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Have you Herd? March 2011

Have You Herd? March 2011

Winston Churchill's Granddaughter to Speak at WTAMU
Las Vegas Show Offer Learning Opportunities for WTAMU Students
Readership WT Essay Winners Spending Break in Cambodia
Prague Museum Adds WTAMU Professor's Work to LIst of Acquisitions
WTAMU Professor Pens Composition Selected for International Performance
WTAMU Earns Bronze Apex Award
Hallmark to Teach ELS Class on Religious Conviction
WTAMU to Stage Showcase of Music April 1
WTAMU Distinguished Lecture Speaker to Focus on Muslim Challenges, Opportunities




Celia SandysCelia Sandys, author, speaker and granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, will share her memories of Britain’s former prime minister in a 7 p.m. lecture on Tuesday, March 22 at West Texas A&M University. She will speak at Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall in an open-to-the-public event as part of the University’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Sandys has engaged audiences around the world with her personal knowledge of her grandfather’s private and political life. Much of that information serves as a foundation for the five books she has written about her grandfather’s life, and the time she spent with him in England and abroad.

Her most recent book, We Shall Not Fail—The Inspiring Leadership of Winston Churchill, examines Churchill’s leadership skills during the early 1940s when, as Britain’s prime minister, he helped lead the country to victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II. Another book, Chasing Churchill, served as the basis of a documentary that first aired on PBS in the United States and on the Discovery Channel in England in 2008. Churchill was well-known as a military and political figure who traveled the globe and as the narrator of the documentary, Sandys also offers an up close and personal portrait of the man she called grandpapa.

In addition to her work as an author, journalist and lecturer, Sandys also serves as a trustee of The Churchill Centre, where she leads “Chasing Churchill” tours that follow her grandfather’s footsteps.

The March 22 Distinguished Lecture Series is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. James Calvi, chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series committee, at 806-651-2674.



Whether it was a bit of luck or a well-planned agenda, students at West Texas A&M University are reaping the benefits of an extraordinary hands-on experience—Vegas style.

A research and academic collaboration between Dr. Leigh Browning, associate professor of mass communication, Dr. Nick Gerlich professor of marketing, and Lori Westermann, instructor of mass communication, called BuffMinds, has created an unusual but exciting opportunity for students in WTAMU’s mass communication, marketing and business programs. The opportunity is giving students hands-on experience in a variety of projects—a pre-show video loop and market research—with Terry Fator :Ventriloquism in Concert in Las Vegas. Fator, an America’s Got Talent winner, performs with his diverse cast nightly at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

Browning, Gerlich and Westermann traveled to Las Vegas in October for a conference and while there, they videotaped interviews with various entertainment professionals to share back home in the classroom. One of those interviews has lead to an unbelievable opportunity for students at WTAMU.

“An unsolicited phone call to the Terry Fator show has grown into an integrated opportunity for student engagement,” Westermann said. “They did their homework on us. They realized that we have a unique mission to educate young people, and a passion for creating opportunities that make education come to life.”

Buff MindsAnd these opportunities are definitely an experience of a lifetime for three mass communication students, who are now working on a 60-minute pre-show video loop for the Terry Fator: Ventriloquism in Concert. Fator’s group recently previewed a sample of the video and was impressed with the student-produced work. The students are now putting the finishing touches on the video, and the completed project will be the video loop that all audiences watch before Fator’s performance begins each night. Students working on the project are Chris Jenkins, a senior mass communication major from Amarillo, Jessica Wyers, a senior mass communication major from Grapeland, and Jonathan O’Neill, a senior mass communication major from Lubbock.

“These students did an amazing job, and I cannot believe the creativity that they are bringing to my show,” Fator said. “Over a thousand people will view their work each and every night that I perform. They are right up there with the best and have a very bright future ahead of them.”

A fourth student, Piero Taliente, a senior general business major from Kingwood, is working with Gerlich on market research for the Terry Fator show. They will build survey instruments and develop methods of interacting with Las Vegas tourists about their views of the show.

“This project will allow our students to bring those stats and methods to life,” Gerlich said. “This is not a hypothetical exercise. It’s the real thing with very real needs, expectations and outcomes.”

