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Ruben Esquivel; Lindalyn Adams (TWU Virginia Chandler Dykes Award recipient, 2007); Barbara Bradfield

Mary Brinegar, president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc., has been named the recipient of the 12th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award, presented by Bank of Texas and Texas Woman’s University and the Texas Woman’s University Foundation. Texas Woman’s University Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart will present the award at the Virginia Chandler Dykes luncheon event Feb. 20, 2014, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, 2101 Ross Ave.  

“Texas Woman’s University is so pleased to honor this passionate Dallas leader, fundraiser, and volunteer, whose love of education, business and the arts has improved the lives of others in this community and beyond,” said TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart. “Her vision continues to enhance educational experiences at the world-class Dallas Arboretum, where the new eight-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure has just begun to engage children in earth and life science exploration. We are grateful for her many contributions to the Dallas area and the legacy she has created.”

Established in 2002, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award is given annually to Dallas leaders with a lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life in the community and to furthering the importance of education. The award recognizes the life work of Virginia Chandler Dykes as an outstanding health care provider, whose professional and civic achievements represent a lifetime committed to helping others.  Past award recipients are Patricia and Curtis Meadows, 2013; Myrna D. Schlegel and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, 2012; Joel Allison, 2011; Kathleen Mason, 2010; Caroline Rose Hunt, 2009; T. Boone Pickens, 2008; Lindalyn Adams, 2007; Dr. and Mrs. Kern Wildenthal, 2006; Gretchen Minyard Williams and J.L. “Sonny” Williams, 2005; Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, 2004; and Susan and Charles Cooper, 2003. 

“I am so very honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award and humbled to be in the company of the past winners of this prestigious recognition,” said Mary Brinegar. “I have the greatest respect for Virginia Dykes and Dr. Ann Stuart and have long appreciated the dynamic growth and impact of Texas Woman’s University. Therefore I am so grateful to have been chosen and to be able to attach my name to these wonderful civic leaders and outstanding university.”

Since 1996, Mary Brinegar has been president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc. Previously she served as the Dallas Opera’s associate general director, worked with the Science Place, and spent nine years raising funds for KERA/Channel 13. A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in elementary education, Brinegar taught school in DISD.  She brings her passion for education to the Arboretum, furthering the nonprofit’s mission to build and maintain a public garden that promotes the art, enjoyment and knowledge of horticulture, while providing opportunities for education and research. The addition of the much anticipated Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will significantly impact this major educational facility, which already teaches life and earth sciences to nearly 100,000 children annually. Under her leadership, over $90 million has been raised for capital improvements at the Arboretum, which currently has 36,000 members and an annual attendance of 947,000 and has received national promotion, including listings as one of the 14 most beautiful gardens in the world.  

Brinegar’s accomplishments include:  Fund Raising Executive of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Dallas Chapter; YWCA’s 100 Women in 100 years; Sustainer of the Year - Junior League of Dallas; Theta of the Year by Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority; and being named to her high school’s hall of fame on its 75th anniversary. She is a recipient of Dallas Historical Society's Arts Leadership Award and the Extra Mile Award, sponsored by the Business and Professional Women's Club of Dallas. She was named one of the Women in Business Industry Leaders by the Dallas Business Journal and awarded honorary membership into the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. As a volunteer, Brinegar has served as president of numerous organizations and chaired many community fundraising events. She has been a member of Leadership Dallas, Leadership Texas and Leadership America and served on the 12-member national board of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.  Additionally, she is a founding member of the WOW Consortium, bringing commissioned traveling exhibits to botanic gardens throughout the country at a nominal cost.

The Virginia Chandler Dykes Award namesake, Virginia Chandler Dykes, is known internationally for her work in occupational therapy. Locally, she is known for her leadership in many cultural and charitable organizations.  In 2005 she was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents.

Mrs. Dykes completed the graduate occupational therapy program at TWU in 1954 after earning her bachelor of arts in art and psychology from Southern Methodist University. She was the director of the Occupational and Recreational Therapy Department at Baylor University Medical Center for 25 years. In 2002, she established The Virginia Chandler Dykes endowed scholarship fund at TWU for occupational therapy students, which includes all four colleges: College of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy), Nursing, Professional Education (COPE), and Arts and Sciences. Mrs. Dykes and her late husband Roland also helped to establish the Fanny B. Vanderkooi Endowed Lectureship for the School of Occupational Therapy at TWU, which has grown to be one of the premier continuing education offerings in Texas. She is also well known for her leadership in organizations such as The Dallas Opera, the Dallas Arboretum’s Women’s Council and the Fort Worth Opera.

The 2014 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon Advisory Committee members are: Joel Allison, Norm Bagwell, Barbara Bradfield, April Box Chamberlain, John Falldine, Ebby Halliday, Sharon McCullough, and Bill Patterson.

“In addition to honoring outstanding individuals in the community, the Virginia Chandler Dykes luncheon provides scholarships for four outstanding graduate students, while continuing to grow the Virginia Chandler Dykes Endowment and helping the Dallas community better understand the value of TWU graduates to Dallas’ professional workforce,” added Dr. Stuart.

The following four graduate students from all four colleges will be honored at the luncheon as recipients of scholarship funds: Angela Boisselle, OTR, MOT, ATP, College of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy), sponsored by Edgemere Dallas; Laura Thomas, MSN, CNE, RN, College of Nursing, sponsored by Luther King Capital Management; Amy Johnson, MA, College of Professional Education (COPE), sponsored by Geraldine “Tincy” Miller; and Sheila Bustillos-Reynolds, College of Arts and Sciences, M.Ed. sponsored by Sis Carr.

Tickets for the February 20 luncheon are $175 for silver patron; $250 for gold patron.  For more information, call 940-898-3851, visit, or email

Texas Woman’s University is a public university that occupies a notable position in higher education as the nation’s largest university primarily for women with an enrollment of 15,104. Its campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston are joined by an e-learning campus offering innovative online degree programs in business, education and general studies. TWU serves the citizens of Texas in many important ways, including:  graduating more new healthcare professionals than any other university in Texas; easing the teacher shortage by placing highly qualified professionals in the classroom; offering a liberal arts-based curriculum that prepares students for success in a global society; and conducting research that impacts the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, osteoporosis, stroke and diabetes.  For more information, visit or call (940) TWU-2000.