Alumni

Gene Qualls

Photo of Gene Qualls Gene Qualls, 84, a longtime clerk in the Registrar’s office who worked at UNT from 1979 to 2003, died April 29 in Denton. He was active in his church and a friend of Pat Boone, whom he met while attending North Texas in the 1950s. Gene was known for sporting his 1967 Impala around town and wearing bright suits and ties. He made friends everywhere he went.

Robert McReynolds Golladay II

Picture of Robert McReynolds Golladay IIRobert McReynolds Golladay II (’66), 77, of Murphy, who served as an assistant professor of business computer information systems for 38 years, died in Richardson on April 18. He earned a bachelor’s degree in math from North Texas in 1966 and went on to receive his master’s degree in computer science from Texas A&M University. He joined UNT’s business faculty in the late ’60s, retiring from the Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences four decades later. In his free time, he enjoyed spending time with his family and working with computers and technology.

Eugene “Gene” Patrick Wright

Photo of Eugene “Gene” Patrick Wright Eugene “Gene” Patrick Wright (’60, ’61 M.A.), 85, Professor Emeritus of English, died April 30 in Frisco. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. As a student, he was a member of Phi Beta Delta and Phi Kappa Phi. He earned his doctorate in English Renaissance literature from the University of Texas and taught at Lamar University and UT before working at North Texas from 1966 to 2006. He was appointed the first faculty ombudsman in 2005, received the Mortar Board Senior Honor society’s “Top Prof” award and served as commencement speaker at two graduation ceremonies. He published scholarly books on Joanna Southcott, Thomas Deloney and William Shakespeare, as well as a series of Jerry Valdez novels, including Run, Run As Fast As You Can; Nobody Knows His Name; The Painful Warrior; The Accidental Warrior; Patriots and Statesmen; and Pirates, Preachers and Poteen Makers.

Roxana Bejarano Hughes

Photo of Roxana Hughes

Roxana Bejarano Hughes (’97 M.S.), 57, an instructional lab supervisor in UNT's biology department, died April 25 in Denton. A native of Bolivia, she earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil. She then trained as a medical microbiologist in Argentina and worked in Bolivia. She earned her master’s under the late G. Roland Vela at UNT, where she researched the distribution of the bacterium Vela discovered. She remembered fondly how he and other professors came to her house so she could defend her thesis while pregnant and on bed rest. She was certified as a medical laboratory scientist in microbiology at Tarleton State University and maintained her certification over the years. She also worked for the Centers for Disease Control. She had worked in UNT’s biology department since 2002, where she loved working with her students and teaching assistants. She co-wrote the book Microorganisms: A Laboratory Manual with her husband, Lee Hughes (’87, ’93 M.S., ’98 Ph.D.), associate professor of biological sciences, and attended or presented at the American Society for Microbiology conference each year. She loved good food, good company and traveling. Her greatest joys were her two sons, Drake (’20) and Diego, a student at UNT.

Burlyce Logan

Photo of Burlyce Logan in the hallway of the Hurley Administration BuildingBurlyce Logan (’11), Denton. She was one of the first Black students who attended North Texas when it desegregated in 1956, and then dropped out – but returned and earned her bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences at age 73. When she first attended North Texas, Logan enjoyed her music classes but left after two years because of the harsh prejudice from other students. She moved to California and Oregon, where she worked as a banker and secretary, before returning to Denton in 1996. She worked in various places, including as an administrative assistant in the internal audit department at UNT from 2001 to 2002. Read more about her life in these 2011 articles from The New York Times and the North Texan. A funeral service will take place at Peoples Funeral Home at 2:30 p.m. April 30 in Denton.

Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry (’58), 84, an award-winning novelist and screenwriter, died March 25 at his home in Archer City.

One of America’s best-known authors of Western fiction, including contemporary Texas, McMurtry wrote more than 30 novels, as well as essay collections, memoirs, histories and screenplays. In 1961, he published his first book, Horseman Pass By, which became the movie Hud. One of his most famous works, Lonesome Dove, which he wrote in 1985, depicts two retired Texas Rangers cattle-driving a stolen herd from the Rio Grande to Montana in the 1870s. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and the story later was adapted into a TV mini-series.

Other bestsellers include The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment, which also were adapted into Oscar-winning films. He co-wrote the Brokeback Mountain screenplay, for which he shared a Golden Globe and an Oscar in 2006.

In 2014, he received the National Humanities Medal and was honored at the White House. The award recognizes those whose work has deepened the nation's engagement in the humanities.

A native of Archer City, McMurtry entered Rice University and later transferred to North Texas where he earned his degree in English and wrote for Avesta.

"The school attracted young professors who were intellectually stimulating and sparked their students," he said when accepting his Distinguished Alumnus Award on campus in 1986. "Their professional talent opened up the world of literature to me, and they encouraged me to write."

It was also in college that he discovered a huge world of books. He compared the universities’ libraries to the unsettled West in his fourth book, In A Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas. The libraries, he wrote, were “countries as vast, as promising, and, so far as I knew, as trackless as the West must have seemed to the first white men who looked upon it.”

McMurtry owned bookstores in Washington, D.C., Houston, Dallas and Tucson, Arizona. His last remaining store, Booked Up, located in Archer City, is one of the largest bookstores in the country, once six buildings wide and housing around 400,000 volumes. His private library housed 30,000 books contained in three houses.

Through the years, he and the bookstore were associated with UNT’s Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism’s Archer City Writers Workshop – writers he would invite to meet with him at his home or at the store.

"Larry McMurtry believed 'books are the fuel of genius,' and his beautifully crafted novels and screenplays illustrate his creative genius,” UNT President Neal Smatresk says. “We are forever proud of his work as a UNT alumnus."

Larry McMurtry wears a blue shirt and stands in front of rows of bookshelves.

Morgan Alise Michael

Morgan Alise Michael (’19), Rhome. After graduating with honors from the Mayborn School of Journalism, she worked as a marketing communication specialist at Alterity Inc. in Arlington. She loved animals and being social, and was known for her cowgirl hats and boots.

Jeffry Hugh Eckels

Jeffry Hugh Eckels, Denton, was a doctoral student at UNT from 2002 to 2012 and a teaching fellow. He was a double bass musician who had performed around the world in chamber orchestras and jazz groups, recorded albums and was a regular musician on the NPR quiz show Whad’Ya Know? He previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Universidad San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While at UNT, he played with the One O’Clock Lab Band and directed the Five O'Clock Lab Band in 2009.

Dr. Alan Christopher Wienandt

Dr. Alan Christopher Wienandt (’95 Ph.D.), Fort Worth. He was an editor at The Dallas Morning News and reporter at the Copperas Cove Leader-News, Abilene Reporter-News and Stars & Stripes in Darmstadt, Germany. He was one of the founders and president of the American Copy Editors Society. For his dissertation at UNT, he explored Mark Twain’s career change from newspapers to fiction. He also was an adjunct professor at UNT and Texas Christian University. He rode motorcycles and practiced Brazilian jiu jitsu despite his diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

Dr. Daniel Lewis Gentry

Dr. Daniel Lewis Gentry (’95), Rockwall. He earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1999 from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and completed a small animal medicine and surgical internship at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. He then worked for Lake Ray Hubbard Emergency Pet Care, now the Veterinary Referral Center of East Dallas, and in 2006 opened his own clinic, Timbercreek Animal Hospital, in Rockwall. He was a member of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, as well as Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Barton Gentry (’95), his college sweetheart.

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