Skip to Content

Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award

Nominations closed October 11, 2019 at 5 p.m. and eligible nominees will receive additional information and a link to the application via e-mail.

Sallie Beretta
Sallie Ward Beretta


The Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award is named for Sallie Beretta, who served on the University’s Board of Regents from 1933 to 1951. Since 1963, the university has given the award to an outstanding senior woman based on leadership, scholarship, character, potential, and loyalty.

Sallie Beretta Bio (1873-1964)
Sallie Ward Beretta, clubwoman and civic leader, was born in 1873 in Austin, Texas, to John R. and Louisa (Hartsook) Ward, who were originally from Virginia. After attending Beechcroft College in Tennessee (1888–90) and the University of Texas (1891–93), she married banker John King Beretta of San Antonio, on December 9, 1896. The couple had one child.

Mrs. Beretta's official involvement in public affairs began in 1912, when she was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to a four-year term as state chairman of the High Cost of Living Campaign. In World War I she volunteered for the Red Cross and worked at army hospitals. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s she held numerous San Antonio civic positions, including the presidencies of the City Federation of Women's Clubs and the San Antonio Council of Girl Scouts. Her involvement in these two groups led to her collecting bluebonnet seeds with Girl Scouts and then launching a campaign through the federated clubs to distribute them for planting on Texas roadsides and areas outside the state. This endeavor earned her the nickname "Bluebonnet Lady." Also as president of the Federation of Women's Clubs she pushed for improving the quality of motion pictures for children while making the prices more affordable. Later, when she served as state chairman of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs Motion Pictures Committee, she organized a Woman's Day that featured benefit shows at theaters across the state. The visibility and success of her work through the federated clubs led to her being asked to run for mayor and senator, offers that she declined. She did, however, accept a position as president of the board of directors of the Witte Museum Association in San Antonio; she was the first woman to hold this position. She also served on the San Antonio planning board and charter-revision committee in the 1920s. She was vice president of the Broadway National Bank for a number of years and served on the board of directors of the First National Bank.

Mrs. Beretta was named to the board of regents of state teachers' colleges in 1933 and served for eighteen years, during which she was usually the only woman on the board. She was selected to chair the committee overseeing Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos for twelve years. In 1947 her fellow members voted to name a women's dormitory at Texas State in her honor. She presented the school with a gift of 125 acres on the Blanco River near Wimberley in 1951.

Sallie Beretta's other civic work included membership in the Colonial Dames of Americaqv, the San Antonio History Club, the Housewives League of San Antonio, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the National Board of the Girl Scouts, the Women's Democratic Committee, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In 1950 she contributed money to the DRT to assist in establishing a library at the Alamo. She lived in San Antonio throughout her adult life and died there on November 27, 1964.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article. 

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, "BERETTA, SALLIE WARD." Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed October 02, 2014. Uploaded on June, 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Nomination and Selection Process


Faculty and staff are invited to submit nominations for the Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award each year. Eligible students include Texas State undergraduate women who graduated or will graduate during the academic year (August through May) they are being nominated. This award, presented annually at the May commencement ceremonies, is based on leadership, scholarship, character, potential, and loyalty to Texas State University.


Eligible nominees will be sent an email with the application to complete if they are interested in accepting the nomination. The application must be submitted with a cover letter, resume, essay, and two recommendation letters. A committee of faculty and staff review all applications to select the award finalists.


The selected award finalists participate in a thirty minute interview with a faculty and staff committee. 

Important Dates:

Nomination Deadline: Friday, October 11, 2019
Application Deadline: Monday, October, 28, 2019
Interview Dates: Monday, November 18, 2019 and Wednesday, November 20, 2019

View past recipients of the Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award.

Jerrilyn Roberson - 2018 Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award Recipient

Jerrilyn Robertson - award recipient photo
Ms. Jerrilyn Roberson

Jerrilyn Roberson graduated in May 2018 with Honors, with a Bachelor's Degree in Recreation Administration with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. She is a native of Dallas, Texas, where she began her journey and found her love for serving others. During her time at Texas State, she remained on the Dean's List every semester, and was deeply involved in various campus and community organizations. Throughout the years, she served on a number of executive boards and committees, volunteered within the San Marcos community, and coordinated various community service projects and University events. She also served as president of Black Student Alliance for two years; an organization that works to create safe places for Black students to embrace their culture and discuss issues that effects minorities across the country. During her sophomore year, she was also a PACE MAC Peer Mentor. While being a full-time student and working two jobs, Jerrilyn was able to commit and participate in all of these things and more. During her free time, she loves to dance, sing, watch musicals/Broadway shows, read and play classical piano.

