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The Influential Faculty Awardsl
Fall 2006      


story extras

More photos

Ed Coomes, one of a kind

List of faculty submitted

Other reader responses

other features

Beyond North Texas

A Winning Team

Educator in the Wilderness

The Influential Faculty Awards


Other reader responses

When we asked about the most influential faculty members at North Texas, our readers responded with more than 50 names. Here are more of their responses. Look for others in future issues of The North Texan.

Faculty A-K  Faculty L-Z

Faculty A-K

E.G. Ballard, English

My most influential faculty member was Dr. E.G. Ballard. I first had Dr. Ballard in freshman advanced English. His quiet demeanor and brilliant mind impressed me so much that I took practically every course Dr. Ballard taught. Even when I was working on my master's degree, I managed to get one of his courses. In Dr. Ballard's classes, a student not only learned about the subject matter of the course, but learned additional valuable lessons of life. He encouraged me to write about my experiences after I had waited several years for them to make adequate impressions. — Bobbye Jack Minshew (’57, ’65 M.Ed.)

Earle Blanton, industrial arts

Dr. Earle Blanton in industrial arts was my mentor. Without help I would have never graduated. — Nath Garrison (’64)

Meta Carstarphen, journalism

Dr. Meta Carstarphen (then public relations professor) was relentless in her passion to teach students about the public relations profession. Her dedication to teach us the correct ways to “get the message straight, then get the message out” remains with me today. Her love for teaching and desire to impart knowledge made each of us feel special to be in her classroom. — Amy Sandling Crawford (’97)

Donald Chipman, history

The faculty member who was most influential to me while I was at UNT was Dr. Donald Chipman. I took his class on the Spanish Borderlands and was hooked. He became my mentor, my adviser and now my friend. He was not only a motivating teacher but a wise counselor. I don’t know how many times I went to his office with a problem and came out with a solution. He taught me how to be a scholar and how to be a better person. I cannot say enough good things about him. He is one of the nicest people on the planet and the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. — Jean A. Stuntz (’96 M.A., ’00 Ph.D.)

Marcilla Rogers Collinsworth, admissions

One person who made a difference at UNT in the ’70s and continues doing so today is not faculty, but a school administrator. Marcilla Rogers Collinsworth was the assistant director of admission in 1973 and currently serves as the director of admissions. Prior to my enrollment at UNT, I spent my freshman year at Tyler Junior College. After three semesters in East Texas, I wanted to transfer to a major university in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Denton would be an excellent choice. There was an enrollment issue of poor grades, however. I traveled to Denton at winter break and met with Ms. Collinsworth, and she admitted me to UNT on scholastic probation. She realized from high school aptitude tests that I was college material, and she was right because after three years at UNT, I graduated with a B.B.A.

I would like to add that during my days at UNT, our friendship continued as she took an interest in my fraternity (Sigma Alpha Mu) and became our faculty adviser where her presence helped our chapter excel on campus in grades, Inter-Fraternity Council recognition, community/school activities and philanthropy projects.

Today, I am an assistant vice president of AIG Global Investments (the investment arm of AIG, the world’s largest insurance company). If it were not for Ms. Collinsworth giving me the opportunity to enroll, I would have never have graduated from UNT and had the credentials to become successful in today’s business world and the school of life. — Nathan Margolis (’75)

Tom Doron, journalism

During the early ’80s when I was in the journalism department, Dr. Tom Doron was extremely influential. I knew I wanted to be in advertising but had very little focus beyond that. He helped me sort through my skills and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. (Even though he already knew the answer, he made it possible for me to find it on my own.) The skills I learned in his classes and the ones I learned from him personally are the skills I use every single day. — Vinny Minchillo (’83)

Barbara and Clyde Gillespie, education

Being a human development and family studies major, I found the Gillespies to be a wonderful example of a husband and wife in addition to educators. They had a sincere love and respect for one another that I vividly remember. I truly respect these two individuals and found that they taught theory through stories of their experiences. It was amazing and I learned theory and the developmental stages of children and adolescents in a unique way. It made class interesting and exciting. Not only did I learn the course curriculum, but also I saw the example of respect and love that I can model in my own marriage. — Lauren L. Hayes Gray (’03)

Beulah Harriss, physical education

Miss Beulah Harriss, physical education faculty member who was instrumental in the development of the women’s physical education department at North Texas, treated all students fairly and encouraged all to their very best. I felt if I didn’t study and do my best in her classes, I was letting her down.

