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Helping Horned Frogs Find Their Place in the World

Frances Reaves

Frances Reaves '76

Many college freshmen face a challenging transition, but when Frances Reaves '76 came to TCU to study with renowned Ballet Director Fernando Schaffenburg, it was "pure culture shock." She had been living in Singapore because of her father's oil exploration career and had chosen TCU over SMU because of Schaffenburg's reputation.

"I arrived at TCU never having lived in the United States, never having seen an American football game and never having studied ballet under the American system," she explains. "I lived in Brachman Hall, went through sorority rush, worked at the cafeteria next door, attended my first football game and discovered that 5-foot, 10-inch women were adored for many reasons, but I would not be Director Schaffenburg's next protégé!"

In the coming years, Frances acclimatized and recalibrated her plan: becoming a resident assistant, majoring in political science and Spanish, adding "y'all" to her vocabulary and trading ballet for a place on TCU's first women's track team.

"What I'm most proud of is why I included TCU in my estate plans," she explains. "I love the person I've become and, yes, there have been many people and experiences that shaped me, but TCU took care of this little naïf when she landed on U.S. soil as a U.S. citizen with no knowledge of 'America.' It's also why I chose to leave a scholarship endowment for women who want to spend a semester abroad but don't have the resources. Everyone should experience culture shock!"

The important role TCU has played in her life became even more evident when Frances applied for her law license in 1989 after passing the Florida Bar exam. She faced an extensive application process to become a licensed attorney, listing all jobs she'd had, including her first U.S. job as a resident assistant. "My immediate boss from my TCU days was now head of housing, and he wrote me the most wonderful letter praising me! I still have it," she says. "That letter made me realize how engaged TCU was with me and all the opportunities it had given me to grow and become a leader and world citizen.

"I never think of 'giving back,' I think of 'paying it forward,'" Frances concludes. "My life has been fabulous, and I want to do what I can to share my journey. To me, that's paying it forward."

Share Your Journey

There are many ways you can pay it forward and share your journey with future TCU students, like Frances did. Contact TCU Gift Planning at 817.257.7299 or to learn more or to get started.