University Housing and Dining Article

The Gallery of Great Texas Women

Women have been instrumental in moving Texas from rugged 17th century frontier to vibrant 21st century state.  The Gallery of Great Texas Women celebrates 47 noteworthy Texas women and their historic accomplishments by displaying their individual stories and photographs. The exhibit celebrates the lives of great Texas women on over 4,000 sq ft. of display area. Gallery visitors find striking stories, facts and quotes from and about these women whose hardships, hard work, sacrifices, triumphs and achievements brought glory and fame to Texas. Although most of these great women were born in the state, some were born elsewhere but have succeeded in or achieved greatness for Texas.

The gallery grew out of discussion among students and staff members of the Division of Housing and Food Service (DHFS), now called University Housing and Dining. DHFS was looking for new ways to support the learning environment and to develop appreciation for the diversity and impact of Texas women. After extensive discussions with student leaders and professionals across the state, Director Floyd Hoelting, DHFS staff and students embarked on a mission to create a Gallery of Great Texas Women in the lobby of Kinsolving Residence Hall.

This undertaking involved the work of many researchers, artists and designers from the Institute of Texan Cultures at The University of Texas at San Antonio (ITC), the primary collaborator for this project. Teams of experts from ITC and DHFS worked painstakingly to complete this tribute over a period of three years beginning in February, 2004. A review and renewal of the entire gallery will be conducted every five to ten years. The song, “Standing Before Us,” was discovered by Floyd Hoelting at St. Scholastica Convent in Fort Smith, Arkansas. For decades, this community of Benedictine nuns has sung the song in celebration of those before them. It is used in the gallery with kind permission of the author, Carole Etzler, to honor Texas women who came before us and to remind us of the importance of women to Texas greatness and how they will continue to impact the future of Texas.

The gallery is intended to enable the achievements and influence of Texas women to inspire students, faculty, staff and visitors to the university.