I was most impressed with her professionalism. I have strived to use her as a role model for my life. She started class when the bell rang and ended it when the bell rang even if in the middle of a sentence, showing she respected your time and wanted the same from her students. She believed if all students made an A, they got an A. She never used a Bell curve in evaluation of students. — Betty Jo Tackitt Graber (’54, ’59 M.Ed.)

Harold Heiberg, music

When I was a student at North Texas, Harold Heiberg was the most influential teacher to me and has continued to be the greatest musical influence of my life. He was patient with a very raw talent but demanded of me the same that he expected from the better pianists, so there were no special favors for just showing up.

It is a great regret to me that I can’t remember every thing he ever tried to teach me, but I have tried to pass on to my own students his insights and knowledge as best I can. Not only was he a brilliant pianist himself, but he knew how to help each student find the composer’s message in each piece. I know he was a huge influence on the lives of many College of Music students. — Kathy Stall Bruns (’74)

I realized all over from his visit to a master class in Seattle in January that Mr. Harold Heiberg (now faculty emeritus) had a huge influence on me. I am a professional piano accompanist, and he was my accompanist coach at UNT. He codified things I knew instinctively about accompanying, and gave me more tools for my trade, including background on much of the standard vocal repertoire and diction rules for the major languages. All this was done with a combination of kindness, wit and courtly charm. He has a rare turn of phrase that makes rules and ideas stick. I appreciate not only what he taught but how he taught it. He continues to share his knowledge with us in master classes. — Karen Janes (’80)

Bull Hyder, economics

Bull Hyder, economics professor, influenced me to major in economics instead of business. I was most impressed by his sincerity and genuine interest in his students. Plus, he was just fun to be around, a great story teller. — Thomas Moseley (’74)

Myron Jacobson, chemistry

It was only after successfully matriculating through the demanding chemistry curriculum that I was informed by my advising professor, Myron Jacobson, that upon enrollment there were serious reservations about me completing the program. The reservations stemmed from my lack of high school preparation for technical study at a major university. Dr. Jacobson made me one of his “projects.” He gave me a job doing undergraduate research for him — a great honor for an undergraduate, I might add — where he taught me to “walk the walk and talk the talk” of a scientist.

Knowing that I wanted to be a scientist, Jacobson arranged for me to be a projectionist at a regional American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas. This was a fantastic experience to attend the lectures of some fine researchers and just be in the company of the folks I wanted to be like when “I grew up.” Jacobson’s favorite saying before an exam in his biochemistry course was “To thine own self be true,” referring to his students’ preparation — or lack thereof — for his exam. I enjoyed listening to his conversations with scientists at the NIH about his research.

Jacobson taught me to think outside the proverbial box. He encouraged me to take a new course offering titled Vistas of Biochemistry, which opened my eyes to trends in biochemistry that have only recently come to fruition. Because of my association with Jacobson I gained a strong fundamental understanding of biochemistry and how biochemistry research is likely to affect my quality of life. He gave me my first Scientific American magazine and commented that most scientists read the periodical. I still regularly read it. — Lendell M. Hawley (’80)

Jack Johnson, economics

When I returned to North Texas in November 1945 after serving in the Army Air Corps, I switched from majoring in music to pre-law. One of the courses for which I was permitted to register late was economics. My teacher was Dr. Jack Johnson, dean of the graduate school and chair of the Department of Economics. I found the subject so interesting and his teaching so enlightening that I decided to major in economics.

Dr. Johnson was also my major professor on my master’s degree and was helpful in the thesis writing. I asked him what one did with an economics degree and, among the choices he listed, teaching seemed to me to be the right one for me. I decided to model my career on his and started teaching at what is now Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. I received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin as did Dr. Johnson.

After teaching for 13 years I became an administrator and ended by serving as president of Del Mar for 18 years. I am convinced that my life would have been greatly different had I not been lucky enough to have “Dr. Jack” for my first exposure to the study of economics. He was a simple, honorable, clear-speaking, student-supportive man to whom I am very grateful. — Jean Richardson (’47, ’47 M.S.)

