TCU Daily Skiff Friday, April 23, 2004
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Learning lessons to last a lifetime
Growth in life shouldn’t stop with successes, says a 46-year-old junior interior design major.

By Amy Bowman

If wisdom is knowing that you don’t know, then Debra Benditz Morgan is very wise indeed. Never mind that she can’t figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.

“The more I know the more I want to know and realize how little I actually know,” Morgan said.

She’s a junior interior design major, but she’s also 46, a successful (and once not-so-successful) businesswoman from Houston who is taking some time off to do the marriage thing.

Morgan picked TCU specifically because of class size and an incredible staff to explore her love of all aspects of design as well as art history.

It was while studying art history that she found she could not ignore her love for design, losing herself time and again in design projects.

“It is important to listen to the still, small voice we all have and let it be a guide,” she said.
In Morgan’s case, that voice has led her down several paths.

“Sadly, many of us do things for others and in the long run end up miserable,” she said.
Morgan has been fortunate in fun and profitable work environments throughout her life. First and before college the first time around, there was the job in the golf shop.

Then, shortly after, Morgan went to work for her father selling pipe and decided at the age of 26 to start her own company.

With the success of her business in the oil field tubing industry, Morgan was named one of the Top 10 working women in America by Glamour magazine. Her keen business sense has also been featured in articles for the Houston Chronicle, USA Today, American Metal Market, Family Business and Nations Business.

A couple of years later she decided to sell her business, took time off and found a love in culinary school. After graduation she teamed up with a Certified Master Chef and started a culinary consulting firm.

Then came the decision to sell out once again and come back to school to study art history.

Because of the excellent program at TCU, Morgan made the move to Fort Worth where she also discovered her love for design in home and work environments.“I don’t ever see myself retiring and just traveling or volunteering,” she said.

Morgan does, however, feel traveling can be an important entity for people to experience.

“Embrace the differences in other cultures and appreciate all that we have here, but realize when traveling, it is not the only way,” she said. “Try new things and don’t get stuck in a rut.”

That happened when she participated in the TCU in Scotland program.

“I loved the study abroad experience ... the way the classes are presented and the planning and work to pull it off,” she said.

And she had an impact on the students with her.

“She really inspired me to immerse myself in all of the wonderful things that a new culture has to offer,” said Kathryn Murphy, a senior art history major and a friend of Morgan’s.

Morgan doesn’t preach when giving advice, she only shares her experiences and if they are able to help someone, so be it, she said.

“We all learn from the hand we are dealt,” Morgan said.

Murphy appreciated that, Morgan said.

“I learned so much from Debra on the TCU in Scotland trip because she brought a lifetime of knowledge and experience that she shared with the rest of us,” Murphy said.
Morgan says she’s learned several important experiences from life: Don’t take yourself too seriously and be flexible. There are lessons even in failure. She started a second business in the late 80s in New Orleans but could only keep it running for a year.
“It would have been a mistake if I had not learned anything from it,” she said. “Most importantly, if we don’t try, we don’t get anywhere.”

Morgan says she’s enjoyed all stages of her life, including the current marriage stage. She decided being supportive was important, so she put her degree on hold and moved to Indianapolis to be with her husband Paul while he is on an out-of-state assignment.

“Marriage stretches people,” she said. “It is easy to be selfish and self centered. A successful marriage requires a commitment, patience, understanding and communication.”
Paul said he was attracted to Morgan because of her honesty and her intuitive way of looking into someone’s heart.

“She has a way of talking to you but not at you,” Paul said. “She has an easy way of seeing your problems and helping you in anyway she can.”

Paul said Debra has an immense dedication to anything she commits herself to.
“Her dedication and belief in God has molded her into the woman she is,” he said.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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