More than 450 people showed up to the Belo Mansion for the 12th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, which benefits Texas Woman’s University. This year’s honoree is no stranger to the Dallas philanthropic community: Mary Brinegar, president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society.
Virginia Chandler Dykes spoke proudly about Brinegar’s accomplishments and all that she has done to turn what was once the DeGolyer Estate into one of Dallas’ most beautiful properties. Dykes’ endearing story of taking her two young sons to the opening was a highlight of her speech.
“It was a vast acreage of rough land, and the primary entertainment was a snake charmer and two dancers from India,” Dykes said. “Now, thanks to Mary’s leadership, the gardens have become an unbelievable creation of beauty with extensive learning opportunities for children and adults.”
Last year’s award recipient, Patricia Meadows, along with her husband, Curtis, introduced Brinegar, who humbly noted she was in the presence of so many distinguished guests.
The luncheon also honored four graduate students from all four TWU colleges as recipients of scholarship funds: Angela Boisselle, College of Health Sciences; Laura Thomas, College of Nursing; Amy Johnson, College of Professional Education; and Sheila Bustillos-Reynolds, College of Arts and Sciences.
Guests — including Mayor and Mrs. Mike Rawlings, Lynn and Allan McBee; Sharon and Mike McCullough, Carol and Don Glendenning, April Box Chamberlain, Paula Lambert, Sue and Chris Bancroft, Tincy Miller, and Caroline Rose Hunt — then dined on a delicious meal of herb-dusted filet, mashed potatoes and asparagus, and milk-chocolate mousse.
After the plates were cleared and attendees were enjoying a post-lunch coffee pick-me-up, Dykes made “a sad announcement” of the retirement later this spring of TWU chancellor and president Dr. Ann Stuart, who received a special gift.
“A stalwart supporter of this program and what it has accomplished, whose extraordinary career as chancellor and president at TWU first began in 1999, Ann, you will be greatly missed,” Dykes said.
Under Stuart’s leadership, enrollment has grown by 80 percent; TWU has produced more than 20,000 graduates in critical fields; and the university has received national recognition for its quality, value and diversity. She has raised more than $220 million for facilities, scholarships and faculty development and led the implementation of advanced technology and teaching tools.