Texas Woman’s University has experienced remarkable growth and success recently. And the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award luncheon is where the school lets everyone know it each year. The 11th annual luncheon, which honored Patricia and Curtis Meadows on February 21, was no exception.
With a crowd of nearly 400 on hand at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, the award’s namesake, Virginia Chandler Dykes, announced that the event had raised more than $300,000 for TWU scholarships. TWU has grown 85 percent since 2001, she went on, with a fall 2012 enrollment of more than 15,000 at the Denton, Dallas, and Houston campuses—and the biggest freshman class in TWU history.
Cracked Bob White of presenting sponsor Bank of Texas: “I wish the bank would have the kind of growth you did, Virginia.”
White’s remark brought appreciative chuckles from the audience, which was enjoying a delicious meal including herb-dusted filet beef, mashed potatoes and asparagus, and milk-chocolate mousse. Among the attendees were Kay Weeks; Caroline Rose Hunt; TWU regent Mary Wilson; Sue Bancroft (a platinum table sponsor with her husband Christopher); Veletta Lill; and Ebby Halliday. A member of the Luncheon Advisory Committee, the remarkable Ebby was preparing for another milestone birthday (No. 102, on March 9) and a March 5 “pancake breakfast” celebration for company employees and others at Southfork Ranch. (Proceeds from the birthday event will benefit the Ebby Halliday Elementary School in southeast Dallas.)
TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart paid a touching tribute to Virginia’s husband James Dykes, who passed away in January, and then brought on Myrna Schlegel, who received last year’s Leadership Award along with her daughter Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.
Myrna, in turn, introduced Patricia Meadows, who has served the Dallas community as a consultant, civic appointee, board member and advocate for the visual arts. “We see a roomful of doers and achievers,” Patricia said during her brief talk. “Any one of you could have received this award.”
She gave way to Curtis, an attorney who’s Of Counsel to Thompson & Knight LLP and a former president of the Meadows Foundation. Curtis began with a smile: “Lawyers have to have a few more words than that.” Calling Patricia “a fearsome defender of the vulnerable,” he recalled how his parents had given him a “good foundation” stressing the importance of family, faith and community.
Then he added: “My father said, ‘Son, I’ve given you a good name. Don’t mess it up!’ ”
The luncheon also honored four graduate students from all four TWU colleges as recipients of scholarship funds. They were Steven M. Gerardi, College of Health Sciences; Lisa L. Ferguson, College of Nursing; Jill Bellomy, College of Professional Education; and Elodie Singer, College of Arts and Sciences.