TWU Announces New Institute for Women’s Leadership

The institute will encompass three focused centers aimed at inspiring more women to run for political office, be entrepreneurs and executives, and gain professional leadership skills and experience.

new institute for Women's Leadership

Texas Woman’s University has announced plans to create a new Institute for Women’s Leadership on its campus in Denton that will encompass three focused centers aimed at inspiring more women to run for political office, become entrepreneurs and C-suite executives, and gain professional leadership skills and experience.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders, a TWU alumna, will lead the new Institute. [Photo courtesy of Michael Modecki/ Texas Woman’s University]

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders, a TWU alumna, will lead the new Institute.

The centers will be housed on the second floor of Old Main, the university’s first building built in 1903. Construction will begin in the fall, and completion is scheduled for next summer.

The new Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy will join the university’s existing Center for Women in Business and Center for Student Leadership as part of the new institute, according to the university.

The Institute for Women’s Leadership will include a high-tech interactive exhibit that chronicles Texas’ political leaders, and will provide online research for visitors, residents, scholars, and students.

The university said that Richard McWalters, former director of museum operations at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., is consulting with Arlington-based SBL Architecture to create the exhibit space, which encompasses 3,200 square feet.

“This new institute will draw upon the legacy of the many women who have a record of leadership in the Lone Star State, and help us attract and enable a much larger cadre of women leaders to further advance Texas’ economy, quality of life and health, and engaged citizenry. It also will guide leadership development opportunities for our students,” Chancellor Carine M. Feyten said in the release. 

The institute has received $7.2 million in state startup funds and a $2 million gift from Sue Schrier Bancroft and her husband, Christopher. TWU Regent Nancy Paup and her husband, Ted, gave $250,000 for a special institute lecture series.

INSTITUTE WILL FEATURE ‘HIGH-POWERED’ ADVISORY COUNCIL

Bancroft will chair the institute’s advisory council that will included two dozen of the state’s most noted female leaders in business, politics, finance, education, law, real estate, and communications, the university said.

“We anticipate this high-powered advisory council will raise both awareness and opportunities for women to lead and excel in many sectors across our great state.”

Mary Saunders

“We anticipate this high-powered advisory council will raise both awareness and opportunities for women to lead and excel in many sectors across our great state,” Saunders said. “Our Institute joins other centers across the country with similar missions, and we all look forward to advancing the women’s leadership nationally through collaboration, education, networking, and research.”

Saunders said the council members will meet twice a year to discuss programs, results, continued progress, and planning.

“This group of dynamic women will provide significant direction for events, speakers, networking opportunities, and research,” she said.

Members of the advisory council include:

  • Arcilia Acosta — president and CEO, Carcon Industries & Construction
  • Dolores Barzune — community volunteer
  • Charla H. Bradshaw — managing shareholder, KoonsFuller
  • Elizabeth Ames Coleman — partner, Energy North America, LLC
  • Myra Crownover — business owner and former Texas State Representative
  • Maurine Dickey — vice president, Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.
  • Lee Gabriel — Justice, Place 7 of the Second Court of Appeals
  • Hilda Galvan — Partner-in-Charge, Jones Day Law Firm
  • Jennifer Waisath Harris — owner, JWH Communications
  • Sarita Hixon — County Commissioner, Kenedy County, Texas
  • Trea Yip — CEO, TY Commercial Group
  • Lynn McBee — CEO, Young Women’s Preparatory Network
  • Stacie Dieb McDavid — CEO, McDavid Investments
  • Sara Madsen Miller — chief operating officer/co-owner, 1820 Productions
  • Neena Newberry — president, Newberry Executive Solutions
  • (Ex-Oficio) Nancy Painter Paup — regent, Texas Woman’s University
  • Betsy Price — mayor of Fort Worth
  • Rienke Radler — commissioner, Governor’s Commission for Women
  • Jean Stuntz — Ph.D., professor of history, West Texas A&M University
  • Carla Thompson — senior vice president of wealth management, UBS Financial Services Inc.
  • Roslyn Dawson Thompson — president and CEO, Dallas Women’s Foundation
  • Fran Vick — retired publisher and author
  • Laura Wheat — mayor of Westlake

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