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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Past Presidents’ Council

For the women who have served as the president of the TWU Alumni Association, dedication to TWU does not end when their term of service ends.  Instead, each may have become a member of the Association’s Past Presidents’ Council, a group which has over the years pooled their collective talents and monies to make special contributions to the Association and the University.

At the recent Founders’ Award Luncheon, where the Association was recognized for its continuous support of the university, several members of the Past Presidents Council were in attendance including Louise Hagood, Madge Boucher Boynton, Bettye Meyers, Leigh Blair and Barbara Luther Taylor.  Certainly, the Past Presidents Council played a key role in the efforts that were recognized by the TWU Foundation at the luncheon.

Gardens -arbor

Lattice Arbor – 1981

Traditionally, the members of the Past Presidents’ Council have met annually at the Homecoming weekend each April to discuss how they might best support the university community.  Many times this involved campus beautification projects such as a lattice arbor leading to the botanical gardens or a strategically placed teak bench to provide a place to stop and rest.

Monk photo1One of the most notable and treasured contributions to the campus has been the statue of St. Francis, standing just outside the Little Chapel In-the-Woods.  In the 1950s artist Jo Roper sculpted the kneeling Saint who gently holds a bird. After 50 years of watching over the birds and squirrels and providing a spirit of peace in the gardens, the St. Francis statue was beginning to show wear.  In the year 2000 the Past Presidents’ Council provided the resources for the restoration of the statue and provided the instructions for the care and maintenance of the statue so that many more students, faculty, staff and visitors may enjoy its serenity.

Below is a listing of the women who have served as president of the Association for the past 50 years and their terms of office.

Patricia Jackson Edwards                               2012-2016

Madge Boucher Boynton                                2008-2012

Barbara Luther Taylor                                     2004-2008

Lee Blair                                                               2000-2004

Ann Ferrell Williams                                        1998-2000   

Bettye B. Myers                                                  1996-1998

*Mary Beth Foshee Scull                                  1994-1996                         

*Helen Haddix Deiker                                       1992-1994

Louise Wimberly Hagood                                 1990-1992

Karen Dillard Bluethman                                  1988-1990

Hoy Casey Gatlin                                                  1986-1988

Dorothy Mangum Kinsel                                    1984-1986

Docia Schultz Williams                                    1982-1984

*Dorothy Schmittgens Henderson                 1980-1982

*Katherine Winter Magee                                  1978-1980

*Laverne Collins Chatfield                                 1976-1978

Kathryn Coffey Ragsdale                                    1974-1976

Dorothy Anderson Holland                               1972-1974

*Nanette Keefe Reichert                                     1970-1972

Frances Sunkel Sneed                                          1968-1970

*Helen Hare Thorpe                                                1966-1968

*Denotes Deceased





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TWU Alumni Association – A Snapshot History


Old Main – First Campus Building

What is now Texas Woman’s University was founded in 1901.  In 1905 graduates of the first classes of the College of Industrial Arts gathered to create the Alumnae Association and collected the first few dollars for scholarships.  The organization has been in continuous existence since that time and has never wavered from its original mission of providing support to students of the institution.  The Association has, through many activities, supported strategic initiatives of the university including lobbying the legislature to save the school from merger to contributing money to capital projects of the school.

In the long history of the Association there have been several name changes and several different organizational structures.  Follow the historical highlights below to better understand the evolution of the Association and the current status.

1904 – First Graduate, Beulah Kinkaid

1905 – Beulah Kinkaid Fry and the 9 graduates of 1905 form the Alumnae Association

1907 – First Annual Banquet of the Alumnae Association; business, social and dance

1930s – Name changed to Ex-Students Association

1940’s – Association helps raise funds to build and furnish a new Student Union Building with their “Buy a Brick” campaign

1946 – The Ex-Students Association re-instated homecoming activities after a hiatus during the war.

1947 – Sufficient growth in the Association allowed the hiring of a full time executive secretary; association instituted a “class agent” plan

1948– Regents approve a campus building to house the offices of the Association

1950 -1953 – The Association supports President Guinn’s efforts to increase enrollment by encouraging all alumnae to “Talk TSCW” and rally to contact legislators to protest proposed cuts to the TSCW appropriation.  Alumnae also rallied against moves in the legislature to merge TSCW and North Texas State College; the Association financially supported the formation of the TWU Foundation.

