Forever to Be True: Homecoming 2017

IMG_20170420_082137Laughter, hugs and strains of the school songs could be heard throughout the weekend, April 21 and 22, during the annual Homecoming and Reunion activities.

The ‘honor’ classes, those ending in 7 and 2, participated in class dinners as well as taking advantage of all of the exciting activities that were taking place.

From an update with Chancellor Feyten to tours showcasing the latest technology used in the classrooms, alumni were treated to an inside look at their alma mater.

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The Golden Girls Make a Grand Entrance
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Remembering Dr. Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey


“I have a deep and abiding pride and affection for the University. Pride in what the University stands for and does.”

~ Dr. Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey

On June 27, 2017, Texas Woman’s University mourned the loss of a true Pioneer Woman, Dr. Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey. In 1976, Dr. Blagg-Huey became TWU’s first female president, but her love affair with the university began long before that.


Henry H. Blagg

Dr. Blagg-Huey was first introduced to TWU at the age of three when her family moved to Denton. Her father, Henry H. Blagg, worked at the University Press. Dr. Blagg Huey grew up on the campus.


Dr. Blagg-Huey 1940s

She attended the Demonstration School for kindergarten and first grade when the university was still known as the College of Industrial Arts (CIA), as well as numerous Easter egg hunts held on the TWU lawn. Dr. Blagg-Huey earned her bachelor’s degree from TWU, the Texas State College for Women, in English and voice in 1942, and in 1943 she earned her master’s degree in English from the university as well. Her mother and her sister also attended TWU.


Dr. Blagg-Huey taught English at TSCW for two years before leaving to obtain her second bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky. She went on to receive her Ph.D. from Duke University. From_1976_Yearbook_4In 1971, Dr. Blagg-Huey returned to TWU as the Dean of the Graduate School. During her time as the Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Blagg-Huey worked to develop doctoral programs in reading, English, psychology, and sociology, as well as the establishment of master’s programs in the area of health, such as health administration and health sciences education.Blagg-huey_inauguration In 1976, after the sudden passing of Dr. John Guinn, the TWU Board of Regents named Dr. Blagg-Huey as the acting president of the university. She was officially inaugurated in 1977.library_today



Dr. Blagg-Huey’s legacy lives on at TWU in many ways, her favorite being TWU’s library, which bears her name.

As TWU President, Dr. Blagg-Huey felt connecting with students was important. She made sure to talk to them whenever possible and tried to attend as many campus events as she could.



Dr. Blagg-Huey still enjoyed visiting the campus for special events, most recently at a Homecoming luncheon she attended in April. She was beloved by her students, who remember her for her kindness, her passion, and her cheerful smile.


Many alumni shared their memories and love of Dr. Blagg-Huey upon hearing the news of her passing.

We invite you to share your memories of Dr. Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey in the comments section below.

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TWU Alumni Association Board of Directors – June 9 Business Meeting


TWU Alumni Association Board of Directors with Chancellor Feyten – June 9, 2017.

Friday, June 9, the TWU Alumni Association Board of Directors began the business day with a University update from Chancellor Carine Feyten.  The members broke into committees and later in the afternoon, conducted business for the Association.  Lunchtime guests were members of the TWU Administrative Cabinet.  This meeting is the first to be conducted since the implementation of new bylaws and a new structure for the association.  The primary business meeting included the approval of two new Association Board members, the approval of a new fiscal year for the Association and Committee reports.

Members of the TWU Alumni Association Board of Directors are:


  • Juanita Dueñez-Lazo – President
  • Barbara Rogers – Interim Secretary
  • Sherrie Taylor – Treasurer
  • Patricia Edwards – Past President Representative


  • Dottie Blome
  • Sarah Nelson Crawford
  • Martha Cavazos-Fipps
  • Anngienetta Johnson
  • Stephanie Ozuna Larralde
  • Amber Murrell
  • April Phillips
  • Margaret Randle
  • Paloma Rizo
  • Shawn Saumell
  • Patsy Sosa-Sanchez

Ex Officio Members:

  • Nora Sierra – Parliamentarian
  • Heidi Tracy, Vice President, University Advancement/Executive Director, TWU Foundation
  • Anne Scott, Director of Alumni Relations

Do you know someone who would be a good representative to the TWU Alumni Association Board of Directors?  The Association is seeking representatives from various geographical areas, from a variety of academic disciplines and members representing diverse professional and personal backgrounds.  The nomination form can be found here.

