Issuu on Google+

Confere Sun Bnece CUhSaA lt page




John Norris [ page 1 6] Mentoring for Excellence [ page 32] Soaring Eagles [ page 36] n o r t h texa n . un t . edu





— Jody Huddleston,

doctoral student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

As human factors such as pollution, deforestation and global emissions alter the environment, they have a correlating effect on the emergence and spread of diseases such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease and the avian flu. As a geographer and an environmental scientist, I am collaborating with molecular biologists, geneticists, chemists and others to uncover the interplay of disease, humans and their environment. This is powerful research with the potential to stop epidemics and save lives.

ng reedi ate b rying e r c n ar ter ca oes c nt wa r mosquit rus. a n g Sta ds fo ile vi groun West N

NILE VIRUS IS ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION? The UNT Institute of Applied Science brings biologists, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, chemists, geographers, archaeologists, policy experts and philosophers together to address the world’s pressing environmental problems. UNT’s dedication to cross-disciplinary research gives faculty and students the green light to generate breakthrough discoveries through innovative problem solving.

UNT research is powerful.


President A year of transformation ACHIEVING THE GREATNESS THAT LIES WITHIN

The No r t h Texan U N I V E R SI TY R E L AT I O N S ,






(’ 0 6)


( ’ 9 6 M . E D.)






( ’ 02 M . J .)

(’ 0 9)


(’ 99)











R O L A N D O N . R I VA S




(’ 0 0 , ’ 0 8 M . J . )



(’ 07 )


(’ 1 1 M . J . )


( ’ 97)



( ’ 88, ’ 07 M . J . )

Gary Payne



( ’ 9 3 M . S ., ’ 00 M . A .)








( ’ 00)

(’ 0 8 )










(’ 1 1 )

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 that are 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. It is the policy of the University of North Texas not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability (where reasonable accommodations can be made), disabled veteran status or veteran of the Vietnam era status in its educational programs, activities, admission or employment policies. In addition to complying with federal and state equal opportunity laws and regulations, the university through its diversity policy declares harassment based on individual differences (including sexual orientation) inconsistent with its mission and educational goals. Direct questions or concerns to the equal opportunity office, 940565-2737, or the dean of students, 940-565-2648. TTY access is available at 940-369-8652. 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 762035017. 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.

UNT has experienced another great academic year, one that started off with landmark gifts and was full of transformation and achievement. This spring alone, I took pride in reporting that UNT leads all Texas universities in the number of Goldwater Scholars for science, math and engineering. I congratulated a new group of alumni award honorees who embody the best of themselves and UNT. And I celebrated the May graduation of more than 4,000 bright, eager students who are ready to share their talent President V. Lane Rawlins congratuand passion with the world. lated more than 4,000 students at Taking another bold step forward, we UNT’s May commencement. The university graduates nearly 8,500 announced that UNT is moving to a new students each year. athletic conference — Conference USA — and has new men’s and women’s basketball head coaches. These advances will make for another exciting season of Mean Green sports. UNT also has opened its new Zero Energy Research Lab, which will be a premier testing ground for technologies that use little to no energy and reinforces our standing as a hub of green research. I took time to enjoy UNT’s creative culture when I watched our students awe crowds as dancing horses in Soundsuits, or wearable sculptures, in a performance piece created by nationally acclaimed artist Nick Cave, the 2011-12 artist-in-residence for UNT’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. These milestones reflect every aspect of the UNT experience, where academics, research, the arts and athletics are all important. We’re intent on being great across the board because providing a top-quality experience enriched by knowledge, culture, competition and community is what makes a university stand out. The breadth of these milestones also reminds me that UNT is a place where the sky is the limit, no matter what your direction. We help our students tap into the greatness that lies within and, through them, we achieve greatness as a university. You can read more about the wonderful year UNT had in the President’s Annual Report 2011 at Sincerely,

URCM 6/12 (12-261)

V. Lane Rawlins President



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012



2 0 1 2



John Norris

Renée Vernon

Alum’s dream for success comes true with Oscar-winning film The Help. By Jessica DeLeón

32 Mentoring for Excellence

 UNT faculty recognize students’ promise and guide them to greatness. By Jessica DeLeón

36 Soaring Eagles

UNT honors the spirit of philanthropy, entrepreneurship and service. DEPARTMENTS F R O M O U R P R E S I D E N T • 2 Angilee Wilkerson


A transformative year D E A R N O R T H T E X A N • 5

Bold goals ... Visitors remembered UNT TODAY • 8

Volunteering ... NSF job ... Asian study abroad ... Ask an Expert ... Mean Green

Cultural Impact

U N T M U S E • 1 9


Chalk artist … Melamine success ... Tiger mother cabaret ... Endowed chair ... Nasher art

M U S I C, DA N C E A N D T H E AT R E G R O W A S T R O N G C R E AT I V E C L A S S — D R AW I N G V I S I T O R S T O D E N T O N A N D T H RO U G H O U T T H E R E G I O N , S U P P O RT I N G T H E C U LT U R E A N D S T I M U L AT I N G T H E E C O N O M Y. By Ellen Rossetti


Olympic direction ... Connecting With Friends ... Maple Street Crew ... Bone marrow registry ... Friends We’ll Miss L A S T W O R D • 4 8

New graduate Blake Windham (’12), SGA president and fourth-generation alum, calls UNT home.

Cover: 35 Denton founder Chris Flemmons. Photography by Angilee Wilkerson

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n




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


Watch the announcement of UNT’s new membership in Conference USA, beginning in the 2013 season.

WOMAN TO KNOW Angilee Wilkerson

See why dance alum Katricia Eaglin (’03) is making headlines as a performer and teacher.


GET CONNECTED Connect with us on Facebook at northtexas.

The Voice of North Texas

L I ST E N TO ST U D E N TS A N D CO L L E AG U E S O F B I L L M E RC E R ( ’ 6 6 M . A .) — F O R M E R FAC U LT Y M E M B E R A N D VO I C E O F T H E M E A N G R E E N, DA L L A S COW B O YS , T E X A S R A N G E R S A N D

Follow us at northtexan. Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare when you visit campus.


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



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

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


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. Read more letters and share your comments at

Bold goals

I was pleasantly surprised — no, almost shocked — to read in the spring issue that a major university in Texas has actually come out publicly with a “bold goal” to “provide the best undergraduate educational experience in Texas.” This kind of statement virtually never shows up in strategic plans, certainly not at the top. I have never seen a situation where a major university had that courage. My opinion is that this could be the beginning of something great. To start at the beginning, the core of why a university exists, establish excellence there and then build from that solid foundation — this will work

for the benefit of students and for the university. However, it is a broad challenge. The physical infrastructure must be made to attract all students from all backgrounds. The university must provide services and facilities for student comfort, activities, educational support and housing that will make students crave campus life. The university must also provide leaders in the education of undergraduates, outstanding professors who teach and comfortable classrooms that invite students to be a part of the educational aspects of the schools. This needs to be done by someone, somewhere, and North Texas is a deserving place to begin. Bill Dwyer (’68, ’73 M.S.) Houston

Pep Band trail

It’s not often I have firsthand knowledge of items on your editorial page, but the photo of the 1951 Pep Band (“Dear North Texan,” spring 2012) spoke to me! As a former “director” (read: “referee”) of a similar group in 1953 — when I was asked to extend my postgraduate work an extra semester as assistant to Maurice McAdow — I recognize some of the names that preceded me. Jack Rumbley (’51, ’52 M.M.Ed.) was the artist/ teacher of choice in the Dallas area and the house drummer for Fort Worth’s Casa Mañana theatre, often hosting his lovely wife and actress. Manuel De La Rosa (’53, ’55

Summer 2012


M.M.Ed.) established a career in Grand Saline as the much respected band director. He sat in the same euphonium section as Lida Oliver (’56), who became Mrs. Rule Beasley. Rule was (much later) a North Texas faculty member, and his father owned Beasley Music Store in Texarkana, where I found (much earlier) an attractive bookkeeper, Nelda Routon (’53), to be my wife! Harold Gore (’52) is, of course, a household name in Denton and music publishing. He gained well-earned respect for editing and republishing several John Philip Sousa marches. Jervis Underwood (’55, ’70 Ph.D.) played flute in Mr. McAdow’s concert band, where I sat in the trombone section. His career and contributions to performance and education fill pages. Perhaps it was Ivan Goodwin (’52, ’54 M.M.Ed.) with whom I maintained the longest continuous friendship until I left Texas. His career as band director in Ennis is legendary. Yes, the trail of that little Pep Band made quite an impact on music in our country. Eldon Janzen (’54 M.M.Ed.), Director of Bands Emeritus, University of Arkansas



No r t h Texa n



North Texan

Early honors

The original University Honors Program (“Honors College,” spring 2012) accepted its first students in 1971. It was a program built on interdisciplinary seminars and the recruitment of top teachers as the instructors. The program began with 50 students but quickly grew to more than 400. Dr. Clovis Morrisson in political science (pictured) served as the founding director through the first graduating class and was succeeded by Dr. Tony Damico in foreign languages and literatures for several years. That program began to change when it lost support for the system of “borrowing” faculty members in exchange for a one-course reduction in their departments. The program was reconstituted in 1994, but the early program deserves a nod. Charldean Newell (’60, ’62 M.A.), Professor Emerita of public administration Denton Editor’s note: Thank you for pointing out the earlier program. Honors College



No r t h Texa n


Dean Gloria Cox says the college is “built on the shoulders of giants” whom she counts as personal friends as well as friends of Honors and UNT. “I hope all will be delighted to know that Dr. Morrisson is a member of the Honors College Development Board and that he and I talk from time to time,” she says. “It is wonderful to reminisce about the past program and to talk about ideas for the future.“

was Arthur Joseph Gionet. He was a professor of French at UNT from 1962 to the mid 1990s and was knighted three times by France for his contributions to teaching French, for his dedication to the French language, and for preparing and mentoring French teachers. He brought great honor to UNT.


Campus visitors

We are two UNT alumni deployed with the U.S. Army to Afghanistan. On the right is Maj. Shane M. Little (’05), who studied anthropology and also has a master’s in management and leadership. I’m pictured on the left and studied history and political science. We are both enjoying our third deployment. 1st Lt. Brandon D. Kreitz (’94) Columbia, Mo.

Arthur Joseph Gionet Dr. Gionet’s name (“Dear North Texan,” spring 2012)


Summer 2012

Donna Beth Shaw (’65) Houston

I was the presiding officer of the student senate and a member of Phi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honorary society, when Sen. Lyndon Johnson visited campus in 1959 (“Visitors to Campus,” spring 2012). President Matthews asked me to accompany the senator around the campus and to introduce him when he spoke to the members of Phi Sigma Alpha. For the most part, Sen. Johnson ignored the aide who tried to remind him of his schedule, and he spent extra time with students. About a week later I got a letter from the senator expressing his thanks for the tour and saying how much he enjoyed the visit. I had no thought at the time that he might become president. He just impressed me as a very busy and important man who would

take the time to visit with students. Ed Smith (’60), Smith & Stephens Dallas

In 1954, when I was a student at North Texas, Professor J. Frank Dobie came to campus to lecture and to read from one of his books on the legends of the old Southwest. Nine years later when I began to research the life and career of the Texas novelist George Sessions Perry, I wrote Professor Dobie, who had been Perry’s friend and mentor. He sent me information and observations about Perry and his works. If I had not heard him speak, I probably would never have dared request information from him. Bob Cowser (’54) Martin, Tenn. In the fall of ’66, Henry Kissinger spoke one afternoon. He was not yet the internationally famous figure he would become in the Nixon administration, but he was a well-known expert on

foreign policy, still teaching at Harvard and serving as an unofficial advisor to Johnson. I recall that he told us to stop criticizing the government of South Vietnam so much for not being democratic — ”You can’t keep pulling up a tree to see if the roots are growing.”

some reason were unable to — Willie Nelson, before he became a big star. Cliff Griffith (’74) Fort Worth

John White (’73) Daingerfield

Tom Strother (’68 M.A.) Fort Worth My wife, Linda, and I went to some great concerts on campus when we were there in 1973 and early 1974. Among the best were Brewer and Shipley and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. There also was a concert we wanted to go to, but for

He invited all of us to sit on stage with him and took requests. He seemed to enjoy it more than if he’d been playing to thousands! Looking back, it was one of my fondest memories of North Texas.

One great memory of my time at North Texas was seeing Willie Nelson. This was before the “redneck rock Austin scene” thing really got going. I would guess only 30 or 40 others were in attendance as Willie was not well known at that time.

I remember a visit by Martin Luther King Sr. (Daddy King) in 1976. He made a great impression and I had the opportunity to meet him at a reception after his speech. I will always remember his speech on RESPECT.

I was at UNT in the mid 1990s and never heard any star guest speakers, nor did I ever get to hear the jazz players for which UNT is famous. However, I was greatly educated by my professors, Martin Yaffe, Pete Gunter, Carmen Terry and Harold Tanner, to name a few, who were special guest speakers in my eyes. I learned a lot at UNT, and treasure the one year that I was there! Corine Sutherland, 1994-1995 Los Angeles, Calif.

Glenn D. Phillips (’78) Houston

Tell us about ... places on campus If you would like to comment

What can you tell us about the Duck Pond

on a story, share your North Texas

(also known as the Fish Pond and the Lily

memories or photos, submit news

Pond) that once graced the campus grounds? Do you have special memories of Kendall Hall, the Main Building, Education campus buildings and places of the past? Signs commemorating some of the historic erected this summer, with others in the

touch with us, we would love to hear from you.

