2016 News Releases

Texas Woman's Alumni Association receives $1.6 million estate gift

Photo of Betty Johnson

Betty Johnston's 1947 university graduation photo

The Texas Woman’s University Alumni Association is the recipient of a $1.6 million gift from the estate of alumna Betty R. Johnston. This is the largest-ever estate gift and the second estate gift in one month designated to the TWU Alumni Association through the TWU Foundation.

Betty Johnston most recently lived in Lubbock, Texas, where she died in 2014.  A graduate of the class of 1947 from when TWU was known as the Texas State College for Women, Johnston received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and also completed a master’s degree. She served her country reaching the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and continued to serve after leaving the military throughout a long career with the government in the biological warfare assessment laboratories at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

An avid golfer and traveler, Johnston combined these passions after her retirement by traveling with friends and playing at golf courses around the globe. She loved to stay in hostels to experience the culture of the country she was visiting in a way she felt could not be found in a traditional hotel.

Johnston eventually returned to Lubbock to be near family and enjoy life with her beloved dog, Skipper. Her cousin, Bonnie Sanders, said, “Betty loved dogs and always had one or more with her all through her life.” 

Sanders also shared that Johnston never forgot her educational roots at Texas Woman’s University and, as a Life Member of the TWU Alumni Association, Johnston determined she wanted to give back through this substantial gift.

TWU Alumni Association President Juanita Dueñez-Lazo said, “Betty was the epitome of a TWU ‘True Pioneer.’  Her successful career in a male-dominated field at that time, perfectly exemplified the skills and confidence with which graduates of Texas Woman’s University are empowered.”  

Dueñez-Lazo added, “Betty embodied all of the qualities of a dedicated alumna, and we are grateful for her generous gift.”


Since its founding in 1905, The TWU Alumni Association, has worked with alumni to promote the university, raising more than $1 million in scholarship funds and providing opportunities to current and former students of the university. The associations goal is to provide opportunities to current and former students and friends of the university for a lifelong affiliation and volunteer partnership with TWU. Since their individual founding, the TWU Foundation and Alumni Association have engaged in work to support the faculty, staff, and students of Texas Woman's University. In April 2016, the organizations formed a partnership to further encourage philanthropic support.



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Page last updated 11:20 AM, June 11, 2019