August 15, 2015
By Addy Kryger / School of Strategic Communication
All who step foot on TCU’s campus immediately recognize the beauty and stature of what’s around them, but this wasn’t always the case. Over the past few decades the looks and leadership of TCU has changed immensely. From new chancellors to new buildings to new conferences, TCU is bigger and better than ever before.
When William E. Tucker was Chancellor in 1979, TCU was much smaller and didn’t get much recognition outside the state of Texas. Since then, endless effort and dedication of key individuals have transformed the university.
Dr. Dan Williams, Honors Professor of Humanities, and Dr. Leo Munson, associate provost for academic support, noticed the immense change that was happening around them.
“I said one day to Leo, ‘Meet me at the bookstore, I need to talk to you about an idea I have for an Honors class,” explained Williams. From here they created “Honors Special Project: Vision and Leadership,” which is an Honors Colloquia course for Upper-Division Honors students.
The course is designed to tell the story of TCU’s achievements over the past 30 years by those who guided the university through those pivotal times. Students have been working during the past several semesters on interviewing key TCU trustees, administrators, faculty and staff in order to obtain TCU’s growing history.
The first part of the semester is spent on reviewing interview and videotaping techniques. A professional videographer comes into the classroom and teaches students how to work the camera and how to get the best shot. During the remaining part of the semester students are sent out on their own to conduct their interview and complete the subsequent assignments.
The students mainly serve as editorial assistants in charge of setting up, conducting, transcribing, and editing the interviews, which will result in a TCU Press book called “Vision and Leadership: TCU Through the Eyes of Those Who Helped to Shape Its History.” Each student will be recognized for his or her work in the final copy of the book, which will be sold in the TCU Bookstore. A copy of every interview conducted will be housed in the TCU Library’s archives.
The course first began in 2009 where students’ main focus was interviewing individuals from Chancellor William Tucker’s era. As the semesters passed and the interviews were obtained, students then progressed to Chancellor Michael Ferrari’s era.
Six years later, the interviews are now focused on individuals from the era of the current chancellor, Victor Boschini. The course was offered for the last time in Spring 2015. This also means the book is one step closer to completion.
Given the course’s unique nature, Honors students are allowed to take the class up to three times. Junior Anna Schraer enrolled in the course twice, including in Spring 2015.
“I’m so sad that this is the last semester I can take this class,” she said. “It’s so fun and I’ve learned so much about TCU’s history.”
Senior Daniel Vial has taken the course for three semesters and has worked hard to obtain the interview of the year: Chancellor Victor Boschini.
“I emailed his secretary and kept following up with phone calls so she would know I was serious about this interview,” said Vial. “Chancellor Boschini is one of the main reasons TCU is the way it is today and this interview was pivotal to obtaining TCU’s history.”
When asked about his interview with Chancellor Boschini, Vial replied, “It was a dream come true.”
It hasn’t gone unrecognized that Chancellor Boschini is one of the main reasons TCU has flourished. During her interview, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Kathy Cavins-Tull commented on the impact Boschini has made on TCU.
“He sets the tone for all of this,” she said. “He challenges us when we’re like ‘uh maybe we won’t go that far on something’ and he’s like ‘oh you’re gonna go this far.’ He is a risk taker and he is somebody who has really great vision. All of this physical transformation of this campus is the Chancellor.”
Schraer asked TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte about the impact athletics has made on TCU as a university. Del Conte replied, “Athletics has opened the door to a stage, a stage that was set and prepared by Chancellor Boschini. He is the reason why this school is so successful.”
“I would have never fully realized the impact Chancellor Boschini has had on this school if it wasn’t for this class. I have so much respect for him and everything he has done for this school,” said sophomore Emily Knuth.
Another big interview that occurred this semester was TCU Football Coach Gary Patterson.
“We have been trying to get an interview with him for the last couple of years and it finally happened. We are ecstatic,” said Williams.
Sophomore Olivia Ernst had the honor of interviewing Coach Patterson and had an amazing experience.
“Gary was so nice and welcoming. He let us take a picture with the Peach Bowl Trophy after the interview was over!” exclaimed Ernst.
Dr. Munson is also sad that the course is coming to an end but excited for the completed project.
“The students this semester have worked really hard to help us get the final interviews,” Munson said. “At this point in the semester, we have never had so many people complete their interviews this early. Dr. Williams and I are very impressed.”