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Chancellor Carine Feyten gives a TWU football helmet to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn during a recent visit to Washington, D.C. The helmet reads "Texas Woman's University: Still Undefeated Since 1901." Below: A group of alumni pose during a gathering in the district. (Courtesy photos)

TWU goes to Washington

Sometimes, time and distance make it difficult for those connected to Texas Woman’s to visit the university. So the university comes to them.

In a whirlwind of activity, Chancellor Carine Feyten, Vice President for University Advancement Kimberly Russell and Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs Kevin Cruser were among a team of Texas Woman’s officials who traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with national and state legislators from Texas, the editorial board of a national publication, and a record number of Texas Woman’s University alumni.

“The number of positive outcomes for Texas Woman’s University from this trip has my head spinning,” Feyten said. “My team built a nonstop itinerary, and our successes are thanks to their extraordinary leadership and preparation.”

The group flew to the nation’s capital on Nov. 14, meeting that evening with almost 100 TWU alumni from the greater Washington, D.C., area. Members of University Advancement and Alumni Engagement planned the reception, which was the largest alumni event the team has ever hosted outside of Texas.

Feyten told the alumni and guests that 2021 was “the Year of Texas Woman’s” due to the significant number of accomplishments for the university – beginning with the passage of SB1126, which established the Texas Woman’s University System. The chancellor also noted academic programs grown, the construction boom – including the future $100-million health sciences center, and other notable outcomes from the past five years.

The chancellor reiterated some of those points in a meeting with Inside Higher Ed founding editor Scott Jaschik. She also championed the benefits of a university with a woman-focused purpose, and noted our national rankings, distinct programs and mission, among other topics.

Feyten and her team dined with U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia and had breakfast at the Capitol with U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess the following morning. She met with other federal legislators from Texas throughout the day, including Reps. Ronny Jackson, John Carter, Beth Van Duyne, Al Green, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Sen. John Cornyn. These congressional leaders helped advance federal funding for some Texas Woman’s research projects, including one on post-traumatic stress disorder. Several indicated a desire to advance the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership with archives of prominent leading women in politics as well as proposing support for other projects.

The chancellor’s itinerary included more than meetings, though. Feyten’s team was afforded the opportunity to tour “Girlhood: It’s Complicated” with lead curator Kathleen Franz. The exhibition, on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, commemorates the anniversary of women’s suffrage by exploring the concept of girlhood in the United States, but also how girls changed history in politics, education, work, health, and fashion.