Myra Crownover and Margaret Griffin receive the 2017 Founders’ Award
TWU's 2017 Founders' Awards recipients Myra Crownover, left, and Margaret Griffin.
Retired State Representative Myra Crownover (R-Denton County) and Texas Woman’s University Cornaro Professor Emerita Margaret Griffin, Ed.D., will be honored for their exceptional service to the university and community as the 2017 TWU Founders’ Awards recipients.
The Founders’ Awards will be presented at the annual TWU Founders’ Awards Scholarship Luncheon at noon Thursday, April 6, in Hubbard Hall on TWU’s Denton campus.
Seats for the event are $40 per person. Patron seats are available for $75. Benefactor tables for eight are available for $750. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Patrice Benfield Frisby at (940) 898-3867. Very limited public seating is available for this event, and reservations are required by Thursday, March 30.
Proceeds from the luncheon benefit the TWU Chancellor’s Endowed Scholarships, the most prestigious scholarships awarded by the university. Established in 2000, these scholarships are the largest awarded by TWU and are the only academic scholarships that offer a stipend to recipients in addition to paying tuition and fees. These scholarships are awarded to TWU students on the basis of outstanding academic achievement, leadership and service in school and community activities.
The Denton Record-Chronicle and Luther King Capital Management are the presenting sponsors of the 2017 TWU Founders’ Awards Scholarship Luncheon. Sponsors of the event include: Bill DeBerry Funeral Directors; DATCU Credit Union; Drs. Patricia and Don Edwards; Bettye Myers, Ph.D.; PointBank; Major General Mary L. Saunders, USAF, Retired; Kim and Rob Seay; the TWU Alumni Association; the TWU Institute for Women’s Health; and the TWU Office of Student Life. Table sponsors for the luncheon are: Allison Engineering/D&S Engineering Labs; ARAMARK; BBVA Compass; Chancellor and President, TWU; the Honorable Myra Crownover; the City of Denton; First State Bank; NORTHSTAR Bank of Texas; Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton; Heidi L. Tracy; the TWU College of Professional Education; the TWU Foundation; and UMB Bank.
TWU Chancellor and President Carine M. Feyten will serve as the keynote speaker for the luncheon.
Myra Crownover was raised in Colorado City, Texas, and earned her bachelor's degree in education from Southern Methodist University and her master's degree from Texas A&M University. In 1970, Myra married Ronny Crownover. They celebrated their 30th anniversary before his death in March 2000. Rep. Crownover has four sons and eight grandchildren.
Crownover served the people of Denton for 16 years in the Texas House of Representatives before retiring in 2016. During that time, she held several leadership positions, including chair of the Public Health Committee, vice chair of the Energy Resources Committee, vice chair of the Republican Caucus, and subcommittee chair for the House Appropriations Committee.
Crownover served six terms on the Appropriations Committee and on the subcommittee that oversaw public and higher education funding. As a former public school teacher, Myra was a strong advocate for public and higher education. In 2015, Myra authored legislation that increased the amount of funding by 50 percent for the Higher Education Fund, an increase of $3.5 million per year for TWU and $9.4 million per year for the University of North Texas over the next nine years. She also was instrumental in obtaining badly needed facility funding for TWU’s new Science and Technology Building and UNT’s new building for the College of Visual Art and Design.
While serving on the Energy Resources Committee, Crownover worked with the environmental community, landowners, and industry to pass legislation to protect the environment, preserve landowners’ rights and ensure a stable and fair regulatory environment for the production of Texas oil and gas. She authored legislation to require industry to disclose all chemicals used in the “fracking” process, promote Carbon Capture and Storage technology to reduce carbon emissions, require oil and gas operators to clean up abandoned wells, increase the number of pipeline safety inspectors and require pipeline companies to use public right of way whenever possible.
Crownover considers her greatest legacy to be her work to protect the health of newborn Texans. In 2005, Myra was able to pass HB 790 expanding the number of genetic disorders newborn Texans are screened for from 7 to 29. That year, the March of Dimes named her “Advocate of the Year” for her work on behalf of Texas newborns. Since that time, more than 500 Texas children and their families have been given a new lease on life due to the early detection of otherwise debilitating and often fatal disorders.
Margaret Griffin, Ed.D.
Margaret Griffin was born in Houston and grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana before receiving her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University (LSU).
After teaching elementary school for eight years in Alexandria and for one year in the Army Dependent School in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Griffin received her master’s degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She went on to obtain a doctoral degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Griffin taught in the Department of Reading at Indiana University-Bloomington before joining TWU as a faculty member in what now is known as the TWU Department of Reading. Griffin served as the director of Teacher Education at TWU for eight years. When Billie Askew offered the training of Reading Recovery teachers at TWU, Griffin became the site coordinator. She also was one of the first women to join the International Rotary. Retiring from TWU in 2000 after more than 25 years with the university, Griffin has spent the last 16 years supporting TWU and the Rotary through service, engagement and other activities.
Keynote Speaker: TWU Chancellor Carine M. Feyten
Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D., became chancellor and president of TWU – the nation’s largest university primarily for women – in 2014. She oversees a university with an annual operating budget that exceeds $256 million and serves approximately 15,000 students on campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston. The university employs almost 1,700 faculty and staff and has an annual economic impact in the North Texas region of more than $721 million.
Feyten has had a remarkable impact on the university during her tenure as chancellor and president. Achievements under her leadership include launching new degree programs in informatics and healthcare informatics; expanding degree offerings online and at satellite locations; enhancing community outreach; improving university infrastructure with plans for a new student union and parking garage in Denton; developing relationships with the business community and state Legislature; building the university’s leadership team; and enriching university communication.
A native of Belgium, Feyten is an internationally recognized consultant, speaker and scholar in the field of language learning, teaching methodologies and the integration of technology in education. She has authored or coauthored more than 100 journal articles, conference papers and book chapters. Feyten is fluent in five languages and previously served as dean of the College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and in various leadership positions at the University of South Florida for 23 years.
The first Founders’ Awards were presented in 1998 to honor organizations and individuals who have supported TWU and exhibited leadership in the community. TWU Founders’ Day commemorates the date the university was established by the state of Texas – April 6, 1901.