The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Professor’s legacy lives on

For the third year, the Betty Maynard Award and Scholarship will be awarded to a student showing excellence in the field of Women’s Studies.

The award was established in honor and memory of Betty Maynard, longtime SMU sociology professor.

Maynard’s work and activism left a lasting impact on the SMU community. She was sociology chair, associate dean of Dedman College and president of the Faculty Senate in 1985-86.

Maynard became well known on campus for her efforts to raise women’s consciousness in an era when female leadership was undervalued.

“She was a well-known campus activist, passionate about exposing students to ideas of gender and human equality,” said Carolyn Sargent, head of the Department of Anthropology. “She was a mentor and role model to many students, and encouraged women students to define themselves as individuals and to fulfill their dreams,” she said.

Maynard stressed that women should think deliberately about their life choices and recognize their potential as leaders and individuals. She was known as a professor who was a constant mentor and encourager of female students to define themselves as individuals and fulfill their dreams.

In 1974, her belief in gender equality inspired her to become one of the original founders of Women’s Studies at SMU.

A longtime friend of Maynard, Dr. Rick Halperin, served with her on an unofficial committee named the “un-committee.” The committee discussed issues pertaining to ethics and social justice in relation to the SMU campus.

Halperin relayed the joy of coming to SMU in the eighties and becoming a part of such an empowering committee that Maynard was an integral part of.

“When you heard her speak about a student, you knew she truly cared. She really embodied the virtue of caring, and had the best interest of her students always at heart,” Halperin stated.

In honor of Maynard’s contribution to the SMU community, her campus activism and her drive to expose students to the ideas of human equality, her brother, William Maynard, established the endowment at the time of his sister’s death. Mr. Maynard has continued to supplement the funds to allow for a student prize of $2000.

The 2006 Betty Maynard Award winner Maria Renna said, “I was honored that my Women’s Studies professors recognized my hard work in the area. I also felt honored to be connected with such an influential woman’s heritage.”

Students interested in applying for the award must meet three requirements. Students must be a declared women’s studies minor, must be a senior in Fall 2007 and have maintained a 3.0 minimum GPA.

Mr. Maynard is dedicated both to the success of SMU students and to maintaining his sister’s legacy through the giving of this award.

“It is impressive that her brother was so awed by her commitment to equality, her positive influence, and her position as a role model for SMU women that he established this endowment for her,” said Professor Carolyn Sargent. “She showed such a passion for her cause for women’s individuality 35 years ago when it was not the trendy thing to do.”

As women leaders continue to grow on the SMU campus, Maynard’s legacy lives on.

The SMU student body has had two women presidents in the past three years, and the Faculty Senate President is currently a woman.

Halperin expressed his happiness about having the award dedicated in Betty’s memory.

“We haven’t seen anything like Betty’s spirit since she left. When she was here, women were not represented on this campus, and in the past 22 years women have made a huge stride,” he said. “She would be thrilled with the progress. I’m sure not satisfied, but happy.”

For more information on the award and requirements, contact the Women’s Studies Department at (214) 768-3846.

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