MySweetCharity Opportunity: Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program At The University Of North Texas

According to Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program at The University of North TexasMichael Faircloth,

Michael Faircloth designs (File photo)

The fashion design program at the University of North Texas prepares students for a career as a fashion designer, illustrator or for the many production positions in the fashion industry. The program educates students to create designs that are both innovative and current, while being marketable and suitable for manufacture.

Graduates have landed prestigious design positions for companies such as Oscar de la Renta, Dillards, Watters Bridal, Fossil, Ralph Lauren, Theory, Panhandle Slim, Haggar, JC Penney, Nicole Miller, Monique Lhuillier, Zac Posen and Calvin Klein. I am honored to have my name associated with the Fashion Design Program.

I am humbled and overjoyed that my friends and my alma mater desire to recognize my achievements by naming the fashion design program for me. My experience and education while studying fashion design at UNT certainly laid the foundation for my success, and it continues to support my view of fashion as a discipline of art.

Lisa Troutt and Michael Faircloth (File photo)

And, I am enthusiastically encouraging others to contribute to the fund so we continue to support the program and remind students of the success they can achieve with a degree from UNT. 

UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design has received a gift in the amount of $500,000 that will assist in the enrichment and renaming of the already noted fashion design program as the Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program.

My friend and alumna Lisa Troutt, with a previous career in fashion design, and her husband, Kenny, have given the first major gift that will support the $2.5 million goal to name the program. My hope is that others will follow, at any level, and help with this important educational program. Please visit

MySweet2017Goals: Michael Faircloth

Michael Faircloth (File photo)

According to UNT Distinguished Alumnus/designer Michael Faircloth

“My 2017 goal is to wrap up fund-raising for The Michael Faircloth School of Fashion Design Endowment Fund capital campaign at the University of North Texas. I am honored to have my name associated with this great institution and I am hopeful many students will benefit from this important educational experience.

“With an emphasis on art research, fashion history and trend analysis, UNT’s fashion design students learn to take their ideas from inception, to sketch, to finished garment. They also learn practical skills like patternmaking, draping, fashion sketching, industrial sewing and computer-aided design that lead to rewarding careers.”

UNT Emerald Eagles Soared With Robert Edsel, Phyllis George, Ali MacGraw, Brent Musburger And Peter Weller Despite Two MIA’s

It seems that all the eagles didn’t come home to roost for the UNT Emerald Eagles Award on Wednesday, March 5. The North Texas version of the Kennedy Center Honors at the Meyerson was to honor three of UNT’s alumni — former Miss America/sportscaster Phyllis George, multi-award-winning writer Larry McMurtry and actor Peter Weller.

Phyllis George and George Getschow

Phyllis George and George Getschow

While 1,000 guests filled the Meyerson lobby, VIP’s attended a private reception in the Opus where Eagles “RoboCop” Peter and Phyllis received medals on green ribbons. Also on stage was a third person holding a medal and smiling. Someone in the crowd of cellphone snappers nudged a friend, “Gee, McMurtry looks different.” There was a reason for the bolero-jacketed chap not looking like McMurtry. He wasn’t the curmudgeonly author. Instead the fellow was UNT’s Mayborn writer-in-residence George Getschow, who conducts a Writer’s Workshop in Archer City with McMurtry. Seems Larry had been unable to attend the event due to ill health.

One over-the-middle-age gent huffed, “I just knew McMurty wouldn’t show.”

Robert Edsel

Robert Edsel

While disappointing for some, the majority didn’t care one iota because honorees Phyllis and Peter added to their ultra-specialness by bringing along Brent Musburger and Ali MacGraw to handle their introductions in the McDermott Hall.

For some in-the-know types, there was still another added plus — the presence of “The Monuments Men” author Robert Edsel, whose responsibility was to introduce the MIA McMurtry. As the medals were being hung and held, Robert stood near a column going over his notes. The Dallas resident admitted that he’d only spent seven nights in his home this year. It seems that he’s on a new crusade to have the Congressional Gold Medal granted to the monuments men “in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.”  Admitting that this undertaking was daunting — Mother’s Day has been up for considerations for years — he was determined to accomplish his goal before losing another member of the team that saved the art of Europe following World War II.

Amanda Hall and Johnny Quinn

Amanda Hall and Johnny Quinn

Another famous face in the crowd was former Olympian Johnny Quinn with his fiancé Amanda Hall.

