Frances Park, a long-time resident of Huntsville, began
her association with Sam Houston State Teachers College
when she was enrolled in kindergarten of Demonstration
School. Her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees
are from Sam Houston State University.
She taught in the elementary grades for 11 years,
returning to SHSU in 1957, where she completed 25 years
of teaching in the Teacher Education Department. During
this period, she obtained her Doctorate Degree by attending
the University of Houston during summer sessions and
Park has given much of her time to SHSU over the years.
She served as the first woman to chair the University
Athletic Committee; the first woman faculty representative
to the Lone Star Athletic Conference, which she served
on for five years; sponsor and treasurer of Kappa Delta
Pi Honor Society in teacher education for 20 years;
and scholarship adviser of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority.
Awards and citations received by Park include the
Excellence in Teaching Award and the Minnie Stevens
Piper Award. The Piper award was accompanied by a $2,500
stipend which, with additional funds, was used to establish
the Mary Frances Park Endowment.
Other awards include a citation plaque from the former
SHSU Lettermen Association, a recognition plaque from
Lone Star Conference for service and a Distinguished
Alumni Recognition Award given by the Teacher Education
Department. In 1981 she was named Texas Mother of the
She has been elected or appointed to numerous city
and Chamber of Commerce boards and committees. She has
served on the Advisory Board of Friends of the Public
Library since its inception and has recently completed
two terms on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Advisory
She is also a member of Walker County Historical Commission.
She is an active participant in several heritage societies
and supports numerous benevolent service organizations.
Currently she is working on the Stand with Sam funding
committee and the dedication program for "Sam Houston:
A Tribute to Courage." For many years, she has served
her church in leadership and supporting roles.
Her husband, Mance, was honored as a Distinguished
Alumni in 1980. They are the first husband and wife
to both be recognized. Their son, Mance Michael, and
his family established in 1992 the Mary Frances and
Mance Park Endowed Scholarship in educational administration.