep Band, he is assistant director of wind studies at UNT and conducts the Wind Ensemble and Brass Band. He also produces, conducts and arranges projects for various artists. Williams chooses the Green Brigade’s songs for their entertainment value. Popular tunes on the playlist include “Fly Like an Eagle” by The Steve Miller Band and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical Carousel.

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Mary Brown (’08)

Michael Clements

The band’s formations are all computerized, created by a professional drill writer. One of the most popular formations has been a breast cancer ribbon. And favorite band Halloween costumes have included Pac-Man on a bass drum followed by Pac-Man ghosts down the drumline. The band also performs each year during the Homecoming parade, marching through campus and the town square. The shows are memorable, with music composed and arranged by Williams, percussion coordinator and assistant professor Paul Rennick, and other professionals. “We go through this process of learning the music, practicing the music and then becoming the music,” Williams says. He notes that much of the hard work begins in public school. He doesn’t have to talk much about music lingo or procedures like starting rehearsals on time. “We have so many great teachers building cultures and processes,” he says.

Delivering 100 percent

Michael Clements

Teaching that culture to her students is Mary Brown’s (’08) aim. She tells them they have to give music their all, just like they will for a future job. “If you become a brain surgeon or pilot, you have to be 100 percent,” she says. “I expect you to play all the right notes.” Brown, the band director at Ryan High School in Denton, says it’s a job she’s wanted since elementary school. As a fifth-grader in Beaumont, she was fascinated by an older girl playing the clarinet. “I just loved the sound and how her fingers moved really fast,” she says. Sitting in her first music class in the sixth grade, Brown knew she would major in music in college. “I loved playing the instrument so much I wanted to teach it,” Brown says. She first came to the university with her twin sister, Emily Standlee (’08), who is a band director at Ann Richards Middle School in Dallas ISD. Brown joined the Green

Christian O’Donnell (’86)

Ashley Mendeke (’11)

Torin Olsen

Brigade, where she met her husband, Zach Brown (’09), a euphonium player who works in data analysis. She completed her student teaching at Ryan High School, which hired her after graduation. Now as head director, she teaches lessons learned from UNT. She says Williams influenced her rehearsal techniques, etiquette and marching fundamentals. Her teaching philosophy comes from Nathan Kruse, former assistant professor of music education, and music professor Darhyl S. Ramsey — both who provided a welcoming environment to their students. “I’m hard on my kids, but I’m definitely a nurturer,” she says. “By being a motivator and encourager, I can push them.” Her concert band students received straight superior ratings in UIL competition for the first time this past year. “The looks on their faces after a long time of hard work meant a lot to me,” she says. “For them to achieve that, it was so good for their confidence.”

Teaching the future Like Brown, Christian O’Donnell (’86) was inspired by music early on. As a high school student, he traveled with his school band from Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Denton to see the performance of Lab Band Madness — all nine Lab Bands — at the Super Pit. He was stunned. “You could tell the groups were professional musicians, but college kids,” he says. After entering the University of Oklahoma to study geology, he became a music major, transferred to North Texas his sophomore year to study music education and joined the Green Brigade. He says he was intimidated by the program at times. He became familiar with faculty member Rich Matteson, who played the same instrument — jazz euphonium — and had opened for jazz legend and trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. But he soon established himself at North Texas, too, going on to be drum major of

Band, one of the U.S. Army’s premier bands. After Mendeke’s mother persuaded her to play in her high school band in Austin, she discovered she loved it. Enrolling at UNT as a music major, she played for three ensembles and the Green Brigade, serving as drum major her senior year. Mendeke says she is most grateful for how UNT faculty and peers believed in her, but also motivated her to work harder. Regents Professor of flute Mary Karen Clardy told her, “Push yourself.” “To this day, I still find those words to be so true, that ultimately, it’s what is inside of us that matters,” she says. “The inner drive to continually grow is irreplaceable.” She taught private lessons after graduation but missed playing and performing. Having heard many of the military bands play at UNT’s Murchison Performing Arts Center, she auditioned with the West Point Band. After a very competitive process, she accepted a position in the band in 2014, enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed Basic Combat Training. Now a staff sergeant, Mendeke performs alongside 10 other alumni in gigs from the Macy’s fireworks show to daily performances for the cadets’ breakfast and lunch formations, which she says brings her joy. She also gets to preserve history — playing traditional tunes for the fife on its successor, a modern piccolo — and she serves as an ambassador for her country. “I love thinking of new ways to approach old concepts,” she says. “Being in a band I can do that while reaching out to others.”

the Green Brigade as a senior. He played a role in the naming of the band in 1984, his junior year. “We’d been called many things, including ‘the Mean Green Machine,’” he says. “So, the students of the band settled on ‘The Green Brigade,’ complete with a tag line, which was included on our T-shirts, ‘No Prisoners.’” He and his fellow bandmates became a tight-knit group, even though sometimes they were competing with each other. “We spent so much time in the practice room,” he says. “We were pretty close.” The advice of faculty members such as Don Little, Regents Professor of tuba, remains with him. “He always inspired me to play as musically as I could and to always have a musical reference in my mind before I played a note,” says O’Donnell, who plays trumpet as well as euphonium. After graduating, he earned master’s degrees in music education and conducting from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Oklahoma. He later became a director of the nationally acclaimed Lake Highlands High School Bands in Richardson ISD. Today he’s the director of fine and performing arts for Ardmore City Schools and also maintains a studio teaching woodwinds, brass, guitar and string bass at The Brass Ring Center for the Performing Arts in Ardmore. Many of his students are now band directors or performing in community bands and orchestras. “I love seeing how they have become more complex humans through the study of music,” he says. “You have to have a love of music to teach the next generation.”

Kaylie Hardeman (’13), a freelance percussionist and music educator, is on tour in Japan performing in the Broadway show Blast! Her UNT mentor Paul Rennick, assistant professor of percussion and Green Brigade percussion coordinator, composed and arranged music for the Tony- and Emmy-winning production. Read more at

Middle of the action Ashley Mendeke (’11) loved playing the flute so much as a child that she practiced during car rides to her soccer practices. But she never wanted to be in the marching band because she thought it was for nerds. Now she’s a member of the West Point Fall 2017




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On the Air by Scott Brown

Alumni working as broadcasters in the DFW area connect to audiences


with deliveries that resonate.

Mark Followill, known by many area sports fans as the voice of the Dallas Mavericks, is a longtime TV play-by-play announcer and Metroplex native. He’s been calling Mavs action for nearly two decades. In that time he’s also built his resume by covering Major League Soccer club FC Dallas, college football and international soccer for FOX Sports and the 2016 Olympics for NBC. As the largest university in the area and with an award-winning journalism school and robust media arts program, UNT has played a substantial role in training students as broadcasting professionals for DFW, the fifth largest media market in the country. Alumni find success in the industry as reporters, producers, sportscasters, news anchors and on-air personalities with the help of encouraging mentors and hands-on learning experiences that have paved the way — even when plans changed.

Finding a path What his fans may not know is that when Followill came to UNT in 1989, he intended to study music.