Jerrilyn has a true passion for helping others. Last summer, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia, where she facilitated therapeutic recreation services to children of the Victorian College for the Deaf, and geriatric clients with Alzheimer's and dementia. During the spring semester of her senior year, Jerrilyn received an internship with Austin State Hospital where she coordinated and facilitated therapeutic recreation programs for patients of all ages and abilities. She also coordinated a composition book drive, with a total of 200+ donations, and hosted a "Be You: Manicures and Lemonade" specialty women's event.

After graduation, Jerrilyn will pursue a career in recreation therapy and later attend graduate school to study Health Administration and/or Occupational Therapy. Though her time at Texas State University has come to an end, she has left a lasting mark on those she has encountered along the way. She attributes her success to her faith in God, her family, friends and faculty/staff that have taken the time to love, nurture and support her along her undergraduate journey. She thanks her mentors Temple Carter, April Barnes, Dr. Skyller Walkes, Ms. Jonnie Wilson, Allie Thomas and others for investing in her and always believing in her.

Texas State has allowed Jerrilyn the chance to decipher the inner workings of herself, and discover the potential that is within her. She now has a better understanding of the world, and how to navigate obstacles that are set before her. Jerrilyn is excited for the future and will always carry the memories of Texas State University in her heart.

Erica Osta - 2017 Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award Recipient

Erica Osta in front of poster presentation
Ms. Erica Osta

Erica Osta graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and minors in Psychology and Biochemistry. Erica immigrated to the United States from Venezuela in pursuit of a higher education. During her four years at Texas State, her goal has been to prepare for a career in medicine. Along the way, she discovered a passion and an ability to instill values of kindness and hard work among her peers, both in academia and her local community for valuing and improving human life. After four years of working at the Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC), she has been committed and consistently recognized for encouraging and advancing the academic success of students by cultivating their professional and personal development.

Erica participated in medical mission trips to resource-limited areas along the U.S.-Mexico border to provide free healthcare to the local community, served as a volunteer, caretaker and helper to refugee shelters for immigrant families. Once Erica realized the need for improved healthcare in disadvantaged communities, she joined a research laboratory at Texas State that aimed to develop and optimize simple, novel and cost-effective alternatives to detect disease at patients' bedsides.

As an undergraduate researcher, she collaborated in two research projects with Duke University and Texas State University, both of which have resulted in publications on peer-reviewed journals. This allowed her to attend nationally-recognized conferences and symposia by distinguished institutions and organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Biomedical Engineering Society, and Duke University. Erica's plans for the future is to become a physician scientist willing to care for patients at the interface of research and medicine. She is one of only five applicants to be admitted into the rigorous UT Health Science Center in San Antonio's Doctorate of Medicine and Philosophy Program.

Kassandra Banda - 2016 Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award Recipient

graduation photo of Kassandra Banda
Ms. Kassandra Banda

Kassandra Banda graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science with a concentration in Pre-Physical Therapy from Texas State’s College of Education. Since arriving from Brownsville, Texas, she has made the Dean’s List multiple times and was selected as a member for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Additionally, in her second year at Texas State, she was selected as an intern for a Biopsychosocial Medical Research Internship that studied treatment outcomes for patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain at Restore Fx in Austin, Texas.

Throughout the years, Kassandra has enjoyed her journey as an active developing leader and mentor while keeping ties with her passion for dance and culture. She has served as Secretary, Vice-President and President of the Pre-Physical Therapy Organization. She also became a founder for Texas State’s 1st Pre-Occupational Therapy Organization. Since her freshman year, Kassandra has been a member of Latinas Unidas, a group designed to empower Latina women.  In 2013, she was crowned Miss Cinco de Mayo of San Marcos, Texas by the League of United Latin American Citizens Council #654.  Additionally, she has danced with Texas State’s Ballet Folklorico Ocotochtli and served as Social Chair and Historian of Ritmo Latino Dance Company.