1953 – Name is changed to National Alumnae Association; the goal of establishing 50 chapters was met; membership dues were eliminated in favor of donations to the TWU Foundation (the Association would get $1 of each donation for operations).

1978 – President Huey and the Association re-established Founders’ Day

1986 – Alumnae rally at the state capital with TWU faculty and staff to back President Chater as she opposes merger efforts and supports the university as an independent and autonomous entity.

2003 – The Association forms as a self-governing, all volunteer organization and changes its name to TWU Former Students Association; the Association rents the Alumni House from the university to house its headquarters

2007 – TWU Board of Regents appoints a task force to assess alumni affairs and make recommendations; the TWU Office of Alumni Relations is established and a Director is hired but not appointed Executive Director of the Association.

2012 – The Association opts to become a Chartered organization under the Office of Alumni Relations; also becomes a donation-based organization focused on raising funds for scholarships; remains at Alumni House with smaller rent; remains a volunteer organization with a part-time employee.

2013-14 – Association undertakes by-laws revision to create a smaller, more manageable governing structure

2016 – Association votes to change the organization name to TWU Alumni Association and eliminate dues; Association approves by-laws for new organizational structure; Association approves Memorandum of Understanding with the TWU Foundation; financial assets moved to the TWU Foundation; Association approves Memorandum of Understanding with the University; staff support for the Association is provided to the TWU Office of Alumni Relations.

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A Maroon-letter Day for TWU Alumni

The August 19, 2016 meeting of the TWU Board of Regents was highlighted by the signing of a new partnership agreement between Texas Woman’s University and the TWU Alumni Association, signaling new and exciting changes for university alumni.

Preceding the August agreement with the University, three other important steps had been taken by the Association:

To ensure that the Association assets are protected, the Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the TWU Foundation, dated April 12, 2016. Here are the key points of the agreement.

  • The TWU Foundation will accept and issue receipts for all donations made to the Association and serve as the fiscal agent for all funds including investments.
  • The Foundation will fulfill reporting requirements to the IRS, donors, and the Association.
  • The Association will retain responsibility for the administration and distribution of donations directed to the Association including distribution of scholarship funds.
  • The agreement assures that all donor directives will be honored.
  • The TWU Alumni Association will retain one seat on the Foundation Board of Directors as a full voting member.

Second, the name of the organization was changed from the TWU Former Students Association to the TWU Alumni Association.  At the annual business meeting on April 16, 2016, the vote was unanimous in favor of the name change.  Appropriate paper work was filed with the State of Texas and the name change was granted.

The third change of note was an amendment and restatement of the organization by-laws.  The proposed revisions were mailed to the membership in July, 2016 and approved as of August 1, 2016.  The new by-laws are highlighted by an open membership and a large, representative Board of Directors to govern the Association. Below are the highlights:

  • All individuals who have earned a degree or a certificate from the institution are considered members of the TWU Alumni Association.
  • Donations are welcome and accepted, but no dues are required.
  • Association chapters and other alumni groups will continue operations and be supported by the Association

The agreement signed by the Association and University recognizes the changes and assures that TWU will provide staff support and resources to the Association through the TWU Office of Alumni Relations and other entities.


Members of the Association Board celebrate with Dr. Feyten at the TWU Regents’ meeting

Current members of the Board of Directors will provide leadership for the transition to the new structure.  The Association will continue to maintain space at the Alumni House located on University Drive.

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Attention TWU Graduate Alumni

Dr. Leflore - preferred                                                                                                                      June 7, 2016

Greetings from the Dean of the Graduate School at Texas Woman’s University!

I’m writing you because I want to learn more about your career developments since graduating from TWU.  At the TWU Graduate School we want to become better communicators — we want to hear from you about your success and we want to share the successes of those who are currently a part of the TWU Graduate School.  You invested a lot in your studies while at TWU and we want to follow-up with encouragement and a show of appreciation for our association with you.

I have been in the position of Graduate Dean since November of 2013.  Since that time, I have noticed the rich history and accomplishments of our alumni who completed master’s and doctoral studies at TWU.  Our alums are all over this world, making a difference locally, nationally and internationally.  What I have learned about our alumni speaks volumes about the high quality of graduate students that have studied here at TWU.

Current students are carrying on that tradition of high achievement and involvement.  The newly formed Graduate Student Council is having quite an impact as a voice for current graduate students and I hope you will take a moment to visit their web page.

