Message From the Chancellor (COVID-19 April 9, 2020 7:39 p.m.)

Marking a trail in a pathless wilderness

Dear Texas Woman’s Community,

I hope this message finds you well on what some observe as Maundy Thursday.

A former colleague forwarded me a poem that was supposedly about the Spanish Flu pandemic in the early 20th century. That poem invoked an eerie familiarity with today’s upheaval. I can only guess at the intentions of whomever contrived this misinformation that has spread virally—no pun intended—on social media. It is a reminder that with great power—technology and the Internet—comes great responsibility. We truly are in uncharted territory; yet, that is where we at Texas Woman’s have always found ourselves as Jessie H. Humphries’ words carved in our 1938 Pioneer Woman attest:

“Marking a trail in a pathless wilderness, pressing forward with unswerving courage, she met each untried situation with resourcefulness equal to the need; with a glad heart, she brought to her frontier her homeland’s cultural heritage; with delicate spiritual sensitiveness, she illumined the dullness of routine and the loneliness of isolation with beauty; and with life abundant and withal, she lived with casual unawareness of her value to civilization. Such was the Pioneer Woman, the unsung saint of the nation’s immortals.”

Graduate student Sylvia Rowe in our Master of Library Science program lives in Tennessee and feels somewhat removed from Texas Woman’s while taking classes in a fully online program. She ended her note to me with this inspiration: “This is my last semester at TWU since I will graduate next month, but more than ever, I know that I made the right—and the best—choice by attending TWU.” Sylvia is marking a trail.

Another recent favorite about blazing trails—and changing attitudes—comes from music education major Michaela Brandt:

“When this whole ‘online classes’ thing started, I was very nervous about my education and how a student in a major requiring lots of face-to-face instruction, would learn anything. My past experiences with online classes were not the best learning-wise, and only added to my hesitance. … So, on your recommendation to us all, I buckled down and made sure I treated the online experience with both the same intensity as in-person classes and an open, flexible mind. ...So far, it’s been both difficult and eye-opening about how much one can really learn when their professors put in the time to make online learning the best it can be.”

One of our development officers, Patton Griffith, has been working with TWU Distinguished Alumni Maggie Snyder (Nursing 1976), who was on the front lines during another viral pandemic that gripped the world with fear, HIV/AIDS. Her leadership documented in Quiet Heros, a 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection, is another testament to the Texas Woman’s pioneering spirit.

I will end today summarizing a note from Dr. Nila Ricks, who like many, is juggling family, students, and faculty needs with responsibilities to her health and wellbeing. She is “blazing trails” in her back yard with boot camp-like workouts, and living her best shelter-in-place life while helping her son with his seafood boil mukbang on YouTube.

Dr. Nila Ricks with her son

In conclusion, she writes, “I’m also thankful that my students and faculty are starting to adjust. We will get through this and have some monumental experiences and memories to share. We won’t come out of this tunnel empty-handed!!”

We are marking a trail in a pathless wilderness. We are Texas Woman’s University!

With a pioneering spirit,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President

P.S. For the latest information, check out the TWU COVID-19 webpage.

Page last updated 8:36 AM, April 23, 2020