Businesswoman makes record gift to Texas Woman’s University

Woman with blonde hair sitting at desk.
Mary L.A. Stanton

August 9, 2018—DENTON—Texas Woman’s University officials today announced a gift of more than $10 million — the single largest donation to the university — from Frisco businesswoman Mary L.A. Stanton.

The $10,001,901 commitment supports construction of a new residential village on TWU’s Denton campus. In addition, with the $1,901 part of this gift, Stanton is inspiring the launch of the "1901 Society," which recognizes donors who have given $1 million or more to the university in their lifetimes.

“Mary is a smart businesswoman who serves as a role model for many,” Chancellor Carine M. Feyten said. “Her thoughtful and generous gift will transform student housing at TWU. And, I am pleased to see Mary leading the charge to inspire others to give to Texas Woman’s University.”

TWU’s new residential village will enhance the campus experience for second-year students by providing an important sense of community and campus activities aimed at boosting the academic enterprise. TWU’s Board of Regents will vote on a motion to name the residential village’s east portal building Mary L. A. Stanton Hall, or "Mary’s Hall," at its August 10 meeting.

“I hope my gift will provide students with a campus experience I was not able to enjoy myself,” said Stanton, who, as a commuter student and working single parent, earned a bachelor’s degree from TWU in 1989. “I loved the way the Denton campus felt when I was there.”

Stanton had a passion for accounting and computer science and continued attending TWU to pursue an MBA. She stopped shy of earning that degree because her career with the H.T. Ardinger & Son wholesale import company required more of her time. The multimillion-dollar Dallas-based business was run by Horace Ardinger, Jr., whom Stanton later wed.

“At that point, Horace was teaching me everything about the import business,” Stanton said. “We traveled overseas a lot, working with factories and suppliers to design, purchase and ship artificial foliage, flowers and trees, and other holiday and home decorations.”

Since the ending of the wholesale warehouse operations in 2011 and the passing of Ardinger in 2012, Stanton continues to manage 10 other businesses in fields ranging from oil and gas to medical research, environmental waste recovery and financial investing. She and her current husband, Bob Stanton, are strong supporters of education and are proud to be giving back to TWU.

“Without my degree, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Stanton said. “I’m honored to say I’m a TWU graduate and hope that TWU’s students will see me as a role model for what they, too, can become.”

About TWU’s new residential village project

Opening in fall 2019 on the Denton campus, TWU’s new sophomore village will house 875 students and contain classroom, fitness, exploratory learning and recreational spaces. The residential village will include three 4- and 5-story Georgian buildings featuring pod-style living quarters with small-scale communal baths with private bathroom and shower stalls. The project will incorporate residential amenities such as lounge spaces, study areas and community gathering places focused on the sophomore experience. The development also will have approximately 30,000 square feet of residential dining space to serve all of TWU’s commuter and on-campus student population.

This is TWU’s first major housing development since the opening of the Lowry Woods Community in 2005.

About the 1901 Society

Launched this year with the generous gift of TWU alumna and businesswoman Mary L.A. Stanton, the 1901 Society recognizes donors who have given at least $1 million to the university over the course of their lifetimes. The society is named after the founding year of the university—1901.

About Texas Woman’s University

Texas Woman’s University is the nation's largest university primarily for women with more than 15,000 students at its three locations in Denton, Dallas and Houston. Texas Woman’s is known for its contributions and leadership in the fields of education, nutrition, business, the arts and sciences, and especially in the nursing and health care professions. The university offers the student support, class sizes and campus esthetics more typically found at a private university. TWU prides itself on providing students with a well-rounded educational experience focused on service, health and well-being and integrity. Respect for diversity in all dimensions (U.S. News & World Report ranks the university tied for 5th in the nation for diversity) and a safe campus environment are among the hallmarks of a TWU education.

three brick buildings arranged in a square
TWU's new residential village, scheduled for completion in fall 2019, includes a portal building, shown at the bottom portion of this artist rendering.

Media Contact

Matt Flores
Assistant Vice President, University Communications

Page last updated 12:40 PM, March 2, 2023