Familiar Mentor

Anne Whitten Welder and Dr. Mary Patchell.The 1955 picture you published ("Dear North Texan," fall 2013) illustrated, more than you know, the mentoring relationship between North Texas professors and their students.

I am the student in the white blouse next to Dr. Mary Patchell, English professor extraordinaire. The picture was taken in front of a display case in the English department that Dr. "Pat" had asked me to decorate.

The real story began when I enrolled in Dr. Patchell's world literature class. At the end of class one day, she asked to speak to me. As she expected one's best efforts, I was afraid that she was displeased with me.

To my surprise, she asked what I was majoring in. When I replied business because I was good at stenography and typing and hoped to support myself as a professional secretary, she suggested that I could do the same as an English teacher! She advised me to consider this and to discuss the decision with my parents.

And so, I became an English major under her guidance. She arranged for me to take an exam in Latin to gain language credits and to stay on target to graduate in the summer of 1956.

All of the English professors were excellent teachers, and their primary goal was to aid us in discovering the English language and its literature. Dr. Lomax's "Methods of Teaching English" sent one into the classroom prepared for the first and subsequent years.

I found my true calling and happily and successfully taught Latin, English and humanities in Texas, Wyoming and New Mexico for more than 20 years.

I loved North Texas and tried to emulate Dr. Patchell's love of language and of her students in my teaching.

Thank you for recognizing the professors who change lives!

Anne Whitten Welder