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Todd Williams, Abby Williams, Dr. Carine Feyten

Texas Woman’s University presented the 2024 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award to Abigail “Abby” and Todd Williams at the Dallas Leadership Luncheon on March 21 at noon at The Arts District Mansion. Abigail "Abby" Williams is founder and CEO of United to Learn, a Dallas-based education non-profit organization; and her husband Todd Williams is founding chairman and CEO of The Commit Partnership, the nation’s largest education collective impact organization.

The award recognizes exceptional leaders who have made significant contributions through their commitment to furthering education and the quality of life in the Dallas community.

TWU’s Interim Vice President for University Advancement and Alumni Engagement Lisa Rampy welcomed guests that included a half dozen representatives from the office of elected officials, TWU Foundation board members, and members of the university’s Board of Regents.

The program that followed included recognition of the current Virginia Chandler Dykes scholarship recipients Jennifer Conner/College of Arts and Science, Ruth George/College of Business, Alondra Ammon/College of Health Sciences, Kelsie Barta/College of Nursing, and Gladys Elena Roa Albert/College of Professional Education.

Arcilia Acosta, advisory council chair for TWU’s Jane Nelson Institute, past Virginia Chandler Dykes Award recipient) and Carcon Industries and & Construction CEO, gave remarks. Attendees watched a commemorative video remembering Virginia Chandler Dykes and recognition of her family. Event Committee Chair was Ralph Hawkins, former chairman of the board for HKS Architects.

TWU Chancellor and President Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D. communicated important TWU updates, such as the university’s recent launch of the Dream Big $125 million anniversary fundraising campaign, the recent appointment of Monica Christopher as the inaugural president of TWU Dallas, and the TWU Pioneers’ historic advancement to the Final Four for women’s basketball.

The program’s highlight was an intriguing conversation with Abby and Todd Williams led by Early Matters Dallas Board Chair and personal friend, Regen Horchow. Horchow asked thought-provoking questions about the couple’s views on education and earlier transformative life experiences and influential life figures.

Abby Williams thanked presenting sponsor, Luther King Capital Management, who “heavily endowed my scholarship at SMU.” She added, “Ensuring access to a quality education is our life’s mission, so Todd and I are excited to have the opportunity to support Texas Woman’s University graduate programs, which is doing exactly that for countless students every day. Scholarships didn’t just pay my tuition and fees; they changed my life’s trajectory.”

Since the TWU alumna and Board of Regent member Virginia Chandler Dykes created the luncheon in 2002, the event has generated more than $1.3 million to benefit TWU graduate students.

This year’s affair was sponsored by many generous donors:

Presenting Sponsor: Luther King Capital Management

Luncheon Sponsor: TWU’s Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership

VIP Reception Sponsor: Lucy and Henry Billingsley

Pioneer Investors: Sue S. Bancroft, H-E-B

Pioneer Premier Partner: The Hersh Foundation

Pioneer Partners: Children’s Health System of Texas, Monica and Brent Christopher, Locke Lord LLP

Maroon & White Patrons: Alpine Group, Baylor Scott & White Health, Carcon Industries/STL Engineers, Dallas Regional Chamber, Goldman Sachs Gives, Nancy E. Perot and Rod C. Jones, Dr. Sheila Kellagher, Lyda Hill Philanthropies/LH Capital Inc., Elizabeth Martin, Parkland Health Foundation, Southwest Medical Foundation, Texas Women’s Foundation, Dr. Melissa D. Tonn and William J. Minick, III, Valeo Partners LLC, TWU Regent Mary P. Wilson and William R. Wilson, Jr., Young Women’s Preparatory Network.

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