Governor’s Commission For Women Announces 2016 Texas Women’s Hall Of Fame Inductees

The Governor’s Commission for Women today announced the 2016 inductees to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame accepts nominations biannually and is open to any native or current residents of Texas, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions that have benefited the State of Texas. Texas residents submit nominations and a panel of judges selects the recipients who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“I am honored to welcome these five extraordinary women into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Whether in public service, the arts, business or education, these leaders have inspired generations of Texans to reach new heights, achieve new goals and elevate the Lone Star State. I would like to thank each of the honorees and their families for their enduring contributions to the State of Texas.”

The induction ceremony for the 2016 Texas Women’s Hall of Fame honorees will be held on the campus of Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas on October 21st, 2016. Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott will be in attendance to honor the five new inductees and celebrate their contributions to the State of Texas.

The 2016 inductees to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame are:

Emma Carter Browning (Aviation) was a pilot, businesswoman and aviation pioneer. Browning grew up in Eastland, Texas and attended Abilene Business College. She paid $1 for her first ride with a barnstormer pilot in 1929 and was inspired to pursue a life in aviation. A year later, she met her future husband, Robert Browning, Jr., and together they earned a living in the burgeoning civil aviation industry while managing a fixed-base operator at Abilene Airport. During that time the Brownings befriended fellow aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart while her aircraft underwent repairs in Abilene. In 1939, Browning received her certification as a solo pilot and moved to Austin with her husband to found and operate Browning Aerial Services. Together they provided training through the Civilian Pilot Training Program created by President Roosevelt’s efforts to strengthen the U.S. Military. In 1942, Browning Aerial Services began training pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps. The Brownings helped form the Texas Flight Training Association, the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Texas Aeronautics Commission, bringing together fixed-base operator owners from across the state and nation to better serve the civilian aviation industry. After her husband’s passing in 1973, Browning became president of Browning Aerial Services, operating the business and managing relations with local, state and federal regulators before selling the business to Signature Flight Services in 1987. She passed away in 2010, leaving behind enormous contributions to the aviation industry and the State of Texas.

Susie Hitchcock-Hall (Business) is an entrepreneur, businesswoman and founder of Susie’s South Forty Confections, Inc. in Midland, Texas. Hitchcock-Hall launched the business out of her own kitchen in 1991 and has since expanded both its production capacity and its unique collection of Texas-based candy recipes enjoyed across the state and country. When Hitchcock-Hall opened her new factory in 2002, she celebrated by whipping up a Texas-shaped 2,940-pound batch of her original Texas Pecan Toffee, earning a Guinness World Record for the largest piece of toffee ever created. Hitchcock-Hall began her career on the dance floor, teaching at the YMCA, church classes, the National League of Junior Cotillions and private lessons since 1974. Even after starting Susie’s South Forty, she continued to teach dance lessons for several years, leaving a lasting impression on country/western and line dancing students in West Texas. Hitchcock-Hall has always been active in her community, serving as a chair for the United Way Capital Campaign, the Midland Chamber of Commerce and the Midland Manufacturer’s Association. In addition to other honors, she has earned the Master Confectioner Emeritus status with Retail Confectioners International.

Ginger Kerrick (STEM) is currently the division chief of the Flight Operations Directorate Integration Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, a division that provides support to the astronauts and flight directors. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Kerrick excelled in academics and athletics from an early age and aspired to become either a NASA astronaut or professional basketball player. After a knee injury ender her professional basketball dream at age 17, Kerrick shifted her focus to “Plan B,” earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Texas Tech University before being accepted to NASA’s Cooperative Education Program and reporting to Houston’s Johnson Space Center in 1991. Kerrick began as a materials research engineer and quickly climbed the ranks to become a life support systems instructor for the International Space Station. Kerrick faced a setback when she was turned down for the NASA Astronaut Class of 1995 due to a medical disqualification. Nevertheless, she applied her vast knowledge and skills toward supporting human space flight and astronaut training. Kerrick broke professional barriers to become the first Russian training integration instructor, the first non-astronaut Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for the International Space Station and, later, NASA’s first female Hispanic Flight Director. Outside of her professional career, she regularly inspires students across Texas by promoting the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines at local schools, universities and non-profit events. In 2015, Kerrick also taught in the STEM-MBA Program at Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business and served on the Scholarship, Chapter Development and Academic Recruitment Committees for the Texas Tech Alumni Association.  She is also an avid runner, plays sand volleyball, and is the volunteer coordinator for a non-profit dog rescue, Triumphant Tails, Inc.

Dr. Renu Khator (Public Service) is the chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston. Dr. Khator was appointed in 2008 and is the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive public research university in the United States and the first female chancellor of a Texas higher education system. During her tenure, the University of Houston earned Tier One status and was elevated into the top category of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. University of Houston has also seen record-breaking research funding, enrollment and private support under Dr. Khator. Born in Uttar Pradesh, India, Dr. Khator earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur before receiving her master’s degree in political science and Ph.D. in political science and public administration from Purdue University. She is a noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy and has received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from the president of India, among other distinguished honors. Dr. Khator’s husband, Dr. Suresh Khator, is associate dean of the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering. The Khators have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Selena Quintanilla (Arts) was a Grammy Award-winning Latin recording artist whose contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the 20th century. Known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” Selena gained notoriety in the late 1980s for her eclectic style and powerful voice. Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1971 and began performing as the lead singer in her family’s band, Selena Y Los Dinos, at age 9. Selena won “Best Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Performer of the Year” at the 1987 Tejano Music Awards and continued to win both awards every year until her death. In 1989, she signed with Capitol Latin EMI and soon reached international fame. In 1993, Selena’s live album, Selena Live!, won the Grammy Award for best Mexican-American album. In 1994, she released her double-platinum album Amor Prohibido and opened her boutique clothing store and salon, Selena Etc., in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. She was also active in education by speaking at schools urging kids to better themselves by staying in school, abstaining from drugs and working hard to attain their goals. Before her untimely death in 1995, she had started work on an English-language crossover album. This album, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously later that year and became the best-selling Latin album of all time, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and selling more than 3.5 million copies. Selena’s story transcends cultural differences and continues to inspire people around the world. She is remembered as an icon for her musical accomplishments as wall as for the joy that the memory of her charismatic personality continues to bring to her fans.

The Governor’s Commission for Women established the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984 to honor the Lone Star State’s most accomplished women. Past inductees have included first ladies, teachers, astronauts and athletes. In March 2003, the Commission established a permanent Texas Women’s Hall of Fame exhibit on the TWU campus, which currently features the biographies and photographs of the 146 recipients.

For more information about the Governor’s Commission for Women, click here.

For a list of past honorees and information on the Texas Women’s Hall of fame, visit http://www.twu.edu/twhf/


 

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