Major SFA donor Peggy Wedgeworth Wright passed away Nov. 26.
Peggy lived her entire life in Nacogdoches County. Starting in the fifth grade, she attended classes at the Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College’s advanced educational program named the Demonstration School. In 1940, she moved into the regular collegiate program at SFA, majoring in music and English.
During her first year of college, she accepted a blind date with Tom Wright. Two years later, the couple married. During the 29 months they were separated by Tom’s military service in Europe, Peggy completed her college degree. After the war, Tom rejoined his family’s business, Texas Farm Products Company of Nacogdoches. The couple was married for 70 years until Tom’s death in 2012.
In the late 1960s, as her alma mater moved from college to university status, Peggy played an important role in the transition and expansion of the Ex-Student Association into the modern Alumni Association. On the eve of becoming the association’s president, Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe, in recognition of her work, appointed Peggy to the newly created SFA Board of Regents. She served two official terms as a regent, from 1973 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1993. She became the first woman to hold the position of chairman of the board, an elected office she held twice, from 1980 to 1982 and from 1988 to 1990.
To advance and coordinate SFA endowments, Peggy helped establish and led as treasurer of the SFASU Foundation. Throughout her association with the university, she worked closely with six presidents, countless administrative and planning commissions, and periodic celebratory groups to mark the university’s anniversaries.
In addition to service, the Wrights generously gave to SFA. They endowed a lecture series and later consolidated their gifts into the Wedgeworth-Wright Endowment for the Arts. To acknowledge her varied contributions, the SFA Friends of the Arts celebrated Peggy’s life by bestowing the title of East Texas Cultural Leader of the Year in 1997. During that same year, she was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters — the highest honor the institution bestows and the only woman to have received this distinction. The regents followed in 1999 by naming the music building in honor of Tom and Peggy Wright.
Peggy’s other accolades include director, Citizens 1st Bank of Nacogdoches; regent for the Nacogdoches chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; All American Donor, SFA Athletic Fund; Distinguished Member Award, President’s Club, and Honorary Life Member, SFA Alumni Association; Honorary Member, SFA Women’s Club; Board of Directors, SFA Center for Economic Education of the State of Texas; and Governor’s Board, Texas Arts Alliance.