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Texas Wesleyan University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university founded by the United Methodist Church in 1890. The main campus is located in the Polytechnic Heights Neighborhood of Fort Worthmarker, Texasmarker, with branch campuses in Burlesonmarker and downtown Fort Worth.

History

Texas Wesleyan University was originally founded as Polytechnic College by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1890. A committee under the direction of Bishop Joseph S. Key explored locations for a campus and settled on a site east of Fort Worthmarker donated by area pioneers A. S. Hall, W. D. Hall, and George Tandy. The school held its first classes in September 1891 with a handful of faculty members and 111 students. In 1902, H. A. Boaz assumed the presidency and managed a period of moderate growth. He hoped to develop Polytechnic College into a new university for Southern Methodism.

When Dallasmarker was selected by Methodist Church leaders as the site for Southern Methodist Universitymarker, the Polytechnic campus was designated the "woman’s college for Southern Methodism," eventually becoming Texas Woman’s College in 1914, attracting young women from around Texas and the Southwest. However, when faced with dwindling resources during the Great Depression, the college's trustees voted to close the school in 1931. A merger with the financially secure Texas Wesleyan Academy in Austinmarker saved the college from failure and resulted in the formation of Texas Wesleyan College in 1934. Men were readmitted that same year, returning the institution to a coeducational status.

The university added graduate programs in education in the 1970s and in nurse anesthesia in the 1980s. After contemplating a relocation of the campus to a west Fort Worthmarker site, Texas Wesleyan renewed its commitment to its historic Polytechnic Heights Neighborhood location by building the Eunice and James L. West Library in October 1988.Recognizing the growth in programs, trustees changed the name of the institution to Texas Wesleyan University, effective in January 1989.

To add flexibility in the scheduling of courses and to recognize the special needs of adult learners, the university added the C.E. Hyde Weekend/Evening Program in 1994. The university established a campus in downtown Fort Worth in 1997 with the relocation of the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, which was established in 1992 following the acquisition of the former Dallas/Fort Worth School of Law.

Academics

Texas Wesleyan University is divided into five schools: the School of Business, School of Education, School of Arts and Letters, School of Natural & Social Sciences, and the School of Law. Texas Wesleyan University offers 42 undergraduate majors, 13 graduate programs and 3 doctoral programs. The most popular undergraduate majors include education, business and psychology. U.S. News & World Report deemed the university's admissions as "less selective" for 2009.

The university has cooperative programs with a number of high schools which allow seniors to enroll in university classes for credit. Throughout its history, the university has remained closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The university maintains special relationships with several United Methodist congregations, and some of the trustees are representatives of the United Methodist Church. In keeping with Methodist tradition, the University welcomes individuals of all faiths and is thoroughly ecumenical in its practices.

Student Life

Student Newspaper

The Rambler is a student-run newspaper, which provides interested students with a hands-on learning experience by simulating a real-world newspaper environment. The Rambler also offers a public forum for the dissemination of news and opinion of interest and relevance to the Wesleyan community.

Student organizations and intramurals

Student Life Office administers various student organizations from academic groups to Greek letter fraternities and sororities.Intramurals include cheerleading, competitive dance, disk golf, flag football, and 3-3 basketball.

Athletics

Texas Wesleyan University has been a member of the Red River Athletic Conference of the NAIA since fall 2002. Texas Wesleyan Athletic Department sponsors nine sports: men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, golf, volleyball, softball and baseball. The University also features the most dominant table tennis team in the country, which has won 33 out of 45 collegiate titles since 2002. Junior Varsity Baseball and Basketball teams have also been added to increase the participation opportunities for students at Wesleyan.Student trainers and cheerleaders serve under the Athletic Department. Student trainers provide the service during team practices and game activities. Cheerleaders cheer primarily at men's and women's basketball games and also cheer for the school's wide pep rallies.

Table Tennis

History

Texas Wesleyan University is one of the few four-year colleges that offer table tennis scholarships in the country and has already won 33 out of 45 possible national collegiate titles since 2002.