Survey responses will be collected via face-to-face interviews as well as through email and Facebook invitations, smartphones and wifi devices. Collected data will then be analyzed in the classroom for a report that will detail the student’s methodologies, findings and recommendations for management.

“Our relationship with the Terry Fator organization allows us to showcase our students and our University. It’s living proof that our students can compete against anyone, anywhere,” Westermann said. 



For the past several years, essay-writing skills have earned students at West Texas A&M University unbelievable travel opportunities, and this year is no exception as 12 Readership WT Ambassadors are spending spring break in Cambodia for an unbelievable nine-day learning experience.

The group left Wednesday, March 9 for Phnom Penh on what is the University’s fourth international sojourn of the annual Readership WT essay contest. Travelers include the 12 students, plus a member of the University faculty, two WTAMU staff members and two student peer leaders. The students also joined student essay winners from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in Laredo for the spring break trip.

The essay contest was based on the 2010 Readership WT book The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam, and the trip is exposing the WTAMU and TAMIU students to a new culture and encourages them to become global citizens. The trip is being documented by Tyler Sweeney, a senior mass communication/broadcasting student from Corpus Christi, who is traveling with the group as a peer leader.

The 12 freshmen prepared for the trip for several weeks. They attended classes to learn about Cambodia, its culture and its people. They are posting blogs about the trip and their experiences at http://readershipwtcambodia.wordpress.com/.

The nine-day trip is introducing the students to the Cambodian culture through home stays with local Cambodian families. They are visiting local markets and experiencing the country’s foods and spices, including an opportunity to try fried spiders. The trip itinerary includes hikes and information about the country’s nature and wildlife and a visit with local university students about Cambodia’s educational system. They also plan to visit various temples, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. The travelers will depart from Phnom Penh International Airport on Friday, March 19 for Amarillo.

Dr. John Lubker, associate dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, joins Kendra Campbell, director of the First Year Experience, as a sponsor on the trip. Johnny Story, multimedia developer for athletics, who helped document the Readership WT Africa trip in 2009, also is traveling with the group along with peer leaders Sweeney and Ashton Paetzold, a senior social work major from Hereford.

The 12 students traveling to Cambodia as Readership Ambassadors are listed by hometown.
Hanna Homfeld, education major
Tanner Lakey, pre-dentistry major
Jordan Lusk, mass communication major

Sabrina Meck, mass communication major
Meagan Price, plant, soil and environmental science major
Audra Thurman, pre-law major
Florence Maral Otabachian, agricultural media and communication major

Samantha Pearson, education major

Joshua Moreno, computer science major

Cecilia Hernandez, Spanish education major

Charles Sharif, general studies major

Thomas Wieck, math major


It’s considered the most important museum for Czech glass, and one of its most recent acquisitions is a beautiful work by Chad Holliday, assistant professor of art at West Texas A&M University.It’s considered the most important museum for Czech glass, and one of its most recent acquisitions is a beautiful work by Chad Holliday, assistant professor of art at West Texas A&M University.

The Museum of Decorative Arts of Prague in Czech Republic is now home to Holliday’s “Radiant Uran,” a piece he made in northern Bohemia in 2007. The piece is made of true uranium glass and took Holliday more than 150 hours to create. It features all the techniques used in traditional Czeck glassmaking.

“It has 240 cuts on the side, and four different wheels were used to polish each cut,” Holliday said. Chad Holliday - Radiant Uran

The piece is part of a body of work Holliday calls “Premortial Forms.” The collection includes 40 related pieces that reflect Holliday’s interest in the Czech Republic’s Gothic period architecture and on formulas based on the Greek sculptor Phidias. The acquisition of Holliday’s “Radiant Uran” supports the museum’s mission of collecting and preserving both historical and contemporary works to educate and inspire future generations.

Holliday’s interest in the Czech Republic grew from his experience there as a Fulbright Fellow in 2007. During his yearlong stay, he researched traditional glasswork techniques as well as the history of teaching of glass cutting and design. He joined the WTAMU faculty in 2008 and has been instrumental in restructuring the University’s glass program. Since then he has coordinated two faculty-led study abroad trips to the Czech Republic for his students, and a third trip is planned for this summer. He is well known in the Czech glass community, and his connections contributed to the museum’s acquisition of his work.

