Honors faculty shares poetic life with community, receives place of honor in San Marcos Hall of Fame
By Billi London-Gray
Diann McCabe, the associate director of the University Honors Program at Texas State, will be inducted into the San Marcos Women’s Hall of Fame today at 6 p.m. in a ceremony at the San Marcos Activity Center.
“Professor McCabe inspires me to remember those in the community and be a part of it,” says Rhonda Martinez, an education major at Texas State. “She shows that helping others is something done continuously, because she’s done this since she was an undergraduate, and has maintained this in her current career.”
McCabe has a life-long history of service to others. While completing her undergraduate degree at Texas State, she worked with the Southside Community Center in San Marcos. After she graduated, she and her husband worked on community development projects in Mississippi and Indonesia starting in 1977. Since then, she has continuously poured out her time and energy for others.
“As a Muslim colleague said to me in Indonesia, ‘I don’t want to be sleeping,’” McCabe says. But her activities are clearly driven by more than a simple avoidance of boredom; when she sees a way to help, she helps.
As a San Marcos resident since the 1980s, McCabe has volunteered with the San Marcos public schools, serving on committees, working with students and even co-founding a parent support organization, Parents for Dyslexic Students. She has also volunteered with the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, serving on its board of directors.
After McCabe earned her second degree from Texas State – a master of fine arts in creative writing and poetry – she was hired as the assistant director of the University Honors Program. Through the Honors Program and her work with Texas State’s Common Experience, McCabe has found many opportunities to combine her passion for service with her academic discipline.
“Diann is a ‘whole mind’ person who integrates her wide ranging interests and activities—from individual to community activities, from arts to sciences, from creative to utilitarian—into a synergistic completeness that is both diverse and unified,” says John Hood, an Honors faculty member.
In addition to volunteering with the Poetry in the Schools program in San Marcos, Youth Art Month, Young People’s Poetry Week and the San Marcos Arts Commission, McCabe also created an Honors course, Teaching Poetry to Children. As part of the class, her students volunteer in San Marcos classrooms teaching elementary school students to create their own poetry.
“It feeds the imagination and encourages both self-awareness and an awareness of the world around us. It develops a love of language, helping students connect with the past and project into the future, while focusing on the present,” McCabe says. “And it brings them joy.“
According to those who know her, shared joy, inspiration and community transformation are the lasting effects of McCabe’s efforts.
“We’re all busy people,” Martinez says, “but Professor McCabe remembers to take time to notice others in our community. Not only does she reach out, she encourages others to be a part of the community as well.”
Dr. Hood adds, “She is a kind, creative and generous person who represents the best qualities of an individual, teacher and citizen.”