Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry and First Lady Anita Perry Honor Texas Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees

Tuesday, October 07, 2008  •  Press Release

DENTON – Gov. Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry today honored the 2008 inductees to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for their accomplishments in the fields of education, health/health research, arts, historic preservation and leadership.

“The honorees have made tremendous strides in their respective fields and are an inspiration for future generations of Texas women,” Gov. Perry said. “We are proud of their contributions and Texas has benefited from their accomplishments.”

“Today I am proud to see five more Texas women added to these ranks,” Mrs. Perry said. “Your lifetime of hard work, unwavering resolve and fearless efforts to positively influence your fields of work represent the state of Texas well.”

The Governor’s Commission for Women created the Hall of Fame induction awards in 1984 to honor Texas women who have made significant contributions in areas such as the arts, athletics, business, education, health and leadership. The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame was permanently established at the Texas Woman’s University campus in Denton in 2003.

The 2008 inductees are as follows:

Louise Hopkins Underwood of Lubbock is being honored for her contribution to the arts. In 2007, Underwood founded the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA), which provides low-cost professional offices to nonprofit organizations; inexpensive space for classes, exhibitions and meetings; a clay studio and a state-of-the-art theatre. She is a founding member of the Texas Alliance for Education and the Arts and Lubbock Cultural Arts Commission. Her involvement has benefited individual artists, as well as LHUCA, the Texas Tech University Museum and College of Visual and Performing Arts, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Lubbock and three Lubbock theatre groups. She has received the Lubbock Arts Alliance Dynamic Force award and the Champion of the Arts award from the Texas Alliance for Education and the Arts.

Elsa Murano of College Station is being honored for her work in higher education. She is the first woman, first Hispanic American and one of the youngest people to serve as president of Texas A&M University, where she also served as vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences and director of the Center for Food Safety within the Institute of Food Science and Engineering. In 2001, Pres. George W. Bush appointed her as Under Secretary for Food Safety for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she oversaw the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. A Cuban immigrant, Murano received a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Florida International University, a master’s degree in anaerobic microbiology and a doctorate in food science and technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Sandra Day O’Connor is being honored for her leadership. O’Connor achieved success as a deputy county attorney, civilian lawyer for the Quartermaster Corps and an assistant state attorney general in Arizona. In 1969, she was appointed to replace an Arizona state senator, and later won reelection for two terms. In 1972, she was the first woman in any state to be elected senate majority leader. O’Connor was later elected to a state judgeship, then appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. She was nominated as an associate justice by Pres. Ronald Reagan, making her the first woman to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. After 25 years on the Supreme Court bench, O’Connor retired in 2006, and has been vocal about the effect of political pressures on the independence of the courts and on Constitutional freedom. She has also worked diligently against Alzheimer’s disease, from which her husband suffers. O’Connor has been inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, received the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center is the namesake of the Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Carolyn Peterson of San Antonio is being honored for her work in historical preservation. She has worked to restore and preserve several Texas historic landmarks, including buildings in Galveston’s Strand Historic District, the Alamo and courthouses in Bexar, Caldwell, Hays and Maverick counties. Peterson also served as lead architect in the 1988 restoration of the Texas State Capitol. She is a board member of the San Antonio Conservation Society and Texas Preservation Trust Fund. She is an American Institute of Architects Fellow, and has received the Fundadores de Misiones medal from the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Imagineers Award from the Mind Science Foundation and Texas Historical Commission Award for Preservation of Historic Architecture. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, Peterson worked at O’Neil Ford, now Ford, Powell and Carson, in San Antonio, where she became a partner in 1979.

Huda Zoghbi of Houston is being honored for her work in health research. She is a professor in the Baylor College of Medicine’s pediatrics, molecular and human genetics, neurology and neuroscience departments and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, specializing in brain disorders. Zoghbi pioneered research of Rett Syndrome and Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type I, shedding light on their causes and possible treatments. She is the first woman from the Baylor College of Medicine to be elected into the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. A Lebanese immigrant, Zoghbi attended the American University of Beirut and received a medical degree from Meharry Medical College.
For more information on this year’s inductees or the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, please visit

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