Ursuline Academy’s tradition has seniors from the all-female school choosing an appropriate long white dress for graduation, where they curtsy while holding a dozen red roses. Then they go off and conquer the world, always mindful of service.
One of the school’s famous graduates, Melinda French Gates, Class of 1982, is a longtime supporter of the school. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided the lead gift for the academy’s state-of-the-art science, math and technology center.
Each graduate is infused with the school’s motto, “Serviam.” Photos of graduating classes are displayed on the wall.
One graduate, Joyce Meyer, Ursuline Class of 1970, is the current keeper of the archives. She graduated with a degree in Latin at the University of Texas while also studying Spanish. In addition, she is a paralegal for criminal courts in Tarrant County and a freelance proofreader. She emphasizes that her family is just one example of an Ursuline legacy among many.
Her mother, Jeanne Hickey, class of 1947, and her aunt, Class of 1940, and great-aunt, Class of 1922, are Ursuline pioneers. Meyer’s great-grandfather was a traveling salesman who came to Dallas from French Canada via Weatherford. He boarded his daughters at Ursuline from 1904 to 1906, but they did not graduate. He eventually built a two-story house on 40 acres at the corner of Lovers Lane and Preston Road. His next-door neighbor was where the Ebby Halliday office now stands.
Meyer started archiving at Ursuline as a volunteer. “We were dragging stuff out of people’s attics,” she says. The school is in the process of planning to digitize historical records.
“My family is very big on preserving the stories and history of Dallas,” Meyer says.
She points out a statue that came from France in 1874 and pictures of Ursuline Sisters in the convent. She has a box for each class. Meyer also organizes donated white graduation dresses going back to 1912. You can see them on mannequins displayed at the school during the month of May for graduation.
Says Meyer about Alice Hickey: “I firmly believe she was named after Alice Roosevelt, who was the Princess Diana of her time.”
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