New scholarship will support fashion students

A new scholarship honoring a former student and lifelong fashionista will support students pursuing a degree within TWU’s Division of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Mary Church created the Oma Church Scholarship Endowment in Fashion Design & Merchandising in honor of her mother. Oma Waller Church was born in 1918 in Collin County, near Celina, where she was raised by her aunt and uncle. Eager to get to the big city, she enrolled in Texas State College for Women in Denton, known today as Texas Woman's University, in the early 1940s.

She majored in early childhood education, but financial hardships forced Oma to unenroll before graduating. She then pursued her interest in real estate and set her sights on working for Louis J. Hexter at his company, Hexter Title in Dallas. She worked at the company for more than 30 years, ultimately managing their largest branch office covering North Dallas as senior vice president.

Oma’s love of clothes began at a young age. Family photos reveal a well-dressed little girl and then a young woman in high heels. Her daughter, Mary, has said that a week did not go by before she had dog-eared copies of Vogue or T-Magazine to draw inspiration from for her unique custom-made pantsuits, which she was still creating at the age of 98.

Mary Church is continuing her mother's legacy by supporting future TWU Division of Fashion Design & Merchandising graduates.