Longhorn alumni emphasize importance of healthy living in School of Human Ecology centennial celebration


Ben Chesnut

The School of Human Ecology presented a panel of UT alumni, including Marrisa Duswalt, Beverly Kearney and Garrett Weber-Gale. They discussed the choices and motivation of healthy living.

Tiffany Hinman

Successful healthy living is a result of choices and motivation, Longhorn alumni said in a panel Thursday.

The School of Human Ecology presented a panel of UT alumni to share personal stories of obstacles, success and choices that lead to healthier lifestyles. The panel consisted of Marissa Duswalt, associate director of policy and events for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative; Beverly Kearney, head coach for UT women’s track and field and cross country; and Garrett Weber-Gale, two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer. Tyrrell Flawn, Advisory Council member for the School of Human Ecology, moderated the panel.

Duswalt said her struggle with adolescent obesity inspired her career path as a dietician. The symptomatic conditions she suffered associated with obesity during college triggered her awareness that one in three children suffer from obesity, Duswalt said. She said making small changes over a long period of time helped create a healthier lifestyle.

“Healthy choices on a grand scale seem very, very overwhelming,” Duswalt said. “When pursuing health, the long-term does not happen without the short-term, so every single day, choice by choice, you can decide to do what is better for yourself and those you love.”

Weber-Gale said it is necessary to understand why a healthy lifestyle is important in order to be successful. He said being diagnosed with high blood pressure inspired him to make healthier choices so he could pursue his Olympic goal.

“Everyone’s motivation and goals are different, but when you have passion you can continue to pursue that path and the obstacles will not appear that large,” Weber-Gale said.

The School of Human Ecology presented the panel as part of its centennial celebration.

Meghan Mullaney, public affairs specialist for the School of Human Ecology, said the school will open its doors to the UT community and invite members to participate in the celebration. She said in addition to the panel, the UT Tower will be lit burnt orange Friday evening with “100” on the sides to commemorate the school’s anniversary. Students will walk away with an inspirational message to help others make wise choices in life, Mullaney said.

“Living healthy is essential to happy and healthy families, marriages and relationships,” Mullaney said. 

Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Choices affect health, alumni say