Monday was bittersweet for students, faculty, and staff as they said goodbye to both Dean of the School of Arts and Letters Dr. Mark Hanshaw and Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Darren White.
Hanshaw, who’s been at Texas Wesleyan for more than a decade, had a farewell come and go party hosted in the Oneal-Sells Administration building from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends and to say goodbye,” Hanshaw said.
“My tenure here at Texas Wesleyan has really been wonderful. I’ve done some really exciting things. I can say I’m leaving on an extremely high positive note. I believe there are a lot of great things ahead, and I’m glad that I was able to contribute to some of them.”
Hanshaw is grateful for all the wonderful memories he’s made, people’s he’s meet, and programs he’s been apart of. He’s glad he left a piece of his legacy at Wesleyan and is excited for his future opportunities.
“I was presented with the opportunity to serve as associate general secretary for the general board of education which oversees the relationship between the 119 Methodist universities across the country, one of which happens to be Texas Wesleyan,” Hanshaw said. “It’s really a unique kind of opportunity, an opportunity to be engaged with the presidents and other administrators from around these various institutions.
“It really is going to be an opportunity for me to engage and do a variety of different projects and programs and really expand my horizons. I’m looking forward to it and one of the best things about it is that in my role I will still be able to stay in contact and connection with Texas Wesleyan.”
Hanshaw will miss the people at Texas Wesleyan the most, especially the students.
“The students have been great, and I still hear from some of them,” he said. “Being in this new place it’s going to be a little bit more difficult to stay in touch with some of them, but I’ve built some great relationships and friendships over the years. I will certainly try to continue to maintain those.”
Hanshaw will also be missed when he takes his role with the Methodist church.
“Mark has just always been such a calming influence and is pretty good at planning,” said Texas Wesleyan President Frederick Slabach. “I’m really going to miss just how much he’s involved with everything here at the university.”
Slabach said Hanshaw was especially good with the international students and will be missed by them as well. He is glad Hanshaw will be able to continue working with Texas Wesleyan, as well as other Methodist universities, in his new role of determining the accreditation of universities affiliated with the Methodist church.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him and I’m really happy for him,” Slabach said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him through his new responsibilities.”
Associate Provost-Academic Affairs Dr. Steven Daniell also will miss Hanshaw.
“He was actually on the search committee that brought me here back in 2009, so I’ve known him since before I started here,” Daniell said. “He’s just fun to talk to and has a very good sense of humor. He’s been really good friends with me since I got here.”
Daniell will take over the role of interim Dean of the School of Arts and Letters for the rest of the spring semester and is looking forward to reconnecting with the school.
“I think just sort of reconnecting with the faculty over there (is what I’m looking forward to the most),” he said. “In my role over here it’s a little more university wide so I kind of see things, but you’re also a little bit isolated because of it. I’ve been dean for seven years over there so that would be probably the big (thing I’m looking forward to).”
While White hasn’t been at Wesleyan for over a decade like Hanshaw, he has worked at the university for eight years and is an alum of Wesleyan’s online MBA program. His goodbye send-off was held at Lou’s Place starting at 2:30 p.m.
“I feel sad to leave Wesleyan,” White said. “I’ve worked here for eight years and I’ve met many close friends here and many great students. I feel proud to be a part of this school.”
White says he will miss the people at Wesleyan the most and still feels very connected even though he’s heading back to his home state of Florida. He will be joining his wife, an interior designer, who has already moved to Jacksonville; he will start a higher-end marketing consultation business.
“(I feel) nervous, like it’s a lot of work, but I’m excited to get started on it,” White said. “I’m from Florida originally so I’m happy to go home.”
Director of Communications Ann Davis said White will be missed, but she’s happy for him.
“I feel very happy for Darren that he and his wife are embarking on this next step of their life,” Davis said. “He’ll definitely be missed by all of us.”
She said White will be successful in whatever he does, because she has seen his work at Wesleyan and will miss working with him.
“(I’ll miss) his creativity and his sense of humor,” she said. “In our office we have a lot of fun, and Darren really is the voice of ‘Smaller Smarter’. I’ve witnessed a lot of his creative moments, one of the best ones being when he wrote the ‘When we say smaller’ commercial. He writes a lot of really impactful things.”
White said he was happy to be a part of Texas Wesleyan as an alum, a worker, and a Ram in general.
“I don’t know about (my) legacy, but I think we’re all trying to work on projects that are worthwhile and that benefit students,” White said. “I think this is a school with a wonderful mission. We have a lot of first-generation college students here and a lot of students that benefit from the smaller school atmosphere. I’m a first-generation college student so I see the value in that, but I guess my hope is that I’ve helped with that.”