On March 11, 2010, former Humanities Texas board member Ellen C. Temple received the Pro Bene Meritis award from the The University of Texas at Austin's College of Liberal Arts. Read her gracious remarks below. There could be no better introduction than that given by Fran Vick, which is reproduced below:
"Once upon a time, a very special eighteen-year-old girl came into my life, and she has been there ever since. She is very special because once you are her friend, or her cause, or her love, or her family—you have her forever. How special is that? We have, all in this room tonight, been incredibly enriched by her specialness—you her friends, you her family, her University, her causes, and tonight we celebrate particularly her enrichment of the Liberal Arts. Truthfully, I hardly know where to begin in telling about her and what she has done for us.
Ellen came to us from Lufkin High School, where she graduated with honors. Not content with that, she did it again at The University of Texas, graduating with honors with a B.A. in English and History. She was just getting started, though. Imbued with a love of books and reading from her mother and from the University she loved, she continued on to obtain a Masters degree in English from Stephen F. Austin [University] . . . .
Meanwhile, the publishing bug had bit and she published her first book, Pauline and the Peacock, a children's book. Then came her passionate involvement in women's issues—particularly women in Texas History. She wanted her girls and all girls to know the contributions of such women as the flyer Katherine Stinson, Babe Zaharias, Margo Jones, Clara Driscoll, Bette Graham, Jane Y. McCallum, Cornelia Adair, Molly Goodnight, the WASPs of World War II, and the first female astronauts. So she began publishing the stories of those women in such books as We Can Fly and Citizens at Last, the story of the Texas suffragists. That was the first book on the suffragist movement in Texas, and it remains today the only one. Pay attention out there, ladies! There's work to be done! In all, she published fifteen books . . . but she was not through yet.
She was appointed to the University of Texas System Board of Regents by Ann Richards . . . but she was not through yet. She became involved with one who was much like her in her quiet, genteel ways of getting major things accomplished—Lady Bird Johnson—who talked her into heading up the Wildflower Center and launching a capital campaign for the Center.
It also brought her into closer contact with Liz Carpenter, although they had long been friends working on women's issues. They became so close that Ellen founded [and endowed] an award to honor her, the much-coveted Liz Carpenter Award for Research in the History of Women, given annually for the best scholarly book on the history of women and Texas by the Texas State Historical Association. She also played a lead role in the establishment of the Liz Sutherland Carpenter Distinguished Visiting Lectureship in the Humanities and Sciences.
Her connection with Lady Bird and the Wildflower Center also brought her closer to her deep interest in the environment. Ellen is a leader, whether she is planting trees to help the environment or supporting education at all levels . . . She has said, "I want to make a difference. I want to have an impact and do worthwhile things." Well, she has certainly done that in spades! Or I should say, wildflowers!
Ellen has been very much connected with the Liberal Arts, including serving on the Advisory Council. Ellen was responsible for the creation of the Ellen Clarke Temple Excellence Fund in the History of Women. I would like to pause here and thank Buddy Temple, chair of the T. L. L. Temple Foundation, for all of their support to The University, particularly for the starting grant for the Charlie Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies.
Her board membership and offices in the state have been:
Vice President, Angelina College board of directors
Planning Committee, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
President, Philosophical Society of Texas
Chair, Humanities Texas
Board Member Emerita, Foundation for Women's Resources which produced Texas Women's History Project, Leadership Texas, Leadership America, and The Women's Museum in Dallas
Nature Conservancy of Texas board member
President of the board, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (1997-1999)
She has been honored with the Ralph W. Steen Memorial East Texan of the Year Award in 2009 and the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Foundation Outstanding Texas Leader Award.