In catching up with Phyllis, it was learned that after living in Georgia, she’s in the process of moving back to Lexington, Kentucky, where she had been First Lady when ex-husband John Y. Brown Jr. was governor. Seems she and John are still good friends. Why, she even attended his recent 80th birthday party celebration with all the kids in attendance. The reason for the move was a request made at a family meeting between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when the kids said, “Mom, it would be good if you came back to Lexington.”

When asked if she had ever considered running for office herself, the beauty admitted she had once discussed it, but not now, describing it as a rough game, a hard game. At one time, she even considered running for governor of Texas:  “After Miss Texas, you’re a politician anyway.”

Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw

Speaking of Texas governor, Phyllis was friends with the late Gov. Ann Richards and is proud of Wendy Davis.

Another gal drawing attention was Ali MacGraw, who had come to the event because “Peter asked me, ‘Could you do this?’ (introduce him). We’re close friends. I know his whole family. We’ve been friends since we did a movie together in the ‘80s. Our lives overlap and it’s been great fun.” Ali had flown in from Santa Fe, where it had been even colder than Dallas. Despite that chill, Ali loves Santa Fe, saying, “It’s such a rich community. So many people are working to change things.”

Bit of trivia: Ali and Phyllis also had something in common: an ex-husband, movie producer Bob Evans. Ali was wife #3 (1969-1973) and Phyllis was #4 (1977-1978).

Neal Smatresk

Neal Smatresk

Before bestowing the medals, UNT President Neal Smatresk commented:

  • On Peter Weller: “I’m of the generation that thought ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai’ was possibly the best movie of all time.”
  • On Phyllis George: “How many of us grew up listening to her?”

The honorees were whisked out of the reception to the outdoor red carpet for an official group photo. Despite huddling up together, Peter quipped, “In the words of Vince Lombardi, it’s freezing, let’s get the hell out of here.”

Fran Kimmel and Debbie Smatresk

Fran Kimmel and Debbie Smatresk

As soon as the photos were taken, they were directed to their places within the hall, where the likes of Holly Reed, Brad Beaird, Amanda and Brint Ryan, Lane Rawlins, Debbie Smatresk, Fran and UNT Chairman of the Board Bob Kimmel, Mickey and Bill Lively, Lynne Sheldon and Lee Cullum took their places for the program.

One chap who took his time getting into the hall was Peter’s son, Teddy, who had stationed himself with a tablet on the steps leading to the hall.

Teddy Weller

Teddy Weller

When the program got underway, The Ticket’s George Dunham limped to the podium claiming that he had gotten into a leg-wrestling contest with Mean Joe Greene at the cocktail party. But instead of being accompanied by co-host Melissa Rycroft Strickland, he was joined by Dave Barnett. Seems Melissa is expecting her second child and was ordered by the doctor to remain in bed.

The duo made up for the missing Melissa by kicking things off by acknowledging Johnny Quinn’s presence —

Dave: “Oddly, we found him locked in the bathroom about an hour ago.”

George: “Only a North Texas guy would break out of a bathroom.”

As the honorees sat in the Classical Loge boxes, the rest of the program included musical, reading and video highlights as well as comments by:

  • Neal, recalling that during his transition from being president of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas to UNT, he attended the UNT-UNLV football game at the Cotton Bowl. “A sign in the end zone said it all: ‘We beat your team and we stole your president.’” Acknowledging the success of the Emerald Eagles program, he reported that when it started there were 400 students; now 3,500 have been “served,” with 600 having been graduated.
  • Ali told how she had met Peter in 1980 while making “Just Tell Me What You Want” with director Sidney Lumet. Describing Peter as “scary good,” she listed his accomplishments as an actor from film to theater. Why, he even moonlights in jazz bands in New York and L.A. Then, on a personal note, she told that he knew of her love for Scottish Terriers and has given her all her Scotty dogs over the years.
  • Via video, actor Jeff Bridges praised McMurtry and was following by Edsel, who described the author as a great historian, because fiction must be totally believable. He said, “You’ve got John Wayne movies, and then you’ve got ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ People are not predictable.”
  • Brent Musburger

    Brent Musburger

    Brent joked about how nice it was to “call a woman beautiful without the politically correct police griping at you.” Telling the group that she opened doors for women in broadcasting. Brent pleased the crowd saying that when they worked together, “She reminded me that she’s from Denton, Teas, not Dallas!” One member of the audience gave Brent a thumbs-up, saying, “I’ve never cared for Brent Musburger on TV, but tonight I was really impressed with him.”

Brittany George and Phyllis George

Brittany George and Phyllis George

Concluding the presentations, Dunham returned to the stage singing, “There she is, Miss America. . . “ as Phyllis was presented red roses from Mean Joe with her niece Brittany George seated next to her.

