Patti Strickel Harrison.
Patti Strickel Harrison, who attended Texas State in 1947 and 1948 and has since contributed more than $11 million to the university, will receive an honorary doctoral degree from the university on May 11.
Harrison will become the ninth honorary doctor in the university’s history. The first was Lyndon Baines Johnson, who received the designation in 1962, when he was Vice President of the United States.
Harrison’s degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, will be awarded during the 10 a.m. Fine Arts and Communication commencement ceremony. Richard Cheatham will offer remarks on behalf of Harrison.
Harrison planned to be a medical doctor, but she also was ainterested in medical technology. After earning one of the first medical technology degrees offered, she became technical director of the blood bank at Hermann Hospital and discovered her talents as an entrepreneur. Harrison went on to form clinical diagnostic companies.
In 2001, Harrison established the PSH Foundation as a grant-making entity supporting arts and cultural affairs, education, health services, human services, public/society benefit and religious organizations. As president of the PSH Foundation, she has placed special emphasis on education, health and youth in Texas.
Harrison’s stepdaughter, Mary Jane Hamilton, was the executive director of the PSH Foundation in Wimberley, until her death in 2003. Harrison established the Mary Jane Hamilton Memorial Presidential Endowment in Texas State’s College of Education in her honor.
Harrison’s gifts to Texas State have included general scholarship support through the Patti Strickel Harrison Scholarship Fund, education scholarship support through the Mary Jane Hamilton Memorial Presidential Endowment, the Harrison New Musical Works Commission supporting the development of new musicals premiered at Texas State and the PSH Foundation Endowment in musical theatre.
Her $8 million gift in support of the Performing Arts Center helped Texas State construct a facility that will include the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre, which will showcase outstanding artistic events for the university and the surrounding community for generations to come. Harrison has also served as chair of the Fine Arts Pillar of the Pride in Action Campaign, providing leadership in campaign planning and strategy development.
Johnson already had been a United States representative and a United States senator when he received his honorary doctorate from Texas State. He remains the only United States president to have graduated from a Texas university, taking his bachelor’s degree in 1930.
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