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Fall 2017

After excelling at the trombone with the Northwest High School band in Justin, Followill became the proverbial small fish in a big pond during his first semester at UNT. “There’s no bigger pond than UNT’s incredible music program” he says. “The competition level wasn’t something I was ready for.” Finding your path is what the college experience is all about, and these realizations can hit you at other times in life, too. In the

Liliana Villarreal (’11) Emily Weber

case of Followill’s fellow sportscasters Ben Rogers (’99) and Jeff “Skin” Wade (’01) — hosts of 105.3 The Fan’s “The Ben and Skin Show” — their paths took multiple twists and turns. After attending Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin, respectively, the childhood friends dropped out of college to pursue careers as hip hop artists. The duo ultimately came up short of making it in the rap game (although they “actually got pretty close, shockingly,” according to Rogers) and decided to go

back to school in their late 20s at UNT. But even then, they couldn’t have predicted they’d wind up having successful careers in radio, as Rogers graduated with a degree in marketing while Wade majored in radio, television and film (now the media arts program), but with a focus on film. “Looking back on it, I was at UNT just trying to get a marketing degree so I could interview for the jobs I wanted,” Rogers says. “I hadn’t thought about being in sports radio.”

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Mark Followill, left

“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Thorne,” Guzman says. “Anytime I need any sort of career advice or guidance on next steps, he is the person I look to.” Followill’s path to broadcasting was similarly shaped by an influential professor. After he hung up his trombone, he worked at campus radio station KNTU, where he got in as many reps as he could to hone his talents. And he was greatly influenced by the teachings of legendary broadcaster Bill Mercer, who served as a faculty member for more than 30 years and is the namesake of Apogee Stadium’s Bill Mercer Press Club. “Bill would have us go sit in the stands at UNT games and record tapes of ourselves doing play-by-play and turn it in — that was a weekly assignment,” Followill says. “I learned so much from Bill and got a chance to start putting those things into practice pretty quickly because of the hands-on experience he wanted us to get.” Rogers and Wade credit their time in Denton as turning points in their lives and say they still use the skills they learned in college in their current careers. Rogers says sales and marketing are “the backbone of what we do,” while Wade says the way he approaches many of their show’s topics is greatly influenced by critical studies skills he learned from film professor Harry Benshoff. For Villarreal, that turning point came in the form of an internship in the summer of

Although a career in broadcasting was always the goal for Liliana Villarreal (’11), becoming an assistant marketing director for iHeartMedia wasn’t what she originally had in mind when she chose broadcast journalism as her major. A member of one of the first graduating classes of the then-recently christened Mayborn School of Journalism, Villarreal wanted to be a TV reporter and news anchor. “When I was in school I really enjoyed my broadcast classes. I was really geared toward TV,” Villarreal says. “I kind of fell into radio.” That also was the case for fellow Mayborn graduate Samantha Guzman (’11, ’14 M.J.), who is now an associate producer for KERA’s midday talk show, Think. After holding a couple of jobs in corporate America post-graduation, Guzman found her way back into the world of journalism through the unexpected avenue of radio. “I studied photojournalism, not broadcasting,” Guzman says, “so I had no radio experience when I came to KERA.”

Turning points But Guzman did have a mentor. Before the KERA position was even posted online, photojournalism professor Thorne Anderson, whose freelance work with the station recently won a national Edward R. Murrow Award, alerted her to the job.



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Fall 2017

Ranjani Groth

Ben Rogers (’99) and Jeff “Skin” Wade (’01)

2010 with what was then Clear Channel Radio, later becoming iHeartMedia. “I needed an internship to graduate and I got an email from a professor saying Clear Channel Radio was looking for interns,” says Villarreal. “So I applied and was luckily given the opportunity. I was able to see everything that goes on behind the scenes in radio. And I fell in love with it.”

Most rewarding part Through hard work and dedication, Villarreal’s internship turned into a part-time job while she finished school; followed by a full-time job; and then by a promotion to assistant marketing director. Seven years later, she’s expanded her marketing role into the occasional on-air work, voicing some commercials and doing the midday weather reports for 106.1 KISS FM and 102.9 NOW. But she says her favorite part of the job is working on large events and concerts in Dallas like Jingle Ball and EdgeFest, creating experiences thousands of people get to enjoy. Rogers and Wade took a slightly more winding road to radio success. Through a couple of stops and stalls along the way, they’ve built a loyal following of listeners with their afternoon drive show on 105.3, which has developed into something of an Eagle’s nest, with multiple UNT alumni calling the station home. “Ben and Skin

Samantha Guzman (’11, ’14 M.J.)

Show” producer Kevin “KT” Turner (’06), “New School” producer Roy White (’10) and “K&C Masterpiece” co-host Cory Mageors (’10) are all UNT graduates. Having grown up in Richardson, Rogers and Wade revel in the fact that they now get to cover their hometown teams, but both say the connections they’ve made along the way have been the most rewarding part. “To develop the relationships we have over the years with players, coaches, front offices — it’s truly surreal,” says Rogers. Wade specifically cites the friendships he’s forged with several Mavericks players — through his other job as sideline reporter as part of the television broadcast team with Followill — as some of the most meaningful through his career. Both Wade and Followill consider the night Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki passed the 30,000 points mark in front of an “electric” home crowd at the American Airlines Center to be a top career highlight as broadcasters. Followill says it’s moments like that, his experience calling the 2016 Olympics and his passion for sports overall that make his job so rewarding. “I’ve been very, very fortunate to get to broadcast some great things on the local level as well as the national and international levels,” Followill says. And for Guzman, the joy of working in radio comes from getting to learn new

things every day through the research she conducts to help produce Think’s two shows a day. That work has gained her recognition, as she was recently named a recipient of the Mayborn School of Journalism’s Rising Star Award (as was Mageors).

“UNT offers tremendous value in the arts and liberal arts,” Wade says. “And because of my passion for music I know the kind of musicians that school is turning out. If both of my kids said, ‘I want to go to UNT and get a liberal arts degree,’ I’d be ecstatic, because I know not only what the education would be like, but what the environment is and the kind of experiences and people that they’ll be around.” And although Followill left UNT short of completing his degree (but says he continues to keep an eye on the university’s distance learning offerings that could accommodate his busy schedule), he says the impact of the university on the broadcasting industry is undeniable. “The proof is in the pudding in terms of members of the media that work in the DFW area and other markets who attended UNT,” Followill says. Knowing that his sports broadcasting classes were a turning point in his life inspires him to pay it forward. That’s why he’s been coming back to UNT for years to speak to students in deputy athletic director and adjunct instructor Hank Dickenson’s sports announcing class. “It’s really nice to be able to go to Hank’s class,” Followill says, “talk to kids and give back in a small way to people who are sitting in a chair that I sat in many, many years ago.”