Phyllis George, Larry McMurtry And Peter Weller To Be Honored At University Of North Texas Emerald Eagle Celebration

Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Peter Weller (File photo)

Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Peter Weller (File photo)

What do former Miss America Phyllis GeorgePeter “RoboCop” Weller and novelist Larry McMurtry have in common?

This is the kind of guessing game that conjures up all types of creative wonderment.

But before going down the wrong imaginative lane, here’s the answer: They’ll all be celebrated at the University of North Texas Emerald Eagle on Wednesday, March 5, at the Meyerson.

Even if you’re not a UNT grad, you’ll feel right at home seeing these three honored.

For ever-smiling sweetie Phyllis, her old sportscasting buddy Brent Musburger “will be doing the introduction.”

Handling the emcee duties will be UNT grads Melissa Rycroft Strickland and 1310 The Ticket’s George Dunham.

Similar to the Kennedy Center Honors, the UNT version will showcase “these trailblazing UNT alumni . .  via career video retrospectives, remarks by speakers significant to their careers and musical tributes by special guests and the UNT college of music.”

BTW, if you want to score points with the UNT crowd, wear green. You can consider it a warm up for St. Patrick’s Day.

Round Robin November 20: Triple Crown Gala Kick-Off And Emerald Eagle Honors Announcement Parties

On Wednesday, November 20, Preston Hollow was bustling with activity for equines and eagles!

Triple Crown Gala Kick-Off

My, my, but Equest was a busy nonprofit. There was a trunk show at the Hobbit house earlier in the day. Then at 4 p.m. there was a check presentation in the Mockingbird Room in Highland Park Village with a book signing by Dotty Griffith. Then the horse-loving crowd capped off the day with the Triple Crown Gala kick-off party at Lisa Blue Baron’s mansion.

Why all this activity on one day? Well, the check presentation was slated so the 2013 Equest honoree Nancy Carter could be present. Alas, just days before the guest-of-honor had to regret that she would be unable to attend, but insisted that the check-handing-over go on without her.

Tex, Lisa Blue Baron, Alessandra, Caroline and Nathalie Baron

Tex, Lisa Blue Baron, Alessandra, Caroline and Nathalie Baron

Then the kick-off party got off to a great start with kids and critters. Needless to say, what W.C. Fields would have hated delighted hostess Lisa. In the mansion’s driveway, there were her triplets (Alessandra, Caroline and Nathalie) in their most adorable cowgirl attire with the Equest ambassadors, Sugar and Tex. Needless to say Tex loved all the female surroundings, whereas Sugar gave her buddy the side-eye. He seemed to be enjoying Lisa and her girls a bit too much.

It seems the girls aren’t just all dress and no ride. They’ve been taking weekly riding lessons. Are they riding English or Western? English. Do they wear helmets? “Of course!”

As soon as the photos had been taken, the wee Baronesses headed inside for dinner courtesy of the evening’s buffet.

As for the program, it was a case of mixed signals. One staffer said the affair was to be a get-together and there would be no talking nor announcements.

Jeremy Lock

Jeremy Lock

Minutes later, Triple Crown Gala Co-Chair Maggie Cooke Kipp reported that indeed there was going to be talking. D’Andra Simmons and her fiancée Jeremy Lock would be talking about Equest’s “Hooves for Heroes.” With firsthand knowledge of the need of such a program, Jeremy said, “I’ll talk about how I support what they’re doing. I’ve done six tours in the military and have photographed what these guys have gone through. Something like this program, which gives back to the brave men and women, is much needed. These programs really work!”

Maggie and her Co-Chair Shay Geyer revealed plans for the May 3 event at Texas Horse Park. Definite changes from the past galas that took place at Park Pane Equestrian Center in April. No, this one would be at the Horse Park that is currently under construction. And the date just so happened to coincide with the Kentucky Derby. They planned it that way and will have the Derby simulcast during the gala.

One bit of news that wasn’t on the agenda was from florist Shane Walker. He and partner Billy Fulmer have had a change of plans. They had thought they would have been moved into their new retail shop in the Trinity Groves complex. Unfortunately, negotiations proved not to be on the same page, so the boys decided to move their operation to the old Nuvo location on Cedar Springs. Shane was delighted because he said it’s closer to his clients and almost ready for them to move in.

