Take a tour of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame at Texas Woman’s University and you feel the impact of how 122 women have contributed greatly in many ways to both the state and across the country.
Housed at Hubbard Hall, the open room is lined with photos depicting a who’s who of women who have made a life’s mission of adding to the greater good of human kind in their respective fields as first ladies, teachers, astronauts, athletes and more.
The roll call is remarkable: Sandra Day O’Connor, Lady Bird Johnson, Karen Hughes, Ann Richards, Louise Ritter, Mary Kay Ash, Sally Ride, and the list continues.
Established in 1984, the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame biennial inductees are selected by a bi-partisan, independent panel of judges who choose among the many nominees submitted by state residents.
On Friday, five additional names joined the honorees who serve as the most accomplished of Texas women: Retired Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders, Harriett O’Neill, Nina Godiwalla, Anne Corn and Barbara Smith Conrad.
O’Neill, honored for public service, served in the state court system, including two terms as a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas. Godiwalla, recognized for her contributions in business, is a financial analyst. Corn, noted for her higher education achievements, helps people with visual disabilities. Conrad, an opera singer, was honored for her work in the arts and humanities field.
For Saunders, who continues her contributions as the executive director of the Texas Woman’s University Leadership Institute, it was an honor close to her heart and hearth.
Saunders earned her bachelor’s degree in social work at TWU. During her 34 years in the service, she served as the highest-ranking African American woman in the United States Air Force. After retirement, she opted to give back to her alma mater.
“I look at myself as an example,” she told the crowd at Friday’s inductee service, which included Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita. “People in your life mold you and make you.”
We are humbled by the magnitude of commitment to excellence and service by each of these women and consider our community honored to be the keepers of this hallowed Hall of Fame.