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Volume 27, Number 7, Dec. 6-19, 2004


Texas Woman’s University will present Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi, CEO and chief operating officer of the Texas Medical Center, with an honorary doctor of laws degree during Houston commencement ceremonies, Dec. 19 in the George R. Brown Convention Center. TWU has awarded only seven other honorary degrees in its 103-year history.

“It is an honor to recognize Dr. Wainerdi for his long and productive association with teaching, learning and intellectual inquiry and his constant quest for new ideas, new growth and new science,” said TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart. “Houston’s civic leaders, health care professionals and residents are well-aware of Dr. Wainerdi’s extraordinary achievements and his dedication to health care and education. More remarkable is that thousands of people half a world away are as aware of his accomplishments.”

Since taking the top leadership post at the Texas Medical Center in 1984, Dr. Wainerdi has been instrumental in increasing the physical size, patient count, number of employees and students, and research grants at the TMC. In his role as an educator, he spent 20 years at Texas A&M University and founded the university’s Nuclear Science Center, the Activation Analysis Research Laboratory, the German Synfuels Technology Retrieval Program, the Center for Energy and Mineral Resources and a number of other programs, including the university’s College of Medicine. He continues to serve as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M, as well as the Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and University of Texas Houston Health Science Center.

“I am delighted to formally become a part of the Texas Woman's University family,” said Dr. Wainerdi. “The university has established a proud tradition of excellence in the health professions. This is an honor which I will cherish.”

A petroleum engineering graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Wainerdi also received master’s and doctoral degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He also is a graduate of the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology and the Bronx High School of Science.

Recipients of an honorary degree from TWU must demonstrate genuine achievement in an activity consonant with the university’s mission. Nominations are made by faculty, staff or members of the TWU Board of Regents, and an advisory committee reviews the nominations and makes a recommendation to the chancellor of the university.

Previous recipients are: Nelda C. Stark, honorary doctor of laws degree (1957); Mary Gibbs Jones, honorary doctor of laws degree (1958); Edith Alderman Deen, honorary doctor of letters degree (1959); Lady Bird Johnson, honorary doctor of laws degree (1964); Marcella Perry, honorary doctor of laws degree (1976); Lucile Petry Leone, honorary doctor of laws degree (1979); and Marie M. Clay, honorary doctor of humane letters degree (2003).

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TWU will hold three commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 18 in Pioneer Hall for Denton and Dallas winter graduates. The Houston ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, in the General Assembly Hall of the George R. Brown Convention Center.

TWU Chancellor Dr. Ann Stuart will preside at each ceremony, which includes an academic procession, conferring of degrees and a commencement address. Approximately 465 undergraduate and 486 graduate degrees will be awarded during the Denton ceremonies. Approximately 181 degrees will be conferred during the Houston ceremony.

Times for Denton commencement reflect candidate assignments based on specific schools and colleges participating in the ceremonies listed below.

Dr. Robert Martin, a professor in TWU’s School of Library and Information Studies who currently serves as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will speak during the first Denton commencement. Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks, president and CEO of the Dallas Urban League and a 1999 TWU Distinguished Alumna, will deliver the commencement address during the noon ceremony. Liza Lee, executive director of the Young Women’s Leadership Foundation and former headmistress of The Hockaday School, is the speaker for the 3 p.m. ceremony. Karen Ross, executive director of CHRISTUS Spohn Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, will be the Houston speaker.

President George W. Bush nominated Dr. Martin in June 2001 to serve as director of the IMLS, a federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. Dr. Martin is the first librarian to lead the institute. Dr. Martin served as director and librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission prior to joining the TWU faculty in 1999.

Dr. Mitchell-Brooks earned her master’s degree in genetics from TWU in 1970, becoming the first African-American to gain a master of science degree in pure science from the university. She earned her doctorate in molecular biology/biochemistry through a joint program between TWU and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She worked as an environmental specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the city of Dallas, as well as on the faculties of Northlake College and Bishop College. She currently serves as an adjunct professor in anatomy and physiology at El Centro Community College.