Building, Science Building or other

and treasured spots on campus are being

or obituaries, or otherwise get in

Email: Online: (follow the “Contact Us” link) Phone: 940-565-2108

works, and we’d like to know more about their features and what they meant to our students. Send an email to northtexan@

Fax: 940-369-8763 Mail: The North Texan; University of North Texas; or send a letter to the mailing

Division of University Relations,

address on the right.

Communications and Marketing; 1155 Union Circle #311070; Denton, Texas 76203-5017

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


p / 10

Global Connection

p / 11

Ask an Expert

p / 12

Mean Green

p / 14

UNT Alumni Association

p / 15

Michael Clements


IN THIS SECTION Brilliantly Green

GREATER GOOD Students find creative ways to engage in communities and make a lasting impact.

See a slideshow and read more about how UNT is making a difference with volunteer efforts at



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

THIS SPRING, STUDENTS ROLLED UP THEIR sleeves to help others in record numbers, from campus blood drives to work in communities in need across the nation during their spring break. Also, more than 100 student organizations and 2,000 volunteers worked on area service projects, such as preparing marrow donor registry kits (pictured above), for The Big Event — the largest student-run project ever at UNT. Applying that same spirit of service, a student’s Internet-based nonprofit tutoring business was this year’s first-place prize in the New Venture Creation Contest. And students in a Community and Public Service course learned firsthand how to be change makers by raising more than $31,000 to end hunger.

Students at the Zero Energy Research Laboratory will get firsthand experience with whole-building integration of sustainable energy technologies such as structure integrated insulation, building integrated solar panels, wind turbines, energy efficient windows and energy monitoring systems for smart grids. Gary Payne

UNT’s logistics program in the College of Business is ranked the world’s fifth best program for supply chain and logistics research productivity by the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management.

Green initiatives

With the recent opening of the Zero Energy Research Laboratory at Discovery Park, UNT researchers and students have a state-of-theart facility to study and develop green energy technologies. The lab allows students to get real-world experience for today’s growing sustainable and renewable energy industry. Students and faculty also are staying cooler with less environmental impact thanks to recent energy saving upgrades to UNT’s North Chiller Plant, one of two facilities responsible for cooling more than 3 million square feet of office, research

and classroom space on the main campus. The energy savings from the project are part of more than $60 million the university plans to save over the next 20 years through the UNT SMART initiative, a 30-month campus-wide energy savings commitment. These and other green projects cemented UNT’s place for the second consecutive year in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 322 Green Colleges.” The guide recognizes higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in academics, infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

Lecture series

Robert Huizenga, who has appeared on episodes of NBC’s The Biggest Loser to help participants tailor their diet and exercise regimens to their specific medical needs, spoke at UNT in April as part of the university’s Distinguished Lecture Series. The lecture series, with previous speakers including George W. Bush, Robert M. Gates, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., John Legend, Bill Nye and Suze Orman, is intended to introduce the university community to world-class speakers whose messages will enhance student learning outside the classroom.

Summer 2012

Jonathan Reynolds

NSF PROGRAM DIRECTOR Shobhana Chelliah, professor of linguistics and technical communications, has been selected as a rotator program director in the National Science Foundation’s Documenting Endangered Languages Program for one year, beginning in July. She will oversee the foundation’s merit review process, make funding recommendations and mentor junior researchers. She has received more than $385,000 in Documenting Endangered Languages funding to help preserve Lamkang, an endangered Indian language. She is creating an online dictionary for the language that will be available worldwide through UNT’s Digital Library.




No r t h Texa n


Today Pass it on: Great things are happening at UNT. Learn about them here and share our successes with your family and friends. • Sun belt champs! The Mean Green tennis team clinched its second Sun Belt Conference championship in the last three seasons, and head coach Sujay Lama was named the conference’s 2012 Coach of the Year. The men’s golf team captured the 2012 Sun Belt title for the team’s 28th conference title and first since 2003. And the women’s track and field team won its first Sun Belt outdoor championship since 2005, with head coach Carl Sheffield named both the indoor and outdoor 2012 Women’s Coach of the Year. • French horn record. French horn players from around the world filled the University Union in May to earn a place in the Guinness World Records. An estimated 100 performers led by French horn superstar Barry Tuckwell closed the International Horn Symposium, hosted by UNT’s renowned College of Music. The previous record of 85 hornists was set in 2007. • Notable fish fossil. Visitors to UNT’s Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building can see Xiphactinus audex, a prehistoric predator fish that sported a bulldog-like face and fang-like teeth. The fossil — 90 to 100 million years old — was discovered in 2010 by Denton County residents Paul Jones and his daughter, Maggie, and identified by George Maxey (below), lecturer in geography and director of UNT’s Meteorite, Rock, Mineral and Fossil Identifi­cation Lab.

Gary Payne

Graduate fellow

Jennifer Williams (’11), a first-year engineering graduate student, has earned a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to



No r t h Texa n


Jonathan Reynolds


conduct research in engineering. Williams earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude, with a minor in mathematics at UNT. She is the first College of Engineering student and the seventh UNT student overall to be named an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Fellows receive up to $42,000 annually for three years along with international research and professional opportunities. She plans to continue her research with a focus on


Summer 2012

environmental monitoring systems and sustainable design. She also is interested in pursuing studies in sustainable ranching and sustainable agriculture. Learn more about her research at northtexan.unt. edu/jennifer-williams. Ethnobiologist award

Analyzing the past earned Jonathan Dombrosky, a senior anthropology major and Honors College student, the Society of Ethnobiology’s 2012 Undergraduate Ethnobiologist

Award. The international nonprofit is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the relationships of plants and animals with human cultures worldwide. His research focuses on subsistence patterns in the Northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico from about 1300 to 1600 A.D. Dombrosky, whose mentor is geography professor Steve Wolverton, plans to earn a doctorate in environmental science and apply paleozoology to conservation biology.

ENERGY STORAGE RESEARCH Marco Buongiorno-Nardelli, professor of physics, and researchers at North Carolina State University have solved the mystery of how a specially designed polymer is able to store and release large amounts of energy. Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research, the work could result in more powerful and more efficient electric cars. Current technologies struggle to give electric vehicles the get-up-and-go necessary to accelerate quickly from a standstill, and the researchers are looking at capacitors using engineering polymers to solve this problem. The future, they hope, is for an electric vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph at the same rate as a gasolinepowered sports car. The study was published this spring in Physical Review Letters.

Asian study abroad



business executives, industry leaders and Asian government officials while visiting Hong Kong, Beijing and Malaysia. “This opportunity gives students access to industry leaders and perspectives they otherwise wouldn’t have,” Knight says. In May, Knight and Marissa Zorola, a faculty advisor and lecturer in merchandising, sponsored 26 students on the three-week excursion to Hong Kong. Students met with Asia officials from Fossil and toured

Target Sourcing Services, part of the U.S. retailer Target Corp., to learn about logistics operations. Faculty from Hong Kong Polytechnic University led students on a retail tour. “The program’s richness comes from our company partnerships,” Knight says. “This experience is important for our students because the retail merchandising industry has become one of the largest employers worldwide and a leading global industry.”

More than 300 UNT merchandising and marketing students have learned firsthand the ins and outs of major U.S. retail operations in Asia, thanks to the Hong Kong/ Beijing Study Abroad Program offered through UNT’s College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism. Created in 2003 by Dee Knight, associate professor of merchandising and associate dean in the college, and Lou Pelton, associate professor of marketing and logistics in the College of Business, the program is available each summer to students. UNT faculty work with U.S. retail industry partners with operations in Asia, including Target, Fossil, J.C. Penney Co. and The Apparel Group, to help the students learn about overseas product sourcing, which helps set them apart from their competition in the job market, Knight says. Since the program began, UNT students visit ZS Parlee Printing Co. in China as part of the students have interacted with Hong Kong/Beijing Study Abroad Program.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


Angilee Wilkerson


Goldwater Scholars

Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science seniors Favyen Bastani and Amanda Quay (above) were named 2012 Barry M.

Goldwater Scholars this spring, and TAMS senior Mitchell Powell was among seven Texas students to receive honorable mentions in the prestigious scholarship competition for students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering. UNT leads Texas universities in the number of Goldwater Scholars with 50 scholars. Bastani studied algorithms to solve complex optimization problems with Yan Huang,

associate professor of computer science and engineering. Quay studied pharmaceutical waste and compounds in aquatic environments and worked with William Acree, professor of chemistry. Powell worked with Angela Wilson, Regents Professor of chemistry. Behavior analysis award

UNT’s Department of Behavior Analysis — the nation’s first department and graduate program — received


the 2012 Enduring Programmatic Contributions Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis in May for leadership in teaching, service and scholarship. It has a longstanding reputation for work in autism, behavior and cultural analysis, and applied behavior analysis with animals. It also developed the first applied behavior analysis undergraduate degree and the first professional online certification.

Ask an Expert

How can you take your best vacation photos?


Framing and lighting • Establish your focal point. Look for ways to direct the eye to it through pattern, leading lines and color. • Make your image sing. Shoot landscapes at “magic hour” — about an hour before the sun arrives or sets. The light will be warm in hue and less harsh. • When shooting people in high noon sun, set your camera to “forced flash” to fill in shadows on their faces.

Keep it simple • Don’t get burdened with too much gear or it’s hard to be spontaneous and relaxed as you traverse and explore. • For environmental portraits, use a wide to normal zoom lens so that you can capture the surroundings. If you’re using an SLR (single lens reflex) with a detachable lens and you know a little about shutter speed, take a light-weight tripod and remember anything slower than 1/60th of a second picks up camera blur. • For point and shoot cameras, don’t worry about a tripod; your camera will know what to do in low light. • Cultivate the habit of seeing everything your viewfinder is seeing. Spend a few moments looking, then adjust your position to capture what you want.

Technical points • For best reproduction, set resolution to large and jpg fine. • Learn how to use your auto focus — your focal point doesn’t have to be bullseye center every time. You can select auto spot focus in your settings. • “White balance” means color temperature. Use the auto white balance setting for accuracy. • Avoid removing your memory card or lens while the camera is on. • Keep the ISO, a measure of the camera’s light sensitivity, under 800. The higher the ISO, the more digital noise, or grainy speckles on the image.


No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

Gary Payne


ummer travels are some of the best times to capture memories you cherish. Even if you’re a novice, Angilee Wilkerson, photo editor for The North Texan, says you can make gorgeous photos without a lot of technical “know-how” or expense. She emphasizes the importance of keeping your subject close. “A common mistake is to position your subject way off in the distance,” she says. “Instead, bring the subject close to the camera. Remember, with a wide angle lens, you are still capturing the Grand Canyon whether your subject is a tiny spot in the distance or closer to the camera.”



Gary Payne

1 1 Student groups celebrated with a flag parade on the 51st annual University Day in April, commemorating UNT’s transition from a college to a university in 1961.

2 Frank Zappa band members, bassist Arthur Barrow (’75), middle, and keyboardist Tommy Mars, right, talked to students enrolled this spring in the Music of Frank Zappa class. Joseph Klein, chair of the composition studies division, began teaching the class in 2001. Watch a video about this year’s class at

2 Gary Payne

3 UNT’s Mariachi Aguilas players performed at the UNT Showcase Stage during the 2012 Denton Arts & Jazz Festival in April.

Jonathan Reynolds

3 Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


Today Move to C-USA, new basketball coaches UNT celebrated a landmark moment this spring when the Mean Green athletics program announced a new conference affiliation with Conference USA. As a result of UNT’s athletic and academic reputation, the university will become a member of C-USA effective July 1, 2013. UNT joins four other new members — the University of Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech University, Florida International University and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Members in the region include Rice, UT-El Paso, Tulane and Tulsa. “Moving our competitions to C-USA will be great for our fans because of the many natural, regional rivalries it will create,” President V. Lane Rawlins says. “Having conference members in Texas and in nearby states makes this a logical move so that Mean Green fans can more readily attend games.” Competing in the Sun Belt Conference for the past 11 years, the Mean Green won a record 20 conference championships in 10 different sports and played in four bowl games and two NCAA men’s basketball tournaments. UNT will play its final games in the conference in 2012-13. Membership in C-USA puts UNT in the position to play more teams at a higher level of competition with increased national visibility, and it will cut down on travel time for student-athletes, Athletic Director Rick Villarreal says. “This is validation of the progress we have made in our athletics programs in conjunction with our university’s academic reputation,” Villarreal says. “Conference USA provides a great partnership with several schools in our geographic proximity. It is a tremendous opportunity for us.” New C-USA rivals and their fans will enjoy state-of-the-art Mean Green facilities when they travel to Denton. Since 2003, UNT has added more than 12 new facilities to the athletics program. UNT’s Platinum LEED-certified Apogee Stadium — chosen as a World Stadium Awards 2012 nominee for innovative design that includes sustainable and engineering excellence — hosted an all-time single-season attendance record of more than 113,000 Mean Green fans in its inaugural season last fall. This spring brought more great news for Mean Green supporters when Villarreal announced two new basketball coaches. Tony Benford (above, top), former men’s basketball associate head coach at Marquette University, was named the new head coach of men’s basketball. He replaces Johnny Jones, who is the new head coach at Louisiana State University. Villarreal named Mike Petersen (above, bottom), former head coach of women’s basketball at Wake Forest University, as the new head coach of women’s basketball. He replaces Karen Aston, who is the new head coach at the University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about UNT’s membership in Conference USA and see the press conference at To buy season tickets, visit



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

Debate competitions

SMARTPHONE RESEARCH Researchers in UNT’s Network Security Laboratory have pioneered a way to measure an individual’s blood pressure with just a smartphone and a small attachment. The research will benefit individuals in nonresponsive situations, and first responders providing information to 911 or medical professionals. The new technology will make taking blood pressure less uncomfortable than blood pressure cuffs and provide quicker, more accurate results. Ram Dantu, professor of computer science and engineering, and a team of UNT researchers found where current technologies can take several minutes to return results, the new technology returns results in about 30 seconds.