Carolyn Kern, counselor education

Dr. Carolyn Kern was my professor for several courses and my adviser during my graduate education. The enthusiasm that she brought to the class, as well as to individuals, was life changing. Dr. Kern took the interest and time to work with me in deciding which route of counselor education to pursue. It was Dr. Kern who suggested that I look into college and student services. She had the insight to see where my talents could be best utilized. Her suggestion was one that encouraged me to continue in the master’s program as well as gain greater enjoyment and knowledge in the process.

Dr. Kern’s personal and professional integrity, enthusiasm and care made my educational experience a positive one, and influenced my desire to return as an employee. Today, I am employed in the president’s office, working on special events for the office. My goal is to do this with the enthusiasm that Dr. Kern is known for.

Thank you, Dr. Kern, for being a beacon of direction when it was needed. You are an excellent example of the caring professor and adviser that students benefit and learn from. You make a difference! — Laurea Dunahoe (’99 M.Ed.)

Kimi King, political science

The faculty member who had the biggest influence on me during my time at North Texas was Kimi King. She showed me that women can be assertive and thrive in high-power positions. She solidified my goal of going to law school and opened my eyes and prepared me for the difficult process that was ahead. She also took the time to get to know her students and mentor each of us. She is a fabulous person and someone who will inspire me to work hard throughout my legal career. — Melinda F. Rahlfs (’99)

Faculty L-Z

Jacque Lambiase, journalism

Jacque Lambiase was not only my professor but also my adviser for public relations in the journalism department. I am a student with physical limitations, and never once did she make me feel limited. She met with me in her office several times listening to my concerns and helping me to figure out the best way to accommodate whatever situation arrived.

For example, she was my professor in a computer class for journalists. Due to my physical challenges I was unable to operate the Macintosh computers in the journalism laboratory. My computer is set up with voice dictation and several other accessibility options that are not compatible with Macintosh computers. Professor Lambiase never looked at that as a stopping block for me, but merely a challenge to overcome. She ordered software that would be compatible with my PC and booklets for assignments to complete that were similar to the assignments the other students were doing.

I was never intimidated to ask her questions, nor was I ever not confident in her answers. Because of her support, knowledge, friendliness and motivation, I graduated with my B.A. in journalism/public relations. — Stephanie Kilgore (’05)

I had a great experience at UNT, but Jacque Lambiase made my education what it was. One of the big reasons I have so much respect for Jacque is that she didn’t abandon me once I walked across the stage. I can call, e-mail or write her with any question I have. She still gives me professional advice and guidance long after my money doesn’t pay her salary. That is a hallmark of a good education and an even better educator. — Michelle Owens (’02)

C.L. Littlefield, management

Dr. C.L. Littlefield was chair of the management department in the College of Business Administration when I was an undergrad at UNT. He was also my faculty adviser for four years and was a source of inspiration to me.

After my graduation, he was most helpful in referring me to several companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for job opportunities. And he gave me several warm recommendations in job interviews for which I am most grateful that led to my first job.

He was a quiet, reserved man but he always made time to talk and visit with me and his other students. He was a wonderful man and a great mentor. — Jim McDonald (’60)

Editha Luecke, etiquette

I went to North Texas in the fall of 1951 from Breckenridge. I had been raised in the country and knew very little about social graces, except good manners. I loved Dr. Luecke for her etiquette classes. I later pledged Delta Gamma with her nieces Marilyn and Carolyn Luecke. Recently I had a dinner party for some of our sorority sisters and consulted with Marilyn and Carolyn as to whether or not Dr. Luecke would give me an A on my table settings. It was fun being in her class. — Lavonne Lewis Stewart (’55)

Ron Marcello, history

Dr. Ron Marcello, professor of history, was very influential. His history classes were interesting, informative and entertaining. His work with the oral history program on the survivors of Pearl Harbor is magnificent. He always encouraged and pushed his students. Often times when assigning books, he would make you choose assignments you would not ordinarily volunteer for. He wanted you to read opposing views that you didn’t always embrace. By doing that, he widened your horizons and knowledge. I studied more for his exams than any other class. As my advising professor, he was supportive and encouraging and taught me so much about writing.

