Mary_2013(b)Mary Brinegar, the president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society in East Dallas, has been named the recipient of the 12th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award, which will be presented by Bank of Texas and Texas Woman’s University and the Texas Woman’s University Foundation.

The announcement was made way back in September at a private reception in the home of Mr. and Mrs. David Hunt, but Texas Woman’s University Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart won’t present the award until the Virginia Chandler Dykes luncheon event on Feb. 20.

Established in 2002, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award is given annually to Dallas leaders with a life-long commitment to improving the quality of life in the community and to furthering the importance of education. Brinegar was chosen because her “love of education, business and the arts has improved the lives of others in this community and beyond,” says TWU Chancellor and President Ann Stuart.

“Her vision continues to enhance educational experiences at the world-class Dallas Arboretum,” Stuart continues, “where the new seven-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure has just begun to engage children in earth and life science exploration. We are grateful for her many contributions to the Dallas area and the legacy she has created.”

Mary Brinegar has been president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc. since 1996. Previously she served as the Dallas Opera’s associate general director, worked with the Science Place, and spent nine years raising funds for KERA/Channel 13. After graduating from Southern Methodist University with a degree in elementary education, Brinegar taught school in DISD. Under her leadership, the Dallas Arboretum has raised more than more than $90 million dollars for capital improvements, which currently has 36,000 members and an annual attendance of 947,000 and has received national promotion, including listings as one of the 14 most beautiful gardens in the world.

“I am so very honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award and humbled to be in the company of the past winners of this prestigious recognition,” Mary Brinegar says.

“I have the greatest respect for Virginia Dykes and Dr. Ann Stuart and have long appreciated the dynamic growth and impact of Texas Woman’s University. Therefore I am so grateful to have been chosen and to be able to attach my name to these wonderful civic leaders and outstanding university.”

The luncheon will be held Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, 2101 Ross Ave. Tickets are available for $175 for silver patron; $250 for gold patron. For more information, call 940-898-3851, visit, or email

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.