Why is it that great things tend to happen at the same time? On Thursday, February 20, that’s exactly what happened during the day. While MySweetCharity was on board a bus for six hours touring the 2014 Crystal Charity Ball beneficiaries, the Dallas Arboretum’s Mary Brinegar was being feted at the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award luncheon. Luckily, this field report covered the tribute beautifully including about a retirement this spring:
“In its 12th year of recognizing a Dallas leader with a lifelong commitment to bettering society, improving quality of life, and furthering the importance of education, Texas Woman’s University honored Mary Brinegar with the 2014 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award, sponsored by Bank of Texas, on February 20. The Belo Mansion was packed with a record crowd of 450 for this luncheon including friends, colleagues, philanthropists, leaders, and supporters of Brinegar, president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society.
“’Past luncheons have raised over $350,000 for scholarships for TWU students, most of whom have become leaders in their professions and communities,’ according to Virginia Chandler Dykes, a distinguished alumna in the field of occupational therapy whose vision and leadership gave TWU this signature event in Dallas.
“In highlighting this year’s recipient, Virginia recalled her first memory of the Dallas area when the city bought the DeGolyer Estate, and she took her two young sons to the opening. ‘It was a vast acreage of rough land and the primary entertainment was a snake charmer and two dancers from India,’ added Virginia. ‘And now, thanks to Mary’s leadership, the gardens have become an unbelievable creation of beauty with extensive learning opportunities for children and adults.’
“Patricia Meadows, last year’s award recipient along with her husband Curtis, introduced Mary, detailing her many accomplishments throughout her career, including the past 20 years ‘that Mary has led the Arboretum and Botanical Society from a nice garden by the lake to internationally acclaimed greatness – one of the 14 most beautiful gardens in the world!’ As she wrapped up her remarks, she welcomed ‘superwoman Mary Brinegar’ to the podium.
“As Mary began, noting she was in the presence of so many distinguished guests and past award recipients, she utilized a phrase her grandfather used to say, ‘I’ve just landed in high cotton!’ But she immediately gave all the credit for every nonprofit for whom she has ever worked to all the people she has worked with including outstanding staff members, volunteers, board members and donors.
“Guests, including Mary’s proud mom Rosemary Brinegar; Mayor Mike and Micki Rawlings; Lynn and Allan McBee; Sharon and Mike McCullough, Carol and Don Glendenning; April Box Chamberlain; Paula Lambert; Sue and Chris Bancroft, Chair, TWU Board of Regents, Tincy Miller, past recipient and sponsor of the College of Professional Education scholarship; and Caroline Rose Hunt, past award recipient, enjoyed a delicious meal including herb-dusted filet beef, mashed potatoes and asparagus, and milk-chocolate mousse.
“The luncheon also honored four graduate students from all four TWU colleges as recipients of scholarship funds. They were 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.
“Last but not least Virginia made ‘a sad announcement’ of the retirement later this spring of TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart, presenting her with 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.’
“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 that mirror the workplace and improve learning.”