Investing in the future Many of the alumni who have been so deeply impacted by their time at UNT are compelled to give back. After participating in the nationally recognized Heart of Mexico Project as a graduate student when it launched in 2013, Guzman has traveled south of the border with the project every summer since graduation to volunteer her time as a mentor to current students. “I started as a student in its first year and for me, the value was getting to work with journalists from The Dallas Morning News like Tom Huang or Alfredo Corchado — these amazing journalists who are giving you real-world advice,” Guzman says. “Now that I’m on the other side of things, it’s really important that we help to mold and shape these journalists. I want to provide future UNT students with all the amazing experiences that I got while I was a student.” Wade takes great pride in donating to the university whenever he gets the chance because he knows it has so much to offer young people.

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UNT graduates are one of a kind. As innovative teachers, artists, CEOs, engineers and everything in between, our alumni inspire communities and share their Mean Green pride wherever they go. Share in the lifelong bond of the UNT alumni family.

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Fall 2017

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page 43

Ahna Hubnik


Check out alumni gatherings and fall events

EXHIBITING CREATIVITY Alum Kelly Pound manages exhibits for State Fair of Texas visitors that are sure to entertain.

Read more about the persistence and out-ofthe-box thinking that Pound learned as an art student at

FORD MOTOR CO. WANTED TO MAKE A splash when it relaunched the iconic Mustang in 1995. So it turned to Kelly Pound (’80), who was then the State Fair of Texas’ Auto Show director. He masterminded placing a large wooden crate stamped “wild animal” in front of the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park, and Ford’s Mustang drove free the morning of the Red River Rivalry game. Clever efforts like these evolved Pound’s role to director of all exhibits. In that job he’s created inviting spaces such as the Texas Wine Garden, where visitors can taste Texas wines and craft beers, and made the fair a premier place for companies to partner as sponsors and launch new products. “By the time the fair gets started, it’s management by frenzy,” he says. “But I’m already thinking ahead to next year.” Fall 2017




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Keep up with the latest developments in the UNT family and tell your peers what you’ve been up to since leaving the nest. Send your news to The North Texan (see contact information on page 4). Members of the UNT Alumni Association are designated with a . Read more, share comments and connect with friends at


for America in the Streets of Laredo: the Mexican American Experience in the Anglo American Narrative. He is a recently retired professor of political science at San Antonio College and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Before teaching, he was a reporter, political columnist and owner and publisher of El Visitante Dominical, a Catholic newspaper. During his time at UNT, he was editor of the Campus Chat.

tury American Gothicism branched away from its European roots at Oxford University in England. He also volunteers with adults with autism. At North Texas, he was involved in the marching band, Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Tau Delta. Favorite memories include meeting Catch 22 author Joseph Heller and attending the first Earth Day celebration. Also, “Who could forget the streaking events?”



Ronald H. High, Columbia,

Hugo J. Martinez, Rowlett ::

Sarah Hamilton (‘11) Photography

S.C. :: was the recipient of a sec-

Keith (’05) and Jeanette (’05, ’07 M.S.) Marshall, with Dylan, 7, and Keira, 4, celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on campus in May. The couple met as freshmen, reunited as sophomores in Bruce Hall and the History of Pop Music class, and “have been inseparable ever since.” Keith is a band director and Jeanette is a speech-language pathologist, both for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

1952 Ray Moseley, London :: is the author of a new book, Reporting War: How Foreign Correspondents Risked Capture, Torture and Death to Cover World War II (Yale University Press). He was an overseas correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and United Press International. He also is a Pulitzer Prize



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finalist for international reporting and a UNT Distinguished Alumnus. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for services to journalism.

1966 Fernando Pinon (’71 M.A.),

San Antonio :: wrote Searching


Fall 2017

ond Fulbright Scholar Award. In 2005, he was a guest lecturer and professor at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany. In 2016, he was a guest lecturer and professor at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. He is an adjunct teacher of voice at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. and an independent scholar and private voice teacher.

1973 Glenn D. Turner (’79 M.A.),

Elgin, Ill. :: has retired from Elgin

Community College after serving as administrator and faculty member in higher education for 35 years. He previously worked at the University of Texas at Dallas and Westark Community College. He enjoys traveling and recently presented a paper on how 19th cen-

is retiring from the Garland ISD after 43 years of wielding a conductor’s baton and serving as an administrator at the campus and central office levels. During his time at North Texas, he was involved in the marching band, University Brass Choir and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. His first week on campus, he met his wife

Christina Colunga Martinez (’74), who retired as a second

grade teacher from Garland ISD eight years ago. He has fond memories of the “People’s Park” on campus, studying and feeding the ducks.

Stu Tentoni (Ph.D.), Delafield,

Wis. :: retired in 2016 after

working 19 years for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Norris Health Center as coordinator and training director, clinical assistant, associate professor in the clinical psychology program and

clinical professor in educational psychology. He also has worked for nonprofit and government agencies in Wisconsin and was a psychologist for 42 years. At UNT, he was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Psi Chi and Phi Delta Kappa. As a Wisconsin native, he remembers when an inch of snow fell in Denton overnight in 1973. He was a teaching assistant and began hearing from students near campus who were staying home for fear of falling. “I asked if they were joking, as I had ridden my 10-speed bike to campus that day.”


Ray Braswell (’77 M.Ed., ’86

Ph.D.), Denton :: superintendent

of Denton ISD from 1998 until he retired in 2012, is the namesake of the new Ray Braswell High School in Denton. He began his professional career with the district as an athletic trainer and biology teacher at Denton High School in 1979 and served as an associate principal there before moving to the central office. He and his wife, Cydney (’79, ’83 M.Ed.), who retired as a counselor from Marcus High School in Lewisville in 2012, first met in Kerr Hall on campus. The Braswells are pictured with the new high school’s principal, Lesli

Guajardo (’15 Ph.D.).


Upcoming Alumni Gatherings

David Kosofsky (’86 M.S.),

Many exciting events are planned for alumni to reunite and celebrate UNT:

Dallas-Fort Worth company, Go RV Rentals, to Houston and Austin. The company rents campers, travel trailers, motorhomes and toy haulers in Texas. It features economy and luxury RVs for vacations and events.

Alumni GameDay Grille: Join the UNT Alumni Association for pregame football parties at the UNT Alumni Pavilion two hours before kickoff for all home games. Located adjacent to the northeast main entrance of the football stadium, the pavilion and festivities are free to association members and a guest. Beverages are available for purchase and the Student Alumni Association will be grilling for scholarship donations. Be sure to have your membership card on hand, or you can buy one on-site on gameday. For information, contact or 940-565-2834.

