The voice behind the phone: serving the Cru with every call

Many people talk to her. Few know her name. Debbie Bennett, the university’s administrative receptionist, directs countless calls each day. Responsible for the school’s main phone line, Bennett’s entire attention is on helping others. “I get to meet a lot of great people,” she said. “It’s an interesting job.” Bennett approaches her duties, which include answering phones, directing callers and assisting human resources and the admissions offices, as the chance to humbly serve others. “A student will come in crying because something didn’t go right,” Bennett said. “They’re lost and don’t have a clue. There are also those first-time parents who are sending their children off to college. I can relate.” She tries to meet the various needs that come through the Sanderford office doors, which is one of the lessons her mother taught her. Bennett dwelled on the concept “always help people.” She said her mother, who is 78 and lives in Monahans, Texas, set the perfect example. “She is very active and goes to church every time the door opens,” Bennett said of her mom. “She takes anywhere from two to three women to go with her who are normally not able to go. She’s the best mom.” Bennett has modeled herself after her mother’s attitude, according to her daughter, Lori Tupin. “My mother has always had the kindest heart, and she always put us before herself,” Tupin said. “Our needs were always met, and we are better people because of my mother’s generosity and loving heart.” Bennett’s past jobs have all been about assisting people. “(She) is the most selfless person that I know and she has a heart of gold,” Tupin said. “Any act of kindness that she gives is out of good faith, and she never expects anything in return.” Though born in Rockdale, Calif., Bennett was raised in Andrews, Texas. Her father was in the Marines. She then moved to Odessa, Texas, where she went to Odessa College and took a nine-month secretarial business class. In that same city she met and married David Bennett, her husband of 27 years, who is employed by the Texas Depart-ment of Transportation in Austin. David’s job has taken the family to various Texas cities, which have all brought a variety of adventures, including different jobs for Debbie. “Every time we’ve moved, it has been a better position for him,” Debbie said of her husband. Bennett has always been willing to make the adjustments, but it hasn’t been easy. “I’ve been very lucky to get good jobs, but it has been hard,” she said. “It’s difficult going to a town where you don’t know anybody and nobody...

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Zumba classes add spice, lively music to workouts
Feb10

Zumba classes add spice, lively music to workouts

By Lindsay Schaefer Dr. Jim King, dean of the College of Business, is one of the few males who attends the new Zumba classes, but that has not stopped him from learning how to shake his hips. He admits that it’s intimidating being one of the only males; however he enjoys giving Sue Weaver, the instructor, a hard time when she refers to the group as “girls.” Although King is surrounded by females, he is not embarrassed during the class because there is no time to be concerned if the other class participants are watching. “I can’t worry about what other people think,” he said. “I’m not coordinated enough. I am so focused on (Weaver), the mirror and myself that I just think about doing my best and getting it over with.” Weaver, director of Campus Recreation, said she brought zumba to the university because she is “always looking for new and innovative classes and (UMHB) really needed another cardiovascular type of class that people would like and would be interested in.” Zumba, Spanish slang for “to move fast and have fun,” is a Latin-inspired dance workout that blends salsa, meringue, cumbia and samba moves with classical aerobic steps to tone muscles and strengthen the cardiovascular system. Founded in Latin America by Beto Perez in the 1990s, Zumba was brought to the United States in 1999 and has grown into the most popular dance fitness class to sweep the U.S and abroad. The class is a high energy, fast-paced, full body exercise that makes it easy to forget that it’s a real exercise. Zumba’s catch phrase, “Ditch the party, join the workout,” is centered on the idea that exercising should be exciting and easy to do. Weaver said, “Mainly it’s just fun, and people don’t feel like they’re working out all that much, but in reality they are burning between 500 and 1,000 calories.” The class appeals to people who are looking for a new type of fitness regimen or to those who want to enjoy exercising with friends. King started attending the Zumba class because he was looking for a group exercise to add to his usual workout routine, so he took a chance by attending the first class. He has stuck with it and recommends it. “It’s a great activity for exercise, and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. Prior dance or athleticism abilities are not required to enjoy a zumba class; however, a positive attitude and a willingness to try are the keys to successfully completing a class. If you are considering taking the Zumba class, King offers words of wisdom. “You have to accept...

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Filling  Tatenda’s Shoes
Feb10

Filling Tatenda’s Shoes

“Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest, until the good is better and the better best.” -Tatenda Tavaziva Student Body President Garret Smith Junior mass communication/public relations major Q- How do you define good leadership? A- I think good leadership is for one thing, having not just a knowledge of how to lead, but two, taking the initiative of actually doing that, and once you start the course not letting up. Tommy Wilson Junior marketing major Q-What do you hope to do if elected? A-One of the main things I hope to do if elected here at Mary Hardin-Baylor is to continue helping build community. I know that’s a constant goal we’re working on, and we’re continuously trying to work on that, but the more that we press toward that and we really have that on our hearts and have that as our focus, I think we can achieve it. Kimberly Jones Junior history major Q- What experience or qualifications can you bring to the position? A- I was student body president in high school. I was freshman class chaplain, and I served two years on the executive cabinet. I am now internal vice president …. I have the leadership and administration gifts that I am ready and just excited to be using more on this...

