Fall is in Full Swing!
It could be that the next significant breakthrough in our country’s struggle with the opioid crisis will come from one of our research teams.
Neuroscientist Dayna Averitt, botanist Camelia Maier and post-doctoral student Paramita Basu recently published their work in two academic journals showing that a plant native to Texas – Euphorbia bicolor, also known as Snow-on-the-Prairie – contains a phytochemical with powerful analgesic properties as effective as opioids in relieving pain but is non-addictive.
October is Physical Therapy Month
As one of six institutions in the nation and the only one in Texas to offer a Ph.D. in physical therapy (PT), our university has helped pave the way for physical therapists moving into academic and research roles. Our nearly 2,600 PT graduates in Texas also are now able to respond directly to patients’ requests for physical therapy without waiting for a doctor’s referral, thanks to a new law that became effective Sept. 1.
Studies have shown that total health care costs decrease when people who need PT services can have early access to those services, and the new law also makes physical therapy more readily available in underserved areas across the state.
Across the nation, physical therapists engaged in a day of service this month. Our students, for instance, worked alongside others to clean up the trails at Cedar Hill State Park in Dallas and the Japanese Garden at Hermann Park in Houston.
Beth Marie’s Ice Cream debuts TWU flavor
Beth Marie’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream on Denton's Square has created a special new flavor—Pioneer Pomegranate, nicknamed “Pioneer Pom”—in honor of our university. My very special thanks to Margaret Rich, operations manager, who worked for months to get the flavor just right. I introduced the new ice cream during our annual State Employees Charitable Campaign luncheon, where the United Way recognized us for the largest per-capita gift and greatest participation last year for organizations with more than 2,001 employees.
TWU named National Outdoor Champion
I’m pleased to share that we were just crowned “champion” of more than 13,000 campus challenge participants who logged more than 65,000 outdoor activities in the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Campus Challenge. The 97 schools TWU outscored included the University of Arizona, Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara and the University of Central Florida.
In addition to being named the National Outdoor Champion among Division 1 universities across the nation, TWU also was named Environmental Champion; Health/Wellbeing Champion; and Developing Skills/Personal Growth Champion. Barbara McAlister, our first-year grad student in dance and graduate assistant in our Health and Wellbeing Initiative, was named the individual Southwest Champion.
Globally renowned chemist receives award
Last night, we awarded the Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award to E. Ann Nalley, Ph.D. ('75 Ph.D.-Radiation Chemistry), the Clarence L. Page Endowed Chair of Mathematics and Science Education at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. Over her half century-plus career, she has directed hundreds of undergraduates in chemistry research and provided thousands of students with internships and experiences through summer science academies and other STEM outreach activities around the world. Her award followed our annual Celebration of Science event, which this year drew record attendance of more than 300 faculty, students and guests, along with about three dozen former biology, chemistry and biochemistry students who attended an alumni event the evening before.
Pictured with Dr. Nalley, above, is Richard Sheardy, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of our Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.
Please join us!
BOO AT THE U—For decades, we’ve hosted a Halloween event for the Denton area community—and we anticipate nearly 3,000 visitors this year (Thursday, Oct. 24) for our “Boo at the U,” staffed by nearly 180 of our students, staff and faculty. Please join us for free “Trunk or Treating,” inflatables, games, prizes, ghost stories, dance activities, face painting, haunted house, student performances, photo opportunities—and of course, candy!
From 4:30-8 p.m., you may park in any "All Decal" designated lots, marked with black painted curbs on our campus. We would appreciate it if you could please donate one canned good per person to support our TWU Food Pantry.
Art Day—We will host our first Art Day this Friday, Oct. 25, in Denton. High school students, transfer students and art educators are invited to participate in this free, daylong event. Students can participate in hands-on fine art, drawing, illustration and graphic design workshops.
Teachers will take part in a digital fabrication workshop, as well as professional development and networking opportunities. Attendees also will tour the facilities and view presentations from current art majors. For more information, visit twu.edu/visual-arts/art-day/.
Alumni Leaders Make News
Alumna selected as a “Most Admired CEO”—Congratulations to Merrilee Kick (‘09 EMBA), who was recently selected as one of the Dallas Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs. Merrilee was one of 20 honorees, selected from leaders in a diverse range of industries, including architecture, manufacturing, health care, real estate and technology. She is the CEO and founder of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, whose advice to other leaders resonates with so many: “Not only trust your instinct but make friends … make friends fast and hire the best team you possibly can.” Her company produces cocktails that use 100% juice, with no high-fructose corn syrup, in 100% non-breakable recyclable containers.
Alumna named to Great Lakes Water Authority—Beverly Walker-Griffea (’04 PhD-Child Development), president of Mott Community College, has been appointed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the six-person Great Lakes Water Authority Board of Directors. She will represent citizens served by the Authority outside Detroit—including Flint—from September 2019 to December 2022.
Alumni celebrate first anniversary of Fort Worth Art Room as nonprofit—Three TWU alumni, Nathan Madrid, co-founder and executive director (BA’11, MFA’14); Katie Murray, co-founder and chief advisor (MA’13); and Deedra Baker, program director (MFA’16), are behind the growing success of this contemporary art center which became a 501(c)(3) to educate, inspire and support underrepresented youth and adult artists in the Fort Worth community. The center showcases a diverse culture of local, regional and national emerging and mid-career artists in a variety of media.
Alumna encourages more wheelchair table tennis players—The Houston Chronicle earlier this month spotlighted alumna Pam Fontaine ('94 MS-Physical Education), a National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Famer who nearly achieved her third consecutive place in September on the U.S. Paralympic table tennis team in Peru. Now, she “plans to play for fun and use her passion, talent and 38 years of experience as a player, coach and adjunct professor…to help develop the next generation of wheelchair table tennis players,” the paper reported.
TWU documentary film festival showings rise to 11 across the United States
Our "Mack Minded" documentary continues to rack up the accolades! It's been selected for three more film festival screenings, including being named a NASA CineSpace Finalist for the Houston Cinema Arts Fest, screening at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16. We are excited to share the story of TWU's former Research Director Pauline Beery Mack, Ph.D., whose advances in bone density research provided NASA invaluable information for manned spaceflight during the 1960s, when women scientists were rarely recognized among their male peers. For more information about "Mack Minded" and the 11 film festivals where it has been selected to screen, visit twu.edu/mack-minded.
Up, up and away!
A number of us signed a beam this month that was hoisted atop the $54 million STEM research center slated for completion in June next year. The four-story research building on the northwest corner of North Bell Avenue and Texas Street will finish the building boom on our Denton campus that began a few years ago.
Thank you for your interest in Texas Woman’s. I invite you to email me if you have any comments or questions, and I am delighted that you have spent a few minutes with me today.
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Page last updated 9:07 AM, October 25, 2021