“Educate a woman, empower the world.”

It’s the mission statement for Texas Woman’s University, but for Chancellor and President Carine M. Feyten, it’s also a calling.

Feyten, who has been in the helm at TWU since 2014, addressed the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Editorial Board this past week — speaking just before the university announced its largest single donation ever and amid a sea of activity as the fall semester looms.

It’s a busy time for the nation’s largest university primarily for women — with a number of significant building projects and renovations underway as TWU greatly expands its physical footprint. It’s also heady days as a number of indicators show Feyten has TWU pointed in the right direction:

  • TWU ranks 45th out of 1,275 U.S. universities for adding value to students’ earning potential, according to The Economist magazine.
  • TWU ranks first in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for graduates’ earnings vs. cost of attendance, according to the Dallas Business Journal.
  • And according to the latest statistics, 85 percent of alumni reported being employed or enrolled in graduate school in Texas within one year of graduation.

With the $10 million gift announced Thursday, TWU will help fund construction on a new residential complex. Scheduled to open in fall 2019, the $88.4 million residential space will house 875 sophomores and include three multi-story buildings, classrooms, fitness and recreation facilities and a dining hall.

The expansive project is one of nine currently underway at the Denton campus — the largest building program at the 117-year-old university since 1973.

But spend some time listening to Feyten speak, and you will come to realize how unique TWU is and how the university’s approach to education might differ from other colleges. It’s not about the number of building projects or educational statistics — it’s about the educational impact.

There is the nursing student Feyten spoke of who struggled as a single mother to balance child care and her studies but discovered an environment at TWU that encouraged perseverance. She was not alone in her struggles, as many of TWU’s students share a similar path — in fact, Feyten identified child care as one of the biggest challenges for TWU.

But TWU reinforces a pioneering spirit, and the student graduated and is now a nurse at a local hospital. And not only did she soldier on and succeed in her studies, but her child witnessed her commitment and then saw the payoff an education can bring.

The impact TWU has is not just on the students but on the students’ families. Family trees are changing — and such empowerment is contagious.

It’s a confidence Feyten fosters as she recalls conversations with budding female entrepreneurs: “If you’re not at the table,” she tells them, “you’re probably on the menu.”

We couldn’t agree more — and commend Feyten for her visionary and energetic leadership. She embodies the pioneering spirit that permeates the campus. Empowerment, indeed.

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