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A minute with the Love Guru

Think you have love figured out? University chaplain, Dr. George Loutherback, talks about Valentine’s Day and strengthening relationships. Q: How do you know when you’re “in love”? •    A: It’s different things for different people. For me, it was not a moment that I knew, but a process of getting to know (wife) Cindy and sensing her heart. Then God began to warm my heart with hers. It was then we realized this was love. Q: How did you win your wife’s heart? •    A: When we talked about our future and what we hoped to see, I think she saw in me a person that she could respect, a person that she could support his career and be a helper to me, not a competitor. Q: What advice do you have for  young couples in a relationship? •    A: Spend time together, communicate together and just get to know each other. Don’t react on impulses and don’t react on emotions. Spend the time to really get to know the individual and who they are. God will reveal to you if it’s the right one for you or not. Q: What is Valentine’s Day for you? •    A: “Valentine’s Day is a time to say, ‘Hey, I just want to tell you how much I love you and how much I appreciate what you mean to me and all you do in my life.’” Q: What do you think the color red symbolizes for Valentine’s Day? •    A: “HOT! And smokin’!” Dr. L believes Valentine’s Day is meant to be spent around the ones you love. •    “I think Valentine’s Day should be a time for couples. If you’re dating or with your significant other, . . . spend some time affirming each other and just telling each other what you appreciate. It’s the best gift. At times we get so busy that we very rarely take time to affirm each other in a personal way, and those are the special...

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Mind and Money: Connected?
Feb10

Mind and Money: Connected?

In a time of financial despair, when a father is willing to slaughter his wife, five children and then turn the gun on himself because ends will not meet, it’s no surprise that the mind and money are greatly linked. As America faces high unemployment rates, increasing debt and economic instability, such behaviors may become more frequent, and professionals across many occupations are confirming the nation’s recession is not solely a monetary crisis. “Very few people if you ask them ‘who are you?’ start off saying ‘I’m a spiritual being occupying a physical body.’ Most people say, ‘I’m a teacher. I’m a doctor,’” assistant professor of economics, accounting and finance, Danny Taylor, said. His point is that humans derive much of their identity from their occupation. When jobs are disappearing and money is becoming less available, self worth and individuality may also be damaged. Every person is at risk. Dr. Jim King, dean of the College of Business, said the crisis has had a negative effect on college students across the nation. “A lot of them are not able to get the loans they’ve been able to get in the past to even go to school because of the withdrawing of funds or because financial institutions are holding onto money more tightly,” he said. Additionally, many students are not returning to school in order to get full-time jobs because families are experiencing parent layoffs, and all resources have been exhausted, so there are simply no means for paying tuition. “People are looking at lower cost alternatives,” King said. “A lot of UMHB students have to find part-time jobs to cover their own expenses because parents can’t afford everything.” Prospective students will also be affected this fall. “Many will be going to community college to make university funding more affordable,” King said. He believes it is hard to predict how long the nation will be in a recession. “It’s a really tough call,” he said. “Experts are expecting the economy will stay the same for one to two years.” America is in for the long haul. “I don’t know if we’re going to get a lot worse,” King said, “but we’re not going to get better very fast.” One critical part in the healing process is what is being done on the federal government level. President Barack Obama was elected into office on a platform anticipating change. “He was promoting what we would call the economics of hope,” King said. “He created hope in people that his presidency would have a positive impact on people, and part of that would be in responding to the financial crisis. Hope has been...

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Oldham named university provost
Feb10

Oldham named university provost

The long search for university provost ended Jan. 23 after Christian studies professor and interim provost, Dr. Steve Oldham, accepted the permanent position. Oldham’s official position, provost and vice president for academic affairs, means he will serve as the chief academic officer. He will preside over all academic programs and associated faculty. “I see the job as the provost as sort of a facilitator, helping the faculty to do what is most important at UMHB, which is to teach and mentor our students,” Oldham said. “I want to do everything in my power in terms of opportunities, new types of initiatives to help our faculty to flourish.” As he prepares to serve the faculty in their growth, Oldham said he hopes to expand his range of faculty members. “One of the joys of this position, so far, has been the opportunity to get to know the faculty better,” he said. “It is nice to get to know all the excellent people we have across campus.” Working with the president-designate, Dr. Randy O’Rear, is another interesting aspect for Oldham as he anticipates future change. He credits President Dr. Jerry Bawcom’s leadership as a solid foundation to build on. “UMHB is in a very good position right now. There are some growth areas, but there aren’t a lot of wholesale changes we need to make. Yes, we will see some improvements, but we will be standing on the shoulders of what Dr. Bawcom has already achieved here. I am looking forward to Dr. O’Rear’s leadership. He is a collaborative leader. He wants to involve as many people as possible in the decision making, and I think there is wisdom in numbers.” Oldham meets the transition from professor to administrator with excitement and enthusiasm, but the opportunity is also bittersweet. “Teaching is my first love, and it will always be, so it was a difficult decision for me to step out of the classroom and come into an office,” Oldham said. “My interaction with students has certainly decreased. I am not teaching nearly as much as I used to, so it is a big sacrifice.” Although Oldham has moved to different pastures, he will continue to minimally teach, which he said will keep his foot in the door. Oldham and his students have begun to prepare for the effects of his absence as a professor. Junior Christian studies major Geoff Payne said Oldham has played a significant part in his life in and out of the classroom. Payne, an honors student and friend of the professor, has spent many hours with Oldham. He influenced Payne’s ways of reasoning and learning. He also...

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