Four UNT students qualified for the 2012 National Debate Tournament, the most prestigious policy debate tournament for U.S. college and university students. The UNT Debate Team placed in the top 30 teams at the tournament, represented by Amy Schade, a sophomore biology major; Colin Quinn and Brian Kersch, junior communication studies majors; and Shelby Prior, a junior political science major. Teams from UNT have represented the university at the tournament 27 of the last 30 years. Peter Martinez, a freshman philosophy major, and Daniel Martinek, a sophomore communication studies major, made it to the final round of the National Junior Division Debate Tournament. Private investigators

UNT’s Professional Development Institute’s Private Investigator Certificate program has been ranked in the top five best private investigation training programs in the country by, a national web resource providing information on private security and the private investigator industry. The program, which began in 2010 and works in cooperation with UNT’s Department of Criminal Justice, trains participants in theory and practice and includes a business education component.

UNT Alumni Association Todd Samuels (’90) was looking over the TV listings in 2001 when he saw that his alma mater was playing in the New Orleans Bowl. He started keeping up with the Mean Green football and basketball teams — and, in 2011, he began hosting game watching mixers for alumni in Collin County and the surrounding area. “It makes me feel closer to the university,” says Samuels, who attends games on such a regular basis that he’s met other alumni, the players’ parents and former players. Alumni in Denton sponsor mixers (pictured above), tailgating and charity events and created a challenge coin for games that funds scholarship activities. And in Bangkok, Thailand, UNT recently organized its first international alumni network. “It’s exciting to see alumni come together to build networks,” says Derrick P. Morgan, executive director of the UNT Alumni Association. “When alumni join forces, great things happen.” Mark Miller (’70, ’80 M.B.A.), head of the Denton alumni network, was a student during the “Mean” Joe Greene era. When he moved back to Denton after a decade-long absence, he joined the alumni association and the Mean Green Club. Although he spends some time every day organizing alumni activities, he enjoys the work. “Frankly, it’s selfish,” Miller says. “I have a lot of fun doing it.” To join the association or learn more, visit, email or call 940-565-2834.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


John Norris


John Norris says UNT allowed him to explore as a student, and that’s just what he did. He tried out philosophy, music, art, hacky sack, and liked it all. But when he dreamed of success, he saw film in his future. The Help proved him right.



No r t h Texa n



by Jessica DeLeón

s a UNT student, John Norris wrote in his journal while eating at Jim’s Diner on Fry Street. He documented his successes — such as practicing the piano three hours a day — and his dreams about composing music for movies. Now, Norris has made his mark in film in a different way. He was an executive producer for The Help, the movie about maids in the 1960s South that was nominated for four Oscars this year, including Best Picture. Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for her role. Norris came to UNT in the early 1990s and he studied philosophy, religion studies and then music. Growing up, he thought he would be a composer, but made Super 8 movies in high school. He describes himself as “just a kid searching.” “I was on the typical Denton track, playing hacky sack in front of the Kharma Café and The Flying Tomato,” he says. He remembers professors Joe Barnhart, Pete Gunter, George James and Martin Yaffe in philosophy and religion studies. “The inspiration I took from these guys helped set the bar for my own goals, even if I wasn’t sure how and where I would work it out,” Norris says. Focusing on a “broader” form of expression, he auditioned in the College of Music and switched his major to jazz. He played keyboards for the band Chomsky and later formed Tomorrowpeople. He

Summer 2012

played at the Fry Street Fair, hung out at Bruce Hall and took part in the installations of the Good/Bad Art Collective. “All of a sudden I was playing music,” says Norris, who left UNT when Tomorrowpeople signed with Geffen Records. “And then I realized how much I hated the music industry.” The band broke up and Norris moved to Los Angeles in 2000, working as a music editor and composer for the TV show Bette and the movie Fast Sofa. A friend of a friend got him a job as a sound production assistant with Quentin Tarantino’s production company. “Say what you want about being a P.A. — this is where you learn the rules of production,” Norris says. He moved into development with special effects guru Stan Winston and began working on financing projects with young writers. Norris worked on the 2003 short feature Chicken Party, written and directed by Tate Taylor, and independent movies such as 2009’s Triggerman. Taylor had secured the rights to the novel The Help by his friend Kathryn Stockett and drafted a screenplay. Then, Norris and Taylor had to convince Hollywood executives that this unknown could adapt and direct the beloved novel. A presentation they made — along with Taylor’s script — got them funding from Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studio. With the movie’s strong critical reception, they fantasized about getting Oscar nods, but didn’t dare to hope. “Just to be nominated was phenomenal,” Norris says. His next projects are another book adaptation, Peace Like a River, and an action/sci fi movie, Archetype, based on a short film he produced. He says his success reminds him of those days of writing about his dreams. “That journey just made me see how far I’ve come.”

Renée Vernon

John Norris

Los Angeles College jobs: I worked at the university art center, where we made posters and whatever jobs came our way. I worked at The Cupboard health food store and as a bartender on

Fry Street. My favorite job was

don’t have amazing chops or a

and willing to take risks. It’s also

at Recycled Books, now on the

giant vocabulary but you can write

about being naïve and single-

square. I used to work barefoot,

a great simple song or sing truth-

minded. Never give up, never

and all the students, professors

fully about what you know, you


and local crazies came there.

stand apart from everyone else.

Where else but Denton, Texas!

If you are comfortable standing

Toughest part of being a producer:

out, you are in the minority, and

Lessons learned from studying music:

people want to see that.

Getting the money. Always the hardest task!

Your strengths, whatever they

Traits of a good filmmaker:

are, make you stand out in a

Making films is about being an


crowd of amazing players. If you

entrepreneur, adventuresome

online for more Q&A.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


E. E. E. A whole world of enlightenment awaits you at UNT. Faraway galaxies are illuminated and masterpieces in art, literature and music shine. Experience UNT’s green light to greatness today.

R U A C

Stargaze and discover deep sky objects at the observatory’s free Star Parties, held on the first Saturday of the month.

UNT A G

Experience one-of-a-kind exhibitions from nationally renowned artists including alumni, award-winning faculty and talented students at UNT’s art galleries.

M P A C

Be entertained with world-class performances by guest artists, faculty and students in our state-of-the-art concert hall.

UNT   S

Enjoy a collaborative approach to artistic excellence with visual arts, humanities, performing arts and literature exhibitions and events. Located in downtown Denton.



Dance and Theatre

p / 21

Upcoming Events

p / 21


p / 22

Television and Film

p / 23

Visual Arts

p / 23

Spencer Heyfron


CHALK IT UP TO TALENT Artist Dana Tanamachi (’07) sketches out a career with typography lessons learned as a communication design student at UNT.

Read more about Tanamachi’s creations at

DANA TANAMACHI’S (’07) USE OF A SIMPLE, cheap instrument has thrust her into the national spotlight. Her hand-drawn chalk lettering has appeared on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine and the West Elm catalog and was featured in The Wall Street Journal. Tanamachi stumbled on her career as “sort of a happy accident” when she started doodling on a chalkboard wall at a friend’s party. Her work soon appeared online — and took off from there. “I love people’s reaction to it,” she says. “Chalk is such a humble medium. You don’t expect something big to come out of it.”

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


Muse Books Dress codes The politics of clothing in medieval times is the subject of Sartorial Strategies: Outfitting Aristocrats and Fashioning Conduct in Late Medieval Literature (University of Notre Dame Press), by Nicole D. Smith, assistant professor of English. Smith says churchmen complained that fashion invited sins such as pride and lust — pride because it could be excessive or make people appear better than their neighbors, and lust because new styles, such as lace, knots, belts and form-fitting tailoring,

revealed too much of the body’s contours. But medieval writers such as Chaucer, Smith writes, put a virtuous twist on the clothing.

Food for thought David M. Kaplan, associate professor of philosophy, serves as editor of The Philosophy of Food (University of California Press) — also the name of the project he heads at UNT. The book features 16 essays tackling all aspects of food, from sustainability to table manners. Kaplan started working on food issues in the late 1990s

when genetically modified foods were in the news. He wanted to dig deeper about why he opposed such foods. “The more I tried to come up with good, non-scientific reasons to oppose them, the deeper I got into the philosophy of food,” he says. “More than 10 years later, I’m still trying to figure it out.”

Profile of Latinos Valerie MartinezEbers (’80, ’83 M.P.A.), professor of political science, co-wrote the book Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior and Policy Preferences (Cambridge University Press), a comprehensive profile of Latinos that compares

conventional wisdom regarding their attitudes and efforts to assimilate with the most recent empirical evidence. Martinez-Ebers and her four co-writers raised $1.3 million through grants from various foundations to ask Latinos more than 160 questions regarding their social characteristics, group relations, policy positions and political orientations. Chapters she wrote or cowrote for the book cover topics such as demographics, gender role attitudes, and media and technology usage. The book is a follow-up to 2010’s Latino Lives in America: Making it Home. The third book in the series is expected to come out next year.

Nature-inspired artist Megan Adams’ (’10 M.F.A.) latest artwork can be seen at a unique showplace — the homewares section of Neiman Marcus stores. Adams has designed a series of dinnerware that is being distributed by the luxury retailer. The pattern — which she calls “coral floral” — is unusual compared to most traditional dinnerware because Adams draws her inspiration from patterns, textures and light effects from nature. She earned the spot at Neiman Marcus when a buyer from the store saw her work at a licensing show in New York City. “I feel honored and am excited they want to use my designs,” she says. The dinnerware reflects her other designs for fabrics, tech accessories and home decorations that also are inspired by patterns and textures in nature. She draws or paints the patterns and transfers them to fabrics through her computer. Jason Voinov

Adams, who studied fibers at UNT, has run her own Dallas-based firm for two years. She eventually wants to license her designs for various products and have her fabrics featured in design showrooms.

The designs of fibers graduate Megan Adams grace fabric, tech accessories and home decor. Her melamine dinnerware is available through Neiman Marcus and Horchow online.



No r t h Texa n



She says at UNT she had the time and resources to pursue her passion for art and design. She learned the business end of art through several internships. “Studying fibers taught me all the different ways to make fabric,” she says. “Then I was able to create work and get feedback, which is really important.”

Summer 2012

O’Neill honor Nick Mann’s (’07) play, Baby of Mine, made the semifinals in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2012 National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Conn. The play explores the struggle faced by a married couple whose first child will be born with a terrible disease. Mann’s play The Invisible Men of Tennessee Williams was presented in the 7 Plays in 7 Days festival in Addison, and he is working on a sketch comedy show for the Frisco Comedy Festival Sept. 20-22. Mann, who works as a teaching assistant for the Plano ISD, eventually hopes to write for both the stage and screen. “And I dream big. I want those Oscar, Tony and Emmy Awards!” Mann says. “But ultimately, I just want to share what I’ve written and see my work produced.”

Dance and Theatre Accomplished playwright

Gary Garrison’s (’78 M.F.A.) latest play, Caught, Without Candy, was produced as part of the Boston Theatre Marathon in May — just the latest in the long line of accomplishments for the author of more than a dozen plays and several playwriting books. Also this year, he saw his play Verticals and Horizontals read at a New York City theatre and was invited to conduct a playwriting workshop at the Kennedy Center

for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Garrison, who has taught at New York University for more than two decades, also serves as executive director for The Dramatists Guild of America, a national service organization for theatre professionals. He was drawn into writing as a doctoral student after studying acting and directing at North Texas, where he credits his professors for encouraging him to pursue a theatre career. “We were taught — mostly by Ellyn Gersh and Brenda DeVore (’77 M.S.) — to believe in ourselves and our talent, to have a vision for our future and to engage our passion,” he says. “That’s never, ever left me.”

Upcoming Events UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. in Denton, presents H2OHUE/UNT, an exhibition showcasing the watercolor program of the College of Visual Arts and Design, through July 21. The pieces from undergraduate and graduate students include landscapes, photorealism and three-dimensional objects (pictured is a detail of Mandy Cave’s watercolor on paper, A Mark By Every Chapter, 2012). Visit The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, July 20-22 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, will explore how writers crisscross the murky terrain between fiction, nonfiction and other genres. Speakers at the eighth annual conference, hosted by the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, include Luis Alberto Urrea, a Pulitzer Prize finalist who has published in all genres, including poetry; Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and editor of 26 works, including Hedy’s Folly, about actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr; and Isabel Wilkerson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning narrative The Warmth of Other Suns, about black America’s great Diaspora. Registration is open to anyone. Visit maybornconference. The College of Music will play host to a variety of summer workshops. Performances in the Murchison Performing Arts Center include the Texas High School All-State Choir Camp Concert at 3:30 p.m. July 14; the Mariachi Aguilitas Summer Camp Concert at noon July 28; and The Threepenny Opera by the UNT Summer Opera Workshop at 8 p.m. Aug. 3-4 and at 3 p.m. Aug. 5. Visit for information about these and other College of Music events. The UNT Art Gallery will present Contemplating Limits, an exhibition featuring artworks that convey ideas about structure, Aug. 21-Sept. 22. Four artists from Missouri, North Carolina, California and Texas will present their works, including sculptures from everyday materials that are used as metaphors for larger scenes. Visit for more information.

