No one represents the spirit of TCU better than Howard and Mildred Payne, Steve Kintigh, Director of Campus Recreation, said. For their 30 years of service to TCU, the Paynes have been chosen as the Grand Marshals of the Homecoming Parade, Kintigh said.
Howard Payne said he met his wife, Mildred, at TCU in 1947 after World War II. Both he and Mildred attended TCU, but did not graduate from the university.
“That is where it all began,” Payne said.
The couple moved away from Fort Worth in the 1960s so that Howard could take a job in Midland. After Howard retired, the Paynes moved back to Fort Worth in the 1980s and have been actively involved with TCU ever since.
Howard worked for years in Student Affairs and Campus Recreation before moving on to a role in Housing and Residential Life.
David Cooper, associate director of Housing and Residential Life, worked with Howard and wrote in an email that both Howard and Mildred exemplify what a true Horned Frog should be.
They are loving and caring individuals who truly care about TCU, Cooper said.
They are special people who have given time to help celebrate the holidays and the joy of being part of a great campus, Cooper said.
Payne said he and his wife are Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Christmas time, but help with other TCU activities as well. Payne and his wife have only missed one or two graduations in the last 20 years and he said he has attended every Frog Camp TCU has had.
“We enjoy it like you don’t know,” Payne said.
Don Mills, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, wrote in an email the Paynes are a rare breed and their love for each other overflows into a love for others. The Paynes keep in contact with students of the past and present and have helped TCU remember the importance of truly caring about TCU’s most valuable resource, the students, Mills said.
Kintigh, who worked with Howard in Campus Recreation, said Howard has walked six students down the aisle and would bring flowers to some students on Valentine’s Day.
The couple would do anything for TCU, Kintigh said.
Payne said this is the first time he and Mildred have been Grand Marshals of the Homecoming Parade and that they are looking forward to the opportunity.
“It all means a whole lot,” Payne said.
Payne said he hopes to see many students at the Homecoming Parade. He will be showing his TCU spirit by wearing the white TCU hat he wears to all TCU events, he said.