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  The North Texan welcomes letters from readers. Send letters, with writer’s full name and address, by e-mail to, fax to (940) 369-8763, submit on the web at (follow the “Contact us” link) or mail to The North Texan; University of North Texas; University Relations, Communications and Marketing; P.O. Box 311070; Denton, Texas 76203-1070. Letters may be edited for length and publication style.  

Machine memories

I remember “The Machine” also known as “The Beast.” Also known as the “MGM Monster.” Also known as “The Mecha-Eagle” (Time Tracks, fall ’06). Whenever it rolled down the road at a Homecoming float, students chanted all manner of things, such as “Here comes the Mean Green Machine, rolling down the NT scene.” It’s wonderful to be reminded of these things each issue. (My wife, Annie (’76), is an alum.)

Mark Smith, attended 1972-1974

How wonderful it is to see the Mean Green Machine again! I will never forget the excitement of Homecoming parade watchers when it rolled past.

Mary Ann Walker Smith (’71)
via e-mail

The Mean Green Machine was also called by other names, such as “The Creature.” I remember various chants my friends and I would shout as it squealed and squawked down a parade trail, on the sidelines and at half-time during home games and also in downtown Denton. What a joy to see something so awkward, silly and problematic for its creators remembered. One chant I remember: “Go Mean Green, Green Machine!
Make a scene and kill a dean!!”

Lisa Robertson Anderson (’72)
Los Angeles, Calif.

After reading about the Mean Green Machine in your latest issue and coming back to North Texas for Homecoming to see my niece (a music major), I half expected to see the big metal bird in the parade. But no, sadly. I remember the “beast” blowing his circuits at Homecoming my freshman year, but he did quite well the next two or three Homecomings.

I recall it being taller than 11 feet, though, and hearing students saying it was 2,000 or 3,000 pounds. Any idea where it is today? Thank you so much for giving me a Mean Green Machine memory.

Jan Hammond (’73)

Editor’s note: We hear that the machine spent its final days out at the UNT Observatory (the old missile base).

More influences

I read the latest issue of The North Texan and noted “The Influential Faculty Awards” and enjoyed reading the essays, especially those on the music faculty. I even visited the online site and noticed the complete list of faculty submitted. In that list I noticed some very important omissions, which I feel that I must correct.

Robert Winslow

Dr. Winslow was director of bands at the University of North Texas from 1975 until he retired in 1993.  I was fortunate enough to play percussion in his Wind Ensemble for two years, 1983-85.  He appointed me principal percussionist in 1984.  As a percussionist growing up, I never had a band director who really understood what I did.  Before coming to North Texas as a graduate student, pretty much the only comments I had ever heard from a director were “sit down, shut up!”

As an accomplished percussionist himself, Dr. Winslow always made very precise demands on the other percussionists and me. I was amazed to be in rehearsals where I was appreciated and challenged as a player. The North Texas Wind Ensemble was the top performing band and was comprised mostly of grad students and extremely gifted undergrads. I felt so lucky to be a part of that group and never took it for granted. I always looked forward to those rehearsals and absolutely loved existing in that musical environment for two years.

I was saddened to learn that Dr. Winslow had passed away in Arizona where he lived the last years of his life. I learned many lessons from Dr. Winslow that have helped me be a better person, teacher and performer.

Dan Haerle

Simply stated, one of the best musicians on Earth!  I came to know of him through his work at the Stan Kenton summer camps and then later on as the founder and mastermind behind The Zebras (UNT’s all keyboard band that he founded in the early ’80s). Dan Haerle (’66 M.M.) also kept one of the most active performance schedules of any UNT faculty member. I was always inspired by his many recitals over a 20-plus year period, beginning back in the early 1980s.  All his recitals were different.  You never knew what to expect: Sometimes it would be a jazz trio, sometimes just Dan and a vocalist or vibist, or sometimes just Dan and his computer.  But the recitals were always first rate and featured Dan's original music and hilarious sense of humor. Dan Haerle set a standard of excellence, both as a teacher and performer, which I have always strived to reach as a teacher and musician myself.

Robert Schietroma

“Doc” is a legend in the percussion world and has been honored as such by the Percussive Arts Society.  I was fortunate to study with him during my two-year stay at UNT and still stay in touch with him and consider him a friend.  He has been to my home studio many times over the past several years to record projects for his percussion publications company Drop 6 Media.  Dr. Schietroma was (and is) an innovator in so many ways in percussion and percussion education.  It is amazing to see the biographies of current movers and shakers in all aspects of the percussion community, both as teachers, composers, performers, etc.  The common denominator is almost always a stint spent at UNT studying with Doc.  Dr. Schietroma continues to be the person I can call whenever I have a problem or question about percussion or teaching.  His influence on my teaching, performing and my life are immeasurable.

