Scholarship for Future Educators Established to Honor the Legacy of Dr. Mary Jane Vance

The family of the late Dr. Mary Jane Vance has established a scholarship to honor her lifelong commitment to education. This scholarship will benefit A&M-Commerce students who are pursuing teaching careers.

“The family has always known of her passion for education and her love of her alma mater,” said Vance's daughter, Mary V. “Missy” Spears. “Being able to make her dream of continuing education for others come true is an honor for our family and a gift of a brighter future for so many.”

The scholarship is open to full-time students in good standing with a declared major in education or who are pursuing a field-based teacher certification.

Dr. Kimberly McLeod, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said the college feels deeply honored to receive this gift, which represents Vance's commitment to education.

“Dr. Mary Vance’s passion for education and desire for well-prepared teachers to lead Texas schools is admirable, but this scholarship truly speaks to her commitment to and love for Texas public school children,” McLeod said. “The College of Education and Human Services is both honored and humbled that she gave our students this gift. We honor Dr. Mary Vance, and we are grateful for her legacy. We will use this gift to strengthen Texas public schools with teachers who are prepared to lead,” she said.

Vance graduated from A&M-Commerce (then East Texas State) with her doctorate in curriculum and instruction and secondary education in 1976; her master's degree in curriculum and instruction and secondary education in 1959; and her bachelor's degree in home economics in 1955.

Her career in education spanned 45 years during which she served the North Texas community as an educator and administrator. She taught fifth and sixth grades in both Greenville and Wolfe City Independent School Districts, and served as a school administrator in both Greenville and Rains ISDs.

“Our mother deeply believed in the importance of a good education for everyone,” Spears reflected. “She saw firsthand how it could reduce inequalities between races and genders and help anyone achieve their dreams, as she was able to achieve hers.”

In addition to teaching for Greenville ISD, Vance served as Flaming Flashes Drill Team director, cheerleader sponsor, twirler advisor and founder of the pep squad.

In her retirement, she wrote and published several books, one of which chronicles her family’s journey from Spain to the Philippines. Another explores the history of the Greenville High School Flaming Flashes. She is also remembered as a talented musician and steward to her community.

Dr. Juan Araujo, assistant dean of the College of Education and Human Services at A&M-Commerce, described the expected impact of the scholarship.

“The Dr. Mary Jane Vance Scholarship will provide future teachers some financial flexibility so they can focus on learning and applying the content they learn in our courses more deeply,” Araujo said. “It is an honor for the College of Education and Human Services to be able to contribute to the long-standing legacy of Dr. Vance,” he said.

If you are interested in learning more or contributing to the Dr. Mary Jane Vance Education Scholarship, you can make a gift online or by contacting April Carl, director of development at 903.468.8167 or [email protected].