Everton, Ark. :: has expanded his

Akhil Kumar (Ph.D.), Col-

leyville ::

joined UNT’s College of Business as executive-in-residence after a successful 34-year career in the global energy business. He will work with the dean in developing executive education programs. He recently retired as managing director and CEO of GS Caltex India, a joint venture of Chevron responsible for the South Asia market. Prior to joining Chevron in 1988, he worked as assistant professor of accounting at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

1990 Whitney McNaught Shelley, Plano

:: was recog-

nized as the 2016 DFW Businesswoman of the Year by the National Diversity Council while she was giving the keynote speech at the Dallas Women’s Leadership Conference. The award recognized her work as chief human resources officer for Denbury Resources, a public oil

Regional Alumni Receptions: Stay connected to your alma mater by attending one of the UNT Alumni Regional Receptions and reconnecting with other alumni in your area for networking. The Tarrant County reception will take place Oct. 10 at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, and a Collin County reception will take place Oct. 18 at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, both from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. UNT President Neal Smatresk will give a brief university update at each event. RSVP at fallregionalreceptions. Cybersecurity Summit: Learn about future challenges in cybersecurity at a conference hosted by UNT’s College of Engineering that will include panels of distinguished speakers from industry, research and academia. They will provide insights and discuss challenges yet to be addressed in IoT, network security and wireless security. The conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Courtyard Dallas Allen at the John Q Hammons Center, 210 East Stacy Road in Allen. Registration is $90, including lunch and refreshments. To register, visit Homecoming 2017: Save the dates Nov. 6-11 for Homecoming week with the theme “Deep in the Heart of UNT.” Festivities include the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards, bonfire, parade and Nov. 11 Mean Green vs. UTEP football game at Apogee Stadium. The Golden Eagles class of 1967 will reunite at 9 a.m. Nov. 11 in the University Union Jade Eagle Ballroom. And for Homecoming, admission to the UNT Alumni Association’s pregame party at the Alumni Pavilion will be free to all! See page 20 for more details and, for the latest information, visit Denton County Chapter Fall Mixer: Join your friends and reconnect with your alma mater at the UNT Denton County Chapter Fall Mixer from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Witherspoon Distillery in Lewisville. RSVP at more information or to join the UNT Alumni Association, call 940-565-2834 or go to UNT Career Fairs/Mentoring: Get help with your job search by using the UNT Career Center’s free services for alumni, or give back by volunteering to serve as a mentor for an aspiring student pursuing a career similar to yours. Learn more at

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and gas company. The council also named her one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas” for the third year in a row and she was voted HR Professional of the Year by the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. She creates new UNT memories every year speaking to students and directors in the Professional Leadership Program.


Billy Johnson, Southlake :: was named chief operating officer at Social Media Delivered, a company that provides social media content for government and nonprofit organizations. He previously worked for IBM and Microsoft in sales and management positions in Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio. He will oversee sales, marketing and operations for the company.


Samantha Elandary (’92

M.A.), Dallas :: opened the Clark

and Brigid Lund Parkinson’s Education Center in April as CEO and founder of the Richardson-based Parkinson Voice Project. The project, which helps Parkinson’s patients bring their speech back to life, hosts presentations by Parkinson’s experts each month.

James Heflin, Deerfield, Mass.

:: published a book of poems,

Krakatoa Picnic (Hedgerow Press), which was illustrated by Dan Darr, who completed his teacher certification at UNT. James, a communications specialist at SIT Grad Institute in Vermont, worked as editor of the monthly lifestyle

magazine Preview Massachusetts and arts editor at the Valley Advocate. He attributes his love of writing in part to English professor James Linebarger, with whom he studied poetry.

1996 Kimberly McCoy Lusk,

McKinney :: graduated in May

with a master’s degree in management and a concentration in human resources management from Dallas Baptist University. She is married to David Lusk (’95). As a hotel and restaurant management major at UNT, she served as president of the Society of Student Hotel and Restaurant Managers and was a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron.

1998 Laini Smith Giles, Edmonton,

Alberta, Canada :: released her

third novel, The It Girl and Me (part of the Forgotten Actresses series), in March. The book depicts the topsy-turvy life of the secretary to actress Clara Bow, the woman they called the “It Girl.” Lani previously wrote The Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas and also has worked as a technical writer.

1999 Lee Bebout (’02 M.A.), Tempe,

Ariz. :: published his second

book, Whiteness on the Border: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown and White (NYU

An advocate’s roots When John Turner (ʼ57) first entered a classroom at North Texas in 1954, he had been blind for just six months. A detached retina, due to a hereditary weakness, affected his sight. But his time as a marketing student on campus paved the way for a successful career in the insurance industry and as an advocate for the blind. This summer, a life-size bronze statue of former Frisco resident Turner and a guide dog — a composite of the eight dogs who have served as his companions through the years — was unveiled at the Frisco Heritage Center. His life-long friend, David Griffin, donated the statue as a reminder to others to never give up. The two met as first-graders in a one-room schoolhouse in Frisco and grew up together. Turner drew attention on his first day of speech class at North Texas when his first guide dog brushed the leg of a fellow student, the late Bill Nicholas, a colonel in the Marine Corps. Nicholas invited Turner to coffee and offered to tutor him — a lifesaver since it took months for his textbooks to be recorded. “He also gave me eight years of Marine Corps discipline,” Turner says of Nicholas, who later owned a dry cleanBrad Sharp

er franchise in El Paso. “He was my tutor, my teacher, my professor.” Turner also pledged the Kappa Alpha fraternity and served as junior class president. He was elected student body president his senior year in a tight race that required a recount. “That was a happy occasion, especially if you don’t like to lose,” he says. At the end of his senior year, Turner began hunting for a post-graduation job. But he was having trouble finding a company that would hire an employee who was blind. So marketing professor John Brooks wrote to 15 life insurance companies in Dallas, touting Turner’s skills. That led to a job and his successful 60-year career as an independent broker in the Dallas insurance industry. Turner also served as a member of the Texas Commission for the Blind. He is now writing a memoir told from his current dog Eben’s point of view. “I’ve had a great life,” Turner says.



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Fall 2017

Julie Freeman Reed, Bellmead

:: married Evan Reed at Central

Presbyterian Church in December in Waco. She is the assistant media adviser for Baylor Student Media, and Evan is a youth pastor. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English at UNT and her master’s in American studies at Baylor University. At UNT, she was a member of the North Texas Daily staff.

2000 Kristy Geron, Rockwall :: served as president and certification ambassador of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA) for 2016, helping the organization earn several national awards for its pro bono work. As an ambassador, she leads study groups for paralegals who are working toward their Registered Paralegal or Core Registered Paralegal certifications. She also serves as study materials coordinator for the National Federation of Para­ legal Associations where she provides study materials for paralegals’ national exams. She was awarded the Certification Ambassador of the Year award in 2016.

James Lozada, Galveston ::

Frances Yllana, Dallas :: was

completed a residency in anesthesiology in June at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, before beginning a one-year obstetric anesthesiology fellowship at Northwestern University. He previously worked as a television reporter after earning a degree in broadcast journalism from UNT. In 2016, he produced a national award-winning patient safety video.


promoted to executive creative director of Imaginuity, a full-service digital marketing agency. She previously worked with Michaels, 7-Eleven and AT&T. She is president emeritus of the AIGA DFW chapter, executive team member of Art Conspiracy, and on the editorial and design team for Columns magazine. She also is an adjunct professor in UNT’s design program and senior lecturer of design at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Thomas Black, Keller :: pub-


lished his first book, The Passive Income Physician: Surviving a Career Crisis by Increasing Net Worth (Napali Capital), a memoir about how he founded an asset management firm with more than $50 million in holdings after being burnt out as an emergency room physician. He is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who manages the physician group for eight emergency hospitals for Baylor Health and is co-founder of Napali Capital. He got into real estate purchasing rental homes and moved to building apartment complexes. He is a former member of the U.S. Navy. He is married to Micaela Berg-

strom Black (’02).