“I’ve continued to support and promote Czech glass and push education,” he said. “We have helped create a dialogue between the glass profession and academics while giving the students an experience of a lifetime.”

In addition to the acquisition of his “Radiant Uran” at the museum, some of Holliday’s other pieces have been featured in exhibitions at the Traver Gallery in Tacoma, Wash., the Lekae Gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz., the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Penn., Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and the Memorial Art Museum. He also has work in the permanent collection of the Elizabeth Collection in Rochester, N.Y. Holliday’s work has been published by New Glass Review, and he was recently featured as an emerging artist in American Style magazine.

Holliday earned a B.F.A. in glass from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., and his M.F.A. in glass design and sculpture from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

WTAMU Professor Pens Composition Selected for International Performance


Dr. B.J. BrooksIt will be the thrill of a lifetime for one professor at West Texas A&M University when his composition “Cadence—Fantasy on Rhythms of Nick Angelis” is performed at the International Society of Contemporary Music’s (ISCM) World New Music Days April 7-17 in Zegreb, Croatia.

“The ISCM World New Music Days is the Olympics of contemporary art music and is a highly celebrated international event featuring world-class performers presenting the best works from over 50 countries around the globe,” Dr. B.J. Brooks, assistant professor of music, said. “Having a composition included in this festival is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

And Brooks will get to experience that once-in-a-lifetime event when he travels to Croatia in April for the festival and assists in rehearsals with the Croatian Army Wind Symphony Orchestra. His composition is one of 68 works selected for the festival from more than 400 submissions from more than 40 countries. Compositions were selected by a panel of distinguished artists in October, and the 68 chosen for the festival will be performed by orchestras from around the world.

Brooks’ “Cadence—Fantasy on Rhythms of Nick Angelis” is a work he composed in 2009 when commissioned by the WTAMU faculty and Don Lefevre, associate professor of music, for a piece for the University’s Symphonic Band. Brooks met Nick Angelis, a top ranked snare drummer, in 1995 in the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in Denver, Colo., and the commission gave him the opportunity to blend some of that Angelis experience into his work.

“I conceived of a piece that would showcase the band’s rhythmic nature by layering in a work for percussion by Nick Angelis,” Brooks said. “By combining Nick’s rapid fire rhythms designed for percussion and re-imagining them as notes on instruments, “Cadence” was born. The use of a drum line cadence for motivic material for wind players created some very unique challenges that the WT Symphonic Band met head on and overcame to great effect.”

And there is no doubt that the Croatian Army Wind Symphony Orchestra will do it justice as well when it performs Brooks’ composition on the national stage in April.



West Texas A&M University’s use of next-generation communication has earned the University a bronze Apex Award from the annual Digital Signage Expo Feb. 23 in Las Vegas, Nev. WTAMU was recognized along with Gold Apex Award winner New Meadowlands Stadium, home of the New York Jets and New York Giants, and Silver Apex winners NASDAQ and JW Marriot Hotels and Resorts.

The annual Digital Signage Expo is considered the world’s largest and longest running conference and trade show for digital signage, interactive technology and digital-out-of-home industries. Gold, silver and bronze awards were presented in 10 different categories.

WTAMU’s entry for the Expo featured the University’s Cisco digital signage system. WTAMU is one of thousands of organizations worldwide using Cisco’s technology to enhance communication capabilities. Institutions of higher education and school districts are joining sports stadiums, global banks and retailers in using Cisco technology to improve and boost the student, consumer and fan experience.

WTAMU’s digital signage system meets the University’s need for next-generation communication, and it integrates well with the existing network infrastructure and academic learning environment. The digital system is user-friendly and bridges the gap between academics and information technology, allowing departments to manage, control and deliver timely digital content to today’s generation of technology-focused students.

For more information about WTAMU and Cisco’s digital signage system, visit http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2011/prod_022111.html.



Eternal Learning SeriesDr. James Hallmark will share his expertise on “Understanding Religious Conviction” through another exciting learning opportunity at West Texas A&M University.

Hallmark, provost/vice president for academic affairs, will teach the course through the University’s spring Eternal Learning Series (ELS). The series is offered through WTAMU’s Office of Continuing Education for adult learners interested in challenging, innovative topics with stimulating and spirited discussions. The class will meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays beginning March 29 through April 19 at the Amarillo Center.

