Statement from the office of State Senator Kirk Watson

February 4, 2009
Contact: (512) 463.0117

Senator Kirk Watson Sponsors Resolution to Honor Barbara Smith Conrad

BACKGROUND: Senator Kirk Watson and Representative Bryan Hughes are proud to sponsor a Resolution in honor of University of Texas alumna Barbara Smith Conrad for her passionate dedication to music and civil rights. Conrad will perform in the Capitol Rotunda at noon.

Born and raised in the community of Center Point in Camp County, Barbara helped pave the way for an open and diverse University community. Barbara entered the University in 1956 as part of its first racially integrated undergraduate class. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 1959. Her accomplishments and fortitude as a student remain an important chapter in the University’s history. After graduation, Barbara went on to become a mezzo-soprano of international renown. The Texas Exes named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1985, the University has honored her with the founding of the Barbara Smith Conrad Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Fine Arts, and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History is documenting her life in the film “When I Rise: The Story of Barbara Smith Conrad.”

Senator Kirk Watson has represented the greater Travis County area since 2007. He served as Mayor of Austin from 1997 to 2001. Representative Bryan Hughes has represented Camp, Harrison, Upshur and Wood Counties in the Texas House of Representatives since 2003.

Barbara Smith Conrad at the Texas Capitol is co-sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin Office of the President, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the Butler School of Music, and the Texas Exes.