Priscilla Pond Flawn, a longtime supporter of The University of Texas at Austin and wife of the university’s two-time former president, Peter Flawn, died April 12, 2016.
“We share our heartfelt condolences for Dr. Flawn and his family,” said Gregory L. Fenves, president of the university. “UT has lost a great friend, as have Carmel and I.”
Mrs. Flawn, born March 20, 1926, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a B.A. in English and a minor in music (organ). She and Dr. Flawn had two children: Tyrrell Flawn, who resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband, John P. Howe III, M.D.; and the late Laura B. Flawn, M.D.
Mrs. Flawn had a lifelong interest in the education of young children. For 14 years, she was teacher and head teacher at Good Shepherd School in Austin. She was a founding member of the Austin Association for the Education of Young Children and served on the Austin Child Care Council, the editorial board of the syndicated Child Care Column carried by the Austin American-Statesman and the Parents as Teachers Committee of the Mental Health Association of Texas.
Upon Dr. Flawn’s first retirement from UT Austin in 1985, friends of Mrs. Flawn set up a professorship in child development in her honor in the Department of Human Ecology. In 2002, when the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Psychology Building was dedicated on the UT Austin campus, the Child and Family Laboratory School in that building was named in her honor.
For more than 50 years, she loved and supported UT Austin. In 1985, with matching funds from the Board of Regents, two additional Priscilla Pond Flawn professorships were established — one in organ or piano performance in the School of Music and one in early childhood education in the College of Education. As part of the Bass Performing Arts Center 2001 Gala, two scholarships in the College of Fine Arts were created in her honor — one in theatre and dance and one in music.
A member of The University Ladies Club for more than 55 years, Mrs. Flawn was president of this organization in the mid-1970s. She served on the advisory council of the Harry Ransom Humanities Center from 1992 to 1995 and was active until recently on the Departmental Visiting Committee of Human Ecology and on the Restoration of the Hogg Auditorium Committee. She was an honorary member of the advisory council for the Texas Memorial Museum and, from 1999 to 2003, served on the executive committee of the Chancellor’s Council.
Since arriving in Austin in 1949, Mrs. Flawn was very involved in the Austin community, serving on boards and in leadership positions with many civic organizations including the Austin Community Foundation Board of Governors, the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens, the Austin Children’s Museum and the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, which honored her with the Charles Alan Wright Award. In 2005, she was honored by The Austin Project with its Lifetime Achievement Award for her advocacy to improve education and the quality of life for young children.
Many knew Mrs. Flawn as the first lady of The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to being the first lady of UT Austin, she was the founding first lady of The University of Texas at San Antonio. She joined Dr. Flawn in building a new university from the ground up. There were only 25 employees when they arrived in San Antonio and 5 years later, when they returned to Austin, there were 7,000 students .
A celebration of Mrs. Flawn’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16, 2016, at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road.
In lieu of flowers, the Flawn family has asked that gifts in memory of Mrs. Flawn be made to support the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory at UT Austin. Gifts can be made online at: http://tinyurl.com/prispflawn or made payable to UT Austin and mailed to 120 Inner Campus Drive G2500, Austin, TX 78712. Questions can be directed to Marie Cloutier at 512-475-9229.