The class will examine why we believe what we believe, where our values originated, how do those beliefs, attitudes and values influence our actions and what tricks does our mind play that ultimately influences our beliefs. These and other questions will be explored within the context of religious convictions.

As provost and vice president for academic affairs, Hallmark is the second in command in the WTAMU structure. He received his bachelor’s degree in speech and American studies from Oklahoma Christian College and earned both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in communication from the University of Oklahoma.

Cost for the course is $50. For more information about ELS and other course offerings, call the WTAMU Office of Continuing Education at 806-651-2037.



 It will be the best of the best when the Department of Music at West Texas A&M University celebrates its 31st annual Showcase of Music at 8 p.m. Friday, April 1 Showcase of Musicat the Amarillo Civic Center Auditorium.

A traditional preconcert show featuring six student groups will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium lobby.

The department presented its first Showcase of Music in 1980 to showcase student talent and to help raise funds for student scholarships. Funds are raised through advertising, ticket sales and donations and so far, more than $450,000 has been added to the department’s scholarship fund.

Tickets for the event, priced at $10 for adults and $5 for students, are available at the WTAMU music office in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Room 202, at Tarpley’s Music in Amarillo or at the door the night of the performance.

For more information, contact the WTAMU music office at 806-651-2840.



“Muslims in the West: Post 9-11 Challenges and Opportunities” will be the topic for a West Texas A&M University Distinguished Lecture presentation by Ibrahim Ramey at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1 in the Dr. Hazel Kelley Wilson Alumni Banquet Hall on the WTAMU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Ibrihim RameyRamey is the director of the Human and Civil Rights Program of MAS Freedom, the human and civil rights advocacy component of the Muslim American Society, in Washington, D.C. He has spent more than 30 years as an international activist and advocate for human and civil rights issues in the United States and around the world. He is a former vice president and current at-large member of the steering committee of the Religious NGO Community at the United Nations. He also serves as a board member of the Muslim Women’s Institute, the Temple of Understanding and a steering committee member of the Climate Crisis Coalition.

He also worked as program manager with the Youth Action Program in East Harlem, N.Y., and has lectured at more than 40 colleges and universities in the United States and Japan on youth, nonviolence, social justice issues and international nuclear disarmament issues.

Ramey’s work for peace and nonviolent social justice has earned him numerous awards including the 2000 Better World Activist Award from the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation and a Distinguished International Service Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs.

“Learning more about the plight of Muslims in America is exceedingly important as we confront social justice issues locally and abroad,” Claudia Stuart, instructor of criminal justice and sociology and a member of the Diversity Committee, said. “Ibrahim Ramey has had extensive experience in promoting social change and understanding through his international advocacy and work toward peace through nonviolent measures. His address to students and community is very timely with all of the rapidly changing tides in today’s human events around the globe.”

Ramey’s lecture is part of the University’s “21 Days of Change” and sponsored by the Distinguished Lecture Series, WTAMU Diversity Committee, College of Education and Social Sciences and CORE. He also is the keynote speaker for the University’s Social Justice Leadership Conference for WTAMU students during the one-day event.

For more information, contact Claudia Stuart at 806-651-2435 or cstuart@wtamu.edu.


linda fink It was a long, drawn out process, but Linda Fink can now proudly say she is a citizen of the United States.

Fink, financial aid specialist at West Texas A&M University, took her oath of citizenship in December 2010 after waiting out the long eligibility requirement and working through a mountain of paperwork. But her efforts have paid off, and Fink couldn’t be happier. “I am very proud of being an American citizen,” she said. “This is my home, and I’m very happy after so many years.”

Fink, a native of China, has lived in various places around the world—Hawaii, South Africa, Canada—and moved to the United States in 2003 as a Canadian citizen. When she left Canada for Texas, Fink had to obtain a spouse visa, apply for work authorization and waited three years for her green card. Fink’s husband Donald encouraged her, but it took three more years before she could apply for citizenship to the United States. She finally got the chance to file that application in February 2010.

“I sent in all my documents and received a handbook for the test,” she said. “It had 100 questions and answers to memorize so I read it several times. The questions were about American history, geography, politics and the Constitution.”

