Supporting students, responding to the changing national and global community and committing to build a brighter future were the central messages delivered by President Gretchen M. Bataille during the inaugural installation ceremony April 13.
Bataille announced the creation of two endowed funds — the Emerald Eagle Scholars program and the Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw Scholarship Fund — that will support students with financial need. The endowments together include about $450,000. During Bataille's address, she said she is committed to ensuring they grow, along with other support to the university.
About 1,000 community members attended the ceremony that symbolically bestowed Bataille with the authority and powers of her office.
In addition, about 600 delegates representing UNT and the UNT System community; universities from across the nation; national learned, professional and honor societies; local, state and national community leaders and elected officials, participated in the ceremony.
Greetings were offered by:
- Michael C. Burgess, U.S. representative
- Myra Crownover, Texas state representative
- Perry McNeill, Mayor of Denton and UNT professor emeritus of engineering technology
- Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
- Marcia Staff, Faculty Senate chair and Regents professor of finance, insurance, real estate and law
- Anissa Breaux-Schropp, Staff Council chair and UNT compliance officer
- Tobye Nelson, Graduate Student Council chair
- Alan Ross, Student Government Association president.
During personal tributes from her son and daughter, audience members learned about Bataille's "courage to do the right thing" as Marc Hettinga told a story about Bataille's conviction to change Iowa's six-girl high school basketball system to a five-girl system so Iowa's female basketball players could compete for athletic scholarships.
Hettinga said that the decision to overturn the system cost Bataille and fellow member Evelyne Villines their positions on the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. However, years later an assistant basketball coach at Washington State University in Pullman wanted to know if Bataille was "the Gretchen Bataille from Iowa." The coach, who was from a poor Iowa family, went to college only because she earned a scholarship to play five-girl basketball.
In addition, Bataille's strong commitment to quality academics as a teacher, researcher and administrator, as well as her strength as a leader was discussed by colleagues delivering congratulations.
- David M. Gradwohl, Professor emeritus of anthropology at Iowa State University who team taught courses about the American Indians with Bataille
- Toni-Marie Montgomery, Dean of music at Northwestern University, who first worked with Bataille at Arizona State University
- Molly Colbert Broad, President emerita of the University of North Carolina, who worked with Bataille at UNC
- Gaston Caperton, College Board President and former Governor of West Virginia, who serves with Bataille on the College Board
- Jose Martinez-Vilchis, Rector of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, who now works with Bataille to support the partnership between UNT and UAEM.
Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Regents professor of music, conducted the Wind Symphony in a performance of "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman" by Joan Tower, and the Wind Symphony and Grand Chorus in a performance of "The Promise of Living" by Aaron Copland.
A Navajo blessing by Ferlin Clark, president of Dine College, opened the ceremony, which also featured an African recessional and was followed by a community picnic.