Argyle residents Sue and Christopher Bancroft have invested $2 million toward creating programs focused on cultivating women’s leadership opportunities at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.
Sue is a former chair of TWU’s board of regents, and her husband, Christopher, has been in the investment management business privately for more than 35 years and currently manages a family trust.
The $2 million gift follows the Bancrofts’ underwriting of the university’s recently completed strategic plan, which identified four areas of distinction: women’s leadership, health, veterans and experiential learning.
“Sue has been a longtime friend and supporter of Texas Woman’s University and is known across North Texas for her community leadership in education and the arts,” said Carine M. Feyten, chancellor and president. “For many years, she has both mentored and sponsored countless women to lead in business, education, the arts, community development and politics.”
Feyten also said Sue has worked tirelessly to find ways to leverage TWU’s distinctive heritage as the nation’s largest university primarily for women as part of her commitment to advancing women’s leadership.
“We are extraordinarily grateful for the Bancrofts’ ongoing support and encouragement and will do everything we can to exceed their expectations. They, and their families, exude leadership DNA,” added Feyten, noting that Sue’s mother was one of Michigan’s first nurse practitioners and that her sister served as the head intensive care nurse in the cardiac unit at University Hospital in Cleveland and is now a veterinarian in Columbus, Ohio. Christopher served on the board of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, which today is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
Sue Bancroft is a retired North Texas music professor and a former professional musician/bassoonist, who has performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra and Dallas Ballet Orchestra and other performance organizations in Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Montana. She was a first-generation college student who worked her way through school and who experienced early generosity and support from caring faculty who helped advance her musical talents and career.
“I learned early on of the generosity and compassion of teachers who selflessly invest in students’ opportunities and passion to succeed,” said Bancroft. “I owe a lot to those who helped me, and it’s in this spirit of paying it forward that my husband and I are investing in supporting women who desire to lead in the boardroom, in the arts, in community organizations, and in political and policy arenas. I believe in the findings of TWU’s strategic plan: Educate a woman, empower the world.”
Bancroft, who also has served as president of the Argyle Independent School District Board, the Texas Winds Musical Outreach and the Festival Ballet of North Texas, has held various offices during her appointment to the Texas Commission on the Arts. She’s been a member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra board, the Greater Denton Arts Guild, the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County Advisory Board, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Advisory Board and the Advisory Board for Denton Community Health Clinic, and is a loyal supporter of Our Daily Bread in Denton.
She received a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University, a master’s degree in music performance from the University of Michigan, where she also was a teaching fellow, and an honorary doctorate from Central Michigan University.
“We have a number of women’s leadership initiatives at TWU that the Bancrofts’ generous gift can help us pull together for greater impact,” Feyten said. “We look forward to working with them to explore ways we can advance our Center for Women in Business, our Leadership Institute, the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, our national work with the WASPs and a number of other historic linkages with TWU women who held leadership roles with NASA, hospitals and the like.”
To recognize their commitment and leadership, TWU hosted a special reception in their honor on June 1 in Old Parkland’s Pecan Room in Dallas.