She traveled to Dallas in September for her citizenship interview which lasted 30-40 minutes and covered questions from the written material she had received.

“He asked me six questions,” she said. “I answered them 100 percent correct, and I passed.”

  A few months later, on Dec. 6, 2010, Fink joined several hundred people at Amarillo’s federal courthouse to take her oath of citizenship. It was a special day for her, and she’s excited about living up to all the responsibilities and duties citizenship entails.

“I’ve already been called for jury duty,” she said.


March 14-18
—Spring Break, no classes. University offices closed March 17-18. All campus activities resume March 21.
March 16
—Lady Buff Softball vs. Adams State, noon, Buffalo Sports Park, Lady Buff Yard. Call 651-4400.
—The Great Book Series, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, presented by Dr. Stephen Severn, 7 p.m., Georgia Street Hastings. Call 651-2455.
March 18
—Buff Baseball vs. Incarnate Word, 6 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Wilder Park. Call 651-4400.
March 19
—Buff Baseball vs. Incarnate Word, 1 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Wilder Park. Call 651-4400.
March 22
—Buff Baseball vs. Wayland Baptist, 5 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Wilder Park. Call 651-4400.
—Distinguished Lecture Series with Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill, 7 p.m., Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Free and open to the public. Call 651-2428.
March 23

—Educator’s EXPO, 9 a.m.-noon, First United Bank Center. Call 651-2345.
March 25

—Lady Buff Softball vs. Texas Woman’s, 4 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Lady Buff Yard. Call 651-4400.
March 26
—Equestrian Western Semifinals, continue through March 27, WTAMU Horse Center. Call 651-8463.
—Lady Buff Softball vs. Texas Woman’s, noon, Buffalo Sports Park, Lady Buff Yard. Call 651-4400.
—WTAMU Opera Workshop and Symphony Orchestra presentation of Bohemios and Trial by Jury, 7:30 p.m., Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Branding Iron Theatre. Call 651-2804 for ticket information.
March 27
—WTAMU Opera Workshop and Symphony Orchestra presentation of Bohemios and Trial by Jury, 3 p.m., Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Branding Iron Theatre. Call 651-2804 for ticket information.
March 28
—WTAMU Undergraduate 2D and 3D Art Exhibition, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., continues through April 8, Mary Moody Northen Hall, Formal Art Gallery. Call 651-2799.
March 29
— Lady Buff Softball vs. Lubbock Christian, 4 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Lady Buff Yard. Call 651-4400.
—2D and 3D Art Exhibition opening reception, 5-7 p.m., Mary Moody Northen Hall, Formal Art Gallery. Call 651-2799.
—WTAMU Composer Concert, 7:30 p.m., Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Call 651-2840.
March 31

—Faculty Recital with Dr. Choong-Ha Nam—piano, 7:30 p.m., Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Call 651-2840.
April 1
—”21 Days of Change” kicks off. Visit wtamu.edu/TOMS
—Buff Baseball vs. East Central, 6 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Wilder Park. Call 651-4400.
—Showcase of Music, pre-show, 7:30 p.m., concert, 8 p.m., Civic Center Auditorium, Amarillo. Call 651-2854 for ticket information.
April 2

—Buff Baseball vs. East Central, 1 p.m., Buffalo Sports Park, Wilder Park. Call 651-4400.
April 4
—Town and Gown Band Concert, 7:30 p.m., Northen Recital Hall. Call 651-2840.
—Chamber Music, 7:30 p.m., Northen Recital Hall. Call 651-2840.
April 7-9

—WTAMU production of By the Bog of Cats, 7:30 p.m., Happy State Bank Studio Theatre. For tickets, call 651-2804.
April 8
—26th Annual Waugh Counseling Seminar, "Somebody's a Hero: Preventing, Protecting and Responding Appropriately to Child Sexual Abuse," 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Alumni Banquet Facility. Call 651-2037.

Post a Comment



Curtis King
on 3.16.2011

I've had other friends experience the excitement of becoming citizens of the United States of America. Congratulations to Ms Fink for a mission accomplished to be proud of.

Dan Garcia
on 3.16.2011

We are so proud of Linda and it was a happy moment when we heard she became a citizen!