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Symposium looks at the past

From left to right: Brenda Taylor Matthews, Louis Sherwood, and Elizabeth Alexander.

The 2016 edition of the Faye C. Goostree Women’s Symposium is taking a look at Texas Wesleyan’s past.

Dr. Brenda Taylor Matthews, the Pate Professor of History and chair of the Social Science Department, and Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, the A.M. Pate Professor of Early American History, will describe what the phrase “becoming Texas Wesleyan” means, Matthews said.

“This year Dr. Matthews and I will be showing slideshows and talking about the role women played at this college in the early 1900s,” Alexander said.

The symposium is 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 at Martin Hall and is free and open to the public. There is a luncheon at Lou’s Place afterward.

Matthews, Alexander and university archivist Louis Sherwood have written a book, The College on the Hill: Texas Wesleyan University, 125 Years of Tradition, 1890-2015. The book is expected to be available by Feb. 16 so it can be purchased at the symposium.

Wesleyan was originally Polytechnic College and opened in 1890, Matthews said.

“The whole area around the college became Polytechnic Heights,”she said.

Around 1910, the Methodist Board of Education decided that they wanted a flagship school in Texas and Fort Worth had to battle with Dallas for the plan, Matthews said.

“Fort Worth was originally winning but Dallas edged out a win in the end and the school that was created is now known as Southern Methodist University,” Matthews said.

Once SMU was established, Polytechnic College became Texas Woman’s College in 1914, and became financially strapped due to funds being utilized elsewhere, Alexander said.

“During that time the school was very poor and some students paid their tuition with produce, even some of the faculty and staff along with the president of the university lived on campus,” Alexander said.

In 1934, Texas Woman’s College became Texas Wesleyan College, and men could attend. TWC ended the decade in better financial shape, Alexander said.

“At one point the president of the university placed a big neon lighted sign on top of the administration building that said ‘Texas Wesleyan,’” Alexander said. “It was a sign to the Fort Worth community that Wesleyan was here to stay.”

Chuck Greeson, Wesleyan’s photographer and videographer,  took some of the pictures that are in the book.

“I took hundreds of photos for the book and as the photographer for the university it is my job to document all the photos I take,” Greeson said.

Greeson said everyone involved in the book was “very gracious and great comments about the photos I took. I worked on the project for over a year so it is good to finally see it in fruition.”

The Faye C. Goostree Women’s Symposium is 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 at Martin Hall and will be followed by a luncheon at Lou’s Place. The luncheon is $18 for the general public, $15 for faculty and staff and $10 for students; registration is available at

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Symposium looks at the past