1933 HSU Grad Reaps Three Prestigious Awards at 99

1933 HSU Grad Reaps Three Prestigious Awards at 99

By Janlyn Thaxton

 

 

 

Hardin-Simmons University alumna Dr. Virginia Connally received the first Global Impact Award presented by Mission to Unreached Peoples, an evangelical mission-sending agency located in Plano, Texas. The award was conferred during M.U.P.’s inaugural Vision and Award banquet at Plano’s Marriott Hotel Thursday, January 19, 2012.The award is bestowed on a Christ-follower who has enhanced the spread of the Gospel, especially among people groups who have little or no access to it. Dr. Connally is known for her consistent lifetime support of mission efforts, missionaries and their children, and international students. In recent years she has embraced and supported cutting-edge technology and strategies. Her financial investments have greatly impacted global mission efforts.{{more}}According to Dr. Kent Parks, president and CEO of M.U.P., “Dr. Connally’s global impact for missions has included many decades of prayer, encouragement, vision, and support. She and her late husband, Ed Connally, donated the full salary of missionaries for years beginning the in the 1950s. She has consistently championed missions.”M.U.P. inaugurated the Global Impact Award in celebration of its strategy to see thousands of church-planting movements among all 6,000+ remaining least-evangelized people groups worldwide.. The 30-year-old organization includes missionaries serving from Europe to Southeast Asia. Well known as a pioneering physician and woman of faith, Dr. Connally was the first female physician in Abilene, opening her practice there in 1940. She was the first female president of the Taylor-Jones County Medical Society in 1948, chairman of staff at St. Ann Hospital in 1958, and chief of staff of Hendrick Memorial Hospital in 1960.Dr. Virginia Boyd Connally still keeps close ties with HSU, even though she graduated some 78 years ago with a Bachelor of Arts degree. 1933 photo of Connally as a student at HSU.While on campus, she was a member of the Cowgirls, a high-stepping, rope-throwing, women’s group who marched behind the Cowboy Band, which was dominated by only men in those days. Even though the Cowgirls disbanded in the 1970s, Connally, at the age of 99, still makes it a point to attend all of the meetings of the group now known as the Ex-Cowgirls Association. Dr. Connally has made generous investments in Christian education, charitable work, and mission efforts. Among her many contributions is the Connally Missions Center at Hardin-Simmons University, to keep university students aware of a world needing the gospel.“Even today, she continues her efforts,” declares Dr. Parks, who with his wife, Erika, is a 20-year veteran of work among Unreached Peoples in Asia. “Virginia is a constant encourager and supporter.” Dr. Connally recently gave the first major donation to M.U.P.’s program for training missionaries to facilitate rapidly multiplying church planting movements. This initiative has already resulted in new churches in eight unreached people groups in eight different countries in the first year alone.“Dr. Connally’s continued unflagging devotion to the Lord’s work is a model for many.” Dr. Parks adds, “Mission to Unreached Peoples is pleased to award her with its first ever Global Impact Award in recognition of a significant life resulting in eternal blessings for hundreds of thousands of people.”Also this month, Connally received the Gold-Headed Cane Award from the Taylor-Jones-Haskell-Callahan Medical Society at the Abilene Civic Center.The Gold-Headed Cane Award is the capstone award for Big Country area physicians. It is rarely presented, and only then to a physician who represents exemplary professional and personal achievements. Later this year the Texas Medical Association will honor Connally with the Distinguished Service Award, an honor only three other women have earned.