Emerald Eagle Honors Announcement Party

Peter Max artwork

Peter Max artwork

Just a few blocks away in Preston Hollow, Sara Sue and Don Potts hosted the UNT Emerald Eagle Honors announcement party. Boy, when those UNT eagles party, they know the right nest to pick. From cases filled with trophies and sports memorabilia, Andy Warhol and Peter Max artworks to a see-through wine cellar filled with the right labels, the Potts’s place was filled to the max.

One female guest wandered into the game room overlooking the pool and spa with its fountains and asked, “Is this a second kitchen?” No, it just a game room with a super-duper bar.

And rightly so. Last year’s inaugural event honored Roy Orbison, Mean Joe Greene and Mary Suhm. This year the March 5 event will honor former Miss America Phyllis George, actor Peter Weller and a third, yet-to-be-named UNT accomplished grad. Emceeing the event at the Meyerson will be Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Dallas Cowboys guard Brian Waters.

Lee Jackson and Neal J. Smatresk

Lee Jackson and Neal J. Smatresk

But on this evening the man of the hour was newly named UNT President Dr. Neal J. Smatresk wearing a green tie, of course. The “sole candidate,” who will be formally appointed in December, Neal said that UNT “has to be a national prominent” institution. “The question is, ‘What is the right path to get there?’” His focus will be on “how to establish the brand first here in the Metroplex.”

Tickets are available for purchase now!

April 15 Round Robin: North Texas Food Bank, Equest And Emerald Eagles Honor

April is turning out to be the nesting month for “round robins” by the score. Here is the wrap up for April 15.

North Texas Food Bank

It’s a rare occasion when Ruth Altshuler is upstaged. But it was a by-a-nose finish at the North Texas Food Bank’s fifth annual “Dishing Out Gratitude” program, when Genie Pattison accepted her Young Ambassadors Award. The elementary school student had mounted an effort with her classmates to raise resources for the North Texas Food Bank. Genie’s acceptance speech was a hit with a ”Thank you. That’s all,” and that was about it.

Genie Pattison and former First Lady Laura Bush

Genie Pattison and former First Lady Laura Bush

But if you thought legendary food-raising champion Ruth felt upstaged, then you obviously are so new to the hood.

Handholding with husband Ken, she looked extremely pleased knowing that the future was assured thanks to the spirit of youngsters like Genie.

Ruth was also a bit stunned by the presence of a mystery guest. The North Texas Food Bank had gone an extra mile or two and managed to keep it a secret that former First Lady Laura Bush would be there for Ruth’s receiving the “Individual Golden Fork.”

Ruth, who is never at a loss for clever quotes, was almost speechless. When someone told her that Laura was there, she dismissed the thought saying there was no way since Laura was in New York City for the over-the-weekend birth of her first granddaughter. But sure enough, there was Laura without a hair out of place sitting next to Ruth.

Others in the audience including Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Jeanne Phillips, Ellen Terry, Louise Eiseman, Marilyn Augur and Caroline Rose Hunt watched the following “plates” handed out:

Core Value: Do what needs to be done — Felton Dickens, George Peabody Elementary

  • Core Value: Urgency — Harold Simmons Foundation
  • Core Value: Stewardship — Beaumont Foundation of America
  • Core Value: Diversity — A.K. Mago
  • Core Value: Celebrate Passion — Dallas Theater Center
  • Community Innovator of the Year — Communities Foundation of Texas
  • Corporate Innovator of the Year — Rent-A-Center
  • Individual Innovator of the Year — Ray Hemmig
  • Young Ambassadors Award — Genie Pattison
  • Corporate Golden Fork — AT&T
  • Food Industry Golden Fork — Larry Tolbert, Performance Foodservice
  • Lifetime Achievement — Liz Minyard and Ambassador Kathryn Hall
Liz Minyard Lokey and Paul Lokey and Ray and Ruth Hemming

Liz Minyard Lokey and Paul Lokey and Ray and Ruth Hemming

Both A.K. and Ray commented that their involvement was spurred largely due their wives’ influence. As A.K. put it, “The man may be the head, but the wife is the neck and directs the head.”

As for Genie, she loved the attention and the “plate,” but she’ll probably never forget being hugged by the former first lady.


Val Kilmer is everywhere, everywhere. The week before he was at Carolina Hererra’s for an Equest fundraiser, the Nasher to get a tour by Jeremy Strick, Dallas International Film Festival to present William Friedkin with Dallas Star Award and D Broadcasting and KLUV to promote his “Citizen Twain.”  

