These five women were inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame at the State of Texas' most recent ceremony, held at Texas Woman's University in October 2016.
Though she stood barely five feet tall, Emma Carter Browning commanded the respect of the men she trained and the Texas governors she served. She was just 18 years old in 1929 when she flew her first plane and fell in love with flying — and with Robert Browning, a daredevil barnstorming pilot. An aviation pioneer and a sharp businesswoman, Browning never accepted being a woman in a male-dominated industry as a disadvantage. In her career and in her life, she knew no boundaries — for all of her 99 years.
She started her second business at her kitchen table, earning just $452 in 1991. Susie Hitchcock-Hall then enrolled in a culinary arts class at Odessa College to learn how to convert the small-batch recipe for her signature Texas Pecan Toffee into the volume needed to expand her business. Today, Susie’s South Forty Confections in Midland — as featured on Food Network television with no bartering involved — employs 26 Texans and fills in-store and online orders from all around the world.
Inspired by a library book, Ginger Kerrick knew she wanted to be an astronaut — at the age of 5. Her mother encouraged her to study science and math, but a high school teacher told her that girls could not succeed in physics. Ginger Kerrick majored in physics and proved him wrong. Today, Kerrick is division chief of the Flight Operations Directorate Integration Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
She could not speak the language when she first came to the United States from India as a young newlywed, but that did not stop Renu Khator from pursuing a master’s degree from Purdue University in Indiana — at age 19. Through hard work and tears, and with the support of her husband who was also a student, she taught herself to speak English by watching "I Love Lucy" reruns and completed her master’s one year later. After her two daughters were born, she returned to school, earned a doctorate and began teaching. Today, Dr. Khator is chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston, the system’s flagship institution and third-largest university in the Lone Star State.
“The impossible is always possible.” More than just her favorite quote, those four words capture the meteoric rise of a young Latina who defied expectations, becoming a Grammy Award-winning recording artist whose contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the 20th century. More than two decades after her death, she is still known by one name: Selena. Doing what others said could not be done, Selena earned the title “Queen of Tejano Music” for her eclectic style and powerful voice.