Mike Myers
Percussion director, McKinney North High School

I was very surprised when I read through the list of “Influential Faculty” in the fall issue that Dr. James R. Lott was not on the list. I would argue that there is not a more influential as well as colorful educator in UNT’s history. I believe many of the faculty members on your list would agree.

Dr. Lott educated biology students at UNT for more than 40 years with his one of a kind style and humor. He will be remembered by countless students for his one liners as well as his brutal essay tests. What many may not realize is he insisted on hand grading every test (usually six per semester) himself which consisted of six pages worth of short answer and essays for all 200-plus students.

I still remember seeing him in the hospital not long before he died and the two things he was worried about were his wife, Opal, and who was going to grade his test. He finally let me grade the test (with strict instructions).

Jack Moore (’96 M.S. under Dr. Lott, ’02 Ph.D.)
Regional scientific associate director of neuroscience, U.S. Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Chilton too

After reading the summer and fall issues, I just had to write to tell you of my experiences as a freshman at North Texas. I found no mention of Chilton Hall in either of the issues I read. I enrolled as a freshman in September of 1945 — after the end of World War II. I auditioned for Dr. Wilfred Bain at the College of Music, was accepted and began my days at North Texas.

Since there were few guys on campus, the dorm at Chilton Hall was relegated to “us girls.” I enjoyed my freshman year there. We wore our freshman beanies, sang those “stupid, silly, but fun songs,” and listened to upperclassmen long for the return of their husbands and boyfriends.  My “one and only” was in college in Arlington, and I spent many weekends with him coming to North Texas or my going there.

We were crammed into rooms for two, but there were always three of us. I remember practicing my “fa-sol-la” singing while my roommate worked on housing models (she was an art major), and listening to our third roommate (who was a psychology major) regale us for our juvenile behavior.

My year at Chilton was one I’ll never forget — nor will I forget the rest of the girls who lived in our ramp. I moved to Marquis (along with my art major roommate) for my sophomore year. We loved it there, in spite of still having three to a room that was built to house two. We went to Dallas for the State Fair Musicals (after visiting Dr. Bentley for late permissions) and loved the ’Fessor Graham Saturday Night musicals. In fact, I was there the night the Moonmaids announced that they were leaving to join the Vaughn Monroe orchestra.

I would appreciate your mentioning those of us who lived in the “all-male” Chilton Hall in 1945-46. I wouldn’t take anything for my freshman experience. I especially remember freezing while standing in line to register for classes. One had to be there (in line) by 3 or 4 a.m. in order to register for classes before the best ones were filled.

Thanks for the memories. I love North Texas!

Peggy “Penny” Gray (’52)
via e-mail

North Texan Summer 2006 coverA tough business

I was happily surprised to see junior marketing major Michael Johnson on the cover of The North Texan (summer ’06). As a close friend of Michael’s, I have been following his career and his dream to become America’s next Formula One driver for quite some time. Racing is a tough business, based solely on sponsorships. I admire him for pursuing this career.

Diana Nogueira (’06)

Fort Worth too

I always enjoy reading The North Texan (especially the Bookshelf section). I just had to comment on the Park Building story (summer ’06). You say Springtown is 60 miles west of Dallas. Come on. The last time I checked, Denton is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and I imagine most of your students are still Texans. It is bad enough the national media does this (I understand why, of course) but in The North Texan this is, well, offensive to a Fort Worth native (who graduated from Azle High School, on the west side of Fort Worth, just minutes from Springtown.)

Had to vent. Keep up the good work.

Amy Bull (’91)
Oak Hall, Va.

Slide sharing

 I must apologize for the delay in responding to the letter from Jack Rumbley (’51, ’52 M.M.Ed.) asking for news from graduates of his era (spring 2005), but I remember him quite well. I can say the same about Alex Lesueur (’49, ’51 M.M.) and William Thomson (’48, ’49 M.M.), who responded to his letter in the next issue.

I doubt that any of them remember me, for I was not one of the big talents that sprang from the woodwork in the School of Music. Nevertheless, North Texas was a very important part of my life, and was the source of some of my most vivid memories.

Between 1947 and 1955 I took dozens of color slides of North Texas students and faculty, as well as the campus and its buildings (both from the ground and from the air), and I will be happy to share these with your readers. Please have them let me know ( if they want a picture of a classmate or favorite teacher. There is a possibility I may have it in my collection. Also, I would love to hear from anyone who might remember me and would like to let me know what has happened to them in the past half-century!

Nathan B. Miron (’52, ’56 M.M.)
Kenwood, Calif.

Editor’s note: See Dr. Miron’s class note for more about his life since his North Texas days.


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