Graciela and Michael Abbott (’02), Watauga :: have become

farmers since graduating from UNT. At their farm, Frankie’s Fresh Foods, they grow a variety of produce and make their own line of pickles. The pickles come in three varieties: gourmet dill, bread and butter, and fiery dill. They sell their produce and pickles at local farmers markets, including the Keller Farmers Market in Keller and the Clearfork Farmers Market in Fort Worth.

Joshua Mostyn, Bentonville, Ark. ::

was appointed to a four-year term on the Arkansas Advisory Council for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The council consists of 14 members, providing the commission with advice for federal policy makers. He is the managing member of Mostyn Prettyman PLLC, a general practice law firm in Northwest Arkansas. At UNT, he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi.

Ahna Hubnik

Press), which examines how representations of Mexico, Mexicans and Mexican Americans have been used to foster whiteness and Americanness. He is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he received tenure in 2015. He also wrote Mythohistorical Interventions: The Chicano Movement and Its Legacies in 2011.

Finance student Ipinoluwa “Ipi” Adedokun (right, with student and volunteer Roderick Coleman) founded the nonprofit World Apparel Co. to help children who lost parents in last year’s ambush of Dallas police officers. Proceeds from purchases at support children’s causes. Fall 2017




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Nest Taylor Strange, Fort Worth :: has opened his own medical practice, Alliance Ophthalmology in the Alliance area of Fort Worth. After earning his UNT bachelor’s degree in biology, he attended the UNT Health Science Center, earning a master’s in biomedical science and a medical degree while raising four children with his wife, Danielle, who attended UNT from 2001 to 2004. With the release of superhero movie Doctor Strange, he’s received comic books and framed art from his patients: “They get a kick out of my name.”

Human rights campaigner Before she completed her bachelor’s degree in political science,

Rebecca Vincent (’05) passed all parts of the Foreign Service Officer Exam for the U.S. State Department on her first try. When she began training after graduation at 22, she was the youngest in her class. Her first assignment took her to the U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, where she focused on democracy and human rights issues, and she went on to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, to cover the 63rd General Assembly as a political reporting officer. After leaving the State Department and moving to the UK to earn a master’s in human rights from University College London, she returned to Azerbaijan in 2012. She was forced out of the country in connection with her work with human rights groups but continued to campaign for reforms in Azerbaijan from abroad, including through the Sports for Rights campaign. “I never thought I would focus on one country for so long,” she says. “Azerbaijan had started its crackdown on government critics before I first moved there, but the repression quickly accelerated. Then many of my local friends and colleagues were jailed, so I couldn’t walk away.” Following her campaigning on Azerbaijan, Reporters Without Borders

2005 Brad Ferguson, Columbia, Mo.

:: graduated with a Ph.D. in neu-

roscience from the University of Missouri in December 2016, and is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology in the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. His research focuses on medical comorbidities, especially gastrointestinal disorders, and clinical trials in people with autism spectrum disorder. He received his master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.


recruited Vincent to direct its London bureau when it opened last year. There she advocates for press freedom worldwide. As a junior at UNT, Vincent ran for Student Government Association dropped out, leaving the remaining candidate unopposed. ended up with 47 percent of the vote in just one week,” she says. She credits the international affairs emphasis of her political science

for launching her career. “UNT really gave me an introduction to the entire world,” she says. — Nancy Kolsti



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Fall 2017

D.M.A.), Durham, N.C. :: was appointed associate professor of choral music and conductor of Baylor University’s A Cappella Choir and Chamber Singers where he also leads the graduate choral conducting program. He is the founder and artistic director of South Dakota Chorale and also is founder and conductor of the Bach Cantata Series at Duke Chapel at Duke University.

2011 Jesseca Thaxton, Dallas :: was selected as an emerging designer at the Lexus Charleston Fashion Week in March. The week showcases emerging designer talent from across the East Coast. Since graduating, she participated as a designer in the local Dallas fashion scene and has opened her own studio in the Wynnewood neighborhood. She also won the Her Universe Fashion Show, where she designed a line in partnership with Hot Topic, and she received the Fashionista Grant.

Lewis Giles (M.S.), Dallas ::

“I felt the election would be unfair. The NT Daily endorsed me, and I

Organization and support from professors Emile Sahliyeh and Milan Reban

Brian Schmidt (M.M., ’12


president, joining the race just a week before the election after a candidate

degree, her minor in French, involvement with the Model International

Social Bar+Kitchen once a month. He got his start with UNT’s jazz band and now performs in the U.S. Coast Guard Band as a trombonist. He also is the staff arranger.

Sean Nelson (M.M.), New

London, Conn. :: created the

New London Big Band, a riverine style jazz band playing in The

was promoted to assistant director of library services at UNT Dallas’ law library. He earned both a bachelor’s in art and performance and a master’s in emerging media and communications from the University of Texas at Dallas. He

previously served as a student program development specialist for Dallas County Community College District.

2016 Arturo Hernandez, Dallas :: co-founded Gallery 86, a virtual art gallery in Dallas meant to help artists exhibit their work in a variety of mediums without the expense of gallery costs. The title of the first exhibition, New Beginnings, is a nod to the gallery’s opening and the founding of Sigma Lambda Beta, the Latino-based fraternity he and the three other co-founders belong to. He attended UNT from 2009 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016 and works as a professional graphic designer.

Linda Mihalick (M.S.), Flower Mound ::

received the Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology Outstanding Alumni Career Achievement Award in April. She is senior director of UNT’s Global Digital Retailing Research Center, a lecturer in digital retailing and coordinator of the degree program. She previously served in executive roles for a number of retailers, including Dillard’s, American Airlines and JC Penney.

...... I N T H E //


 An alumnus in Houston helped Hurricane Harvey evacuees in a very big way, opening his Gallery

Savannah Stanley, Salado :: was named Secondary Spotlight Teacher of the Month at Killeen ISD in February. As a first-year chemistry and food science teacher at Harker Heights High School, she was chosen for her enthusiasm and dedication to her students. This fall she also is serving as the assistant cheerleading coach. She says she is very appreciative of her UNT professors, who molded her into the teacher she is today.

Furniture stores as shelters and sending out his delivery trucks to rescue people. Jim


also known as “Mattress Mack,” is being hailed as one of Harvey’s heroes for his generosity, but he t0ld the CBS Evening News that the real heroes are those who were flooded out, his hard-working employees and the entire community. He shared with CNN his daughter’s favorite saying as a message for Houston: “What does not destroy us only serves to make us stronger. If not for my struggles, I would not have known my strength.” His story also was covered by ABC News, The New York Times, Time magazine and others.