In addition, I want to know about as many of you as possible and learn what you are doing since graduating with your TWU degree.  Please take a moment to fill out this brief update form and share your activities and opinions with me.

I look forward to hearing from you and I invite you to visit with me via e-mail  Thanks for your time.


Larry LeFlore, Ph.D.,Dean of the Graduate School


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Disasters Impact TWU Students

During the same week in April, TWU students in Denton and Houston were being impacted by the force of mother nature.

Denton – At approximately 3:45 a.m. on April 20 at TWU Select Housing at Lone Star  Apartments in Denton, a fire started following a lightning strike.  Some 45 students in 4 buildings were evacuated.  No injuries occurred but 16 students were unable to return to their apartments and all of their belonging were lost.  Impacted students were temporarily accommodated in the Student Union with Red Cross assisting.  The TWU community responded quickly and with great care to find places in other university housing, to help replace basic necessities, to provide counseling and to assure academic flexibility.

If you want to see more, here are some articles covering the Denton fire, including the initial report, the remarkable story of one young woman who helped save her fellow students and a letter from Chancellor Feyten to the Denton community.

Houston – Meanwhile, extraordinary flooding in Houston caused the campus to be closed for several days.  One TWU student reported losing her transportation and her class supplies when her car was destroyed in the flood.

A Student Emergency Fund was quickly established to assist students in both locations and alumni, faculty, staff and students donated more than $30,000 to the fund.

There are certain to be students in crisis at any time.  You may still donate to the Student Emergency Fund online with your credit card at the TWU Foundation online site.   Please choose “other” for the account designation and type “Student Life Emergency Fund.” 

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Coming Home 2016

Homecoming and Reunion Activities kicked off on Friday morning, April 15, under beautiful Texas skies. The day began with a Continental breakfast enjoyed on the elegantly decorated grounds of the Pioneer Oval. Following breakfast, a touching tribute was given to the Pioneers who had recently passed away. Dr. Carine Feyten opened the Pioneers Remembered ceremony with compassionate and heart-warming remarks. Family members placed a red rose in a vase in remembrance of their loved ones. A lovely flute melody concluded the Pioneers Remembered tribute leaving the crowd in reflection.

Following the breakfast and the ceremony, the TWU community entered Margo Jones performance hall for Honors Convocation – A Celebration of Excellence.  To read the list of faculty, staff, students and alumni recognized at this year’s Honors Convocation click here.

What do the Class of ’66, the former members of the BECA program, College of Nursing graduates and the members of the Students in Free Enterprise/ENACTUS all have in common? They all reunited over the Homecoming weekend!  The photos above show a few highlights from the Class of ’66 reunion celebrating 50 years since graduation from TWU.

The Bilingual Education Centro De Acciόn (BECA) reunited for the first time ever. BECA was a program at TWU during the 1970’s that pioneered bilingual education in the public schools.  TWU BECA students spent several days a week traveling to Fort Worth classrooms to assist and teach. The BECA alums had a lot of fun reconnecting, with some not having seen each other in over thirty years!

BECA Reunion - BESO Students with Dr. Rodriguez   Also in attendance were student representatives of TWU’s Bilingual Education Student Organization (BESO). These ladies gave an informative and humorous presentation about their organization.

NursingPin-gold The College of Nursing held a Meet and Greet on the Denton Campus on Saturday afternoon. Dr. Anita Hufft, Dean of the College of Nursing and Dr. Jo-Ann Stankus, Assistant Professor of Nursing were on hand to visit with alums and discuss the happenings in the TWU Nursing program.  The College of Nursing is “on the move” and the involvement of nursing alumni is needed to help move things forward.  If you would like more information about the TWU College of Nursing alumni group activities you may contact Mary Ann Baker  940-382-6977 or Gay Lynn Bynum 940-891-1638.

Alumni Lunch_2016  Another group reuniting this year to celebrate a 20 year anniversary was SIFE/ ENACTUS. First founded as Students in Free Enterprise but now called ENACTUS the group is an international non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. Tania Moya, Tiana (Fenno) James, and Lauren Hoebee represented the TWU chapter of the organization during  the Maroon and White Spirit Fair, showcasing the impressive trophies won this year.  ENACTUS went on to place among the top 20 teams at the USA national competition in May. Read about it here 

Plans are already underway for the 2017 Homecoming and Reunion activities so save the date and plan to attend, April 21 and 22, 2017.

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