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Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun Run: 4th Annual Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge

The Fourth Annual Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge featured accomplishment, exhaustion, and most of all, fun! Rachel Barnes, Matt Mitts' hat, McKenzie Quinn, and Nicola Hill, pictured above, get their motors running at the Saturday packet pick-up and expo. The Trinity training program culminates in the 13.1 mile San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.

This year's run again featured about 100 Trinity runners. The crew made a big splash in their maroon Trinity shirts and somehow stood out in a sea of 25,000 runners. The program featured long weekend runs, weekday training, a pre-race pasta dinner, speakers, and many post-run meals. One highlight was the ten mile run at Woodlawn Lake on October 29. After the run 30 members of the training crew were treated to breakfast tacos at a nearby Mexican restaurant. As the video below shows, despite the early hour, the group was treated to some pretty unique karaoke.

The group collected over $1,800 and 700 food items for the San Antonio Food Bank in the Kayla Mire Food Drive. Kayla, a supporter of the homeless, died last year following graduation. Her folks talked about her at the August info session and the runners responded with record-breaking donations.

I love spending time with students, colleagues, alumni, and others over the several months of this program. Thanks to everyone for making this a special event. Check out videos of runners crossing the finish line!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Trinity University head football coach Steve Mohr addresses his team after the Tigers' 20-14 victory over Centre College. The Tigers' undefeated streak remained in tact and they sewed up at least a share of the conference championship with the win. Centre was previously undefeated and this was the last match between the teams as Centre is one of several schools leaving the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference after this year.

The audio is hard to hear on the video, but what Coach Mohr had to say mattered less than the fact that he was even there to address his team. Steve has been battling health issues and has had to miss one road contest. Athletic Director Bob King says his presence alone was enough to bring the team back from down 14-0 in the contest. The team, apparently, has assumed the toughness of its coach.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Soccer Mom Defends Husband

The photo shows Penelope Harley walking away, purse in hand, and in obvious disgust with the speaker. The Express-News story says she was leaving the talk to "attend her son's soccer match." The only thing missing was mom jeans.

Ms. Harley, wife of Trinity President, Dennis Ahlburg, was attending a guest presentation about free speech by a former Colorado professor. The President, Dennis Ahlburg, was out of town. Penelope, as is her way, wanted to support the faculty who sponsored this program. That the speaker worked at Colorado when the President and Ms. Harley were there was simply coincidental. Big campus.  Not knowing the Trinity first lady was in the audience, the speaker raised issues about President Ahlburg and alleged back-stabbing in Colorado and a worn out story about an evaluation of our President from his Boulder days.

I wasn't there. Maybe Penelope could have sat quietly and later confronted the man. Or maybe she could have walked out quietly rather than "stormed out" as the story states. Or she could have written a letter. But she stood up to defend the honor of our President - and in some ways - of our University. The speaker got more than he bargained for and so did the audience. Bravo!

While the official lesson was free speech, the sideshow became the story. That's how the media played it. And why not? The speaker's 15 minutes of fame should have ended 20 minutes ago. And free speech/civility/democracy/tenure stories can write themselves. So with piss and vinegar (and a purse and car key) the TU first lady spoke her mind and left the room to a nasty Nazi salute from our guest. The President stood up for his wife from across the country in a phone interview. "The only speech he wants to hear is his own voice," the President told the reporter.

Ms. Harley is an accomplished academic and professional, but the story lets it appear that she is an errand-running, spying, ranting super-mom. That would be just fine too. But it isn't the truth. Who cares that her personal and professional agenda centers on world peace?  Why not note, too, that she moderates disputes (or teaches how) while not busy being sucked into her own. The President can defend himself and he doesn't need a wife or Dean to do it. But both want to.

So what is the real take-away? Two things immediately jump to mind. The first: People are real, and not just defined by their positions. In this case, when you get Dennis as your President, you get Penelope too. And that's a good thing. There is value in seeing people as real and standing up for each other and what is right. This couple role-models something important - a healthy relationship. Secondly, we all like to think that if someone -- figuratively or literally -- gives us the finger we are big enough to turn and walk away. But sometimes you need to give it back. Dennis and Penelope have proven consistently that they won't lie down for anyone. They don't look for a fight, but they won't back down. This is a good lesson for our students and our campus. Emotions are part of who we are. We could probably have safer. There are many Presidents who won't offend and who will take the righteous and cautious path.

We could have vanilla, I'm sure. But we got Rocky Road. And that's a story worth reporting. It suits us just fine.