Visit for more upcoming events.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


Muse Musical fun Angela Chan has turned her strict childhood upbringing into a musical comedy. The Legacy of the Tiger Mother is a cabaret-style piece that has been presented in Las Vegas, New York City and Australia and will show in San Francisco this fall. Chan co-wrote and produced the show after years of playing piano for professional theaters and national tours. The story depicts how Lily, an immigrant from China, pressures her daughter, Mei, if she isn’t disciplined in her piano practice. The show features South Park-style songs. The “tiger mother”-style of parenting has been a hot topic recently — and something Chan and some of her Chinese American friends have experienced from their parents. But Chan notes, “They’re also very dedicated. We wanted to show that side of the tiger mother.” Her mother practiced the piano with Chan since she was 4 years old — helping Chan to attend UNT from 1996 to 1999 on a piano performance scholarship. She says, just like her mother, the music programs at UNT set up expectations that proved valuable in her career. “What was great about UNT is it sets the bar so high,” she says. “It puts you ahead of the game.”

Opera news Opera students hit a high note in recent performances. Doctoral student Heather Hawk took first place in the Dallas Opera Guild’s 24th annual Vocal Competition in March. She has performed in Handel’s Alcina in the title role and was selected to sing in a concert at UNT featuring the music of composer Jake Heggie, artist-in-residence for UNT’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts for the 2010-11 academic year.



No r t h Texa n


Opera students and faculty members also appeared in the annual gala concert for the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City, one of the leading organizations for new opera in the United States. They performed selections from Heggie’s Again, Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick and Three Decembers.

Accordion awards Retired professor Jim Bezdek (’50, ’54 M.S.) and Brave Combo member Carl Finch (’75, ’70 M.F.A.) were honored by


Summer 2012

tions. The late Bill Winspear and his wife, Margot, have been longtime supporters of UNT and the opera world. Their name graces the Winspear Performance Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center at UNT and the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

Piano story

New endowed chair

Steve Smith


the National Accordion Association earlier this year. Bezdek, who taught mathematics curriculum development from 1967 to 1996, received the Advancement of the Accordion in Higher Education Award. He founded the Jim and Rose Bezdek Endowment Celebrating Czech Music and Culture at UNT. He played the accordion to pay for college and performed the instrument at Czech festivals throughout his life. Finch took the prize for Establishing New Musical Horizons Featuring the Accordion for his experiments with “different tempos, sounds and instruments” and reflecting a wide range of genres beyond polka.

Paula Homer, director of opera, has been named the first person to hold the endowed Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies. The Winspear estate donated $1.5 million, which will provide funding for opera productions, financial support for opera students and a supplementary salary and other costs for the chair. Homer (pictured with College of Music Dean James Scott, center, and Don Winspear) worked at UNT since 1992, directing more than 50 produc-

Gustavo Romero, associate professor of music, is the subject of a documentary, Gustavo Romero: Portrait in Piano, that is showing at film festivals across the country this year and is available on DVD. This documentary, made by Snapshots Music & Arts Foundation, was shot from 2010 to 2011 in San Diego and New York City. The film covers Romero’s life story, from his days as a child prodigy and Juilliard student to his current performances of the works of great composers all over the world. “I couldn’t believe they wanted to make a documentary on my story, but then of course I was thankful and honored that someone finds it so interesting to put it in a permanent state,” Romero says. For more information, visit

Television and Film QWERTY: The Movie

Former Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science student Bill Sebastian has directed, co-edited and produced QWERTY: The Movie, about an “introverted wordnerd” who finds love while competing to become the world’s second female National Scrabble Champion. The movie — featuring Sebastian’s wife, Dana Pupkin, in the leading role — is playing in film festivals across the country and may be distributed on DVD and digital outlets later.

Sebastian has made movies since he attended college and worked as a film editor and actor. He was a student at TAMS from 1994 to 1996. “I think the portion of me that excelled at math and science translated really well to the problems that present a filmmaker,” he says. Visit for more information.

Tribeca prize

Scott Thurman’s (’10 M.F.A.) documentary, The Revisionaries, about the Texas Board of Education’s review of science and social studies stan-

dards in public schools, received the Special Jury Prize at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City this spring. The Revisionaries is screening at several film festivals. Thurman had worked for news stations in Amarillo before he studied photography and printmaking and then came to UNT’s documentary filmmaking program. His films at UNT included Smokey, a short documentary about an Elvis impersonator, which was screened at film festivals around the U.S. His idea for a documentary film about the Texas Board of Education originated with his thesis project, Standing Up to the Experts. He next plans to make a feature-length documentary that addresses science education in the U.S.

Visual Arts Winning photographer

Dornith Doherty, professor of photography, was one of 181 recipients of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship. She is completing her Archiving Eden project in which she takes X-ray images of seeds and cloned plants at international seed banks and incorporates them into digital collages. She began the project in 2008, inspired by the construction of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to secure the world’s seed collections.

Acclaimed artist

Erick Swenson’s (’99) representational sculptures of animals — made out of polyurethane plastics — have drawn international acclaim as part of exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, the Saatchi Collection in London and, most recently, his own show at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas that runs Not bad for someone who was unsure of what he wanted to do when he came to college. Swenson majored in painting and drawing with a minor in philosophy, and was a member of the Good/Bad Art Collective, the 1990s group that created quirky one-day art installations. His inspirations for his sculptures — which can take years to complete and at the Nasher include a re-created deer carcass and snails climbing a beer stein — are organic as well. “Sculpting just came naturally,” Swenson says. “I didn’t run out of things to say with it, I suppose. Do what works.”

Read more about Erick Swenson and his creations at

Courtesy of ManTiger Studios and Erick Swenson

through July 8.

In process detail shot of Erick Swenson’s (’99) Schwärmerei, 2012, acrylic on resin, at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


Angilee Wilkerson

COHN DRENNAN Drennan and his wife, Catherine, owners of Cohn Drennan Contemporary gallery, feature UNT students alongside national and international artists.



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

UNT alumni are powering the region with creative expertise, drawing visitors and urban development

by Ellen ROsseTTi

Design by AmY HillBeRRY (Class of 2014)

hen he looks for art to fill his gallery in Dallas, Cohn Drennan (’86 M.F.A.) starts with UNT. But he’s not the only one. There’s competition. “I always have an open door for UNT students. But there are a lot of people here in town who also want to show and work with UNT students,” says Drennan, owner of Cohn Drennan Contemporary, and he attributes that to UNT’s powerful reputation in the arts. “UNT has been doing it better and longer than anybody else. Everybody else is playing catch-up.” From Dallas to Fort Worth as well as far beyond, people with UNT ties are fueling the region with their creative energy. They’re running galleries and museums, leading dance troupes, spearheading high-profile musical performances and festivals, and managing theatre companies. They are among the more than 216,000 alumni who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contributing to one of the nation’s largest economies. And because Denton is home to the university and has an advantageous location near Dallas and Fort Worth, it is a leader in shaping the cultural face of the region. UNT has long been known as an incubator of creativity. After all, the university is home to an internationally acclaimed College of Music that offered the nation’s first jazz degree, and the College of Visual Arts and Design is one of the nation’s most comprehensive visual arts schools at a public university. It’s considered one of the best arts schools in the South and Southwest. Close to the Denton campus on the city’s historic square, UNT on the Square is the home of UNT’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, opening its doors for exhibitions, concerts and receptions. Denton also fills its city parks, clubs

and streets with numerous music and art festivals each year, drawing on the talents of UNT faculty, students and alumni. Take 35 Denton, which highlights the city’s internationally recognized indie rock music scene, bringing in hundreds of bands, and the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, which attracts more than 200,000 visitors from across the state and nation. And, in the heart of downtown Dallas, the university opened a Design Research Center, which is a classroom and laboratory space supporting faculty and student research efforts, but also a partner with the community. UNT talent — from music to the arts and theatre — permeates public places in Denton and beyond, and helps attract businesses. “Urban researchers have recently uncovered that thriving economies are based on the presence of a strong creative class, and a strong creative class only thrives in a region of strong, local culture,” says Robert Milnes, dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design. “You can’t import that culture. It has to be grown locally and evident in the streets, schools and businesses. It’s about the myriad small design firms, galleries, shops, coffee houses, bars, clubs and other venues where creativity is grown, shown, heard, debated and developed.” Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


THE BUSINESS OF ART Drennan and his wife, Catherine, dreamed of opening a gallery in Dallas’ Deep Ellum when Drennan was earning his master’s degree in photography in 1986 and Catherine was taking design classes. “By the time the semester ended, the real estate market had just collapsed, and the last thing people spend money on during a recession

“Thriving economies are based on the presence of a strong creative class, and a strong creative class only thrives in a region of strong, local culture.”

Cohn Drennan Contemporary in Dallas. Graduate students Michael Blair and Blayre Stiller recently exhibited their work in a Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition at the gallery. The Drennans also bring artists from the East Coast and overseas to the DFW area, partnering them with mid-career or younger artists to show their work side by side. Drennan credits his studies at UNT — including three years as a teaching fellow — with helping him gain the experience to run a business. “The faculty set us up so that we could help them with the department and its operation,” Drennan says. “They were able to provide us with professionalism, tools and responsibilities you would need in any business, but in this case, it was focused on the art department — teaching classes, managing labs and overseeing inventories. “I have always told everybody I would never trade the time I was at UNT,” Drennan says. “Just having those years to focus and study without distraction changed my life.”


Robert Milnes,

dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design

like that is art,” Drennan says. He and his wife moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as deputy director of the U.S. Department of State Art in the Embassies Program from 1989 to 2005. There, he supervised the management of art works on loan to U.S. embassies from around the world. He then served as the director of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University from 2005 to 2010. After that, he and his wife opened



No r t h Texa n



Debbie Brooks (’77, ’81 M.M.), director of DFW Musicians Services, has contracted orchestras for bigname stars Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Ross, Rod Stewart and more. She schedules hundreds of events a year, booking musical groups for everyone from celebrities to brides and charities and sending musicians across the region, state and nation. Her own freelancing career as a cellist began in her first year at UNT, when she drove with a friend to Dallas for church gigs. On campus, she performed under the baton of then-new Symphony Orchestra conductor Anshel Brusilow, a former concertmaster of the Philadelphia

Summer 2012

Orchestra and former conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “My freshman year was his first year on campus. We were like rock stars,” says Brooks, whose musical training began in the piano studio of her father, James Petty (’55). “Everyone came to hear the orchestra.” Under the guidance of well-known cello professor Adolfo Odnoposoff, she mastered volumes of cello repertoire. Just after graduating, Brooks won a position with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. She stepped down from her seat as the orchestra’s associate principal cellist in 1999, looking for a new challenge. She helped organize a 77-piece orchestra for Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the experience, along with her UNT roots, inspired her to begin DFW Musicians Services. Brooks still performs as a freelance cellist with the Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Symphony and Dallas Summer Musicals and offers private lessons to a select group of students. Through her business, she is constantly in touch with professors, looking for UNT student talent to fill her groups. She treats them just as she treats any seasoned performer and encourages them to join the professional musician’s union, she says. “If they are good enough to be on my job, they are good enough to get paid like a professional,” she says.

NURTURING ENVIRONMENT By age 11, Katricia Eaglin (’03) already had danced for royalty. She started learning folklorico Mexican dance in elementary school and later added West African dance to her repertoire, performing for the king of Ghana. She began her formal modern dance and ballet training at Booker T. Washington High School

DEBBIE BROOKS Angilee Wilkerson

Freelance cellist for the Fort Worth and Dallas symphonies, Brooks also organizes orchestras for big-name performers across the state and nation.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n



Thorpe Griner

CHRIS FLEMMONS Cited as one of the “elder statesmen of sorts of Denton’s music scene” by The New York Times, songwriter and Baptist Generals frontman Flemmons is the founder of the 35 Denton indie music festival.



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

Angilee Wilkerson

As assistant rehearsal director for Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Eaglin teaches choreography and tours the world with the company.

for the Performing Arts in Dallas. But it was at UNT that Eaglin polished her entrepreneurial skills, studying dance with a minor in business. She created the Freedom Dance Ensemble, a student group that performed at weddings and museum receptions, among other events. “UNT was a nurturing environment for me as a dancer and as a person,” Eaglin says, recalling the help of dance faculty members Mary Lynn Babcock and Arleen Sugano. “They guided me as a dancer and said if you can change it, then work on it, and accept the things you can’t change. I had never experienced that type of acceptance.” Eaglin had set her sights on becoming a member of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre while watching a performance at age 14. She auditioned four times — including during her studies at UNT — before earning her coveted spot in the company in 2005. “It wasn’t a seat or a throne,” she says. “I didn’t get in the company and get to sit down. I would come in and dance six hours straight. I was drained, learning all of these techniques and choreography, but it was an overwhelmingly great experience.” In addition to dancing in the company, Eaglin serves as assistant rehearsal director, teaching choreography and reconstructing dances. She also tours with the company — including recent performances in Belize and Canada. These days, people around DFW are taking note of her triumphs, evidenced when D Magazine named her in its special report on black achievers in 2011. “UNT had a great impact on me — and not just my teachers in the dance department,” she says, remembering the start of the Freedom Dance Ensemble. “UNT fostered that entrepreneurial mentality in me.”

