It’s difficult to imagine that nearly a month of our first semester is already behind us! I’m excited to share some of our early highlights.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
I’ve always remarked that TWU looks a lot like Texas demographically, and this fall we saw a 5.8% increase in Hispanic students as part of our all-time enrollment high of 15,846 students. We also recorded increases in our African- American and Asian student populations.
Aside from being a Hispanic-Serving Institution, U.S. News & World Report ranked us among the seventh most diverse universities in the country. Students of color now account for more than 56% of our total enrollment.
Not by coincidence, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, our Mobile GO Center, above, is sponsoring or hosting several activities aimed at recruiting Hispanic students and developing leaders, including the La Vida Denton event this week at the Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts.
Incidentally, we’re also celebrating our bilingual education program that's turning 50 this fall. It was one of the first programs of its kind in the state and continues to be popular with aspiring teachers. Our philosophy on the importance of bilingual education was reflected in a Dallas Morning News op-ed this month penned by Mandy Stewart, assistant professor in the College of Professional Education.
"YOLO, TX" TV program features Denton and TWU
This month, the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO), TX weekly 30-minute TV travel show featured a nearly eight-minute segment on Denton and Texas Woman’s University. It aired Sept. 8 in the DFW area on the CW network and also on 21 stations in 15 Texas markets, including Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.
TWU theatre student recasts nature of children's musical theatre
Jill Wheeler, one of our undergraduate theatre students and owner of Curtain Call Productions, is rewriting the script for children’s musical theatre. Rather than borrowing pages from musical theatre standbys like "Matilda" or "You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown", she creates original musicals for her students, allowing for more focus on each individual and their unique talents.
Jill, who previously attended classes at UNT and Bowling Green State University in Ohio, is in the process of relocating her Curtain Call Children’s Theatre company and her family from Norwalk, Ohio to Denton, where she is working on her bachelor’s degree at TWU.
Patrick Bynane Ph.D., our theatre program director, is excited to have Jill’s professional and life experience add to the diversity of his program. As he told me, “I’m always thrilled to have non-traditional successful undergraduate students in our program, because it gives our younger undergraduates a firsthand opportunity to work with those who have real-world entrepreneurial experience and see that pursuing their dreams and goals is always a possibility.”
And speaking of our theatre program, we’re proud to open our season with Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of ambition gone wrong, "Macbeth." In November, we’ll present the world premiere of "The Architecture of Loss," which already has been accepted for performance at the International Conference on Arts in Society in Galway, Ireland in 2020. In February, Susan Carol Davis, guest director, documentarian and Thin Line Festival Board member, will direct "These Shining Lives." We will close our season in April with the very funny, innovative work of David Ives with "The Lives of the Saints." We’d love to see you! You can purchase tickets online ($10 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; and pay-what-you-can for Thursday, 8 p.m. performances). All performances will take place in our Redbud Theater Complex.
TWU student stars in popular YouTube Channel Jubilee
YouTube’s popular channel Jubilee recently invited TWU business student Victoria Cotroneo, Navy veteran and president of the Student Veterans Association (SVA), to Los Angeles to appear in its “Do All Veterans Think the Same?” episode. Cotroneo can be seen above, center, placing flags for the special 9/11 SVA tribute event. I'm Pioneer Proud of Cotroneo’s representation of female veterans on this widely viewed public platform. Prior to the filming, Cotroneo said, “There’s this disconnect between what is a veteran and what is not. When I’m out for dinner with my fiance, they thank him for his service but not me. A veteran is all shapes, all colors, all genders.”
TWU alumna at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children tapped for national honors
American Business Women's Day
Every Sept. 22, America celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of the millions of working women and female business owners across the country. Our Center for Women Entrepreneurs is committed to helping women-owned businesses succeed through advising, funding, networking and training, and one of the growing number of women business owners we celebrate this month is Roxayne Strong, founder of a technology education company CodeStream Studios, LLC, who was awarded one of our microgrants in 2018. Our center is working hard to help Texas become #1 in women-owned businesses!
WASP tribute, special exhibit to debut in Sacramento Oct. 5
KERA-TV to air TWU documentary "Mack Minded: Humanly Possible"
Following a successful debut this spring in Denton, our “Mack Minded” documentary has been selected for competitive screenings in six additional film festivals across the country. In addition, KERA-TV public television also will air it as part of the “Best of Thin Line” segment of Frame of Mind at 10 p.m., Nov. 14. The documentary covers our own NASA “Hidden Figure” from nearly 60 years ago—Research Institute Director Pauline Beery Mack, Ph.D., who conducted groundbreaking bone density research on early astronauts, analyzing the effects of microgravity on the human body.
City of Denton, others celebrate special TWU donors
City of Denton officials and dignitaries, members of our Board of Regents, colleagues, friends and neighbors feted two of our most notable alumni donors this fall: Mary L.A. Stanton ('89 BBA), left, and Dianne Baker ('75 BS-Physical Education). Thanks to their generosity, our Denton campus is growing with style and grace!
Our new Parliament Village is now abuzz with nearly 900 sophomores, following the recent opening ceremony of the village’s “Mary’s Hall.” Thanks to the largest alumna gift we’ve received, from Mary L.A. Stanton, we’ve been able to bring back students to campus who in previous years lived off-campus in local hotels and leased apartments due to our limited housing availability. Stanton received a City of Denton proclamation for her generosity, gifts and a standing ovation from the crowd attending the celebration.
Music, videos and promotional spots on our new softball scoreboard were the harbinger of other great things under way at our recently renamed Dianne Baker Field. On Sept. 21, hundreds of friends and fans celebrated Dianne Baker, our alumna and former softball coach, for her generous gift— Denton Mayor Pro Tem Gerard Hudspeth gave Baker a City of Denton proclamation, as Regents Jill Jester (chair) and Bernadette Coleman along with others—including a flash mob!—honored Baker and her gift, the largest given by a living alumna to our athletics program.
I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to members of our community for their support as we mourn the passing this month of our beloved faculty member, Katie McWain Ph.D., assistant professor in our English, Speech and Foreign Languages department. We also send our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, colleagues and students. Katie began teaching at TWU in 2017 and was an extraordinarily bright presence among us, a gifted teacher and a brilliant scholar. She leaves a lasting legacy as a researcher, educator and friend. Katie was a passionate advocate for graduate students and all those who work to support their success, so we have set up a fund for scholarships and research in her memory through the TWU Foundation.
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.
Page last updated 12:24 PM, April 25, 2023