There could scarcely have been a more appropriate choice for the 15th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award than Dr. Stephen Mansfield, president and CEO of the Dallas-based Methodist Health System. As Mansfield explained to some 400 people gathered for the luncheon at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion Wednesday, March 8, he is, after all, a respiratory therapist by training—and luncheon namesake Virginia Chandler Dykes is an occupational therapist.
Dykes completed the graduate occupational therapy program at Texas Woman’s University in 1954, and, after a career directing the occupational and recreational therapy department at Baylor University Medical Center, launched the annual awards program for TWU 15 years ago. To date, Virginia told the luncheon attendees, the event has raised $650,000 for students in each of TWU’s four colleges.
Addressing an audience that included the likes of Col. Allen West, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Michael Meadows, Gretchen Minyard Williams, Elizabeth Dodd, Mary Brinegar, Harry Crumpacker, Mike McCullough, Mickey Price, Steve Fick, Travis Youngblood, Matt Mitzner, Michael Schaefer and Clint McDonnough, Virginia soon gave way to Bob White of sponsor Bank of Texas—the bank has sponsored the luncheon for 11 years—who said of Mansfield: “Steve’s been quiet and under-the-radar, but he’s made tremendous strides” for Methodist. Bob’s plaudits were echoed by Luncheon Co-Chair Ralph Hawkins, the event chair. During Steve’s roughly 10 years at the helm, Ralph pointed out, Methodist has tripled in size and was recognized as one of the fastest-growing health systems in the country.
During his brief remarks, Mansfield said his selection as the 2017 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award recipient was “a great honor for me, and the for the people of Methodist.” He thanked his wife Marilyn Mansfield—”she’s my better 3/4, at least”—as well as Methodist’s 8,000 employees and 1,800 volunteers. “They pay me to be good,” Steve recalled that he jokingly teases the volunteers, “but you people are good for nothing!” He also said he’s “fallen in love” with TWU, where more than half the students are the first in their families to go to college.
With that, TWU Chancellor and President Carine Feyten launched into the second half of the annual luncheon: presentation of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarship Awards to TWU students. The 2017 scholarships went to: Laurie Stelter, from TWU’s College of Health Sciences; Katheryn Courville, from the College of Nursing, who was unable to attend; Julie Southward, of the College of Professional Education; and Kamica King, of the College of Arts and Sciences. Kamica concluded the luncheon by singing an inspirational song titled, “Live, Love, Dream,” which was featured in a documentary film about homelessness called “Signs of Humanity.”
* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman