Ann Louden's Legacy Written By Makenzie Stallo

Ann Louden walked through her storage unit, dropping off boxes to add to its contents.

Inside the unit are countless files that have catalogued her three decades of work at TCU.

“You open a file drawer and there’s a file for everything I’ve ever done,” Louden said. “I was wallowing in emotion by walking into a storage unit.”

The files contain all the details of each project: where it took place, the organization details, and – what she views as most important – the people involved.

“That’s what’s made this place so important to me,” Louden said. “The people I’ve met have become friends, they’ve become relationships that have mattered to me professionally, and they’ve benefitted TCU which is the main goal.”

Now, as she gets ready to leave this campus behind and begin her new adventure at Adelphi University in New York, she reflects on the memories and people who have made her experience at TCU so memorable.

All photos courtesy of Victoria Reneau

History at TCU

Louden never intended to make a home at TCU. She originally planned to work here temporarily as a mean to finance her way to law school.

She heard about the school through a friend and said, through him, it left a positive imprint in her mind.

She took a job as Assistant Alumni Director, and got promoted to Alumni Director within a year, the youngest ever for the Texas/Arkansas region.

Three decades later, she now holds three different titles: Chancellor’s Associate for Strategic Partnerships, Director of the Center for Connection Culture, and Chair of Frogs for the Cure.

She estimates in her time here that she has sent over 730,000 emails and conducted around 2,000 meetings. She’s held over a dozen titles and brought numerous new programs to campus including the Center for Connection Culture and

“I think if I could say I feel proud about anything its creating new programs,” Louden said. “Every one of those programs I’ve been involved in has brought me a lot of pleasure.”

“I want to have touched lives so that people experience the power of being engaged in higher education and also find their own place as a volunteer.”

Frogs for the Cure and History with Cancer

Louden is probably most famous on campus for her work with Frogs for the Cure.

Louden serves as the chair for the organization that partners with TCU athletics to benefit a non-profit cause. For the first 11 years the organization worked with Susan G. Komen – the first in the nation to do so – and Cancer Care Services beginning in 2016.

The partnership with Cancer Care Services created a shift in focus from solely breast cancer focus on all cancers.

She said she wanted to expand Frogs for the Cure to cover all cancers because she realized many students had cancer stories that weren’t breast cancer.

“We had students come to TCU because they knew this was a place where their cancer stories would be revered and honored,” Louden said. “We wanted to be part of their journey.”

Louden herself is a survivor of breast cancer.

She was diagnosed in 2006 on a doctor’s visit for a routine mammogram.

“I remember sitting in a parking lot in my car in Dallas thinking that I couldn’t drive back to Fort Worth because if I did all of the things I knew about my ordinary days wouldn’t be ordinary anymore.”

One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, According to Breastcancer.org. Louden used her drive to overcome and help others as her motivation for Frogs for the Cure.

In 2010, Frogs for the Cure began doing music videos to bring their message to new communities.

“The music videos have created a sense of engagement and compassion that we couldn’t have any other way,” Louden said.

The videos have featured music from TCU alumni musicians and Josh Groban.

Louden said she is proud of how the initiative has grown and the amount of student and staff engagement.

“We started with four or five people, and I look back now and think of the thousands of people who have been involved.”

Future of Frogs for the Cure

Louden has already been approached by the president of Adelphi to bring a Frogs for the Cure-like event to their campus.

“I’d like to thing the work we’ve done here can be exported to other places,” she said.

However, the future of Frogs for the Cure on TCU’s campus is uncertain.

Louden has been the driving force behind the organization in its 12 years on campus. She said someone would need to step up and be able to donate a large majority of their time to the cause.

“There’s a group of wonderful people that make this happen with me, but it has to be generated by a person, and I don’t know that there is someone who would want to sacrifice so much time,” Louden said.

She also said operating out of the Chancellor’s office provided her with the resources to make Frogs for the Cure event happen.

“I had access to budget and pathways for the university to get a lot of things done because of where I sat in the university,” Louden said. “You can’t just put this program into a division of the university and think it’s going to work at the same level.”

Lastly, she said having breast cancer gave her a unique perspective on the cause.

“I had cancer so I understood it,” she said. “I understood the medical community and understood what survivors go through, and it became a personal passion to see that we could – [at TCU] – care for people”

Next Chapter

As her last day on campus approaches, Louden is excited to move forward in New York.

She will be balancing two full-time jobs. At Adelphi University, she will be serving as Special Assistant to the President, a position that was created for her. She is also starting her own non-profit consulting firm. Her first client is the Gladney Center for Adoption.

Louden said the Gladney Center is close to her heart because it’s through the center that she adopted her daughter.

“I would not have a family without the Gladney Center,” she said. “My life is forever changed because of them.”

She said although she is excited for her move, it was bittersweet to decide to leave TCU.

“If I was going to do this, I might as well go really big, and New York City has always been a dream of mine,” Louden said.

Legacy

At the final Frogs for the Cure Celebration on Feb. 16, survivors, music video participants and volunteers all gathered to honor the success of the organization, but to also honor Louden herself.

Many gave speeches sharing stories of their time working with Frogs for the Cure and praising Louden for all she has done.

TCU senior Connor Roe said he was happy they get to graduate together. “There is such a legacy left here,” he said.

When thinking of her own legacy, Louden said she hopes she has just made a difference.

“I want to have touched lives so that people experience the power of being engaged in higher education and also find their own place as a volunteer,” she said.

Her legacy will live on, however, in the people she is leaving behind.

She said she will return from time to time to participate in events and visit her daughter Carey, a first-year.

“For me to pass on my purple clothes and my purple traditions is a little less painful with someone in my family that’s here and that I can come back to see,” Louden said.

“I hope I’ve served to some as a mentor or an example of how to push through when you have a challenge,” Louden said.

For Victoria Reneau, that’s exactly what she’s done.

Reneau met Louden when she was a first-year student and took a leadership seminar that Louden was teaching. Reneau said she and Louden became acquaintances from the course. Some time later, she went to Louden looking for ways to get involved.

Louden introduced her to Frogs for the Cure. Five years later and Reneau is still a passionate volunteer and a great friend of Ann’s.

“I had the opportunity to develop those new skills and really figure out what I was capable of,” said Reneau. “She pushed me to things I never would have done.”

Reneau said others would have given up but that’s not Louden.

Reneau said Louden’s leaving didn’t shock her as much as it did everyone else. She said she knew of Louden’s ambitions and they had been conversing about them for some time.

“I know her passionate love of New York City, and her passionate love of new ideas and wanting to do the next best thing and change lives in whatever way possible,” said Reneau.

“As sad as it is for the TCU community because she’s been so hugely influential, it is absolutely the best thing for her,” Reneau said.

Reneau said even though the departure will be sad, she is just happy that she had such a good friend to spend time with.

“How lucky am I to have somebody in my life that makes saying goodbye so difficult,” Reneau said.

Louden said a lot of change will come from moving to New York and beginning new jobs.

But, she as ensured one thing: she will always be a frog.

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