When I took a job at a junior college teaching American history, I was thoroughly prepared, especially when Pearl Harbor was the topic. My students were so amazed and intrigued by the knowledge I was able to share with them. He will always remain an influential instructor and dear friend. Thank you for giving me a truly unique experience. — Beverly Buchanan Daniels (’75 M.Ed.)

David McGuire, music

I was 24 and a young band director from Arkansas when I started work on a master’s degree in music education in the summer of 1963. My adviser was Dr. David McGuire who was always available for a question or just a friendly chat. My first course was Dr. McGuire’s Admission Seminar where we spent many hours in the university library researching articles, books, periodicals, music history books and other sources that would prove valuable to us in our course work.

Every summer that I returned to Denton, Dr. McGuire was interested in my teaching situation, my family and the courses I would be taking that summer. We had a serious, man-to-man talk that first summer about my less than impressive undergraduate record. He was quick to inform me that I might have a difficult time making it through a master’s at the prestigious music school at North Texas. After I had completed my oral exam at the end of my degree, he met me in the hall and said, “Joel, you have come a long way.” I will always appreciate his caring attitude and concern about me. His help and encouragement was most important in seeing me through the master’s degree. — Joel Duskin (’67 M.M.Ed.)

Frank McKinley, music

My life was greatly influenced by my very favorite teacher and friend, the beloved Dr. Frank McKinley (referred to as Mr. Mac in my era). I was privileged to have him for my voice teacher and to be directed under his genius in the North Texas A Cappella chorus and local church choir.

Mr. Mac was indeed a perfectionist, but a tender, sincere and deeply committed teacher of life. He loved to share his knowledge and love of music with his students, and to have his support made one feel like the most special person ever. I was blessed to also know his family. He and Marilyn (whom I admired and loved) trusted me with their children. I baby-sat them with untold pleasure.

Mr. Mac was and is a very real person, unlike so many professors. He was brilliant; he shared that. He cared; he let you know that. He inspired by his example. He encouraged, always building your esteem. He influenced me for all time. Thank you, Mr. Mac. — Linda Wicker Lackey (’61)

Richard Sale, English, and Teel Sale, art

I was in the honors program at UNT where I had the good fortune to be taught by the Sales. Dr. Richard Sale once described a poem as a rock dropped in a pond, with the interpretations being the ripples the rock creates. An interpretation ripple can be way out on the edge of the pond, but it must still relate to the rock and not be about some cow or tree. It sounds humorous (I enjoyed his humor) but I have also found it increasingly useful in analyzing opera productions, some of which are “far ripples,” but some of which are really about the cow or tree and not about the opera at all.

His wife, Dr. Teel Sale, once remarked that paintings have different viewing distances — some make more sense close-up, some farther away, and with some it doesn’t matter. That has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of art and art expositions. — Karen Janes (’80)

Keith Shelton, journalism

The faculty member who influenced me most was journalism professor Keith Shelton. He went above and beyond the call of duty in the classroom, making sure we knew the basics of solid reporting skills. What impressed me most was even after I graduated, he helped me find and nail down that all-important first job in the business. — Kacinda Crump (’93)

Keith Shelton (then news reporting lab instructor, now retired from UNT) taught me to never fear hard work. His strict deadlines, high expectations and unrelenting standards taught me to set high goals for myself and never to accept less than the best from myself and others. — Amy Sandling Crawford (’97)

J.K.G. Silvey, biology

Dr. J.K.G. Silvey, former chair of the Department of Biology, gave me an opportunity to succeed, challenged me with an almost unattainable path, smiled and said quietly “show me.” I did! Doc was a brilliant man with such an incredible breadth of knowledge and ability to teach. I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about him. — Perry Teague (’58, ’61 M.A.)

Francis Terrell, psychology

Dr. Francis Terrell without any doubt is the faculty member that influenced me the most during my time at UNT. As a psychology major, I had the honor of taking numerous courses from Dr. Terrell. His subtle humor, expansive knowledge and direct teaching style actually made me look forward to class each day. When signing up for summer classes for the first time my junior year, I only wanted to sign up for his.

