Pioneers prepare for new year
This month is typically one of the busiest and most exciting of the academic year, and the build-up this time around has been no exception. We welcomed the largest incoming class on record and reached 97% occupancy for on-campus residency. To kick off the new semester, we offered a little bit of everything for students, parents and the TWU community – Fall Assembly, First-Year Convocation, residence hall move-in, and the student Block Party. For the campus community, the assembly is a chance to come together and celebrate our progress while looking forward to new and exciting plans for campus improvement. Our first-year convocation is an opportunity to formally welcome our newest students and their families, introduce TWU traditions and provide a peek into what to expect at our most important celebration – graduation. Speaking of traditions, we also raised the inaugural TWU class flag, signed by more than 1,000 new students. It flew during move-in week and the first week of school, and will fly again during commencement in four years. After a few hot days of move-in, we capped off the week with a block party – music, games, food and friends. These activities help us engage our students and community, forging new bonds through traditions that not only express our values, but connect us to our past and the future.
Connecting with Pacific Northwest alumni
Doswell Foundation chairwoman and CEO Beverly Fricke was among the guests at the Seattle alumni reception.
Earlier this month, I traveled to Seattle to meet with about 40 Texas Woman’s alumni who live in and around that area of the Pacific Northwest. It was an opportunity to strengthen bonds with a community of Pioneers living beyond our Texas borders. These alums cherished their time at Texas Woman’s but, for obvious geographic reasons, cannot easily visit campus. We have alumni in virtually every state and in many countries, and they are making an impact in their own communities. It is gratifying to learn that they are extending their college experiences to a lifetime of engagement with our university. You may recall I attended a similar, highly successful event last November in Washington, D.C. Next February, we will be in Austin to catch up with alumni in and around the area, and I promise to update you on how that event goes.
Cancer research has profound implications
From left, Drs. Juliet Spencer and Michael Bergel.
I am amazed at the extraordinary research our faculty and students conduct, which emphasizes our continued commitment to academic excellence. Recently, the director of our School of the Sciences, Juliet Spencer, PhD, and her colleague, Michael Bergel, PhD, shared their research and findings about a patented anti-cancer compound and the role of a virus known as cytomegalovirus (CMV) on the spread of tumors in breast cancer patients.
While CMV exists benignly in most of us, early findings suggest the presence of the virus in breast cancer patients may cause tumors to grow more aggressively. Drs. Spencer and Bergel have found that combinations of the anti-cancer compound and an anti-viral drug may significantly inhibit tumor spread in breast cancer patients with CMV. Years of research and experimentation support this, and their team hopes to attract funding from a major pharmaceutical company to pursue clinical trials. This research has transformational implications for breast cancer treatment and we are thrilled that Texas Woman’s faculty and student researchers are pioneering work in the fight against cancer.
Leader leaves legacy of giving, compassion
I am saddened to report the passing of a true visionary, a great leader and an exceptional model of philanthropy, Texas Woman’s alumna and former regent Virginia Chandler Dykes. Dykes has been an outstanding friend and supporter of so many causes focused on improving the quality of life for us all. Her compassion and outsized heart were an inspiration to everyone. She established a scholarship endowment at Texas Woman’s to attract doctoral students in occupational therapy, her longtime career field. She and her husband also created a separate endowment that supports a lectureship to benefit OT students. Dykes founded the Dallas Leadership Luncheon, a signature event for the university that honors the Metroplex’s most accomplished citizens and raises funds for graduate student scholarships.
Gymnastics adds another accolade
I am pleased to note the Texas Woman’s gymnastics team continues to notch outstanding achievements. This month, the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association recognized the team for posting the highest GPA (3.8774) in the nation among collegiate gymnastics programs. This follows the squad’s championship titles at the USA Gymnastics and Midwest Independent Conference events earlier this year – a “trifecta” of distinguished honors, Athletics Director Sandee Mott reports.
Lastly, I leave you with an image from last week’s Block Party, one of several events designed to help students better connect with the university community. We know that students who acclimate well to the university environment have even better chances for academic success.
Thanks for your interest in Texas Woman’s. As always, email me with your comments or questions. I am delighted that you have spent a few minutes with me today.
Follow Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Page last updated 9:48 AM, March 2, 2023