Several UNT faculty experts shed light on hurricane-related issues for the media. Michael

Carroll, professor and director of UNT’s Economics Research Group, weighed in on the economic costs of Harvey for the New York Daily News. Brian

Sauser, director of the Jim McNatt

Institute for Logistics Research, shared perspectives on the impact of Harvey’s damage in a Fort Worth Business Press front-page feature and a live radio interview on Sirius XM. And Gary Webb, professor and chair of emergency management and disaster science, compared the Harvey response with the Katrina response for The New York Times. “Katrina’s failures were a wake-up call that really changed how emergency response is done. It

In addition to being a violinist, Jie “Jackie” Gao (’17 D.M.A.) was one of the youngest directors at China Central Television when she was invited to join the NOVA documentary group in collaboration with PBS in 2016. As an associate producer, she worked on the three-part series “Treasures of the Earth: Gems, Metals and Power,” which includes an exploration of alternative energy resources.

forced federal agencies to be more nimble, and to really follow the lead of local authorities,” says Webb, who also was interviewed for NPR’s Weekend Edition as Hurricane Irma approached the U.S. (Satellite image of Harvey making landfall Aug. 25 courtesy of NOAA-NESDIS)

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W E ’ L L


UNT’s alumni, faculty, staff and students are the university’s greatest legacy. When members of the Eagle family pass, they are remembered and their spirit lives on. Send information about deaths to The North Texan (see contact information on page 4).

Paul Russell Voertman Paul Russell Voertman, 88, philanthropist, patron of art and music, and former owner of Denton’s iconic Voertman’s Bookstore, died June 21. His father established the

Read more, write memorials and connect with friends at

bookstore near campus in 1925, and when he died unexpectedly in 1951, Paul returned home from the Army intending to run the store just long enough to sell it. But his philosophy of providing outstanding service and high-quality goods at reasonable prices made the store a great success, and the fine arts and housewares he



offered made it a Denton landmark. He also operated a store near TWU.

Margaret McDonald Jeter (’47), Tucson, Ariz. :: She

Harold L. David (’52), Granbury :: He played

died in 2002. Paul commemorated their relationship with the gift of the

earned her degree in journalism and then worked for several years at newspapers in Madison, Wis., and Iowa City, Iowa. After raising a family, she returned to school and earned a master’s degree in library science at the University of Arizona. She was married to Wayburn S. Jeter for nearly 70 years. She enjoyed playing the piano, painting, traveling to new places and spending time with her grandchildren.

football at North Texas and was a four-year letterman. He worked for Mobil Oil for 34 years, retiring as manager of technical computer services. He was a reserve deputy for the Dallas County Sheriff ’s Office and spent his retirement traveling and volunteering for the American Red Cross and the Granbury sheriff ’s department.

Performing Arts Center, which put the organ program on the national map.

Edward Sammy ‘Sam’ Pogue, Rockwall :: He

provide funding for first-generation college students, and excellence funds

Jeanne Johnston Bell (’48), Pensacola, Fla. :: She earned her bachelor’s degree from North Texas in medical technology and was a medical technologist for more than 40 years. In her free time, she wrote mystery novels and danced.



No r t h Texa n


His partner in operating the stores and in life was Richard Ardoin, who

attended North Texas on a football scholarship in the early 1950s and was drafted to play for the Green Bay Packers at the same time he was drafted for the Korean War. He served in the Marine Corps and in the Army Air Force. He was a directory salesman for Southwestern Bell before starting his own directory publishing company for smaller


Fall 2017

$1.5 million Richard Ardoin-Paul Voertman Concert Organ in the Murchison Paul was a longtime supporter of the arts in Denton. The juried art competitions he established for students at UNT and TWU are believed to be among the oldest privately sponsored competitive student art exhibitions in Texas. UNT’s Voertman Art Competition just completed its 57th year. Paul’s bond with UNT began with the Demonstration School, where he attended kindergarten through high school. He completed his first two years of college at North Texas before transferring to the University of Texas in Austin, where he earned his bachelor’s in economics. His support of UNT has helped students earn their degrees and become world-class performers, artists and scholars, and it has helped the university make strides in the arts and academics. His Voertman-Ardoin Memorial Scholarships have helped elevate academic programs and address pressing needs. In 2011, he made an $8 million bequest creating the Ardoin-Voertman Endowment funds, to be shared equally among the College of Visual Arts and Design, College of Music, and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. He received UNT’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2009, and a performance space in the Music Building was named the Paul Voertman Concert Hall in 2010. Last year, he was awarded an honorary doctorate. He was a member of the UNT McConnell Society and 1890 Society and a lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association. He was generous to many organizations in need, including the Denton Christian Preschool, Fred Moore Day Nursery School, Monsignor King Outreach Center and PFLAG. UNT will host a celebration of life ceremony at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 in the MPAC.

phone companies. He also founded a boat service and a nightclub on St. Maarten and traveled the world extensively with his wife.

Garland Marcellus Threlkeld (’54), Camas, Wash. :: He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War before establishing a mission in Honolulu, Hawaii. Returning to Texas in 1963, he worked as a warrant officer for Fort Worth ISD. He later served as a missionary in Ethiopia before returning to Texas and managed a drapery business until his retirement. He was a gardener, beekeeper, mechanic, collector and aerial photographer

Robert Lee Garner (’58), Southlake :: He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War before attending North Texas. He was a photographer for the Yucca yearbook. After

University Community Avis Hall (’50 M.S.), 104, died Feb. 21. She began her career as a home management supervisor for

several business adventures, he taught vocational education for 30 years at Trinity High School in the H.E.B. ISD until his retirement. He earned a master’s degree from East Texas State University. He was a volunteer for the Southlake police and fire departments. Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Billie Jeane Purvis (’58), whom he met at North Texas.

Ruth Covin Hall (’58), Houston :: She taught elementary school in the Dallas, Abilene and Clear Creek ISDs, retiring in 1995. She received the PTA Life Membership Award in 1990 for distinguished service to children. After retirement, she became a member of the Clear Creek Retired Teachers Association. At North Texas, she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi. A talented musician, she played the piano and ukelele and sang.

U.S. Air Force and then worked as a manager for WilliamsonDickie before returning to Weatherford and founding Quickprint of Weatherford. He was a charter life member of the

Paula K. Graham Malone (’61), Lewisville :: She worked as an office manager and receptionist for many years. She was Homecoming Queen in 1958, a Yucca Beauty, Sun Bowl

Women and quilting group. She was a life member of the Eastern Star of

died June 27 in

then Texas State College for Women,

Denton. She

now TWU. She taught English at the

Denton, the Texas Retired Teachers

and music and a master’s degree in English literature from what was

Association and the National Associ-

served as a faculty member in the

college from 1943 to 1945 and was

ation of Retired Federal Employees.