Tiffany Divis, Jennifer Houser, Val Kilmer, Lynn McBee and Ellen Winspear

Tiffany Divis, Jennifer Houser, Val Kilmer, Lynn McBee and Ellen Winspear

In addition to driving interest in “Citizen Twin,” he was at the Equest and DIFF events because of his friendship with Jennifer and Doug Houser. And, dang, if he didn’t do it again! Since Jennifer is chairing the underwriting for the Equest Fashion Show, she got her buddy Val to stop by Trina Turk’s for the official kick-off for the Equest event.

Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore

Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore

While many of the gals worked the racks finding summery outfits and Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore established a camp on the couch, Val continued his conquest posing for photos with guests like Ellen Winspear and Lynn McBee, who was on her way to the University of North Texas at the Meyerson.

One of the gals in the crowd with an armful of new purchases was Gina Betts, fresh off her Wings Luncheon success. She’s already started putting plans in order for the 2014 Art Ball.

When it came time to announce plans for the fashion show, they invited Val to talk. Well, heck! Of course, Equest Fashion Show Chair Tiffany and Jennifer just knew the ladies wanted to hear from the hunk in the room.

Using his Val charm, he nicely admitted that he was encouraging people to buy tickets. And even if they couldn’t attend, they could buy tickets and have them donated for Afghanistan vets to attend in their place. Already more than 200 tickets have been provided for the soldiers.

University of North Texas

And speaking of the University of North Texas, the Meyerson was indeed filled with “Scrappy” alumni and fans for the Emerald Eagle Honors. Highlights of the evening included:

  • Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Peter Weller

    Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Peter Weller*

    [UNT alumna/co-host] Melissa Rycroft Strickland teasing [UNT/co-host] Peter Weller the whole night for being a bit older by saying he was in the black and white generation. She also teased him for not being able to say her name correctly.

  • Peter Weller getting applauded for his most beloved role as RoboCop, which he mentioned was filmed in Dallas.
  • Band

    Green Brigade Marching Band*

    UNT’s The Green Brigade Marching Band entering the Meyerson to a standing crowd playing the UNT fight song tribute for [honoree] “Mean” Joe Greene

  • Drew Pearson speaking a lot about the rivalry between the Cowboys and the Steelers and how it was to play against Joe Greene.
    Lee Jackson, Joe Greene and Mary Suhm

    Lee Jackson, Joe Greene and Mary Suhm*

  • A spoof of “Mean” Joe Greene’s Coke commercial with Roger Staubach making a special appearance playing the young boy in the original commercial.
  • Ron Kirk referring to [honoree] Mary Suhm as Ginger Rogers, quoting the saying that “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.” 
  • The house band for the evening, Prophets & Outlaws, playing “Proud Mary” in tribute to Mary Suhm. Mary was on her feet and clapping the entire time!
  • When Lisa Loeb sang a few bars of “Only the Lonely” to introduce [honoree, the late] Roy Orbison‘s story.
  • Lisa Loeb telling about the time she was able to hear Roy Orbison play and meet him when she was a teenager in Dallas.
  • When Peter Weller spoke about Roy Orbison he said, “He enrolled at UNT to be a geologist to study rocks. Instead he helped write the history of Rock ‘N Roll.”
* Photos provided by the University of North Texas

Share-A-Date: 2013 Emerald Eagle Honors

Monday, April 15: Those University of North Texas folks really know how to celebrate their graduates who have “made a profound impact on our culture and society.” About 1,800 are expected at the Meyerson for the “2013 Emerald Eagle Honors: Recognizing a Lifetime of Contributions to the American Landscape.” Formerly called “The Emerald Ball,” it was started in 2007 and has raised more than $1 million.

Tanya Foster

Tanya Foster (File photo)

Along with Honorary Chairs Margaret and UNT Chancellor Lee Jackson, Ann and Ken Newman (’66), Amanda and Brint Ryan (’88) and Gay (’66) and Jack Wall (’64), this year’s Event Chairs Kelly (’88) and George Durnham (’88), Tanya Foster (’87), Jenny and John Kirtland (’94), Robert Nickell (’68) and Mary Jo and UNT President V. Lane Rawlins have arranged for quite an interesting and diverse group of UNT grads including:

  • Former Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame “Mean” Joe Greene (’69)
  • Rock and roll icon, the late Roy Orbison (’55), who will be represented by his family
  • Mary Suhm

    Mary Suhm (File photo)

    Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm (’74 and ’84).

Serving as co-hosts for the evening will be reality TV star Melissa Rycroft Strickland (’05) and actor/director/history lecturer Peter Weller (’69).

The evening will benefit the UNT Foundation “to make a UNT education possible for more than 2,4000 high-achieving students from low-income families.”