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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases


TWU announces 2009 distinguished alumni


Mrs. Lola Chriss
Dr. Dana L. Gibson
Dr. Elma L. Gonzalez

DENTON — One is known for her commitment to corporate wellness and improving minority access to health care. Another is recognized for her leadership in higher education, and the third is lauded for her work to increase minority participation in science research. All have made their mark in their distinctive careers and have been named as the 2009 Distinguished Alumni by Texas Woman’s University and the TWU Former Students Association.

Mrs. Lola Chriss, manager of health promotion and benefits for Texas Instruments; Dr. Dana L. Gibson, president of National University in La Jolla, Calif.; and Dr. Elma L. Gonzalez, retired professor from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) will be recognized at the TWU Distinguished Alumni Awards Luncheon on Friday, April 24.

The luncheon will be held at noon in the Southeast Ballroom of Hubbard Hall. Tickets are $25. For more information or tickets, call the TWU Office of Alumni Relations at (940) 898-2586 or visit www.twu.edu/alumni.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor given to a TWU graduate. Recipients represent the high ideals of the university as demonstrated in their professional accomplishment, leadership and community service.

Mrs. Lola Chriss

Mrs. Chriss is a nationally recognized leader in corporate health. By combining her clinical expertise and experience in health benefits management, she has earned a reputation in the industry as being a strategic leader in employee health benefits and wellness.

She has 26 years of broad experience in health care, including as a practicing nurse and in strategic health and welfare benefit plan design and administration. As the manager of health promotion and benefits for Texas Instruments (TI), she is responsible for managing all the health, welfare and wellness benefits for TI employees and retirees.

The National Business Group on Health has recognized Mrs. Chriss for her involvement in launching an employer-based initiative to address healthcare disparities. Locally, she also was instrumental in working with the Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health and Pfizer to launch a similar initiative designed to reduce healthcare disparities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region.

Mrs. Chriss is strongly committed to giving back to her community, as evidenced by her service on the boards of several organizations, including the Dallas Metropolitan YWCA, the Dallas County United Way Allocation Panel, the National Business Group on Health and the Garland Independent School District Advisory Board. She is the immediate past president of the TWU Foundation Board and currently serves as the board secretary for the DFW Business Group on Health. Also, Gov. Rick Perry recently appointed her to the TWU Board of Regents.

Mrs. Chriss received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington and her master’s degree in nursing from TWU.

“Thanks to the support, encouragement and mentorship of TWU faculty and staff, I was able to attain my master's degree,” Mrs. Chriss said. “My experiences at TWU helped to shape my life both personally and professionally, and I am honored to be recognized as a Distinguished Alumna by the university.”

Dr. Dana L. Gibson

Dr. Gibson has a distinguished background in higher education administration and teaching in the fields of accounting and information systems. She was appointed as the first female president of National University in California in 2007 and will become the vice president of finance and operations for Sam Houston State University in spring 2009.

Dr. Gibson also has held administration leadership positions at Southern Methodist University (SMU), the University of Colorado at Denver and TWU. During her 14 years at TWU, Dr. Gibson was as a member of the accounting and information systems faculty, was elected as speaker pro tem of the faculty senate and served as vice president for academic and information services.

Dr. Gibson has received numerous recognitions for her contributions to finance and information systems in higher education. She served on the Texas Comptroller's Task Force to redefine financial reporting in the state. Also, she was recognized by the American Accounting Association for her contributions to information systems literature and received an Innovative Use of Imaging Technology in Higher Education award from an international professional technology association. Dr. Gibson has served as associate editor for Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research and a reviewer for the Accounting Forum and the Journal of Information Systems.

Dr. Gibson received her bachelor’s degree and MBA from TWU and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington.

“TWU provided me with cherished memories, as well as enhanced my abilities and inspired me to do my best during my time there as a student, and then later as a faculty member and administrator,” Dr. Gibson said. “The TWU community has always been a very supportive environment, and one that urges you to achieve even more than you believed you could. I feel very honored to be named aTWU Distinguished Alumna.”

Dr. Elma L. Gonzalez

Throughout her career, Dr. Gonzalez has been actively involved in increasing the participation of minority and female students in the sciences. She founded the Center for Academic and Research Excellence at UCLA and was director of the Minority Access to Research Careers program at the university.

In recognition of her work, UCLA established the Elma Gonzalez Research Needs Award to provide funding for undergraduate researchers. Also, since 1999, UCLA has given out the Elma L. Gonzalez Prize for Achievement in Undergraduate Research to a senior in a minority research program.

Dr. Gonzalez is co-author of an autobiographical collection “Paths to Discovery: Autobiographies from Chicanas with Careers in Science, Mathematics and Engineering” published by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press in 2008. She also has published more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers in national and international journals and books.

Dr. Gonzalez was named “2005 Pioneer Woman” by the Los Angeles City Council and received the 2004 Distinguished Scientist award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. In 2005, she was the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCLA Academic Senate.

Dr. Gonzalez recently retired as a full professor from the UCLA department of ecology and evolutionary biology. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from TWU and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

“TWU had such a huge, lasting impact on my intellectual and social development, and I treasure the years that I lived among a diverse community of women from whence life-long friendships emerged,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “I am also thankful to the faculty and administration, who fostered an intimate, caring ambiance that nurtured and safeguarded our inquisitive minds. I am very proud to be named a TWU Distinguished Alumna.”



Media Contact:

Amanda Simpson
Director of News and Information

Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: asimpson1@twu.edu

Page last updated April 2, 2009

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