Kassandra has a true affinity for helping others. For several years, she has participated in Bobcat Build, Marathon Kids, Relay for Life and had the pleasure of volunteering with the St. Bernard Project to help repair the home of a local family affected by San Marcos’ floods from Fall 2015. While being a full-time student, she volunteered and worked at Texas State’s Physical Therapy Clinic where she engaged patients, caregivers, physical therapy students and clinic faculty. During holidays and vacations, she spent a lot of her time volunteering at other physical therapy clinics in the Rio Grande Valley.

Kassandra Banda is appreciative for the numerous opportunities and experiences that Texas State has provided. She is thankful to God for the love, guidance and support of her parents Juan and Raquel Banda, her little brother Gabriel and extended family. She is also grateful for all her dedicated professors and her mentors Dr. Stella Silva and Dr. Steven Spivey for always having their doors open for her. Ms. Banda is a proud Bobcat and will remain a part of our university community, as she is pursuing her graduate education in Texas State’s prestigious Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Megan Felicia Veltri - 2015 Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award Recipient

2015 Sallie Beretta Recipient
Ms. Megan Felicia Veltri

Megan Felicia Veltri is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and a minor in Biology at Texas State University. While at Texas State, Megan was able to hold academic positions on campus, complete volunteer work and work part time while maintaining her GPA.

Megan was a member, Internal Vice President, and President of the Forensic Anthropology Society (FAS) at Texas State.  While President of the FAS, Megan planned and executed the Second Annual Forensic Anthropology Conference at Texas State, where anthropologists from universities around the nation spoke to the public and Texas State students regarding the high death rates of migrants and steps to identify these individuals. This humanitarian crisis is one that Megan cares about deeply, her family being from the border towns of Texas. This symposium is the second of many to be produced by the FAS at Texas State. Megan and the FAS also assisted at Bobcat Build and at Human rights events, including the Missing in Harris County Day in Houston in April of 2015.

Megan also volunteered at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) where she assists faculty and operates the facility’s new ProJet 660 Pro 3D Printer and its software. While with FACTS, Megan volunteered with Operation ID and began hand-washing decomposed clothing from unidentified migrants who died while crossing national borders. The clothing is kept and cleaned in hopes of aiding identification. The first shirt that Megan washed was used to identify an individual.

Megan held high esteem for her leadership positions as well as her academics. While at Texas State, Megan was able to maintain a high GPA and was selected for the Dean’s list for numerous semesters of academic integrity.

After graduation, Megan plans on furthering her education in Anthropology at a masters program with a doctoral program to follow. She intends on continuing her volunteer work and pursuing undergraduate research through FACTS.

Texas State has allowed Megan to make numerous connections with students, professors, and the public, something that she is extremely grateful to have been part of.

Samantha Blondell - 2014 Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award Recipient

Samantha Blondell, Sallie Beretta Recipient
Ms. Samantha Blondell

Samantha Elaine Rachael Blondell is receiving her Bachelors of Science in Respiratory Care with a minor in Sociology. While at Texas State, Ms. Blondell was the first female manager for the Men's Basketball team, Resident Advisor, PACE MAC Peer Mentor, Bobcat Bond Mentor, a member of the Student Health Advisory Council and had an active role in the Leadership Institute. In her senior year, she served as the student director for the 29th Annual Martin Luther King Commemoration Celebration, Director of Membership for Student Foundation and a Family Cluster Facilitator for LeaderShape-Texas State. Most recently, Ms. Blondell became a member of the Sigma Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Samantha exemplified campus leadership through her involvement as well as her academics. She is a member of Lambda Beta, the National Honor Society for the Profession of Respiratory Care and had numerous semesters on the Dean's List.

Ms. Blondell truly dedicated herself to the development of first year students during her time at Texas State. She hopes to continue on with this passion by becoming a mentor to high school students as they prepare for college. Professionally, she plans to work as a Respiratory Therapist in Houston as well as attend graduate school. Thanks to her mentor, Dr. Margarita M. Arellano, and all of her supervisors throughout her time at Texas State, Samantha feels prepared to take on life after college. Samantha loves Texas State University and looks forward to being an active alumnus. "Leadership is not positional; remain faithful, always be the best version of yourself, work hard and stay focused. It won't ever be easy, it won't always be fun, but it will definitely be worth it."