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Board of Directors Meeting – June 9, 2017 Agenda

8:30 – 9:15 – New Member Orientation – Patsy Sosa-Sanchez and Shawn Saumell Conducted by Juanita Dueñez-Lazo, Pat Edwards, Anne Scott

9:30 – 10:15 – Welcome and Introductions – ACT 16

  • Get acquainted
  • Chancellor’s comments
  • Group photo with Chancellor

10:30 -12:00 – Committee Meetings

  • Honors and Awards – Regents’ Room – ACT 16
  • Membership and Development – ACT 502
  • Scholarship – ACT 602

12:00-12:45 – Lunch – ACT 16

  • Guests – members of TWU Cabinet

1:00 – 2:30 – Business Meeting – MEBH Library, #101

Welcome & Introductions – Juanita 5:00pm

Approval/Correction of Minutes from 4/1/17 meeting – 15:00 Committee/Task Force Reports

  • Finance – Sherrie Taylor, Association Treasurer 5:00
  • Membership & Development – Committee Chair 5:00
  • Scholarship – Committee Chair 5:00
  • Awards and Honors – Committee Chair 5:00
  • Gift Oversight Task Force, Barbara Rogers, Chair 5:00

Old Business – 15:00

  • Homecoming follow up – Juanita
    • Quick survey reviews
  • Operating Guidelines update – Juanita

New Business – 20:00

  • Recognition of outgoing Board Member, Kimberly Gay – Juanita
  • Votes to be taken
    • New board members
    • New fiscal year
    • Budget
  • President’s Report – Juanita 10:00
  • Executive Director’s Report – Anne – if time allows

Announce Date of Next Meeting – Juanita


Upcoming University events:

  • Faculty return – August 21
  • Pioneer Camp for new students – Denton campus and online – Friday, August 25
  • Classes begin – Monday, August 28

Recent Alumni events

Dallas Chapter meeting- May 6, Greek Isles Restaurant San Antonio meeting – May 6, Silo Elevated Cuisine

Upcoming Alumni events –

Fort Worth Chapter meeting – June 3, Kimbell Art Museum

Adjournment  2:30

Scholarship Committee

June 9, 2017

Committee members: Sarah Nelson Crawford* Martha Cavazos Fipps Nora Sierra

Juanita Dueñez-Lazo


  • Review of Association Board Confidentiality agreement
  • Review Current Selection Process
  • Decide next steps/set timeline (Univ. deadline July1)
  • Fall board meeting, 2017 – Review of University Scholarship System for fall 2018 Association Scholarship awards
  • Complete the Standard Report Form for the Business meeting


*Indicates Committee Chair

Membership and Development Committee

June 9, 2017

Committee Members: Anngienetta Johnson* Amber Murrell Paloma Rizo

Shawn Saumell

  • Review of Association Board Confidentiality agreement
  • Review statistics of alumni base and current representation
  • Review current nominees:
    • Recommend
    • Hold for further consideration
    • Not recommend moving forward
  • Process for recruitment of open positions – preparation of slate
    • Permanent secretary – to be elected at Fall 2017 meeting – exception
    • Permanent V. P. – to be elected at Spring 2018 meeting
    • Permanent Treasurer – to be elected at Spring 2018 meeting
  • Review of recruitment documents and vetting process
  • Complete the Standard Report Form for the Business meeting


*Indicates Committee Chair

Awards and Honors Committee June 9, 2017

 Committee Members:

Patsy Sanchez* Dottie Blome Barbara Rogers April Phillips Kimberly Gay

*Indicates Committee Chair


  • Review of Confidentiality agreement
  • Review of Awards the Association currently presents
  • Review of the current criteria and forms
  • Updating processes:

Nomination process for alumni awards – priority

  •  For future consideration:
    • Review alumni selection process
    • Review student selection process

Complete the Standard Report Form for the Business meeting

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Message from the Association President

juanita-head-and-shoulders     Juanita Dueñez-Lazo, Class of ’76,’89  


TWU Alumni, friends and families, “Come Home” for our Homecoming Reunion weekend!  Gather up your classmates and former roommates and return to campus to visit with favorite professors and current students.  Join other TWU Pioneers at Convocation and the Accolades Awards Luncheon to recognize our 2017 Outstanding Students, Hallmark Alumni and Distinguished Alumni.  Hear and talk with Chancellor and President Carine Feyten, meet your TWU Alumni Association Board members and visit with friends, students, faculty and staff throughout the weekend.


