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Civic leader to be honored at luncheon

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

A Dallas civic leader will be honored this week with the Texas Woman’s University’s Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award.

Mary Brinegar, president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, will receive the award at a luncheon today in Dallas. Four doctoral students from TWU, representing the university’s four colleges, will also be recognized as recipients of the $3,000 Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarship.

While tickets are still available for the 12th annual awards luncheon, it is slated to have a record attendance of about 450 people, said Sharon Venable, corporate and community relations director for TWU.

“It’s going to be yet another celebration of one key leader in Dallas, and one who has really garnered a lot of attention this year,” Venable said of Brinegar. “She has been very instrumental in increasing our attendance this year, so her friends and people she has worked with over the years will attend.”

The leadership award is presented by the Bank of Texas, TWU and the TWU Foundation and is given annually to Dallas leaders who improve the quality of life in the community and further the importance of education.

“Texas Woman’s University is so pleased to honor this passionate Dallas leader, fundraiser and volunteer, whose love of education, business and the arts has improved the lives of others in this community and beyond,” said TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart, in a press release. “Her vision continues to enhance educational experiences at the world-class Dallas Arboretum, where the new eight-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure has just begun to engage children in earth and life science exploration. We are grateful for her many contributions to the Dallas area and the legacy she has created.”

The graduate students receiving scholarships are Sheila Bustillos-Reynolds, of Denton, who is pursing a doctorate in women’s studies with a concentration in multicultural studies; Angela Boisselle, of Bedford, who is pursuing a doctorate in occupational therapy; Amy Johnson, of Hurst, who is pursuing a doctorate in child development and family studies; and Laura Thomas, of Lubbock, who is pursuing a doctorate in nursing science.

Bustillos-Reynolds said that being selected to interview for the scholarship was an honor in itself; she didn’t think she had a shot. When she found out she had been chosen as a recipient, she quietly thanked the dean while following her partner as he played golf in the Texas Open, she recalled.

“I was trying to not be so excited,” she said. “Of course, I’m incredibly honored. Some of the last recipients have done amazing and incredible things with the award and after, so I hope I can carry that legacy on.”

With the award, she plans to continue conducting research on women who were former foster care youth and are now young mothers. She can now afford to travel to conferences to present her work.

All of the award winners will speak at the luncheon, which will be held at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion in Dallas, with check-in at 11:15 a.m. and lunch to begin at noon.

Tickets cost $175 for silver patrons; $250 for gold patrons. Proceeds go to benefit scholarships. For more information, call 940-898-3851, visit or e-mail

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.