Texas Wesleyan’s involvement with table tennis started in 1982 when Bobby Cornett, current assistant golf coach, lobbied for creation of a table tennis team at the university. At that time, the administration was against the idea partially because the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) did not sanction table tennis.



In 1990s, Texas Wesleyan moved up to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. In 2002, the school dropped back to the NAIA because the competition was too costly for the small college. Meanwhile, Cornett convinced the current University President Dr. Harold Jeffcoat that a table tennis team would set the school apart from other small-college athletic programs. In the same year, the school hired Christian Lillieroos, a former star player and Swedish national team coach, to begin the first full-status varsity table tennis program in the country.



Lillieroos recruited many renowned American and foreign players, including Eric Owens, Razvan Cretu, Dinko Kranjac, Ludovic Gombos and Jasna Reed. He coached the Rams to third place finishes at the 2002 and 2004 North American Open Team Championships and NCTTA collegiate titles in 2004 and 2005.

The team is currently run by Jasna Reed, 1998 Olympics Bronze Medalist in women’s doubles, and Keith Evans, represented his native Jamaican team from 1984 to 1999. Mark Hanzinski, Chance Friend, Carlos Chiu and Ines Perhoc are top-ranked domestic and international players on the team. The program also actively recruits the athletes with physical disability and involves with U.S. Paralympics. In addition, men’s and women’s junior varsity teams have been added to popularize table tennis and increase the participation among Texas Wesleyan students.

Contribution and controversy

Table tennis is an internationally recognized individual and team sport, and it does have a place in American culture. In 1971, the American visited China to start “ping-pong diplomacy” and was crucial to President Richard Nixon’s groundbreaking visit to China later that year.



Following this spirit, Texas Wesleyan table tennis program has brought in many foreign players to increase competition within America and popularize the sport in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. The scholarships give domestic and international players opportunities to pursue higher education.

On the other hand, the program involved some unusual problems for the school. National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) sanctions the sport but lacks of amateur status rules like NCAA, and student’s eligibility is longer than in traditional NCAA. In addition, because only Texas Wesleyan awards scholarships to those foreign and domestic players who have already made professional money at the sport, it caused some grousing from other schools.

Community outreach

Texas Wesleyan University’s outreach efforts have been focused on the immediate area surrounding the main campus. An appropriation request proposal was submitted by the university for the 2009 fiscal year to the U.S. representative Michael C. Burgess of the 26th District for a project entitled “Rosedale Avenue Redevelopment Initiative”. In this proposal the university requests funding for a “…comprehensive revitalization plan that includes commercial and residential development, with park-like open spaces.”

The university donated land and help arrange for the construction of a new Boys and Girls Club on Rosedale Street, directly across from the campus. Opened in March 2002, this facility provides activities for area youth, and offers opportunities for Wesleyan students to mentor and tutor local youngsters. The University also offers a Speak Up Scholarship, which is designed for area students with a B or better average who graduate from both the William James Middle School and Poly High School, both located in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood. Students are given financial assistance in the form of scholarships or loans to attend Texas Wesleyan. Critics have pointed out that not enough students and school advisors are aware of the Speak Up Scholarship, however the program has helped five to ten students a year for the last few years, within ten being awarded the scholarship in 2004.

It should be noted, however, that the commitment to the community has faltered during the University’s history. In 1981, concerns mounted in regards to the economic decline in the Polytechnic area. Sociologist Dr. Sarah Horsfall's 2005 research article about the Inner City of Fort Worth explains; “The trustees, urged by the then-President, voted to relocate the campus and purchased land in the northwest of Fort Worth. Community organizers and the Methodist Church opposed the move and worked to keep Texas Wesleyan where it was” . By 1985, the plan was abandoned as impractical. Instead, the University administrators (and a new University president) renewed their dedication and commitment to the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood.

Notable alumni

  • Congresswoman Kay Granger(BS'65) is currently the only Republican woman from Texas to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Michael Skipper (BA'78) won four awards at the 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Musical for his production of "In the Heights."
  • Mark Calaway (WWE's Undertaker) graduated with a degree in sports management in 1983.


References



External links




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