Donor Profile: Jeannie Deakyne

Lessons in leadership

Jeannie Deakyne

Through two tours of duty in Iraq, alumna Jeannie Deakyne’s thoughts never strayed far from her alma mater.

“As a child, I would go trick or treating on Greek Row,” said the 1998 Distinguished Military Graduate, whose father, Don Panton, chaired the Department of Finance and Real Estate when Jeannie was 13. “I spent hundreds of hours on the fifth floor of the Library. I have run or roller-skated over every inch of pavement. My dad awarded me my diploma when I walked across the stage at Texas Hall.”

Maj. Deakyne is on a three-year assignment as an assistant professor in UT Arlington’s Department of Military Science. She’s a battalion executive officer (assistant chair) and teaches freshman-level Army ROTC and two leadership courses.

“I learned how to fail and pick myself up here,” the former Student Congress president said. “That’s something I try to pass along to my students.”

Deakyne hasn’t failed much since graduating. She was named Mrs. Texas International in 2005 and crowned Mrs. U.S. Beauties last year. As the reigning Mrs. U.S. Beauties, she works with the Lupus Foundation of America.

For the last five years, she and her husband, Will, have sponsored the University’s float in the Arlington Fourth of July parade.

“The float is a way to acknowledge the community that we call home,” Jeannie said. “Just as many of our family and UT Arlington friends have supported us during our combined five combat tour deployments, we wanted to support the community in our own special way.”

A lifetime member of the Alumni Association, Deakyne also contributes to the annual fund, the Cadet Corps Alumni Council, and Student Governance and Organizations.

Sometimes, she says, the best gift you can give is your time.

“Stay connected, whether it’s through the Alumni Association, a department or through a student organization. You can find meaningful ways to give back to the programs that helped make you the person you are today.”

Deakyne did just that this past summer as a presenter at UT Arlington’s annual Leadership Retreat.

“I learned so much about interpersonal communication and leadership during the two retreats I attended as an undergraduate,” she said. “It was great to be able to take some of the experiences I had gathered over the last 10 years and share them with current student leaders.”

When they graduate, perhaps they’ll do the same.

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