“Support for Africa University is deeply rooted in my heart,” Dolores G. Owens said.
Dolores G. Owens’ love of reading and travel has taken her to more than twenty-five countries and six continents. She was born and reared in Fort Worth, TX, and her fondest childhood memories are of field trips to the Fort Worth Public Library. When she was eight years of age, her father deployed to Nouasseur Air Force Base in Casablanca, Morocco, and the family accompanied him. During their four-year deployment, Dolores read every book for children and young adults in the base’s library! Her warm memories of Moroccan culture inspired her to travel the globe in her later adult years to experience other cultures.
Dolores’ love of books and reading influenced her choice of vocation. She earned both her Bachelor of Arts degree and her Master’s degree in library science from Texas Woman’s University in 1972 and 1974, respectively. She later earned a second Master’s degree in Humanities from the University of Houston (Clear Lake City) in 1980. Dolores was employed by Lee College (Baytown, TX) as its Public Services Librarian from 1974 until her retirement in 2004.
Although she grew up in Baker Chapel A. M. E. Church in Fort Worth, TX, Dolores joined Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church during her 30-year residency in Houston. It was at Mt. Vernon that she first learned of the new university that was established in Zimbabwe. Her then pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Booker, and her then district superintendent, Rev. W. Earl Bledsoe (now Bishop Bledsoe), encouraged her to support the new pan-African institution. Dolores did so without hesitation. Her parents had instilled in her and her two siblings a deep appreciation for education, and she could envision how a university such as this would instill hope in those who never dreamed that a university education would be possible.
Although Dolores resumed her membership in her home church when she returned to the Fort Worth area after retiring in 2004, her support of Africa University has been steadfast and unwavering for the past twenty-five years. Not only has she contributed annually since 1991, but she has also endowed a scholarship in her mother’s memory---the Julia Nesbitt Owens Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund---and has included Africa University in her estate plans. “Support for Africa University is deeply rooted in my heart,” Dolores said.
On March 20, 2017, Dolores travelled to Africa University for the Silver Jubilee celebrations. Although she has visited the continent seven times, it was her first visit to Zimbabwe. She said that she wanted to see for herself the institution that she has supported and loved these many years. She met the current recipient of her mother’s endowed scholarship.
Dolores is grateful that Africa University is still an important, vibrant, and thriving ministry of the United Methodist Church. Her dream is that the university will one day, through its graduates, be in the forefront of peace-making on the continent of Africa.
Elaine Jenkins, director of planned giving, Africa University Development Office
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.