Working full time, being a member of Santa Fe Square’s RHA and a sorority, and taking other classes obviously took up an enormous amount of my time, but when it came to Dr. Terrell’s classes, I knew I could really enjoy myself. He instilled in me that my success in life could only depend on me and my efforts. There was something about his encouragement that I never experienced before. I just wanted to work hard for his classes, for my grades and my own achievements. To this day, I have never had another professor as effective and amusing as Dr. Terrell. — Autumn Cook-Bethune

Robert Toulouse, Robert Marquat, Paul Smith, E Vern Huffstutler, education

I came to North Texas having received two degrees from Fordham University where I had some excellent teachers and then doing some advanced study at Teachers College, Columbia University, where I had some of the leading professors that influenced educational thought in the 1960s.

With that background, I applied for admission to 10 Southwestern graduate schools. Back came nine form letters with packets and one personal letter from Robert Toulouse, welcoming my inquiry and encouraging me to complete the packet that would arrive shortly. His action taught me the importance of individual contact — not forms — when you wish to really reach someone, and I have done that for the past 30 years.

Dr Robert Marquat gave me the courage to stand alone when I disagreed with the rest and hold to my principles. This I have tried to do my whole life.

From Dr Paul Smith, my major adviser, I learned to always look forward and keep pushing for improvement, even when it looks impossible.

Finally, I must thank Dr. E Vern Huffstutler for pointing out that most school boards are reactionary, not proactive as they should be. This principle has guided me, first in my academic career and later as a state judge. — Patrick J. Curran (’71 Ph.D.)

Richard Wells, journalism

Dr. Richard Wells (then chair of the Department of Journalism) taught me through his Desk Work class to pay strict attention to detail not only when laying out newspaper and newsletter pages in a computer program, but to be mindful of the tiniest details in all aspects of life. Often it’s the little things that make the difference. His strict adherence to personal perfection at every level still sticks with me in the work I do in my public relations job today. In turn, expect nothing less than the best from colleagues and student interns. — Amy Sandling Crawford (’97)

Dr. Richard Wells in the journalism department was always willing to stay late and help with any project and he would listen to any requests that you had and help tailor a program to your specific needs. Dr. Wells always had time for me and has helped me since graduation with many different things. He was not an easy professor and he made me strive for perfection, but I have found over and over in my professional life that the things he taught me were extremely valuable. — Britney Brazell-Chambers (’02, ’04 M.J.)

Mary Whidden, English

In the summer of 1958, I began my freshman English class at North Texas. My professor was a diminutive fireball named Dr. Mary Whidden. She taught us how to write that summer — not the simple, factual English compositions we were accustomed to churning out in high school, but “outside-the-box” creative writing. Most of us were stunned at the C’s and D’s we received on our first grammatically correct but dull papers. We learned quickly. We had to draw from a first grader’s imagination and spice it up with a college vocabulary. Dr. Whidden wanted our work to make the reader salivate, hungry to read our conclusions.

Mary Whidden’s most lasting contribution to my life, however, was a totally impromptu comment she made in class one day. A student was talking about some situation involving a lady when Dr. Whidden interrupted with, “Are you sure?”

“Sure about what?” the student queried.

“Was she a lady?”

“Well, she wasn’t a man,” said the confused student.

Then our professor made one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard: “Men and women are born; they are male and female. However, you must never bestow the honored title of ‘lady’ or ‘gentleman’ on anyone unless the person has earned it.”

How many times have I heard a witness on TV talk about the “gentleman” who robbed the bank or the “lady” who shot her husband? I always think of Dr. Mary Whidden, who was a real lady. — Judy Brassell Fulton

Richard White, management

I was a student from 1991 to 1995 and graduated in 1995. Dr. Richard White influenced me more than any other professor while at UNT. Not only did he offer guidance for the classes that he taught but he also offered guidance with my curriculum throughout my stay at UNT. As I got closer to graduation I also sought career advice from Dr. White. He gladly gave me the advice I needed.

Before I began taking classes from Dr. White I could not decide exactly what I wanted to do with regard to my education and career. During a one-on-one discussion in his office one evening he spoke very plainly and told me to make a decision about what I was going to be “when I grew up.” This straight talk was exactly what I needed.

What is most impressive about Dr. White is his willingness and ability to speak in a “no-nonsense” way to his entire class, to individual students seeking guidance, and most probably to his peers and superiors. I took his advice — and to a large degree his demeanor — into my professional life and I consider myself a success. Jonathan M. Burkett (’95)


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