The Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents authorized a new name for its Institute for Women’s Leadership: The Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership.

"I am deeply honored to be recognized by TWU and to have my name attached to this leadership institute, which is doing a fantastic job of helping women succeed in business and public service," said Nelson, a Texas senator whose district includes much of Denton County. "Texas has been identified as the top state for women-owned businesses, and this institute will help even more women achieve their professional goals."

In announcing their decision, TWU officials cited Nelson's historic leadership, including many firsts for a woman in Texas. In 1992 she became the 10th woman elected to the Senate and the first to represent Denton County. In 1999 she was the first Republican woman to chair a standing Senate committee – then known as the Senate Health Services Committee – and was its longest serving chair. 

In 2014 she became the first woman in Texas history to chair a budget-writing committee – the Senate Finance Committee.  In January, the Senate's highest ranking Republican made history again as the first woman to preside over the Senate on opening day of the Legislature while the lieutenant governor was away on official business.

TWU Board of Regents also authorized naming the institute’s future exhibit hall recognizing outstanding Texas women after another leader, Sue Bancroft, a former TWU board of regents chair who currently serves as the institute’s advisory council chair and who has been a longtime supporter of the university.

“It is fitting that we honor these two strong leaders by naming these important entities which celebrate women’s leadership after them,” Board Chair Jill Jester said.  “Their contributions to Texas Woman’s University, our region and the Lone Star State are shining examples of true Texas leadership.”

Bancroft is a retired North Texas music professor, a former professional musician and has been a longtime community philanthropist. An exhibit hall currently under construction at the historic Old Main Building on the Denton campus, which will house an interactive digital history showcasing pioneering Texas women, will be named the Sue S. Bancroft Women’s Leadership Hall. The facility is scheduled to open in spring 2020.

“Jane Nelson and Sue Bancroft have played key roles in the development of Texas Woman’s and their contributions to the university will be appreciated by generations of students to come,” said TWU Chancellor Carine M. Feyten. “We expect the institute and the exhibit hall to be vibrant entities that will advance the legacies of these fine women.”

About The Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership

The Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership at Texas Woman’s University is dedicated to preparing more women to take on successful roles in business and public service. The institute’s three specialized centers – Center for Student Leadership, Center for Women Entrepreneurs and Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy – ensure women have the education to establish careers as successful C-suite executives, the skills for building entrepreneurial businesses and the framework needed to run for public office. The institute and its centers provide multiple platforms for women to advance their leadership skills and experience through education, mentoring and networking.

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