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Mary ParkMary 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 on Saturdays.

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 Year.

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 Board.

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.

As profiled at October 29, 1993 Distinguished Alumni Banquet


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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2022
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