UNT government department from

assistant director of the Bureau of

1947 to 1971. She then moved on to

Public Administration at the Uni-

become dean of the graduate school

versity of Mississippi from 1946 to

at Texas Woman’s University in 1971

1947. She also earned a master’s de-

78, died Feb.

and was TWU president from 1976

gree in public administration from

28 in Denton.

to 1986 – the first woman and only

the University of Kentucky and took

She worked

Alice Tatom Hanselman,

retired in 1978 as the chair of the

and the Faculty Senate. She was

:: He served as a captain in the

served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant commander before returning to Denton and founding Irwin Agency Inc., a life and property insurance business. He took an interest in real estate investment and acquired and developed many properties in Denton. He and his wife, Charlotte (’62), contributed to UNT athletics and the UNT Alumni Association.

her bachelor’s degree in English

Economics beginning in 1951. She

North Texas’ first tenure policy,

James Marshall ‘Jimmy’ Pope III (’60), Weatherford

Ralph ‘Dale’ Irwin (’61, ‘71 M.B.A.), Denton :: He

Mary Evelyn Blagg Huey, 95,

in North Texas’ School of Home

committees, helping to formulate

owned and operated for 30 years what became the largest dietary consulting firm in West Texas. Her professional memberships included the American Dietary Association, the Texas Dietary Association and the Lubbock Dietary Association. She was married to former UNT System regent and current Mayborn advisory board member Burle Pettit (’60) for 60 years.

odist Church, the United Methodist

before working as an instructor

She was involved in numerous

Clara Frances Pettit (’60), Lubbock :: She founded,

involved with the First United Meth-

the Farm Security Administration

clothing and textiles department.


Academy of Model Aeronautics and past president of the Rotary Club and Weatherford Chamber of Commerce. At North Texas, he was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.

TWU alum to serve in that position.

a leave of absence from the North

as an administrative assistant for

She was inducted into the Texas

Texas faculty from 1951 to 1954 to

the Texas Center for Educational

Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984, and

earn a Ph.D. in political science from

Technology from 1986 until her

the Blagg-Huey Library at TWU is

Duke University. She and her hus-

retirement in 2005.

named in her honor. She earned

band, the late Griffin B. Huey

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No r t h Texa n




Princess and a member of Alpha Delta Pi and Angel Flight. She earned the nickname “Mamma Malone” because she was like a mother to everyone she met.

John Charles ‘Charlie’ Welch (’62), Southlake


member of the Dallas chapter of Jack & Jill of America Inc., The Links Inc., Sigma Theta sorority and the Priscilla Art Club.

1970s Stephen Blocher (’72), Greenville, Ohio :: He owned

Lubbock Christian University from 1975 to 1992. She also served on the board of Carillon LifeCare Community and taught Bible classes.

Abraham ‘Abe’ Brown (’75), College Station:: He coached

South Plains Community College, the Abernathy Public Library, and the Woolworth Community Library in Jal, N.M. She earned degrees from Texas Tech as well as a master’s in library science from North Texas.

Celeste Williams, Arlington

He attended North Texas on a football scholarship and was a member of the Geezles fraternity. He worked as a coach at Richland High School and at Bates Container Co. for about 30 years before retiring.

and operated Blocher Enterprises Inc. He loved music and was a volunteer music teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greenville. He also enjoyed writing and reading.

Julia K. Gibson Jordan (’63 M.S.), Dallas :: She worked

Callie Parker Mickey (’73, ’75 M.A.), Abilene :: She

for 48 years as a teacher, guidance counselor and director for student services at Dallas ISD. As a longtime black history preservationist and historian, she volunteered with the Dallas County Community Action Committee and served on the board of the African-American Museum in Dallas. She was a

helped in her husband’s church ministry until he sustained a career-ending injury in a car accident. Then she went to college at age 47 to earn her sociology and gerontology degrees and later earned a doctorate from Texas Tech. She was an academic sociologist at Abilene Christian University and

(’42), were members of the UNT

an area that designs, repairs and

of Technology, Institute of Design

in the film department of the Inter-

President’s Council and supported

re-designs classroom technology.

in 1951. During the Korean War, he

national Museum of Photography at

the College of Arts and Sciences.

She retired in 2016.

served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps

the George Eastman House in Roch-

as a second lieutenant. In 1955, he

ester, N.Y., from 1977 to 1987. He

worked as a cameraman on the set

served as president of the University

of Wild Kingdom in East and South

Film and Video Association and the

Africa and continued working as a

UFVA Foundation, for which he was

professional still and motion picture

made a lifetime member.

At UNT, she established the Griffin Burns Huey Honors Scholarship in

John Kuiper,

honor of her husband and the Henry

88, died May

G. Huey Honors Scholarship in

11 in Wash-

honor of her son.

ington, D.C.

Ronda Janeene Johnson, 53, died Jan. 23 in Denton. She was born in Fort Myers, Florida. For 13 years, she was a manager for classroom support services at UNT,



No r t h Texa n


A Professor Emeritus, he worked in the media arts department at UNT from 1987 to 1999, serving as chair of the department for nine years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in art history at the University of Kentucky in 1950, and studied at the Illinois Institute

track and field at UNT, Texas Tech University, Abilene Christian University and Texas A&M University, from which he retired in 2004. At North Texas, he won conference titles in the triple jump, qualifying twice for the NCAA Championships. He valued his family and liked nothing better than cooking barbecue, listening to music and finding deals at flea markets.

Peggy Joyce Terrell Tooker (’76 M.S.), San Angelo :: She taught school in New Deal, Lubbock, Springlake-Earth and Abernathy and then served as a librarian for Hale Center High School, Texas Tech University,

:: She was managing editor for sports and features at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for nearly 20 years. During her tenure, the paper won multiple awards for excellence in sports journalism. She served on the board for the Association for Women in Sports Media. She also loved gardening and animals and worked tirelessly to raise money for children’s charities.

1980s Agnes Genevieve Landwermeyer Farrell (’93 M.S.), Fort Worth :: She grew up in Oak Cliff, working at her father’s

photographer before earning his from the University of Iowa. He

Lawrence Montaigne

then worked as a teacher and film

(’84, ’85 M.A.),

archivist. He served as head of the

86, died

motion pictures section of the U.S.

March 17 in

master’s degree and Ph.D., both

Library of Congress from 1965 to

Henderson, Nev. He worked as an

1977. He also worked as the director

associate professor of film at UNT in the 1980s. He spent the majority of


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printing company. She worked for the Reconstruction Finance Corp. in the 1940s and then raised a family of six children. She later earned her master’s degree in library science from UNT and worked in the Duncanville Public Library.

Ed Blaylock (’82), Dallas


He was a well-known voice actor who performed large roles in the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise, One Piece, Barakamon and Overlord, as well as minor roles in Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, Blood Blockade Battlefront, Dragon Ball, Toriko, Fairy Tail and more. When not voice acting, he was the weekday evening announcer for WRR 101 in Dallas. He performed in Dallas stage plays and living history re-enactments and worked as a boom operator for movies shot in the U.S. and Europe.

Gerald ‘Scott’ Richards (’84 M.B.A.), Southlake :: He was a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young, a vice president at MBNA America and Progressive Waste Solutions, and a consultant at RGP. While at UNT, he was named Outstanding Graduate Student by the accounting faculty.

1990s Rula Quawas (’95 Ph.D.), Amman, Jordan :: She was a champion of women’s advancement in her native Jordan and formerly served as dean of faculty languages at the University of Jordan. She focused her academic career and free time on promoting women’s rights and exposing the sexual harassment she and her students faced daily. She was a Fulbright scholar and received the Meritorious Honor Award for Leadership and Dedication from Jordan in 2009.


dedicated vegetarian and environmentalist who will be remembered for her love of life.

