First Lady Cecilia Abbott recently delivered the keynote address celebrating the contributions and leadership of Texas women in the fields of athletics, public and community service, civic leadership, business, science, and education at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame 2023 Induction Ceremony in Austin. Hosted by the First Lady, the Office of the Governor, and the Governor’s Commission for Women, the ceremony was attended by this year’s honorees, their families, state and local officials, and invited guests from communities across Texas.
“We celebrate this year’s eight remarkable honorees not only for their individual achievements, but also for their contributions to an even brighter Texas of tomorrow,” said First Lady Abbott. “As women of vision, tenacity, and generosity, they are an inspiration for the next generation of leaders who will follow them. In Texas, we believe in the unlimited potential of women, and I join Greg in sharing our sincere thanks to each of the new inductees to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for their leadership and for sharing their gifts with others.”
The First Lady was joined at the ceremony by Secretary of State Jane Nelson and Texas Woman’s University Chancellor and President Carine Feyten.
Governor Greg Abbott met with the honorees and their families at a private reception at the Governor’s Mansion prior to the ceremony.
The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame honorees for 2023 are:
Leta Andrews (Athletics) – In recognition of her more than five decades as a dedicated teacher and coach, with half of those at Granbury High School, inspiring her student-athletes to be champions in sports and in life and leading the nation with the most career wins as a basketball coach.
Mary Horn (Public Service) – In posthumous recognition of her legacy of dedicated public service in 26 years of elected office, including as the longest-serving Denton County Judge, carefully stewarding taxpayer resources while administering necessary services in one of the fastest-growing counties.
Val LaMantia (Business) – In recognition of her business leadership as owner and managing partner of a beverage distribution company, her service to the McAllen community, and her role as a founding member of the STARS Scholarship Fund, furthering education for nearly 20,000 students in South and West Texas.
Opal Lee (Civic Leadership) – In recognition of her community service in Fort Worth and her relentless advocacy nationwide, winning federal recognition of the historic Juneteenth holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S., and for her perseverance in promoting a message of unity and understanding.
Lavinia Masters (Advocacy/Community Service) – In recognition of her selflessness and strength, building on her faith and finding the power of her voice to speak for survivors of sexual violence, to raise awareness of a nationwide rape kit backlog, and to bring justice through legislative action.
Antonietta Quigg (Science/Technology) – In recognition of her leadership of critical marine-related research at Texas A&M University at Galveston and at College Station, leading to a better understanding of Texas’ coastal ecosystem, and for her passion in mentoring student researchers.
Charlotte Sharp (Philanthropy) – In posthumous recognition of her legacy of faith-filled compassion and generosity, volunteering her time and raising funds to help ease the suffering of others, comfort sick children, feed hungry families, and seek shelter for individuals struggling to find a safe place to live.
Elizabeth Suarez (Public Service) – In recognition of her journey of service and leadership in municipal government, forging regional ground and air connectivity for a seamless domestic and international transportation network supporting economic expansion in McAllen and across the Rio Grande Valley and Texas.
Before the ceremony, in a new tradition honoring pioneering Texas women from past generations, the Governor’s Commission for Women also celebrated Melissa Dora Oliver-Eakle, a businesswoman and philanthropist who had a significant impact on the early history of Amarillo.
Established in 1984 by the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women, the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of Texas women nominated biennially by Texans and selected by an independent panel of judges. Inductees include former First Ladies, astronauts, entrepreneurs, public servants, Olympic athletes, and other women of significant accomplishment.