CREATIVE ENERGY Singer and songwriter Chris Flemmons couldn’t stand to be away from Denton for too long. He grew up in Fort Worth but studied film at UNT in the late 1980s and early 1990s until he found steady work in film production. Flemmons moved to Dallas for a couple of years but missed the culture of his university town. “This place is just oozing with creative energy,” he says. He returned and established a band, The Baptist Generals, which got its start on Denton’s Fry Street and eventually signed with Sub Pop — “the label that brought Nirvana into the world,” he says. In the meantime, Flemmons crafted a plan for 35 Denton — originally called NX35 Music Conferette — a walkable music festival to highlight the indie music scene and boost the Denton economy. “Denton is unique. Plano, Frisco or Coppell couldn’t build what’s here culturally with music,” Flemmons says. “It was seeded by the university, but it exists on its own now. We have something that I felt needed to be built upon, and I wanted the conferette to be something that would draw national and international attention to Denton.” The New York Times took note of the “indie scene that comes with a Texas twang” in a 2008 story, calling Flemmons one of the “elder statesmen of sorts of Denton’s music scene.” The city’s festivals span blues, Latin and jazz music, and the indie scene grew with the Fry Street Fair, a block from campus, in the 1970s. “It used to be we’d get so excited when we’d pick up some marginal music publication that was printed nationally and read a review of a band from Denton, and now it’s just a regular occurrence,” Flemmons says.

Some have asked if the festival is trying to compete with the popular SXSW in Austin, but Flemmons calls SXSW “a different animal.” “The contrast that we were trying to strike between the behemoth that is SXSW and this is we wanted it to be a walkable festival,” Flemmons says. “SXSW was the grandfather.” Since the festival started, Flemmons has seen more businesses pop up. Oak Street Drafthouse, Mad World Records and the Denton version of the Love Shack, which has two locations in Fort Worth, are a few, he says. “Cultural events are part of the fabric of life in Denton,” says Michael Seman (’07 M.S.), researcher in UNT’s Center for Economic Development and Research. “And their economic and fiscal impacts are significant. In the festival’s second year alone, it generated more than $2 million in total economic activity for the city. It promotes not only Denton’s already internationally recognized music scene but the city itself by branding it as an exciting urban area. That, in turn, functions as a catalyst for development.”

COMMUNITY IMPACT Mike Barrow knows the flavor of Denton is unlike any other. “There is something special about Denton that is different than your typical Texas atmosphere,” Barrow says from his office as managing director of Denton Community Theatre, overlooking Denton’s Hickory Street. “It’s always broken out of the norms. We support art and make it a huge part of what we do, and that starts with a university. Students who go to UNT naturally come away with an appreciation of the artistic part of the university because it’s everywhere.” Barrow began his theatrical career

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


at age 10 — as a baseball player in Denton Community Theatre’s production of The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker. His parents, former North Texas students Frank and Betty Ann Barrow, are credited with being among the founders of the community theatre, more than 40 years ago. Today, Denton Community Theatre is the managing group of Denton’s historic Campus Theatre owned by the Greater Denton Arts Council. Barrow practically grew up on campus, helping his parents at The Varsity Shop, a clothing

More at your fingertips.


Learn about Michael Seman (’07 M.S.) and how his research on Denton’s culture as a catalyst for urban development is making headlines. And for information about area cultural opportunities and to share your own stories about UNT alumni talent, go to

store they owned on Avenue A, and studied theatre at UNT. He also focused his creative energy on playing in a band he started with Lambda Chi fraternity brothers Mike and Joe Clay (’83) (also real-life brothers) and Keith Reynolds. When he was invited to interview for the Denton Community Theatre managing director’s job, Barrow says his experience from helping to run family businesses and his theatrical training meshed. Now, he manages the budgets for the nonprofit educational organization, which mounts up to 10 productions a year, participates in



No r t h Texa n


traveling and competition shows and offers theatre classes. He’s also renewed the organization’s spirit of volunteering. Fundraisers and monthly outreach programs pull community members together to share their theatre skills, such as vocal training and set production. “We have a lot of talented artists, and that’s what brings people to Denton,” he says. “People come from all over the North Texas region to see the shows.” Many of the actors also perform regularly at community theatres across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the Greater Lewisville Community Theatre, Runway Theatre in Grapevine, Irving Community Theatre and more.


Fresh out of college, Andrea Karnes (’88) landed a job at the Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth as a receptionist, where she learned about curating from the ground up. “Being a receptionist was kind of like being an intern for everyone at the museum because support staff was limited then,” she says. Karnes worked her way through the ranks and attended graduate school at the same time, serving as research assistant, registrar, assistant curator, associate curator and, currently, curator at the Modern. The museum has featured alumni such as Jeff Elrod (’90), a painter, and Erick Swenson (’99), a sculptor, whose work is being exhibited by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (see page 23). “I like working in the field of contemporary art, where volumes of scholarship aren’t already written,” Karnes says. “If you are looking at very young artists still emerging in their

Summer 2012

careers, which is part of what I do, it’s like jumping off a high dive — being at the beginning of an exciting and new contribution to the art world.” As curator, Karnes conceives the idea for the exhibitions she organizes, and she works with artists, galleries and collectors to obtain the artwork on loan in order to put the shows together — a process that can take from one to several years. “When I was at UNT, it was an experimental time for all kinds of events — exhibitions, music, art happenings,” she says. “It was an extremely influential time for me. It really was a cultural breeding ground.” Professors armed students with tools and language to be critical of themselves and their classmates in a learning environment, says Karnes, who studied art history. “You had to be honest about what you were evaluating, and that’s part of my job now,” she says. “A lot of that came from those fundamentals I learned as an undergrad in critiques.” She and her UNT friends took in new musical acts at The Library and ventured across the state to see gallery exhibitions of fellow students. Every year, they’d visit the annual Voertman Student Art Competition — still an important part of today’s student experience — to read the professional juror’s statement and try to determine why certain pieces were selected. “It provided me with a level of comfort in being around a host of things that weren’t necessarily culturally mainstream and gave me the chance to go to galleries, museums and unconventional music venues,” Karnes says. “That happened in Denton, Texas, but it somehow prepared me for the rest of the world.”

Angilee Wilkerson

MIKE BARROW As managing director for the Denton Community Theatre, Barrow continues his family’s 40-year legacy in fostering theatre for the Denton community.

Jonathan Reynolds

ANDREA KARNES Karnes, curator at the Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth, organizes art from galleries and collectors from around the world for exhibitions.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n


UNT’s faculty and advisors guide students in meaningful research and help ensure their success

Mentoring for Excellence


As an undergraduate at UNT, Jody Huddleston (’10) found something strange in the HIV research she was conducting for Joseph Oppong’s medical geography class. When she took her questions to Oppong, professor of geography, he says he thought to himself, “This is someone who will do fine work.” His instincts were right. Huddleston, who was in the Honors College and was a McNair Scholar, found that she was seeing “late testers” — individuals who had little time between their HIV diagnosis and the onset of AIDS. With Oppong’s help and encouragement, she set up a project to map this specific group across the state, determining characteristics and areas with high rates of late testers. The work earned her a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, worth $42,000 a year for three years. She is using the fellowship as a doctoral student in environmental science at UNT, studying diseases with an environmental component. Other faculty members also are investing their care, experience and knowledge in students to help them achieve their goals. UNT leads Texas universities in the number of Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, and many talented students place as semifinalists and finalists in the prestigious Siemens Competition and Intel Science Talent Search. Faculty members also guide students to win prestigious awards such as the Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship and the German Academic Exchange Service scholarship. Mentors host regular meetings and ongoing discussions so that the students are best prepared. The students also are aided by UNT’s Office for Nationally Competitive Scholarships, which guides them through the application process. James Duban, the office’s director and a professor of English, says he encourages students to have “something above and beyond to write about in their application essays” by fashioning “ideal college educations,” which include research experience. He also provides comprehensive feedback on writing style and tone. “I urge them to articulate their contributions and goals with clarity, conciseness and authority,” he says. “The application process can take several months and often becomes a capstone educational experience.” The prestigious scholarships can mean thousands of dollars in stipends and tuition and, in some cases, travel to another country. By the time the results are announced, the students have done more than win an important award, says Sandra Spencer, principal lecturer and director of women’s studies.



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

Gary Payne

by Jessica DeLeón

Jannon Fuchs, professor of biological sciences, encourages Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science student Faith Yu in her lab. Fuchs has mentored numerous TAMS students, helping them to win prestigious scholarships and competitions. S u m m e r 2 0 1 2 | | T h e N o r t h T e x a n 33

Gary Payne

sessions on gender equality and other women’s issues and then created an advocacy project when they returned home. “UNT was the only school that had more than one student at this event, and that is a direct result of Dr. Spencer’s engagement and encouragement in developing our passions and interests,” Schneider says. Similarly, Graham Phipps, professor of music, was impressed when Ben Dobbs (’10 M.M.) came to him for advice on his master’s thesis topic. Dobbs wanted to find a composer from the early 1600s to study, one who was not well known. After some digging, he chose Heinrich Grimm, who had only a few works published in his lifetime after being exiled from his German town during the 30 Years War. But to research his subject, Dobbs needed to go to the library in Germany that houses Grimm’s works. “This student had a passion for what he wanted to study,” Phipps says. Together, they developed a plan and Dobbs received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, a prestigious program that allows American students to study in Germany for one year.

“You see them become much more professional,” says Spencer, whose students have won Rotary scholarships, among other awards “You see them become more aware of a wider world.”

Looking for that spark Just like Oppong saw the promise in Huddleston, Spencer can spot potential scholarship recipients. “Sometimes it’s a little spark you see in them,” she says, “They’re well-rounded in an intellectual, emotional and cultural way.” A UNT faculty member since 1996, Spencer has accompanied students on Study Abroad programs and to various events. She says potential scholarship students are more likely to be engaged at a different level. She notices if they can thrive abroad or if they have the mind to be challenged for a globally focused project. She saw that in Christine Schneider and Maryanne Owiti, master’s students in interdisciplinary studies, who attended the Commission on the Status of Women practicum this spring at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. They were among 20 women who observed non-governmental organization



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

Dobbs is now working on his doctorate in music theory.

Hard work Finding that spark and helping students apply for scholarships is just one part of the mentoring process. Faculty also support students in the research itself. One of the ways Jannon Fuchs, professor of biological sciences, helps is by playing “email ping pong.” As her students are writing research papers, she responds with comments — sometimes dozens of rounds. But Fuchs notes that she’s critiquing the science, not the person. “I guess I try to toughen them up,” she says. “It’s valuable training.” In her 24 years at UNT, Fuchs has worked with students at all levels, including those tackling college courses in UNT’s Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. The two-year residential program allows talented students to complete their first two years of college while earning their high school diplomas. Fuchs helps her students prepare to compete for prestigious scholarships. Under her leadership, eight have earned Goldwater Scholarships, given to students

Gary Payne

Gary Payne

UNT mentors, across different disciplines, guide their students to success. From left, Sandra Spencer, senior lecturer in women’s studies, with master’s students Christine Schneider (left) and Maryanne Owiti (right); Joseph Oppong, professor of geography, with doctoral student Jody Huddleston; and Graham Phipps, professor of music, with doctoral student Ben Dobbs (’10 M.M.). pursuing careers in math, science and engineering; 14 have advanced in the Siemens Competition, the nation’s leading original research competition for high school students in math, science and technology; and three have won the Intel Science Talent Search, the oldest science competition in the nation. One of those TAMS students who plans to enter the Siemens and Intel competitions is Faith Yu. Her neuroscience research involves twice-weekly lab work and computational work. While Yu already had some basics of neuroscience, she says Fuchs gave her a first look at how real research labs work. “When Dr. Fuchs interviewed me for the lab, she refreshed my neuroscience knowledge and added to it within the span of 30 minutes,” Yu says. Phipps also motivates students to do their best. He meets with them weekly. “You have to ask them a lot of questions,” he says. “Why did you do this? Does this follow where you were before?” While Dobbs was in Germany, Phipps emailed him every week. “What did you find interesting this

week?” he asked him. On Dobbs’ drafts, Phipps wrote, “You might think about this.” Dobbs — who found some unpublished work of Grimm’s and a funeral motet, or choral composition, that became the topic of his thesis — hopes one day to publish modern editions of Grimm’s compositions. “Dr. Phipps directed me,” Dobbs says, “and pushed me to analyze and look for new ideas.”

Geographers in February in New York City. Rodriguez was questioned by an author whose book on geographic information systems and public health he had cited. “It was fun to watch a student be challenged and defend himself,” Oppong says. “He was ready.” Huddleston appreciates the help she received from Oppong because he pushed her to succeed. “You want someone who is involved with what you are doing and is helping you set goals and meet them,” she says. And Oppong makes sure the students he mentors have some fun as well. He hosts a graduate appreciation lunch at Bruce Hall and potluck dinners at his house. They become a family — and it’s even more satisfying when that family member wins an award. “It’s like being a parent,” Oppong says. “And your child has accomplished something great.”