Lorinda ‘Lori’ Stillwell Phillips (’10 Ph.D.), Slagle, La. :: She earned degrees from

Lee Breaux, Little Elm

Texas A&M University, Texas State University and the University of West Alabama before earning her doctorate at UNT. She taught in schools in Texas and Louisiana as well as at Tarrant County Community College and Tarleton State University. She also worked as a counselor. She was adamant in educating others about metastatic breast cancer and was crowned the Vernon Parish Relay for Life Survivor Queen in 2016 and 2017.

Claire Barber, Irving

:: She

majored in journalism and minored in international studies at UNT and also worked as a Housing Ambassador for the housing department. She was a

Margaret Irby Nichols

Service Award. The UNT Alumni

movies as The Great Escape and

(’45), 92, Pro-

Outstanding Service Award in 2011.

Escape to Witch Mountain and is

fessor Emerita

She also edited Call Number, which

best known for his appearances on

of library and

became the College of Information’s

his life working as an actor, dancer and stuntman. He appeared in such

Association recognized her with an

the original Star Trek TV series –

information sciences, died June 6 in

alumni magazine, from 1988 until

including roles as the first Romulan

Denton. She first began teaching at

the publication ended. She earned

on the show in the “Balance of

North Texas in 1956 and retired in

a master’s in library science from

Terror” episode and as a Vulcan in

1996 from the faculty of the School

the University of Texas at Austin.

the “Amok Time” episode and the

of Library and Information Sciences,

She began her library career in the

“Of Gods and Men” mini-series. He

which she served as associate dean

1940s, when she helped establish

wrote for Walt Disney Productions

from 1989 to 1991. The program is

many small-town public libraries in

and penned his own autobiography,

now part of the College of Informa-

Texas. She also taught at the Sel-

A Vulcan Odyssey. He also served in

tion. She served on the executive

wyn School in the 1960s. Memorials

the U.S. Marine Corps.

board and then as president of

may be made to the Margaret Irby

the Texas Library Association and

Nichols Scholarship.

:: He

was last enrolled in 2016 as a junior emergency and administration planning major. He joined the U.S. Army when he was 17 after graduating early from high school.

Ty Hightower, Hurst

:: He

was a junior majoring in operations and supply chain management. As a student at Grapevine High School, he played on the school’s golf team.

Orenda Spikes, Garland


She was an English teacher at Highland Park Middle School, devoted to teaching her students writing and technology skills. She was attending UNT as a master’s student in the College of Information.

Memorials Send memorials to honor UNT alumni and friends, made payable to the UNT Foundation, to University of North Texas, Division of Advancement, 1155 Union Circle #311250, Denton, Texas 762035017. Indicate on your check the fund or area you wish to support. Or make secure gifts online at For more information, email giving@ or call 940-565-2900.

received the TLA Distinguished

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No r t h Texa n




LIFE-CHANGING WEEKS By J.B. Floyd (’48, ’50 M.M.) Recently I have been wondering what life would have been like if I had stayed in Tyler, Texas, and not ever had the opportunity to go on to college. In 1944, as a 14-year-old high school senior, I worked in two shoe stores and sacked groceries. That is the extent of it. It is not at all an indication of upward mobility. Then on my 15th birthday came a trip to summer band camp at North Texas State Teachers College that changed my life forever. The opportunity to visit a campus of higher learning for two weeks was the beginning of five years of intensive training that enabled me to accumulate skills that I was lacking but that must have been innate in my genes. Quickly the professors saw the possibility of my becoming a musician, not as a cornet player but as a pianist. The faculty arranged for my full-time admission. Having been discovered to have a talent, I never went back home. My eyes and ears were finally opened to the life of a serious music student. I loved my piano study with Silvio Scionti and enjoyed my theory class, even at 8 a.m. every morning, with Ethelston Province. Since it was during World War II, there were very few male students on campus, so if one could play another instrument or carry a tune, he or she was required to participate in all ensembles. I played cornet in the Symphony Orchestra, Marching Band and the Aces of Collegeland jazz band. I sang in the Concert Choir as well.



No r t h Texa n


The first year I played 1st trumpet on Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite and 2nd trumpet in the jazz band. I sang in the chorus in a performance of the Verdi Requiem with the Dallas Symphony under the direction of Antal Dorati. I also was piano soloist with the Symphony Orchestra playing the Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue on campus and on a tour that included my hometown, Tyler. My life was devoted to classical piano but also to jazz sessions with my jazz buddies there — Bill Thomson, Lou Cable, Frank Todd, Bob Dorough, Bill Lee and Bob Hames — and I learned so much from these wonderful colleagues. I was always conflicted as to what my destiny would be. It is still a magnetic force within me that vacillates erratically between my interests in classical music and jazz. Soon I was also being called for gigs in Dallas and Fort Worth. In 1945, the veterans began to invade the campus and suddenly there were more mature males enrolled in the music school. They were more advanced in their knowledge of music, especially contemporary, whether classical or jazz, and their support and influence was a great benefit. In my last year at North Texas, I was a finalist included with three other pianists


Fall 2017

to compete in New York City for the Young Artists Award from the National Guild of Piano Teachers. The finals were at the famous Town Hall, and the first prize was a Town Hall debut recital. This East Texas boy had only been 120 miles from home to attend college and now was going to the hub of the musical universe! After winning the competition there, I was invited to play on the Phillips Gallery Series in Washington, D.C. It was the beginning of a life of performing, composing and teaching that I found to be profoundly exhilarating and fulfilling. I retired in 2013 as chair of the Department of Keyboard Performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music after 64 years in higher education. So one never knows what a brief encounter early in life may lead to. For me, it was a life-transforming event. Thank you forever, UNT. In addition to his work as an educator, Floyd is an award-winning pianist and composer who has performed classical piano, new music, jazz improvisations and multi-media electronic works around the world. He earned a doctorate in performance from Indiana University.


MEAN GREEN GRIT Last season, track and cross country runner Susannah Lynch was sidelined with a knee injury that would stop most runners in their tracks. But she was determined to get back into competition, training in the pool to rehabilitate her knee. She also studied hard, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Susannah’s tenacity led to a career milestone, breaking the school record in the 5,000-meter run at the Bryan Clay Invitational.


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No r t h Texa n


The North Texan

Michael Clements

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing 1155 Union Circle #311070 Denton, Texas 76203-5017

PA RT I N G S H O T UNT athletics headed to Houston in September to deliver relief supplies from the Mean Green Nation to those recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Alum and former football player Jim McIngvale, also known as “Mattress Mack,� far left, sent out the call for donations after opening his furniture stores to evacuees. See page 47 for more. 1


No r t h Texa n



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The North Texan - UNT Alumni Magazine - Fall 2017  

The North Texan - UNT Alumni Magazine - Fall 2017

The North Texan - UNT Alumni Magazine - Fall 2017  

The North Texan - UNT Alumni Magazine - Fall 2017