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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.

Abigail Lacey - 2020 Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award Recipient

Abigail Lacey - award recipient photo
Ms. Abigail Lacey

Abigail Lacey graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.  She was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in Paris, Texas, where from a young age, Abigail desired a career where she could serve others.  At Texas State, she found her passion for nursing and attended St. David’s School of Nursing where she maintained a 4.0 GPA.  Throughout her years at Texas State and St. David’s, she served as a peer mentor, volunteer within the community, coordinator of various fundraising projects, and was a member of the Student Nursing Organization. She served as Vice-President of her nursing class for two years; also working as the event's chairman where she helped to organize the 2019 and 2020 nurse pinning ceremonies.  Her academic success earned her membership in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and allowed her to assist fellow students as an academic tutor for four semesters. 

In her free time, Abby loves to be with her family and friends.  She enjoys working out, gardening with her parents, crafting, and spending time with her two dogs.  Abigail is devoted to providing empathetic care to others. In January 2020, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, where she helped provide health care services to communities in need.  As a senior, she was chosen to attend the 2020 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Student Policy Summit.  The Policy Summit is an opportunity for students to practice nursing advocacy through collaboration with legislators.  The summit trip to Washington D.C., however, was canceled due to the pandemic.  During the spring semester of her senior year, Abigail completed a preceptorship at Dell Seton Medical Center where she confirmed her love for intensive care nursing. 

After graduation, Abby will start her nursing career in critical care at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas.  She and only 12 other nursing graduates were chosen for this prestigious critical care/trauma program.  During her career, she hopes to continue critical care nursing and eventually become a nursing preceptor.  Abigail is thankful for the positive impact that her nursing instructors had on her.  In the future, she hopes to help shape the future of healthcare by obtaining her master’s degree and educating nursing students.

Abigail is grateful for those that fostered her success and helped her build her future.  She is thankful for her faith in God, the immense support of her parents Mark and Kim Lacey, her big brother Mitchell, her grandparents Jim and Sammie Heavner, her extended family, and all her wonderful friends at Texas State.  Abby also attributes her success to all of her nursing professors.  She would like to thank Ms. Shawn Boyd, Dr. Rosaleen Bloom, Ms. Alisha Johnson, and Dr. Regina Jillapalli for always providing her the mentorship she needed to confidently go forward in her nursing career.

Texas State has given Abigail the opportunity to gain immeasurable experience and increase her dedication to nursing.  She has been touched by the amount of support the University has given her.  Without Texas State University, Abby would not be the woman she is today.  

Nahara Franklin - 2019 Award Recipient

Nahara Franlkin

Nahara Franklin graduated in May 2019. She developed her call to service at a young age in her home town of Dallas Texas. Texas State allowed her to refine her passion by providing a multitude of service opportunities for their students. One of her favorite service projects was the San Marcos River Clean-Up. She also served along her peers in organizations like Black Women United, Student Foundation, Underrepresented Student Advisory Council, Phi Alpha Delta, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and many planning committees.  Nahara was also crowned the 2018 Texas State Homecoming Queen. She received her Bachelor's Degree in psychology and minored in criminal justice. She now serves under Americorps and works with Teach For America. She teaches on the West side of Chicago and hopes to eventually become an attorney where she will serve and aid in the support of her community.

Jerrilyn Roberson - 2018 Award Recipient

Jerrilyn Robertson - award recipient photo

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. 

Erica Osta - 2017 Award Recipient

Erica Osta in front of poster presentation

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.

Kassandra Banda - 2016 Award Recipient

graduation photo of 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. 

Megan Felicia Veltri - 2015 Award Recipient

2015 Sallie Beretta Recipient

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.

Samantha Blondell - 2014 Award Recipient

Samantha Blondell, Sallie Beretta Recipient

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.