Rewards All the hard work results in rewards for the students — and their mentors. Phipps notes that with such intense study, students don’t just develop as researchers, but also as people. “It’s always great to see a student mature and see their ideas come to fruition,” he says. Oppong watched one senior geography major, Jonathan Rodriguez, defend his research at the Association of American

Do you have a favorite faculty or staff mentor who helped you as a student at UNT? Tell us at

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n



Jonathan Reynolds


Honored at the Alumni Awards Dinner were, from left, R.L. Crawford Jr. (’63), Brenda Crawford (’63), Petronel Malan (’96 M.M., ’01 Ph.D.), Julie Anderson (’91, ’91 M.S.), BrianWaters, David Anderson (’99), Donald C. Potts (’63), Robert J. “Bob” Rogers and Jason West (’96).

Alumni Awards 2012 Honoring professional experience and service to UNT



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

UNT’s annual Alumni Awards Dinner — a long-standing university tradition — recognized the outstanding achievements, service and support of UNT alumni and friends. The April 20 event honored recipients who have made their mark in the financial services industry, played in the Super Bowl, earned Grammy nominations and helped create one of the world’s most popular video games. The most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, has been presented since 1965, and is awarded to individuals who have achieved prominence in their professions. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors alumni under 40 for distinguished achievement. “We’re extremely proud of these individuals and their work,” President V. Lane Rawlins says. “These are people who have distinguished themselves in their careers and in their communities, embodying the best of themselves and of UNT. ”

Distinguished Alumni Award

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Donald C. Potts (’63)

Petronel Malan (’96 M.M., ’01 Ph.D.)

Donald C. Potts began his career in the financial services industry with the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, and in 1977, he founded Capital Institutional Services (CAPIS). He has served on the institutional committee of the New York Stock Exchange. Potts remains a board chair of CAPIS and is a board member for Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center in Dallas. For 11 years, Potts served on the board of the UNT Foundation, and he chaired the foundation’s investment committee for four years. In 2011, he was appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a UNT System regent. “Looking back on the defining events of my life,” Potts says, “my decision to seek a degree from North Texas was certainly one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.”

Pianist Petronel Malan has been lauded by reviewers as an unmistakably creative force in the classical music industry. Her debut disc, Transfigured Bach, received three Grammy nominations, including Best Instrumental Solo Album. She followed with Transfigured Mozart (2006), Transfigured Beethoven (2008) and Transfigured Tchaikovsky (2011), all recorded for the independent label Hanssler CLASSIC. Malan resides in the U.S. but maintains strong ties to her native South Africa. She received the Rapport/ City Press Prestige Award as one of the 10 most inspirational women in South Africa. “My experiences at UNT provided me with a solid education and the experience to perform and reach audiences around the world,” Malan says.

Jason West (’96)

Jason West worked at Paradigm Entertainment and then at a start-up game studio, 2015, to work on the video game “Medal of Honor: Allied Assault,” which became a huge success. In 2002, he co-founded the Infinity Ward studio, which created “Call of Duty.” West last directed “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” which sold about 20 million units and generated an estimated $1.3 billion in sales to date. In 2010, West began a new independent studio called Respawn Entertainment where he specializes in realistic, first-person perspective military action games with real-world settings. As a founding member of Ian Parberry’s Laboratory for the Advancement of Recreational Computing group, West says, “The impact of a small group of likeminded students working in skunk works projects cannot be overstated.”


Presented to honor individuals who have provided exceptional volunteer service to UNT.

Brenda (’63) and R.L. (’63) Crawford Jr. met as students at North Texas. R.L. began his career with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, and in 1989 Texas Gov. Bill Clements appointed him to the UNT Board of Regents. He was appointed to the UNT Foundation board where he continues to serve. Brenda was a charter member of the advisory board that formed the present UNT Alumni Association and has served on the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Visual Arts and Design advisory boards. Robert J. “Bob” Rogers, Professor Emeritus of music and former piano student at North Texas, taught piano pedagogy at the university from 1948 to 1984. His volunteer activities include genetic screening and counseling for the state of Texas; teaching typing for computer proficiency to fifth graders at Sam Houston Elementary School; and serving as a volunteer in the UNT Music Library since 1985.

Brian Waters

During Brian Waters’ Mean Green football career (1995-98), he focused on community service courses and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Clubs and other projects. Now a six-time Pro Bowl guard who played in the Super Bowl this year with the NFL’s New England Patriots, Waters received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award in 2009 for his charitable work, then as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Brian Waters 54 Foundation, which he began in 2005, works with more than 20 agencies to help children in need through programs offering such support as sports camps, school clothes and college scholarships. “Many memories from community service classes to the football program all helped shaped me into the man I am today,” Waters says, “and helped to give me a strong foundation dedicated to giving back to the community.”

Summer 2012


Presented to an individual or group that has made noteworthy efforts to sustain spirit among the UNT family. Ulys Knight (’28), a basketball player named most popular man on campus, was later known as “Mr. North Texas” for his participation in alumni activities.

Julie (’91, ’91 M.S.) and David (’99) Anderson are active members of the Mean Green Club and serve as Mean Green Club representatives. Julie is controller and chief accounting officer for Texas Capital Bank and David is the owner and founder of Anderson’s Pro Flooring in Lake Dallas.

Learn more about this year’s winners and nominate alumni for the 2013 awards by Aug. 1, 2012, at alumniawards.




No r t h Texa n




OLYMPIC DIRECTION Sports director Doug Wren (’73) will give beach volleyball viewers the best seat in the house at the London Olympics.

Learn more about Wren and his 36-year directing career at



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

in this section | Connecting With Friends

p / 39

| Upcoming Alumni Gatherings

p / 39

| Legacy Families

p / 43

| In the News

p / 44

| Friends We’ll Miss

p / 45

DOUG WREN’S (’73) SUMMER PLANS INCLUDE directing the live world feed of beach volleyball at the Olympic Games in London. He has produced or directed live feeds at seven other Olympics since 1992, including diving in Barcelona and speed skating in Salt Lake City. Wren wanted to be an announcer but says a production class taught by Ed Glick made directing more interesting. “Directing a live feed is like an extension of being an athlete,” says the former competitive swimmer, pictured in Beijing the day Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal. “It gives you that same adrenalin rush.”





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 7). Members of the UNT Alumni Association are designated with a . Read more, share comments and connect with friends at

1945 Janice Baird Whitlock (’72 M.M.Ed.), Savage, Minn. :: took up oil painting classes at Savage Art Studios after a lifetime as a musician, primarily playing keyboard. She has been taking the classes for three years and says that art “makes you think about things differently.”

1962 Ray Rhamey, Pullman, Wash. :: published a novel called The Summer Boy: A Novel of Texas, a coming-of-age story about love and danger that offers a snapshot of young life in 1958 Texas.

1970 Karleen Barlow Koen, Houston :: received recognition when her book Before Versailles (The Crown Group/Random House), the story of four months in the life of a young Louis XIV, was included in RT Book Reviews and the Library Journal’s selections

Friends Cliff Layfield,

Bob Eoff, Princeton ::

was elected state chair for the Constitution Party of Texas.


Grapevine ::

is the 2012 president of the Dallas/Fort Worth Financial Planning Association.


Robert B. Gregg (M.M., ’78 Ph.D.), Nashville, Tenn. :: of best historical fiction for 2011. RT Book Reviews is a source for publishing and bookstores, and Library Journal is the trade publication for libraries.


celebrated 25 years as founding director of the Symphony Orchestra for Belmont University’s School of Music. He also conducted the All State Orchestra in Missouri. Sharon Fowler

Gregg (’74 M.Ed., ’84 Ph.D.) Aaron Bonds,

retired as director of admissions at Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Myron Martin, Las Vegas, Nev. :: is the president and CEO of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a new worldclass performing arts center in Las Vegas. He raised more than $470 million in funding, endowments and donations for the project.

Corpus Christi ::

retired this year after 27 years of teaching and coaching. The former Mean Green football player coached and taught in Alice, Calallen and Robstown before heading for the Agua Dulce ISD, where he also coordinated an after-school tutoring and life skills program.

1973 Terry Austin, Ranger :: wrote An Angler’s Blessings: Adventures in the Pursuit of Trout With a Fly Rod, covering more than 50 years of his fly-fishing stories, along with some “how-to and where-to.”

Upcoming Alumni Gatherings UNT alumni reunite, network and support student scholarships. Here’s a sampling of events to come: Golden Eagles Save the Date: Members of the Class of 1962 are encouraged to save the date for the Golden Eagles’ 50-year class reunion luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. Join your classmates to renew friendships, share memories and enjoy Homecoming festivities. To learn more, contact Abbie Lows at 940-565-4851 or

Oktoberfest: The Denton Alumni network celebrates Oktoberfest at the UNT Alumni Association Pavilion at Apogee Stadium Sept. 15 to raise money for scholarships. Delta Sigma Phi anniversary: Members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity will celebrate the UNT chapter’s 60th anniversary Oct. 20 with an open house and dinner dance. Contact Mike Cox (’74), president of the chapter’s alumni association, at mike. or 940-597-7490 for information. For more information or to join the UNT Alumni Association, call 940-565-2834 or go online to

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n




1981 Stephen Owens (Ph.D.), Cullowhee, N.C. :: Professor Emeritus of management at Western Carolina University, was accepted as a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.

information technology for the American Quarter Horse Association for 13 years and was a professor at West Texas A&M University. He earned a master’s and doctorate from Texas Tech.

tenure from Hardin-Simmons University, where he teaches low brass, music theory and composition. He says his family encouraged him “through all the years it took to reach this goal.”


Mark McDaniel (’87 M.P.A.), Tyler :: city manager of Tyler, was elected vice president of the Mountain-Plains region of the International City/County Management Association. He was the first UNT alum nominated to serve on the ICMA board.

1984 Billy L. Smith, Fort Worth :: was named executive director of the American Paint Horse Association in Fort Worth. He was executive director for

1986 Jeffrey Cottrell (’96 M.M., ’04 D.M.A.), Abilene :: was awarded

Daniel Hornstein (Ph.D.), Huntsville, Ala. :: recently retired

from the Huntsville public schools as the founding conductor of the Arts Magnet High School orchestra program. He is the conductor of the Jackson, Tenn., Youth Symphony Orchestra and teaches German online through the Alabama ACCESS Distance Education program. He also is the adjunct cello professor at Alabama A&M University and teaches private music lessons through the Valley Conservatory of Music.

Ann Schiola, Tarpon Springs, Fla. :: was named the

new marketing director at FINLEY Engineering Group, a specialty engineering firm that has been internationally recognized

Maple Street Crew



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

Gary Payne

They called themselves the Maple Street Crew. The women lived together as dorm-mates in Maple Hall in the late 1960s. Now, they meet once a year for lunch to reconnect with each other — and to relive old memories. “You never saw one of us without at least some of the others,” Diane Moore Grandey (ʼ68) says. “People said, ‘Here comes the Maple Street Crew.’” During their first year, the girls were not allowed to wear pants or shorts on campus. They had to wear a skirt or a coat over clothes even to go to the gym. The dorm had just one phone per wing on each floor, and there was a strict curfew — 10:50 p.m. during the week and midnight on Saturday. Many girls squeezed through the door just as the dorm mother was locking it. “You just made your own fun,” Patty Johnson Sayers (’68) says. “We got real resourceful on the weekends.” They hung out at the UB — the Union Building. They had parties at Lake Dallas. On Sundays, when the dining hall was closed, they headed to Zeke’s Drive-in, a restaurant across from the dorm on Highland Street and Avenue C. The girls often stayed up late, trying on each other’s clothes, putting together funny outfits, playing cards or just chatting. And they started a tradition. They sat around in a circle and passed around a maple leaf, which stopped with the woman who had an important announcement. Grandey remembers sharing the news of her engagement, and many pinnings were announced this way. After graduating, many Maple Street Crew members participated in each other’s weddings and then became busy raising their

From left, front, Ann Hodges Chilton (’69), Diane Moore Grandey (’68), Nina Boothe (’69) and Julie Skrodzki Skinner (’69); back, Karla Kautsch Hutcherson (’68), Patty Johnson Sayers (’68) and Gay Foster Ingram (’68). families and working. Some stayed connected through Christmas cards. But as email made communication easier, they reconnected and began meeting annually in 2004. They were scheduled to tour UNT in June to see how the campus has changed. “We still feel like we never parted ways,” Karla Kautsch Hutcherson (’68) says. “The memories we have keep us attached.” ­ ­— Jessica DeLeón Editor’s note: We’d like to feature more alumni who are staying in touch or reconnecting. If you’re part of such a group, let us know at

1987 Keith Marceau, West Liberty, Ohio :: was promoted to manager of information systems at Transportation Research Center Inc. in East Liberty, Ohio.

American Counseling Association to present a 6-hour Learning Institute, “Clinical Interventions with Perpetrators of Family Violence,” at the ACA 2012 national conference in San Francisco. She is the executive director of Conflict Management Inc., a counseling agency in Albuquerque.

1988 Bob Lawrence (M.M.Ed., ’01 Ph.D.), Dallas :: is president of the Dallas School of Music, which celebrated its 20th anniversary with a faculty concert and open house in February. Other alumni at DSM include Mike Finkel (’84), Gary Feltner (’93 M.M.), Tamalyn Stone

Lawrence (’93 M.M.), Professor Emeritus Dan Haerle (’66), Jenn Escue (’07, ’10 M.M.), Chiaki Hanafusa (’03 M.M., ’10 D.M.A.) and Jeff Ensign (’00, ’10 M.M.).


