Pamela Pitzer Willeford
Pamela Pitzer Willeford has developed a well-earned reputation. For about four decades, Willeford has worked with impeccable diplomacy, discretion and decision-making ability for many important causes locally and globally – from education to the arts, historic preservation to family issues. She has become known as the “go-to” woman for challenging leadership and volunteer positions, and she embraces this status.
Willeford’s highest-profile work came with her appointment by President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, a post she held from October 2003 to May 2006. Previously, Willeford had dedicated her professional life to education policy and community service, a life she returned to full-force following her ambassadorship.
A native of the North Central Texas town of Breckenridge, Willeford earned her BA in English and Spanish at The University of Texas at Austin. She began her career as a schoolteacher, but eventually moved into education policy. Willeford was appointed to and chaired the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which oversees all of the state’s public post-secondary education. Currently, Willeford chairs the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, helping raise awareness and funding for the nation’s neediest schools, and especially helping rebuild Gulf Coast school libraries destroyed by hurricanes.
Willeford also currently serves as vice chair of the Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund, helping raise funds and support for the rebuilding of the National Historic Monument following its 2008 destruction by arson. Previously, she acted as director of development for the Texas State Preservation Board, leading the rededication events for the restoration of the Texas State Capitol.
Among her activities and responsibilities, Willeford has served as a member of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, and held leadership positions with the Texas Book Festival, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Texas Exes, the Junior League of Austin, SafePlace, and the Texas Medal of Arts Awards.
Willeford has been named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and a Volunteer Extraordinaire by the Junior League of Austin. She has also received the Hockaday Medal from Dallas’ Hockaday School, Willeford’s alma mater.
Willeford and her husband, Austin physician Dr. George Willeford III, have two grown daughters. Additionally, Willeford is a partner with her sisters and acts as president of their family business, Pico Drilling Co. LTD.