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Former TWU regent and her husband present school with $2 million gift

Sue Bancroft, a former chairwoman of the Texas Woman's University Board of Regents, and her husband, Christopher Bancroft, are investing $2 million in the university.

The Bancrofts' donation is motivated by the desire to build programs focused on cultivating women’s leadership, the university announced in a TWU Board of Regents meeting Friday in Dallas.

Carine Feyten, chancellor and president of TWU, said Bancroft has worked tirelessly to find ways to leverage TWU’s heritage as the nation’s largest university primarily for women in order to advance women’s leadership in Texas and beyond.

“Sue has been a longtime friend and supporter of Texas Woman’s University and is known across North Texas for her community leadership in education and the arts,” Feyten said in a press release.

The Leadership Institute, a program led by retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders that provides students with opportunities to apply for scholarships and attend events with recognized speakers, will benefit from the donation. The university’s Center for Women in Business, which will be absorbed into the Center for Women’s Leadership, Politics and Public Policy, also will expand its services, TWU spokeswoman Amanda Simpson said.

Specific plans for new programs have not been announced and will depend on the finalized state budget from Gov. Greg Abbott. That will allow university officials to properly determine how much money goes to each of the school’s programs.

“We have this money, and we have the concept. We’re just waiting for things to be finalized before we move forward,” Simpson said.

Pending the governor’s approval, the Bancrofts’ donation follows a $3.5 million cut in university funding, in addition to a $1.9 million cut in formula funding due to TWU’s slower growth compared to other state institutions, Kevin Cruser, the director of government and legislative affairs, said in Friday’s meeting.

The university managed to secure $3.7 million in hold-harmless funding, pending governor approval, and the budget for the Center for Women in Business “increased significantly,” Cruser added.

“This is [going to be a] sustained increase for a couple of years,” he said, noting the university ought not become dependent on this funding. “This is our chance to prepare for what’s coming in the outer years. This is a soft landing.”

Bancroft is a retired North Texas music professor and a former professional bassoonist who has performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra and Dallas Ballet Orchestra. She was a first-generation college student who was supported by a faculty that helped advance her musical talents and career, according to the press release.

“I owe a lot to those who helped me, and it’s in this spirit of paying it forward that my husband and I are investing in supporting women who desire to lead in the boardroom, in the arts, in community organizations and in political and policy arenas,” Bancroft said in the release. “I believe in the findings of TWU’s strategic plan: Educate a woman, empower the world.”

MATT PAYNE can be reached at 940-566-6845.

FEATURED PHOTO: Christopher and Sue Bancroft, second and third from left, are joined by, from left, Nolan E. Perez, M.D., vice chairman of the Texas Woman's University Board of Regents, University Ambassador Chad Wick, TWU Chancellor and President Carine M. Feyten and Anna Maria Farias, Esq., chairman of the TWU Board of Regents, during an event Thursday at the Pecan Room at Old Parkland in Dallas. The Bancrofts presented a $2 million gift to the university Friday.