Annual writer’s festival a success
Mar04

Annual writer’s festival a success

In February, the university’s English department hosted its annual writer’s festival. This is a three-day event devoted to creativity and learning where students, staff, faculty and guest authors can learn about and share writing.   “I think that it’s important for the campus community and the broader community to be exposed to the literature that’s being created in the here and now. The festival is a place where both writing and faith are taken seriously,” Professor of English Dr. Nathaniel Hansen said of the event, which he has now directed for three years.   Although the event takes place over a span of three days, many months of prior preparation are necessary.   “The planning process begins about a year ahead of the festival when I start contacting potential featured writers,” Hansen said.   Once I line up the featured writers, I create a general call for papers for local, regional, state, and national writers to read as part of a panel. It’s a process that I very much enjoy.”   Hansen likes the interaction between writers of diverse places and walks of life.   “It’s a pleasure to watch writers of varying levels and differing backgrounds interact with one another. It’s also a great opportunity for our students, not just English majors, to hear from talented writers.”   Hansen was pleased with this year’s turnout and looks forward to the coming year.   “Events were well attended this year, and we had more festival participants than in prior years. Some participants traveled from Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan and Oklahoma,” he said.   Kelsey Belcher, a senior English major and president of Sigma Tau Delta said, “I was a student volunteer. I worked the book and check-in tables, and helped Dr. Hansen, who runs the Writers’ Festival, with other miscellaneous tasks in order to keep the festival running smoothly.”   Belcher believes it’s necessary to expose the campus to various writing forms with events like the writer’s festival.   “Writing is important, because it provides an outlet for self-expression and fosters creative and academic interaction with others,” she said.   Grace Lindig, a senior English major who also worked a table at the festival said, “It was truly an awesome experience and I’m sad I won’t be here next...

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Students, faculty react to former president’s visit
Feb18

Students, faculty react to former president’s visit

Last week, former President George W. Bush spoke to a packed Mayborn Campus Center bursting with more than 2,800 students, faculty and staff members, UMHB donors and close friends of the university leadership.   Following his acceptance of an honorary doctorate of humanities to match the ones his parents, former President George H.W. and first lady Barbara Bush also received from the university, he was greeted by a long, thunderous standing ovation.   “I am so honored to receive an honorary degree. I noticed it is not a doctorate in the English language,” Bush joked. “When I was president, sometimes I could have put things a little more artfully. They asked me at the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks about Osama bin Laden, and I said, ‘we gonna get him dead or alive.’ Laura, when I got back to the residence, said, ‘You could have been a little more diplomatic.’ And I said, ‘At least they heard me in Texas.’”   Dr. Stephen Crawford who is a professor of music and the conductor of the percussion ensemble was among the faculty members in attendance at the Feb. 11 event. He was thankful he was able to listen to Bush on the campus he serves.   “I felt that it was such a privilege to hear from a former president. His words were uplifting as he shared his ideas on service and how important his faith is in setting his views,” he said. “We so enjoyed his humor and how he related to our university and community.”   Junior business major Jessica Pitcaithly echoed Crawford’s sentiments.   “I thought having George W. Bush speak at our school showed me how proud I am of our school and our country. To be able to come together and be excited about hearing one of our past presidents gave me a lot of school pride and patriotic pride too,” she said.   She was struck by his down-to-earth demeanor and agreed with the conservative and spiritual viewpoint most Americans associate with Bush.   “He was funny, genuine and was a great example of what a Christian leader looks like and I think we need more of that,” Pitcaithly said.   Savannah Davis, a junior education major was impressed with the humility she believes Bush displayed. She was also impressed that an important world leader would have a sense of humor.   She said, “I thought it was a great experience getting to see George W. Bush and hear him speak. For being the former leader of the free world, he was very humble and surprisingly funny.”   Davis said the part of Bush’s...

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Bush: Speech inspires students
Feb18

Bush: Speech inspires students

By Wesley Ashton   “Having President Bush speak at UMHB is a big deal,” senior sports management major Chris Brown said. “The atmosphere was loud when he got up on stage to speak. They clapped for several minutes before he even began to speak.”   A boisterous standing ovation greeted the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush as he walked onstage at UMHB’s McLane Lecture last Wednesday.   “I had seen him speak on television but getting to see him live was an entirely different experience,” Brown added.   During his address on campus, the former president spoke not only about his time in office, but also about life lessons learned while traveling abroad. While in power, many dignitaries and foreign leaders visited him, giving him an abundance of stories to share.   “I learned while in the presidency that it is a huge honor to serve others,” Bush said. “It’s no sacrifice to serve something you love, and I love the United States of America, its people and what we stand for.”   Bush went on to describe how he dealt with foreign policy as well as the value of getting to know other leaders before he made decisions. UMHB students seemed to receive Bush’s message warmly.   “I learned from the president’s speech that it’s better to listen to a person than it would be to argue with them even if you don’t agree with them,” junior cell biology major Esther Spanial said.   “He started talking about how Putin visited him in Crawford and how he wasn’t impressed by his dog. This hurt the President but he didn’t let that stop him from listening to what he had to say. Later Putin showed him his dog saying it was stronger and faster, revealing to the president his true character,” Spanial said.   Several students had the opportunity to ask Bush about his time in office and how he felt about current events. Questions students asked varied from foreign and domestic policy to regrets he may have had during the course of his two-term presidency.   “It was a great privilege to be able to ask Bush about his opinion on the terrorist attacks in France,” senior sports management major Deshon Kinsey said. “The way he talked about the terrorist attacks in France reminds us that terrorism is still here. Even if it’s far away they can still hit at home. We have to be ready.”   Bush faced many difficult decisions. He told the audience that sometimes the decision was clear to take action on the behalf of those less fortunate.   Among...