Lee, a nationally known leader in all-girls education, served as headmistress of The Hockaday School in Dallas for 14 years before becoming executive director of the Young Women’s Leadership Foundation earlier this year. The foundation supports an all-girls public school that opened in Dallas in August. Lee is past president of the National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls. She is board chair for St. Philip’s School, an African-American private elementary school in Dallas. Lee also serves on the advisory boards of the Dallas Women’s Foundation and the Dallas Performing Arts Center.

Ross earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from TWU in 1976, and her post-BS in physical therapy from the university in 1978. She owned a physical therapy and rehabilitation clinic from 1983 to 1994 when it merged with CHRISTUS Spohn. Ross has overseen the growth of the program from its original 12 employees to more than 200 today. The program also has expanded its services to six hospitals, four outpatient clinics and a home health division.

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Dr. JoAnn Engelbrecht (research and sponsored programs) announced the following faculty and administrators received grants.

Dr. Judith Bean (academic affairs) received a $206,913 grant for the period from Oct. 1, 2004 to Sept. 30, 2005 from the United States Department of Education for the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The program is designed to provide research opportunities and other related academic experiences for first-generational, low-income and ethnically underrepresented college students.

Dr. Lene Symes (nursing-Houston) received a $78,640 subcontract from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston on an award from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the period from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005 for the Consortium to Advance Nursing Diversity and Opportunity. The purpose of the project is to increase the number of baccalaureate prepared nurses from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.

Dr. Sue Schafer (physical therapy-Dallas) received an $8,100 grant for the period from Oct. 1, 2004 to Sept. 30, 2005 from the American Physical Therapy Association for a project titled “Perspectives on Administration and Management Preparation of Physical Therapists Entering Clinical Practice in 2020.” The study will identify the essential administration and management content needed by physical therapists who will begin practice under the American Physical Therapy Association’s Vision 2020.

Dr. Gloria Byrd (nursing-Dallas) received a $5,813 grant from the Dallas Foundation for the period from Sept. 22, 2004 to Sept. 21, 2005 for a project titled the “Computerized Simulation to Foster an Interactive Self-Paced Learning Environment.” Students participate in computer simulations to enhance their learning and regular progression in their undergraduate nursing degree program.

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Information and news about activities, programs or TWU people may be sent to the office of marketing and communication through campus mail, by fax at 8-1-3463 or by e-mail to The deadline to receive information is the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. for the following publication. Student information for the "People" section is not published unless it is submitted by or in conjunction with a faculty member and that faculty member's related activities.

TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart invites the university community to join her in a holiday celebration Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to noon in the lobby of CFO.

Dr. Russell Greer (English) will discuss “New Literatures in English from Former British Colonies” in the next Professor’s Corner, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the South Branch Denton Public Library, 3228 Teasley. Admission is free and the program is open to the public. The purpose of Professor's Corner is to provide area English professors and doctoral students an opportunity to share their special interests with the general public through informal presentations and discussions. For more information, contact Dr. Stephen Souris at 8-1-2343 or the Denton Public Library at 940-349-8251.

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Please submit “People” items (faculty and staff only) to the office of marketing and communication by campus mail or by e-mail to Include first and last names (no initials, please) and appropriate titles (ie. Dr.).

The university community extends its sympathy to Paul Nichols (facilities management) who lost his son, Brandon Dale Nichols, 23, of Denton, on Nov. 30. Services were held Dec. 3. Staff Council is accepting donations to help defray funeral costs.

Dr. Linda Metcalf (family sciences) made a presentation in Glasgow, Scotland and London, England in November on Solution Focused Counseling in Schools, sponsored by the Brief Therapy Practice of London. She also spoke to school counselors in Cannock, England on the same topic.

A proposal by Dr. Debra Mollen (psychology), “Voluntarily Childfree Women’s Experience of Stigmatization,” has been accepted as a presentation for the 30th Annual Conference for the Association of Women in Psychology in February.

Dr. JoAnn Danelo Barbour (educational administration) chaired a symposium and presented a paper in November at the Convention for the University Council for Educational Administration in Kansas City, Mo. The title of her paper is “Oz, Jurassic Park, The Matrix: Using Contextual Settings in Film to Understand Chaos Theory and Organizational Leadership.”

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Dec. 6-9

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