banner photo "women in the environment presents women's history month celebration with Dr. Elizabeth Alexander"

Thursday, March 31, 2022 – 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Luncheon and Speaker

Women in the Environment’s annual Women’s History Month Celebration March 2022 was a great success! We enjoyed lunch, provided by Glory House, at One Arts Plaza. And we were treated to a very interesting talk on historical women who were environmental pioneers by Dr. Elizabeth Alexander.

Guest speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, Award-Winning Author and Historian

Elizabeth Alexander was born in Houston, Texas.  She graduated from Vanderbilt University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1969 and a Master of Teaching degree in 1971.  She and her husband, Dr. James Alexander, a general surgeon, lived in Cleburne, Texas, for thirty-four years.  They have two daughters and five grandchildren.  In Cleburne, she was a member of the first Leadership Cleburne class and served as elementary and junior high school PTA president and chair of the Adopt-a-School program.  She also volunteered as a docent at the Kimbell Museum for nine years.  In 2017, they moved to Fort Worth and currently live at Trinity Terrace downtown.  

Dr. Elizabeth Alexander received her Ph.D. in American History from Texas Christian University in 1998 and began teaching at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth where she held the A.M. Pate Professorship in Early American History and taught courses in Colonial and Revolutionary American History, Early National United States History, and Women’s History.  In her last years at Texas Wesleyan, Dr. Alexander became active in a national movement to change the way history is taught at the high school and college level.  As part of this undertaking, she began teaching with the school of education a class in Methods of Teaching History.  The class entered a university-wide competition to design a classroom that would foster critical thinking.  “ClassroomNext” won the competition with its innovative design for group work involving mobile desks and whiteboards, a sofa and lounge chair area, and SmartBoard. 

After the university constructed the classroom, Dr. Alexander was able to teach all her classes in ClassroomNext until her retirement.  It became a demonstration classroom, not only for Texas Wesleyan but for other area colleges, including TCU, and was profiled in several national teaching websites and journals.  

While at Texas Wesleyan, Dr. Alexander served as Faculty Chair and was selected by the faculty to receive the 2011 Earl Brown Distinguished Faculty Award.  Upon her retirement in 2016, the University Board of Trust awarded her the Wesleyan Spirit Award for her “long and dedicated service to the students and faculty of the university.”  At her retirement ceremony, the university also granted her the title of Professor of History Emerita in recognition of her scholarship and teaching excellence. 

Notorious Woman: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines

Dr. Alexander’s book, Notorious Woman: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines, was selected by its publisher, Louisiana State University Press, as its nominee for the National Book Award and for the Pulitzer Prize in History.  In 2001, Notorious Woman was chosen as the 2001 recipient of the Langum Prize for Historical Literature, a prize given annually to the historical work published by a university press judged most appealing to the “general educated public” as well as to professional historians. The Southern Association for Women Historians chose Notorious Woman as the 2002 recipient of the Willie Lee Rose Prize for the Best Book in Southern History authored by a Woman.  In 2015, she and Dr. Brenda Matthews co-authored The College on the Hill:  Texas Wesleyan University, 125 Years of Tradition in celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary. 

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