Some of the major boards she has served on at The University include:
Vice Chair, The University of Texas System Board of Regents
Chair and life member, Development Board
School of Information Advisory Council
Commission of 125
We're Texas Campaign Executive Council
University of Texas President's Executive Council
University of Texas System Education Policy Foundation
College of Liberal Arts Executive Council and also the Steering Committee for the new College of Liberal Arts building
Honored as a Distinguished Alumna of The University of Texas, 2000
I was privileged to be interviewed about Ellen at her Distinguished Alumna award, and here is what I said at that time:
"She is a perfect ambassador for The University of Texas. She is everything you want a graduate of your university to be, do, and look like. She’s fabulous!" I stand by those words today as she receives this Pro Bene Meritis Award. So the Temples are not through yet!"
Read Ellen Temple's gracious remarks below:
"Thank you, Fran, Julius, Randy, the talented dean of this great College, and all the members of the selection committee for this wonderful honor. I am pleased and proud to join the company of the past honorees and also Frank Denius and Parker Frisbie tonight.
Thank you to Buddy, Hannah, and Chris for being here, and all of our family for their support; Jane, my good friend and author; Patty and James Huffines, who was an outstanding chair of the board of regents; [and] Suzan Glickman. Thank you to many colleagues, like Diane Daniel, my partner in University fundraising for almost twenty years, and many other dear friends for being here tonight. This award is for all of you, too.
I fell in love with this University the first day that that I set foot on campus. I loved the place—the limestone buildings, the majestic tower, the hourly chimes of the carillon; the big oak and tall mesquite trees; Waller Creek and the turtle pond; the green open spaces and the cloistered ones.
I loved the libraries. I had worked in our local library for seven summers. These libraries made me feel that I had died and gone to heaven! My stack permit for the tower libraries was my most prized possession. I loved my classes, my new friends, and my professors. I loved my double major—English and history—and in the course of my four years here, I had surely read almost every book in the library.
How lucky I was to know the thrill of discovery and to spend my days learning about this world and the connections among cultures. My experiences here have shaped my life and made it better. How grateful I am to the legions of people who teach and do research and manage so that a student like me from a small town in East Texas can have a world-class education.
And the best thing is that my love affair with this University did not come to an end with graduation. It's thriving today!
I still experience a thrill when I come on campus—whether it's to use the libraries as I did when I was in SFA graduate school—or to do research on the history of women suffrage in Texas when I was publishing—or to plan early Women Studies Programs—or to work on the Ceasar Pelli Campus Master Plan as a regent—or to explore the campus with Mary Ellen, our youngest grandchild—or to work with Martin Dies, our chair, and members of the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council and Steering Committee to raise funds for our beautiful new Liberal Arts building. It's a building worthy of this college.
One constant in my life in Texas is that this College of Liberal Arts, these libraries, and this great University keep getting better and better—even during wars, when the economy is down—when we think things cannot get any worse—this University just keeps getting better and better because of the support and dedication and hard work of people like you. I'm very happy and proud to be a part of the team.
I'll close with one of my favorite poems. It bursts with joy and thankfulness for all the beauty in simple things, and best expresses how I feel tonight.
"Pied Beauty" by nineteenth century British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
And I add—Praise Her.
—Ellen Temple, March 11, 2010
On April 17, 2010, past board chair Joseph R. Krier received the Distinguished Alumni Award from The University of Texas Friar Society. Mr. Krier serves as counsel with Bracewell & Giuliani L.L.P. in San Antonio and was formerly president and CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. As founding president of the Foundation for the National Archives, he played a critical role in shaping that agency's identity as a leading cultural institution. As a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board from 1994 to 1999, he formulated strategies for the expansion of the state's colleges and universities.
He has chaired the Arts Council of San Antonio, served on the San Antonio Fiesta Board of Directors, and participated in the Library and Literacy Campaign. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and the U.T. School of Law, he has served the university in numerous capacities, including the recent Commission of 125. His wife, Cyndi, a former Texas state senator, received Distinguished Alumni award in 1995.
Founded in 1911, the Friar Society is the oldest honor society on campus, and one of the most prestigious. Undergraduate and graduate students who have made significant contributions to the University are selected for membership. The Society sponsors the Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship, the Friar Society Significant Contribution Award, and the Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award.