by Jeremy Gerlach
Trinity University, founded in Texas in 1869, has long enjoyed a special relationship with Dallas and Fort Worth.
Before moving to San Antonio in 1942, the University spent four decades in Waxahachie, a small town in Ellis County that’s part of the present-day Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. To date, the area contains one of the highest concentrations of Tigers in the country.
Now, see how ten of Trinity’s Dallas-Ft. Worth alumni are making an impact through technology, startups, nonprofits, and charity.
Heidi Slansky ’95
Founder and CEO, Cancer StrongHER
Slansky’s nonprofit, Cancer StrongHER, helps female cancer fighters take control of their wellbeing and get back to an active lifestyle.
Slansky says, “the fight against cancer does not stop with the last drip of chemotherapy, the last zap of radiation, or the last stitch from surgery and neither should support for these women. Cancer StrongHER bridges the gap between active treatment and the rest of a survivor’s life.”
Andrew Strickland ’05
Founder and CEO, Pixel and Texel
Strickland, along with fellow developer Brett Estabrook, has launched an app development company run by—get this—actual developers.
They started small, building a role-playing game called “Fara” that was featured by Apple. Now, the group has a booming VR and AR portfolio with dozens of immersive apps, including ones for Oculus, Qualcomm, Cinestate, and even the NCAA’s March Madness. Headquartered in downtown Dallas, the company bills its working environment as “Hogwarts meets a comic book store.”
At Trinity, Strickland majored in fine and studio arts.
Jared Shelton '10
President, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
Shelton, after starting as an administrative resident at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas in 2010, eventually worked his way into the Vice President role by 2015.
At Presbyterian Dallas, he managed a $30 million expansion of the hospital's primary operating room, oversaw an installation a new robotic catheterization lab, and expanded the location's heart failure program. And when Shelton became President of Presbyterian Allen in 2016, at just age 30, he became one of the youngest hospital presidents in Trinity history.
Shelton is a graduate of Trinity's Health Care Administration program.
Patricia Aravanitis ’82-85
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Leadership ISD
Aravantis co-founded Leadership ISD to help fight for excellence and equity in public schools.
Her nonprofit is billed as transformative force in public education and aims recruit, inform, and empower business and community leaders to positively influence the direction and outcomes of public education.
Aravanitis majored in communication and media studies at Trinity.
Amir Baluch ’00
Doctor, Financial Wellness Author
Physician, best-selling author, digital marketer, and investor—is there anything Baluch can’t do?
Baluch also wore many hats at Trinity, majoring in biochemistry and becoming a member of the Golden Key International Society. And in Dallas, Baluch has emerged as a bit of a rock star: he was recently featured as one of D Magazine’s “most eligible men in Dallas.”
Jennifer Baugh ‘07
Founder & Executive Director, Young Catholic Professionals
Baugh created Young Catholic Professionals as a networking group that encourages a culture of Catholic community in the workplace.
Founded in 2010, her nonprofit is one of the nation’s fastest-growing Catholic organizations and now has chapters in cities nationwide. The organization offers support, training, best practices, legal structure, and website and database management to its members, and it also helps connect speakers, donors, and mentors for each of its city chapters.
At Trinity, Baugh majored in business and served as a resident assistant and on the Academic Honor council.
Stephanie Mahaffey ’99
CEO and Founder, Hip Peas Inc.
Entrepreneur Stephanie Mahaffey has used her biomedical background, combined with her street smarts as a mom, to create a series of organic, healthy personal-care products for babies, children, and sensitive adults.
Mahaffey’s business, Hip Peas, Inc., is a Dallas-based producer of shampoo, conditioner, hair balm, and brushes, among other goods.
Mahaffey is a graduate of Trinity’s prestigious health care administration program, where she received a Master of Science.
Whitney Fournier ’15
Public Programs Manager, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Fournier finds fun and creative ways to connect audiences of all ages to educational experiences at the museum.
She’s helped create an incredibly varied programming series, including themes such as “Reel Adventures,” where guests can experience the science of magic from Harry Potter, and “Night at the Museum,” where collections come to life. Adult audiences can get in on the action at events such as “Science on Tap”, where those 21 and up explore the museum with a drink in hand, meet and sample food and drink from local artisans and organizations, and participate in activities and experiments all related to a special theme such as "Sweet and Savory," "Grown Up Summer Camp," and "Haunted History.”
Joseph Kim ’93
After joining Sunoco as COO in 2015, Joseph Kim has risen rapidly through the ranks at the motor fuel powerhouse. Appointed CEO in 2018, Kim leads the company’s network of more than 5,000 branded gas stations.
Before Sunoco, Kim served as the COO of Pizza Hut as well as fellow Texas fuel and convenience giant Valero
At Trinity, Kim received a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Tommie Ethington ’13
Editor, Southwest Magazine
Welcome to the hectic world of air travel, where you’ll pass stressful security checkpoints, jostle in a boarding line, and squeeze your carry-on into a cramped overhead compartment. But when you finally arrive at your seat, Tommie Ethington wants you to find a little bit of bliss: the Southwest Magazine, chock full of crosswords, sudokus, and WiFi info you’ll need to survive the next few hours of your life.
Ethington helps make this magazine more than a pamphlet: as editor, she’s taken a passionate and innovative approach to storytelling. She’s produced creative features whisking readers off to every corner of the earth, as well as including celebrity Q&A’s.