First Lady Abbott celebrates gown donation
From left: TWU fashion design students speak with Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott during the Oct. 13 reception. Photo credit: Ronda DuTeil
DENTON — Texas Woman’s University welcomed first lady Cecilia Abbott to campus Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, to celebrate the addition of her inaugural gown to the Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection. History itself was a notable part of the event. Mrs. Abbott made history in January 2015 by becoming the first Hispanic first lady in Texas. As the scarlet red gown she wore during her husband Gov. Greg Abbott’s inauguration becomes part of the collection, she said, “I am so honored that my gown will join the gowns of other Texas first ladies and other notable Texas women.”
In thanking first lady Abbott for donating her gown, TWU Chancellor Carine M. Feyten said, “It must be a bit bittersweet to part with such a lovely dress.” In her remarks, the first lady agreed it was bittersweet, but added that she wasn’t sure she would have worn the dress again, drawing laughter from the reception guests.
Chancellor Feyten also said the gown will serve as an inspiration to TWU fashion design students, and also noted that, “As a Hispanic Serving Institution, it’s not lost on us that the designer of your gown is a Latina (Austin seamstress Laura Gonzalez).”
Abbott’s gown currently is on display in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, located in Hubbard Hall. It joins more than 40 dresses that are part of TWU’s collection. Approximately 17 of the gowns are on display in the collection exhibit, located on the second floor of the Administrative Conference Tower on the crosswalk that connects ACT to Hubbard Hall.
The collection was created by the late Marion Day Mullins, a noted genealogist, historian and civic leader. It was assembled by the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution during Mullins’ term as Texas state regent for the DAR and was presented to TWU in 1940.