Please join The Heritage Society for another in the Jerry & Marvy Finger Lecture Series, Thursday, June 19. Featuring Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist by Debra L. Winegarten.
Learn about the lifetime achievements of Oveta Culp Hobby.
Born in Killeen, Texas, she graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1925 and soon thereafter served as parliamentarian of the Texas House of Representatives. In 1931 she married William P. Hobby, the former Governor of Texas and the publisher of the Houston Post, and took a position as research editor at the Post. In ensuing years she became the newspaper's executive vice president, president, ultimately becoming its publisher.
During World War II she headed the War Department's Women's Interest Section for a short time and then became the Director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Women's Army Corps), which was created to fill gaps left by a shortage of men. The members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to be in Army uniform. Hobby achieved the rank of colonel and received the Distinguished Service Medal for efforts during the war. She was the first woman in the Army to receive this award.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her head of the Federal Security Agency, a non-cabinet post, and she was invited to sit in on cabinet meetings. In 1953, she became the first secretary, and first female secretary, of the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, which later became the Department of Health and Human Services. This was her second time organizing a new government agency. Among other decisions and actions at HEW, she made the decision to approve Jonas Salk's polio vaccine.
She went on to serve on many boards and advisory positions with various civic and business institutions around the country. Seventeen colleges and universities, including Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, awarded her honorary doctoral degrees.
For more information about the lecture series, please contact Elizabeth Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-655-1912, ext. 101 .