Stephen J. Inrig, Dallas :: is an assistant professor of clinical science at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He recently published a book titled North Carolina and the Problem of AIDS: Advocacy, Politics and Race in the South (University of North Carolina Press), using the history of HIV in North Carolina as a case study to examine the rise of AIDS in the South. He earned his Ph.D. from Duke University.


Paul McGeiver

for its expertise in complex bridge projects.

Bone marrow registry Graham Douglas (’05) wants to save people’s lives — and he’s come up with a product and put on hot pants for the cause. Douglas created the “help I’ve cut myself & I want to save a life” package that includes a bone marrow registry kit inside a box of bandages. When people cut themselves and reach for the bandages, they can put a couple of drops of blood on a cotton swab and then mail it in a postage-paid envelope addressed to the DKMS bone marrow registry. The product is sold online and at retailers through Help Remedies. The cause is personal for Douglas. His identical twin brother, Britton (’06), was diagnosed with leukemia 10 years ago and was saved by a stranger who had registered as a bone marrow donor. “But I’m afraid my brother was one of the lucky ones,” Douglas says. “I remember them talking about the odds of finding a match. It’s a 50/50 shot. All these years later that’s always stuck with me.

John Douthitt, Midland :: was appointed assistant vice president for guest relations services of Healthplex Associates. He remains the general manager of the Healthplex facility, Mission Fitness, in Odessa and is now also overseeing the guest services training for all nine Healthplex facilities nationwide.

Kerin Groves (’99 M.S.), Albu­querque, N.M. :: was

selected by the

Lynn Lane, Houston :: was named one of the Top 100 Creatives in Houston for 2011 by the Houston Press. He is the main photographer for Karen Stokes Dance and NobleMotion Dance, and his photos are regularly featured in Dance Source Houston and the Houston Chronicle. His “Portrait Project”— shots of well-known Houston arts figures — was exhibited in celebration of Houston’s 175th anniversary. He also founded the Voices of Survivors Foundation, giving voice to cancer survivors.

“For every guy like my brother out there, there’s another one who isn’t so lucky — another guy like me who doesn’t have a brother anymore.” Douglas — who studied advertising at UNT and works at the Droga5 advertising agency in New York City — appears in the video for the product, portraying a knife. “We had almost no money for making this thing, so hiring a proper actor wasn’t exactly in the budget,” he says. “I was the only one of us willing to take off my shirt on film, shave my chest and put on tiny, silver hot pants in the name of good.” Watch the video at or register as a bone marrow donor at — Jessica DeLeón

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n




1994 Bryan D. Dietrich (Ph.D.), Wichita, Kan. :: is a professor of English at Newman University and an award-winning poet. His new book of poems, The Assumption (WordFarm), draws parallels between modern science fiction and ancient theological narratives.

1997 Evelyn A. Borrayo (M.A., ’99 Ph.D.), Denver, Colo.

:: associate professor of psychology at the University of Colorado at Denver, was appointed to direct the Latino Research and Policy Center at the Colorado School of Public Health. Her research in health and clinical psychology focuses on the prevention, control and treatment of cancer among medically underserved Latinos.

Jennifer Yorio Faunce, Rockwall :: hosted her first Skills USA district contest for broadcast news production and TV production, with four northeast Texas schools competing. She is an audio video production teacher at Rockwall High School and Rockwall-Heath High School.

the Southwestern College Art Gallery. The exhibit included works by UNT artists, and artist talks were given by studio arts faculty Matthew Bourbon and

Vincent Falsetta.

1999 Scott Williams, Wylie :: is director of a new Dallas location of Oklahoma-based Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research. He attended prosthetic school at UT-Southwestern and was a practitioner at the company for more than six years before leading the Dallas expansion.

2000 Holly Lakatos (M.S.), Sacramento, Calif. :: wrote the

chapter “Moving a Library” in How to Thrive as a Solo Librarian (Scarecrow Press).


No r t h Texa n


Julie Chelagat Bore (M.Ed., ’05 Ph.D.), Dallas ::

says she fulfilled a dream when she started Ducks in a Row Personal Organizing in 2011. She works with people to help them find more time to spend on their interests.

published a book titled Voices, inspired by conversations she had with her students as a high school teacher at an urban school. The book offers insight and statistics on the challenges students can face, including drugs and alcohol, bullying, homelessness, poverty and pregnancy.



(M.A.), Richardson ::

faculty member at North Central Texas College and accepted a position as chair of the Department of Behavioral and Cultural Sciences, which covers all five NCTC campuses. She also serves as the Honors Program liaison for the NCTC Corinth campus.

full elder in the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church last summer. She is the associate pastor of adult discipleship at the First United Methodist Church in Georgetown. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNT and a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School of Fort Worth in 2009.


Jessica McCambly (’07



The Rev. Amy K. Forsythe,

Tiffaney Dale Hunter, Dallas :: is

curator of the art exhibit Big and Bright: New Work From Texas at

Allison Morrow Venuto

school. The W.A.R. program teaches women how to be proactive in self defense. Jeff earned his degree at UNT in emergency administration and planning and has a master’s from Amberton University.

Stacie Stoutmeyer (’04 M.S.), Highland Village :: is a full-time

1998 M.F.A.), San Diego, Calif. :: was

public relations firm with a new Houston office. She began the Dallas-Fort Worth agency following a corporate layoff and grew it from a consulting agency to a full-service public relations and marketing firm with clients that have included the National Urban League, Grammy-nominated artist Lisa Loeb, Russell Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund and others.

celebrating the sixth anniversary of the founding of her


Summer 2012

Georgetown :: was ordained as a

Jeff Arrington, Denton :: former UNT police corporal who serves as a reserve UNT police officer, has started a martial arts training school and business program called W.A.R. – Women’s Active Response. He has been training in martial arts since the age of 7 and says he has always dreamed of opening his own

Lexie House Lucas, Washington, D.C. :: wrote a children’s book titled Little Boy Brown, inspired by a dachshund she rescued in Denton. Lexie works




Jonathan Reynolds

In 1912, Elmer Williamson began studying education at North Texas State Normal College. One hundred years later, Elmer’s great-grandson Sam Williamson (’12 M.A.) graduated from UNT on May 11, 2012, with a master’s degree in innovation design. Sam’s graduation marks a full century of his family attending the university. “This university is and has always been deeply rooted in the community, and our family is part of that community,” says Celia Williamson, Sam’s mother and UNT’s vice provost for educational innovation. “I have worked at UNT for 24 years, and my family is proud to hit the century mark.” Members of the Williamson family have earned degrees in different areas of study. Sam’s sister Emily McGill (’06, ’08 M.P.A.) earned degrees in sociology and public administration. Celia’s husband, Tim (’85 M.S.), earned a degree in industrial technology. Tim’s parents, Ruth (’43) and Merrill Delwin (’47, ’52 M.S.), or “M.D.,” earned degrees in education and industrial arts. M.D. , whose father Elmer began the UNT family tradition, taught industrial arts at the university from 1962 to 1984, and his son David, associate professor of sociology, joined UNT in 1992. David and Tim both attended the lab school. In her time at UNT, Celia says she has seen the university grow into an institu-

From left, Kristin Williamson, David Williamson, Celia Williamson, Kevin McGill (’07), Sam Williamson (’12 M.A.), Tim Williamson (’85 M.S.), Emily Williamson McGill (’06, ’08 M.P.A.) tion focused on sustainability, not just with an eye toward preserving the environment, but also in finding balance among many fields of study. “Society is sustained by the arts as well as by the push of new scientific discoveries,” she says, “and I believe that a great university’s role is to contribute to society through teaching and research that engages the breadth of life. “ Emily says that what sets UNT apart from other institutions is the small-town, community feeling that finds a way to thrive on such a large campus. “It’s neat to be part of a family who has been in the UNT community and in Denton for so long,” she says. “I love hearing from people who studied with my grandfather or were taught by him or my mom or uncle. We have so many connections to the community, and we’re

very happy about this milestone.” Sam, who was among the first to earn UNT’s new innovation design degree, plans to continue his family’s legacy. Using the skills and experiences he gained through his studies and in the Peace Corps, he hopes to design curricula that will more fully engage public school students, finding solutions to the preparedness gap many students experience when they leave high school for a job or to begin college. “I take pride in being here and seeing the kind of fingerprint my family has left in this area,” Sam says. “It’s important to me that our family tradition of educating in this region doesn’t stop with me.” — Leslie Wimmer

Read about other UNT legacy families who have spanned generations with tradition and pride at . And don’t forget to share the history of your own UNT legacy.

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n



Nest for the U.S. Senate and attends graduate school at Johns Hopkins University.


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


➺ Tom La Point, 

Nathan Hall

sciences, was interviewed


on National Public Radio’s


All Things Considered

Va. :: joined

May 16 about the impact of natural gas drilling. The story focused on residents of the Denton County town of Dish who are attributing illness and poor health to fracking, the hydraulic fracturing process used to mine natural gas. La Point says even if toxic chemicals were present in large enough quantities to cause symptoms, it would be difficult to pinpoint the source due to large amounts of air pollution in the area. He is serving on a task force to study the effects of gas drilling. A study by Wendy

Middlemiss, associate professor of John Ting, Plano :: is the

Human Development is making news around the world. The

principal attorney at The Law Office of John Ting, handling immigration, family law and other general legal matters. He graduated from the City University of New York School of Law. At UNT, he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi.

researchers, including doctoral student Laura


measured the stress hormone cortisol in babies left to cry themselves to sleep and discovered stress levels remained high even on the third night, when the babies cried very little. They plan a longer study to see if cortisol levels drop over time. Newspapers in Australia, England, Belgium and India have reported the findings. 

associate professor of journalism, was

one of the experts on the NBC television show Who Do You Think You Are? featuring celebrities who are tracing their family roots. In the April 6 episode, Mueller shed light on the life of an early newspaperman related to actress Edie Falco. He most recently has been researching the 19th century press for a book on Custer, the press and the Little Bighorn.

➺ Harry Benshoff,

associate professor of radio, television

and film, was quoted in a story on March 28 about the portrayal of race in Hollywood in conjunction with the casting of the movie The Hunger Games. The story appeared in more than 50 media outlets. Benshoff, who is the coauthor of America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies, says “Hollywood has never been on the forefront of the civil rights movement.”



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

self-published Winged, the first book in a series she plans to write. It became available for e-reader purchase on Amazon in January.

the Virginia Tech University Libraries as the VTechWorks librarian. VTechWorks is the library’s service for disseminating faculty and student works as core collections, and for digitizing and curating existing collections. Nathan was digital curation librarian at UNT and is earning his Ph.D. here.

educational psychology, published in the April issue of Early

➺ James Mueller,

2008 Sophia Gomez, Dallas ::

professor of biological


State University and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.


Clayton Lane, Wichita Falls :: was named one of the Top 20 Under 40 leaders in Wichita Falls. He is a manager at James Lane Air Conditioning, installing and testing fire suppression systems in commercial buildings, and is a board member for Downtown Wichita Falls Development. He helped bring a Zombie Crawl and 5K run to the town last fall.

2011 Jason Dovel (D.M.A.), Tahlequah, Okla. :: was a

guest artist at the University of Memphis, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Arkansas Tech last fall, presenting the solo recital “Music for Trumpet and Computer.” He was featured in a radio interview with KEDM, the NPR affiliate in Monroe. He teaches trumpet at Northeastern

Saihara Ali, Marietta, Ga. :: joined Youth Villages as a teacher and counselor at the Inner Harbour Campus in Douglasville, Ga., which provides residential treatment to children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues.


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 7). Read more, write memorials and connect with friends at


John Ed Balentine (’39), Gainesville :: He was born on a

Tommie Jean Dobie Bothwell (’36, ’50 M.Ed.), Prosper ::

farm in what is now Trophy Club and remembered riding his pony to first grade at the Demonstration School on campus. In 1940, he went to work for Magnolia Petroleum Co., later Exxon Mobil Corp., and worked there for 40 years. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II with an antiaircraft division. He and his wife

She taught first and second grades for 37 years, including 35 years in Celina. She served as an elder and treasurer for her church for many years, and was a charter member of the Fidelis Inter Se Club. At North Texas, she was a member of the Elementary Council.

University Community John L. ‘Jack’ Baier, Denton,

moved to a farm in Gainesville in 1959, where he rode horses into his mid 80s. He moved to Waco in 2008.

Clarence W. Powell (’39), Wichita Falls :: He earned his bachelor’s degree in business education from North Texas and returned for doctoral work after earning a master’s from Midwestern State University. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and taught high school for a decade. He retired as a civil service technical writer from Sheppard Air Force Base. His wife was the late Garlena Belle Henderson Powell (’39).

1940s Charles O. Onstead (’47), Houston :: He met his wife, the late Jo Ann Park Onstead (’44), namesake of Jody’s Foun-

tain, at North Texas and finished his degree after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. While completing a medical degree, he returned to active duty and later served in Vietnam. He was chief of radiology at Brooke Army Hospital when he retired as a full colonel at 48, then practiced as a radiologist in South Carolina. His decorations included the Bronze Star. Jody’s Fountain and Onstead Plaza and Promenade were funded by the Onstead family. The late Robert ‘Bob’ Onstead (’54) was Charles’ brother. Memorials may be made to the Onstead Institute for Education in the Visual Arts and Design Fund at UNT.