It’s time to share and create even more memories…wear your school colors and sing your class songs at the Maroon and White Spirit Lunch and the Reunion Dinner where we will journey through the ’60s and cheer on the Class of ’67 Golden Girls.  If you are a member of a class reunion year ending in 7 or 2 we want to welcome you in the most special way.

Whether you graduated in 2007, 1992 or somewhere in-between, whether it was TSCW or TWU, we hope you will return to campus and share in the legacy you helped to build.  Our beautiful campus awaits your arrival!  Be sure to register. 

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A True Pioneer pays it forward

1947-betty-johnston-senior-picAlumna Betty R. Johnston, recently of Lubbock, TX recently passed away but not before she designated the TWU Alumni Association, through the TWU Foundation, as the recipient of a significant part of her estate. Betty believed that her Alma Mater and the education that it provided had a significant impact on her life and her ability to create a career path.  She has entrusted the Association to use the $1.6 million estate gift to have the greatest impact on the university and its students.  She was a life member of the Association.

A graduate of the class of 1947 from when Texas Woman’s University was known as the Texas State College for Women, Johnston received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and also completed a master’s degree.  She served her country, reaching the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U. S. Army, then completed a long career with the government in the biological warfare assessment laboratories at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

An avid golfer and traveler, Johnston combined these passions after her retirement by traveling with friends and playing at golf courses around the globe.  She loved to stay in hostels to experience the culture of the country she was visiting in a way she felt could not be found in a traditional hotel.

TWU Alumni Association President, Juanita Dueñez-Lazo said, “Betty was the epitome of a TWU True Pioneer.  She embodied all of the qualities of a dedicated alumna, and we are grateful for her generous gift.”  A committee, guided by the Association’s gift oversight policy, will determine the best way to use the funds to honor the memory of Betty R. Johnston.


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Cover Story – Alumni Author

weinaTexas author and TWU alumna, Weina Dai Randel, M. A. 2005 English, has received wonderful reviews for her debut historical novels about Empress Wu, the one and only female ruler of China. The inspiration for the novels, The Moon in the Palace and  The Empress of Bright Moon, date back to her childhood in China and her interest in classical Chinese literature, but she credits her time at Texas Woman’s University as the catalyst for their ultimate creation.

Empress Wu, also known as Wu Zetian, is a house-hold name in China. China was prosperous and progressive during her reign. As a powerful ruler, she championed education for women and employed women scholars in her court.  In her government, she even appointed a woman as prime minister. After many years of researching Chinese history, Weina knew that she wanted to tell the story of Chinese dynasties and particularly, Empress Wu.

After coming to the United States at the age of 24, Weina worked  as a journalist, a magazine editor and as an adjunct professor.  When considering where to enroll to study for her master’s degree, she visited Texas Woman’s University and met Dr. Hugh Burns.  “Dr. Burns, who was chair of the English Department then, was instrumental in my enrollment.  He advised me what classes to take, what skills I needed to prepare for my graduate studies, and basically every detail in enrollment. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have studied at TWU.”

Others on the faculty were very instrumental in her development as a writer and her career path, as well.  “I was inspired to write about Empress Wu, the main character of my two novels, when I took a class from Dr. Phyllis Bridges. In fact, many of her classes were inspirational. I also studied Byron from Dr. Lou Thompson, post-colonialism from Dr. Russell Greer, and Toni Morrison from Dr. Stephen Souris; each class was a treasure to me, even today.”

Writing comes easily to her, Weina says, but even so she occasionally experiences ‘writer’s block.’  “Sometimes it lasts for a day, sometimes a few weeks.  Occasionally, I have difficulty fixing some vital transitions in a story for months,” shares the author.  “Don’t give up,” she advises aspiring writers.  “Keep reading and writing.  Try to write every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.”  In a recent TV interview, Weina shared that her novels were rejected 82 times before being published.  Her persistence has been rewarded now that the novels have been published.  Not only have they received excellent reviews, the author has been in demand for personal appearances.  More information is available on her website.


Is there another book in progress?  “I just finished my third novel, and it’s set in China and a university in Texas. I have not decided where my next novel would be set, but it’s my focus and always my love to explore stories about women, well-known or forgotten, their struggles, and their strength.”  In addition to her writing interests, Weina and her husband are parents of two children.

Texas Woman’s University and the TWU Alumni Association congratulate Weina Dai Randel and wish her continuing success in her literary career.


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