STEPHENVILLE — Dr. Teresa “Terry” Lozano Long told her husband, Joe, shortly after they married in 1958 that if they ever made enough money, they should help the people of Texas. So they have helped, numerous times, and they did it again with a $2 million gift to support underrepresented students at Tarleton State University.
Today the university named its Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs in their honor.
“This wonderful couple have spent their lives supporting educational access,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “It is fitting that their legacy will forever be associated with our commitment to a culture of equity and opportunity for all.
“We are excited for the opportunities this gift will provide to our underrepresented students through transformational educational attainment.”
In addition to scholarships, the Longs’ most recent gift will support study abroad and research opportunities for students who otherwise might not have the chance to earn a university degree.
Recounting his lean beginnings and his two years at what was then John Tarleton Agricultural College, Joe Long emphasized determination and perseverance in the students attending this afternoon’s celebration: “Never give up. Never give up. You will make it if you keep trying.”
He reminded them that diversity and inclusion punctuated the life of his beloved Terry — the first Hispanic to earn a doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin — and that she, too, was responsible for their generosity to Tarleton. She passed away in March at 92.
Over the years, the Longs have given liberally to Tarleton, starting with $1 million to establish the Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Endowed Scholarship supporting students in the College of Education, College of Liberal and Fine Arts, and College of Science and Technology.
One of the recipients, Krisol Villa Flores, came to the United States eight years ago from Mexico, not knowing English but having a determination to succeed. She graduated last week and starts this fall as a bilingual teacher in the Waco Independent School District.
Krisol: “I am extremely grateful to the Longs for their generosity. Because of them and the educational opportunities at Tarleton, my family and I have a very bright future.”
Joe and Terry met while they were both teaching high school in Alice, Texas. From the moment they married, they made a commitment to champion education, medicine and the performing and fine arts. They knew the opportunities that education afforded them, and they wanted to make sure that others would have access to success.
Their list of philanthropic support is lengthy, topping $150 million to Texas nonprofits and universities.
Joe earned his associate degree at Tarleton before transferring to UT for his bachelor’s and juris doctorate. The couple received honorary doctorates of humane letters during Tarleton’s spring 2012 commencement ceremonies.