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Patti Strickel Harrison to receive honorary doctorate from Texas State

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
May 2, 2013

Patti Strickel Harrison

Patti Strickel Harrison

Texas State University will present Patti Strickel Harrison with an honorary doctoral degree Saturday, May 11, making her the 9th individual to be so honored by the university.

Her 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 attended Texas State in 1947 and 1948. Although she had planned to be a medical doctor, she was also interested in the new field of medical technology. After she earned one of the first medical technology degrees offered, she eventually 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 health, well-being, independence, public welfare, and emotional stability in Texas communities to include, but not limited to, 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, positively impacting cultural growth and opportunities for many individuals and organizations. 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 is among Texas State’s most generous benefactors, having given more than $11 million to Texas State. Her gifts have positively affected many areas of the university, including 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 provided critical support that helped Texas State construct the beautiful facility that will include the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre and 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 valuable leadership in campaign planning and strategy development. Her leadership was invaluable in laying the groundwork for a successful campaign.

Texas State awarded its first honorary doctorate in 1962, when the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, was conferred upon Lyndon Baines Johnson. At the time, Johnson was vice president of the United States, and had already served as a United States representative and a United States senator. He would go on to serve as president of the United States, the only president to have graduated from a Texas university. Johnson graduated from Texas State in 1930.