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Bush’s appearance a historic event
Feb18

Bush’s appearance a historic event

By Rachel Berman   America’s 43rd president, George W. Bush, visited the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor as part of the McLane Lecture on Feb. 11. The ticketed event was primarily for the students, faculty, and staff of UMHB, although many benefactors received VIP seating for the lecture.   “I was excited to go to George Bush’s lecture and it turned out even better than I expected,” senior Seth Strickland said. “He is a man of value and integrity and he is just a down-to-earth person.”   The event began with Bush receiving an honorary doctor ate of humanities degree from the president of UMHB, Randy O’Rear. Then the former president began his lecture, in which he talked about leadership, his presidency, and then engaged the crowd in a Question and Answer session.   Senior Erin Buerschinger enjoyed the part of Bush talk about his successes and failures, when he told the audience that being a good leader means one should “share credit and take blame.”   Buerschinger said, “I felt like that comment showed true character and a definite polarization between Bush and our current administration.”   “I think the lecture was a great perspective on his leadership style and decision making process,” said sophomore Ishmael Pulczinski. “I think the lecture reinforced my belief that George W. Bush is a man who made decisions based on the right thing to do, not for crowd approval, and is a leader who is humble in his successes and failures.”   Reporters from news stations such as KWTX-TV, the local CBS affiliate in Waco and KCEN-TV, the area’s NBC affiliate, reported on the lecture.   After the talk was over, the more than 2,800 people in attendance filed out. Some were stopped by reporters and appeared during prime time on TV commenting on their experience.   Bush’s visit to campus left students and staff inspired and feeling as though they had witnessed a part of history.   “The chance to see former President George W. Bush speak was such a wonderful opportunity and certainly a historic event for the UMHB community,” alumna Katherine Booth said. “His lecture was relevant, inspirational and humorous. I really enjoyed everything he had to...

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What could top this year?
Feb18

What could top this year?

By Jayten Ames   For the past 12 years, the university has hosted the McLane Lecture for students and staff to hear from speakers who have been in positions of influence.   This year, the lecture received more attention from students than usual when it was announced that the speaker would be George W. Bush.   The prestigious guest caused students to seek access to this event with quite a bit of interest. Due to limited seating in the Mayborn Campus Center, attendance for the event required tickets for entrance. The day that tickets for the lecture became available, the turnout was large.   As one walked into the building, all he or she could see were lining the walls of the Bawcom Student Union so they could claim tickets to the event. The line stretched from the Campus Activities Center, down the wall past Starbucks and all the way out the door to the football stadium.   Interest in the event didn’t just end with students. Although numerous alumni and community members inquired about purchasing tickets, they were reserved only for students, faculty and staff in addition to special guests of the university such as trustees and donors.   The event was well received. The turnout was almost unprecedented, as there was a point that there was standing room only in the cram-packed arena. The president received a total of four standing ovations, and there was a private luncheon in his honor after he spoke at the lecture.   This was a moment on campus that many students will not soon forget. As students endeavor to live by the inspirational words of the former president, one must wonder what can be done to top this year’s...

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“Better Call Saul,” y’all
Feb18

“Better Call Saul,” y’all

Breaking Bad fans went crazy last year when it was said that a spin-off of the popular AMC show was coming in 2015. The two-episode premiere of Better Call Saul ran at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8 and the following Monday.   The show delves into the life of the conniving criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, on the former show before he was successful and was helping out Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. His tagline for his cheesy and poorly produced commercials was “Better Call Saul,” hence shot the spin-off show got its name.   The first episode starts off with the events after Breaking Bad ended. He is working at a Cinnabon, just as he said in his final scene. He is a depressed alcoholic, and it’s actually kind of sad.   Then the show jumps back to 2002 and his not-so-successful career as a lawyer representing small cases and involving himself in scams to earn money.   He is having major money problems, he can’t pay his bills and he gets involved in some sketchy predicaments that will probably be elaborated later on in the series.   Fans get more of an idea of who Saul was before he was the goofball lawyer on the previous hit television series. He was born James McGill, but came up with his alias on a play of words “S’all good, man!” Clever, but nothing we didn’t already know coming out of Breaking Bad.   Saul has a brother, who is also a lawyer and after a mental breakdown, is getting ripped off by his law firm.   While it was hard to catch on at first, and a tad bit confusing, people will be glad to know that some key points in the show also clicked with Breaking Bad. This was good news, considering the writers of the shows, Vince Gilligan and Pete Gould, said if any ties to the show were going to be made, it would be starting in season two.   Of course, if you’re a true Breaking Bad fanatic, you’ll see all of those hidden gems in a heartbeat, even if they weren’t making direct references.   The episode ends with the audience on the edge of their seats, so thankfully they didn’t have to wait an entire week to see what happened next.   The show did pretty well as far as ratings go. The first night Better Call Saul aired, it had 6.9 million viewers, the highest-rated debut of a series in history.   Monday night, the viewers dropped by half, but a big part of that reason was that...

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