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Patton Leaves a Legacy in Education

Dean Mary Martin Patton will step down at the end of the 2018-19 academic year after 10 years as Dean of the College of Education, 25 years at TCU and nearly 50 years in the field of education.

Patton is the eleventh dean of the college and the first woman to hold the position. She joined TCU in 1994 as an assistant professor and served as the Early Childhood Program Coordinator and Associate Dean. She was instrumental in re-envisioning the award-winning Early Childhood Education Program and has helped raise more than $30 million for the college to support students, faculty and programs. During her time at TCU, she has received many honors, including the Dean’s Teaching Award, Mortar Board Preferred Professor and finalist for the Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU community. In 2019 she was awarded the inaugural Excellence in Higher Education Leadership award from the TCU College of Education. Her research has focused on play and creativity, multicultural education and most recently, the LiiNK Project.

“Dr. Patton’s most admired attribute is her presence,” said Altheria Caldera Ph.D. ’16. “She attends student-centered events—from the college’s annual research festival to dissertation defenses. Her presence suggests that she cares about the work that students are doing and that she wants to support it. She believes that TCU education majors really have what it takes to change the world, and she loves being a part of our journeys.”

She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and spent 17 years teaching special education and early childhood education in public schools in Texas, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Alaska. She has served in many leadership roles, including serving as principal of a PK-12 school on the North Slope of Alaska. Prior to joining TCU, she taught at the University of Texas and the University of New Mexico. Over her career she has been active in many professional organizations, including the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Texas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Texas Women in Higher Education, European Teacher Education Network and is an alumna of the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership.

Jan Lacina, who has served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, will be Interim Dean for the 2019-20 academic year.

“Mary Patton may be retiring from the dean position, but she is leaving behind a legacy,” Lacina said. “She is not only the first female dean in the college’s history, but she was also instrumental in the design of the early childhood program, which has received numerous national awards.”