Mary Elizabeth Durett Stephens (’49), Lawrence, Kan. :: She was a keyboard artist, teacher and church musician who studied with Helen Hewitt and

assistant dean of student life at

University’s Institute for Educa-

operas and published two

Southern Illinois University

tional Management.

textbooks. In 1999, he was

Carbondale. Baier received service

awarded the Texas Educational

professor of

awards from the National


Association of Student Personnel

education from

Administrators and the American

Ralph Borden Culp, Denton,

1992 to 2011, died May 7. He

College Personnel Association. He


theatre in Texas. Culp also taught

previously was a professor,

earned a bachelor’s degree from

Emeritus of

at Rutgers University and the

program chair and vice president

General Motors Institute (Kettering

dance and theatre who worked at

University of Texas at El Paso. He

for student affairs at the University

University), a master’s from the

UNT from 1971 to 1999, died March

attended Catholic University in

of Alabama. He also was assistant

State University of New York at

3. As a professor and former chair

Washington, D.C., before joining

vice president for student affairs at

Buffalo and a doctorate from

in the Department of Dance and

the U.S. Air Force and serving as a

Texas Tech University, associate

Southern Illinois University at

Drama (now the Department of

pilot of mid-air refueling planes in

dean of student development at

Carbondale. He completed

Dance and Theatre), he directed

the Korean War. He earned

the University of Nebraska and

postdoctoral study at Harvard

more than 200 plays, musicals and

bachelor’s and master’s degrees

Summer 2012


Theatre Association Founder’s Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to educational



No r t h Texa n




Silvio Scionti and earned a master’s in music from the University of Kansas. She taught there and at Victoria College. She was planning to retire after 40 years as organist at Lawrence’s Trinity Episcopal Church. She was a charter member of the Phi Tau chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon at North Texas and was married for 62 years to pipe organ technician and organist

William J. Stephens (’49), whom she met in a practice room on campus.

James C. Stewart Jr. (’49), McKinney :: He earned his


George Wilson (’53), Chesterfield, Mo. :: After graduating,

Bettye Dutton Webb (’50), New Braunfels :: She received

he served in the U.S. Navy and then worked for the L.G. Balfour Co. for 30 years. He was a member of Sigma Nu at North Texas. Survivors include his wife, Gloria Spangler Wilson (’53).

a journalism degree from North Texas, where she met Cloys Webb (’51, ’ 58 M.M.Ed.), a respected choral director whom she married in 1949. She worked as a paralegal and secretary in Perryton, McAllen and Fort Worth in addition to working as a homemaker. The Webbs retired to Wimberley in 1993, and Bettye moved to New Braunfels in 2008 after Cloys’ death.

degree in business and was a member of the Trojan fraternity. He started his banking career working for his father’s Central National Bank and became the executive vice president of business development for Independent Bank of McKinney. He was involved in church and community organizations and was a former president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Arlette Crawford Hill (’52), Albuquerque, N.M. :: She was

from Southern Methodist

a mechanical and architectural draftsperson and a medical and technical illustrator. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, she taught technical writing at Texas A&M University. At North Texas, she was a member of Phi Sigma Alpha, the Gammadions, the Mary Ardens and the Green Jackets.

Jack Lewis Akins (’54), Durham, N.C. :: After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he earned his bachelor’s degree from North Texas and his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He was in private practice and retired from the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Waco in 1993. He and his wife moved to Durham in 2009.

Jerry H. Damon (’55), Tillar, Ark. :: He was a member

titioner. He was a member of the Lewisville ISD school board for 12 years, serving as president for three years.

William McKee (’58 Ph.D.), Tulsa, Okla. :: He was a Professor Emeritus of French horn and music history at the University of Tulsa. He conducted the orchestra and performed as a member of the faculty brass quintet there for more than 50 years and served as principal French horn for the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra. He was director of the TU School of Music for eight years while teaching graduate courses.

1960s Mack Christian (’65), DeSoto :: He was a State Farm

of Sigma Phi Epsilon at North Texas. He earned his medical degree from UTMB in Galveston in 1960 and moved to Lewisville in 1964, going into practice as a general surgeon and family prac-

Insurance agent for more than 40 years and was instrumental in the development of State Farm’s matching scholarships for UNT. He was a member of The Kendall Society and a lifetime member of the President’s Council. He also

instructor in 1964. He served as

the U.S. Army during World War II

fellow in economics and in finance

University and a doctorate from

principal horn in the Dallas

and, as a member of the U.S. Army

at North Texas before joining the

Cornell. Memorials may be made to

Symphony Orchestra from 1948 to

Band, played for ceremonies for

faculty full time. His recent research

the Ralph B. Culp Endowment and

1964, and played with the

Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt

and publications examined

Scholarship in Directing at UNT.

Indianapolis Symphony, Vermont

and Harry S. Truman. Memorials

financial markets in Mexico,

Symphony, Metropolitan Opera and

may be made to the Endowed Clyde

including the impact of the North

Clyde E. Miller,

New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Miller Horn Scholarship at UNT.

American Free Trade Agreement.


es on Broadway, Dallas Summer


Musicals and Fort Worth’s Casa

Emeritus of

Roden received a UNT Citation for

among others, and for performanc-

Distinguished Service to Interna-

Mañana. He also taught at Butler

Peyton Foster ‘Doc’ Roden

music, died March 30. He was a

Conservatory. Miller earned a

(’67 M.A., ’70

for NAFTA Studies in 2003. He also

College of Music faculty member

bachelor’s degree from Northwest-

Ph.D.), Denton,

was a certified managerial

from 1955 to 1983, becoming the

ern University and a master’s from

professor of finance since 1975,

accountant and a certified financial

university’s first full-time horn

Columbia University. He served in

died March 14. He was a teaching

manager. Roden previously taught



No r t h Texa n



Summer 2012

tional Business in 2002 and was named director of the UNT Center

was involved in his church and in charitable organizations such as the Methodist Children’s Home and Habitat for Humanity.

math for the Angleton ISD for 18 years, retiring in 1993.

John Michael Vance (’67), Dallas :: He had a 33-year career

instructor, a high school drumline and percussion director and an in-house composer and drummer for several recording studios. He had been a member of The Dallas Cowboys Band, worked as a session player in Los Angeles and performed for five years with the EZ Street Band in the northeast.

at Binks Manufacturing, working in sales and marketing, and retired from Sysco Food Services in 2010. He was inducted into the Jesuit Sports Hall of Fame last year for his baseball talent. He coached baseball from T-Ball through AAA for the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

Gary Via (’78), Blue Springs, Mo. :: He was a percussion


her final wishes included a recording of North Texas, Fight at her memorial.

those who benefited from organ donations.

Shaun Chapa (’08, ’12 M.S.), Denton :: He served in the


in photography at UNT and had been an assistant art professor at Central Michigan University since 2001. CMU presented an exhibit of his artwork to acknowledge his legacy, with 2,000 colleagues and past and present students attending.

Marine Corps from 1997 to 2001. He received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology, and his master’s degree in applied anthropology was awarded posthumously this spring. He was the Sector 2 vice president of the Lambda Theta Phi Latin fraternity, working with ethnic minority youth groups across the U.S. and Canada. He also performed as DJ Chapa for fundraisers around the state.



Courtney Dianne Deuson (’03), Euless :: She worked her

Angela Starrett (’12), Garland :: She worked as a senior

way through school, earning her degree in literature with a minor in sociology and graduating with honors. She taught in St. Louis, before returning to Texas and worked at Farina’s Restaurant/ Winery in Grapevine. Her family says her giving spirit lives on in

service specialist at the Senior Citizens Center for the city of Garland and was known for working behind the scenes to help others. Her bachelor’s degree in emergency administration and planning was awarded posthumously this spring.

Michael Lon Ferguson (’97 M.F.A.), Mount Pleasant, Mich. :: He earned his master’s


Rebecca E. Mabra (’83), Double Oak :: She was a mem-

Norma Joyce Webb Hartmann (’73), Houston :: She began studying foods and nutrition at North Texas in the 1940s and re-enrolled during the summer sessions years later to earn a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at 43. She taught junior high English and math for the Columbia-Brazoria ISD for two years and then taught high school

ber of the Delta Zeta sorority and a lifelong fan of UNT athletics, attending all four of the Mean Green’s New Orleans Bowl games as well as NCAA appearances. She taught in the CarrolltonFarmers Branch ISD for 28 years, including teaching third grade and instructional technology. Survivors include her husband, Russell Mabra (’91). He says

at Baylor University and the

student activities coordinator from

parking and housing appeals


University of New Orleans. He

1984 to 1996, died May 1. Known as

boards. He also was named an

received a bachelor’s degree from

a devoted mentor, university

outstanding alumnus of Lambda Chi

Baylor, which he attended on a

supporter and Mean Green fan,

Alpha fraternity multiple times and

tennis scholarship, and master’s

Tucker received the UNT Alumni

served as an officer of the

and doctoral degrees from UNT.

Association’s 2004 Ulys Knight

fraternity’s alumni association. He

Donations may be made to the

Spirit Award, given to alumni for

continued mentoring students and

Peyton Foster “Doc” Roden

their efforts to sustain spirit among

employees as the manager of the

Memorial Scholarship Fund at UNT.

the UNT family. He earned a

Wells Fargo branch in the University

Send memorials to honor UNT alumni and friends, made payable to the UNT Foundation, to the University of North Texas, Division of Advancement, 1155 Union Circle #311250, Denton, Texas 76203-5017. Indicate on your check the name of the memorial fund or area you wish to support. Make secure gifts online at www. For more information, email giving@ or call 940-565-2900.

bachelor’s degree from Texas

Union before moving to PointBank,

Zachary C. Tucker (’92

Wesleyan University and a master’s

where he was a vice president and

in adult and continuing education

branch manager.

M.Ed.), Denton,

from UNT. He had served on the

who served as

University Union board of directors, the Honors Day committee, and

Summer 2012




No r t h Texa n




A LIFETIME HOME by Blake Windham (’12)



No r t h Texa n


Jonathan Reynolds

ON MAY 12, I WALKED across the stage in the UNT Coliseum to receive a bachelor’s degree in biology with minors in chemistry and political science. Almost all of my family are UNT graduates — including my parents, step-parents and grandparents — and UNT has been home to me all of my life. As a kid, I came to campus with my dad (Scott Windham) almost every weekend. He was a police officer when I was born and has worked on campus for 25 years. I stood along the Homecoming parade route catching candy while he directed traffic, and I threw beanbags and played horseshoes at tailgating events. I’ve been to every football game with my family since I was 12. When I came to UNT as a freshman in 2008, I took the advice of my parents and high school teachers and immediately got involved. I joined the Freshman Intern Program in the Student Government Association, interacting with other freshmen, meeting administrators and working on causes that were important to me, including campaigning for a new stadium. That led to my first on-campus jobs, in the orientation and Honors College offices. At the Honors College, I was introduced to my college mentor, Dr. Gloria Cox, who taught me to stay on top of my school work and do everything with the utmost integrity. Eventually, I launched a campaign to become student body president so I

could work for students and advocate for their causes. That was the most rewarding part, discussing and resolving issues with students — like work on a campus smoking ban, the construction of a new Union and the affordability of college. I also was chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series and had the honor to meet and interact one-on-one with financial expert Suze Orman, civil rights activist Cornel West, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former President George W. Bush. I entered UNT with ambitions of becoming a medical doctor, but working in student government and in the U.S. Senate as an intern for John Cornyn took me in a new direction — to follow my other passion, government. Sen. Cornyn knew I was a student body president and every morning he would say, “Good morning, Mr. President.” Part of my job was to give tours of the U.S. Capitol, where I learned the stories behind all of the paintings and statues of people who are important in history. One of my last nights in Washington, I was watching the legislative session on C-SPAN and decided to go


Summer 2012

to the Capitol with my ID card to sit in the chamber and watch the debate in person. I was the only one there. It lasted until 3 a.m., and I was fascinated by it. Afterward, I stood in the middle of the rotunda and looked up, soaking it all in. It was a turning point for me. I’m now going to pursue my Ph.D. in political science at Texas A&M with a doctoral assistantship worth $150,000. Maybe I’ll teach, or maybe I’ll go back to Washington to help create healthcare policies. I may run for office one day. But I’ll remember how my family guided me throughout my journey. And I’ll remember being in the Honors College and living in Honors Hall, working in the SGA offices, hanging out in Clark Park with my friends and tailgating at Fouts Field and Apogee Stadium. UNT will always be my home. Blake Windham’s degree symbolizes four generations of UNT alumni, dating back to the 1930s. Read more about his legacy family at legacy-families.

With a father who played nine years for the Washington Redskins, Zach Orr has football in his DNA. As one of UNT’s outstanding student-athletes, Orr excels at making good plays and good grades. He made the Dean’s List, the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll and the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. Last year, he was a top defender in the Sun Belt Conference and voted a team captain as a sophomore. Orr believes greatness is defined by the respect you earn from others. Support Orr and the Mean Green by buying season tickets.

800-UNT-2366| 940-565-2527

— Zach Orr,

Mean Green linebacker and kinesiology major

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 This spring, UNT students brought “Heard” to life. The performance piece was created by Nick Cave, alumnus and 2011-12 artist-in-residence for UNT’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. Watch a video featuring 60 dance students in 30 Soundsuits — wearable sculptures made with the help of UNT art students and community members — corralled by percussion students at

The North Texan - UNT Alumni Magazine - Summer 2012