UTA leader receives Legacy of Women award

Jeanne Gerlach, special assistant to the provost at The University of Texas at Arlington, is one of ten recipients of the 2017 Legacy of Women award presented by SafeHaven, the oldest domestic violence agency in Tarrant County.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of SafeHaven’s Legacy of Women awards which honor Tarrant County women who are standing up for equality and justice.

Gerlach has dedicated her life to ensuring equal access to quality education by learners of all ages, from kindergarten through graduate school. At UTA, Gerlach is a visionary who focuses on improving college access and success through creative partnerships and educator preparedness. 

“I believe that a strong public education system is the backbone of any safe and strong community,” said Gerlach. “I’ve dedicated my career to developing talented professionals and creating innovative partnerships to attract the best and the brightest to the teaching profession. To be recognized alongside other women who are making a difference in Tarrant County is a true honor.”

The nine other recipients of this year’s Legacy of Women award are Junior League of Fort Worth volunteer Susanne Avondet, Tarrant County prosecutor Alenna Bangs, House of Shine founder Claudia Beeny, financial planner Kim Dignum, educator Sandra Garza, child therapist Monica Randolph-Graham, Junior League of Arlington volunteer Mary Hibbs, Colleyville Women’s Club volunteer Susan Howery and Arlington Today founder and publisher Judy Rupay.

Award-winning broadcast journalist Tamron Hall spoke at the Legacy of Women award luncheon. Hall, a Texas native, shared the pain she and her family felt after her sister’s death following years of abusive relationships.

Gerlach joined UTA in 1997 and was the founding dean of the College of Education. Under her direction the college experienced significant growth in size and stature. Several programs are currently ranked among the best in the nation. In 2016, Gerlach moved into her current role.

A leading figure in Texas’s public education landscape, Gerlach has received countless awards including the National Council of Teachers of English Outstanding Woman in English Education Award, The University of North Texas and West Virginia University Outstanding Alumni Award, and the Fort Worth Business Press Great Women of Texas Most Influential Woman Award.