New interactive hall commemorates Texas women

If you visit the Sue S. Bancroft Leadership Hall, you will find yourself face to face with a massive replica of the classical Greek statue Winged Victory of Samothrace, honoring the goddess Nike. This replica was given by the class of 1929 to commemorate Armistice Day and the defeat of autocracy. With the generous support of Nancy P. Paup ’73, ’74 and Thaddeus E. Paup, this second replica was purchased from Paris and restored.

“The statue speaks to the spirit of the university,” says Curator Elizabeth Qualia. “This museum is about courageous women who assumed leadership roles and took charge of their life stories.”

I believe in TWU’s purpose: Educate a woman, empower the world.

Sue S. Bancroft

The interactive hall opened in September and is the state’s only history museum dedicated to Texas women. Located in the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership in Old Main on the Denton campus, the hall is named in honor of Sue S. Bancroft, who donated $2 million to the institute. She is the founding chair of the institute’s advisory council and is a former TWU System Board of Regents Chairwoman.

“I believe in TWU’s purpose: Educate a woman, empower the world. And it’s in this spirit of paying it forward that I have invested in supporting women who aspire to lead in the boardroom, in the arts, in community organizations and in political and policy arenas,” Bancroft says.


The hall celebrates the lives of 12 Texas women through an interactive digital gallery. Using touchscreens, visitors can learn about First Ladies Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush; Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; State Representative Martha Wong; and Chicana activist Martha P. Cotera.

The most popular exhibit, according to Qualia, is the Rising Star interactive podium. Visitors can stand behind the podium, with an image of the Texas State Capitol in the background, and read excerpts from speeches by crusading women. Or, they can write one of their own. Screens around the exhibit display the speaker’s image while she presents, as if she were delivering a press conference. Guests can preserve their experience through a digital photo booth. 


The location in the university’s most historic and iconic building is deliberate, according to Chancellor and President Carine M. Feyten. “It’s our intention that the institute and its exhibit hall will have a similar historic impact 100 years from now,” she says. “Our university holds a significant place in Texas history.”

“The idea behind the leadership hall was to have a space where we could inspire women to become leaders and help them find their passion. There’s no better place for that than Texas Woman’s University,” Qualia says. 

Tour the hall
Open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission. For more information, visit