Benefactors, Community Leaders, and Public Servants to be Inducted into HSU’s Hall of Leaders


Hardin-Simmons University will induct five people into the Hall of Leaders, April 11, 2014, during a 12 p.m. luncheon in the Johnson Building Multipurpose Room on the HSU campus.

Established in 2001, the Hardin-Simmons University Hall of Leaders provides for permanent recognition of graduates, former students, former employees, and other university leaders who have distinguished records of achievement and have proven themselves as men and women of good character.

The Hall of Leaders is located in the Elwin L. Skiles Social Science Building on the first-floor circular corridor. Doyle and Inez Kelley of Houston generously provided funding for the Hall of Leaders.

The 2014 recipients are:

  • Johnnie Lou Avery Boyd, ex. 1965, business woman, public servant
  • John G. Hardin, university benefactor, financier, oilman, farmer
  • Mary C. Hardin, university benefactor
  • Dr. George Newman, HSU Board of Trustees, university professor, public servant, cattleman/rancher
  • Samuel Philip Wilson, B.A. 1990, public servant, business leader

Johnnie Lou Avery Boyd

Recognized for her leadership skills, Texas governors from Mark White to Rick Perry have appointed or reappointed Johnnie Lou Avery Boyd to numerous state boards and commissions. She has also received three presidential/congressional appointments.

After 21 years in education, she resigned as a college administrator to open a consulting company in personnel and organizational development, contracting nationwide with businesses, education facilities, and government agencies.

As a public speaker and workshop leader, she easily formed a rapport with her audiences. Her success as an entrepreneur garnered her the Small Business Person of the Year award and she was later chosen the SBA Women’s Advocate of the Year for her work in assisting other business women. After the death of her first husband she returned to college work, retiring with 30 years tenure.

John G. Hardin and Mary C. Hardin

John and Mary Hardin were prominent Texas philanthropists throughout the early decades of the 20th century. During the Great Depression, their gifts not only helped young men and women receive an education but also assured the continuation of several important private colleges and institutions during very difficult economic times.

A successful financier, oil man and wheat farmer, John Hardin provided loans to businesses and farmers across Texas and later served as president of the First National Bank of Burkburnett.

As Hardin and his wife Mary distributed their wealth, they established the Hardin Trust to endow the institutions they supported. They helped to build churches, a playground, and a local power plant in Burkburnett, Texas, and the Buckner Orphans Home in Dallas.

Among the schools that benefited from Hardin funds were Hardin-Simmons University, Mary Hardin-Baylor University, Howard Payne University, Baylor University and Baylor Medical School, and Abilene Christian University.

Dr. George A. Newman

Rancher, environmental scientist, ecologist, and professor of biology emeritus at Hardin-Simmons University, Dr. George Newman was named Outstanding Educator in America in 1972. During his 25 years at HSU, the faculty honored him with a Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2002, the Cullen Award for Teaching, and a second Cullen Award for Research.

Newman was made a Fellow of the Texas Academy of Sciences for his interest in research, and he and his wife Carolyn recently established an endowment for students at HSU to further research of West Texas grasslands.

Newman has served three terms on the HSU Board of Trustees. In addition, he served 14 years as a member of the Taylor County Expo Center Board, two of them as president, and six years as a member of Wylie ISD’s School Board, five of them as president. Newman also served as Taylor County Judge until 2010.

He and his family jointly own and manage the Rolling N Ranches in southern Taylor and Runnels counties. He also maintains rights to portions of the Andrews County ranch originally owned by his great-grandfather, John Cowden, a name familiar on campus as the Cowden-Paxton Building, housing the Family Psychology Center.

Samuel Philip Wilson

Phil Wilson has spent the majority of his career in service to the state of Texas and was recently appointed as general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Before that, Wilson served four years as executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, managing 12,000 employees and a $10 billion budget.

Serving as Texas Secretary of State in 2007 and 2008, Wilson worked as the chief elections officer and the chief international protocol officer for Texas in addition to overseeing the state’s job creation initiatives on behalf of Governor Rick Perry. Wilson also served as the governor’s deputy chief of staff from 2003-2007, and director of communications for Perry in 2002 and 2003.

Wilson worked as a regional director and then later as the state director for U.S. Senator Phil Gramm and was director of communications for the Texas Railroad Commission 1997-1999. In the private sector, he served as senior vice president for public affairs of Luminant, the state’s largest electric generation company.

He earned a B.A. in political science and history from HSU and earned an MBA from Southern Methodist University.



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