New speaker series for graduating seniors to begin Monday


TCU will feature a new speaker series for graduating seniors in search of information regarding life after college.

“True Life: I’m Graduating?” is a three-day speaker series focused on real-life concepts, such as establishing credit or financial budgeting, that students have not necessarily been taught during their time in the classroom.

The speaker series was founded by seniors Carson Pope, Mary Laurel Horan and Julie Brandenburg. The program is a product of the BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program, a three-year program run by the Neeley School of Business.

“Seniors are required to form a team and try to create something that will leave a legacy on either the community as a whole or at TCU once they graduate,” said Finance major Carson Pope.

“What we are trying to do is take seniors from the level of conscious incompetence to conscious competence,”Pope said. “We are giving them the tools to get them started and take something tangible away from that.”

The small group had established their ideas for the project while studying abroad in Scotland, said marketing major Mary Laurel Horan.

“We had the passion for the lack of knowledge that we felt we weren’t prepared for,” said Horan. “We felt that, at TCU, we are kind of in this bubble of classroom knowledge, and we don’t really learn the life skills unless we dive into them ourselves.”

The speaker series will have three events in the spring semester, beginning on Feb. 16, said finance major Julie Brandenburg. 

“Our first event on Feb. 16 will have a speaker on insurance and retirement, as well as another speaker on budgeting,” Brandenburg said.

Monday’s speakers will be AXA advisor Dr. Phillip Hearn, who will speak on retirement planning and insurance, and Dr. Mo Rodriguez, professor of Finance and Real Estate, who will speak on budgeting.

More than 50 people have already committed to attending, said Brandenburg. 

“We are hoping to have from 50 to 100 per event. However, we will not be turning people away,” she said.

Horan said the event’s coordinators “want seniors to come learn some information so they feel more confident in their life after graduation.”

Brochures, links and summaries of all of the information discussed will be handed out in folders so students can leave TCU’s campus with information that is well organized and easily accessible to them, Horan said.

The group credits Chuck Dunning of Student Development Services for his assistance in putting the program together.

“Chuck Dunning has been an integral part to what exactly we are trying to do,” said Pope. “He has been nothing short of amazing in helping us get flyers and contacts that we need.”

The group hopes to see the series continue on after they leave TCU.

“The idea is to see [this] continue, which is why we partnered with Chuck,” said Pope. “We want to impact the lives of at least 150 seniors every year, and Chuck will be a pivotal part in doing that.”

“We are seniors reaching out to other seniors,” said Brandenburg. “As peers, we are trying to make an impact on TCU and the graduates in our class.”

The three events this semester will be on Feb. 16, March 24 and April 15. Students will be able to register through the Next Generation portal on Org Sync

Each event is from 5-6 p.m. in Smith 204.