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The Honorable Wilhelmina Delco

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Information about The Honorable Wilhelmina Delco

Profile image of The Honorable Wilhelmina Delco

Interview Date

May 4, 2006

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Representative

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Royal Blue, Periwinkle
Favorite Food:
Salad, Soup
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere with Family
Favorite Quote:
Don’t Do Today What You Can Put Off To Tomorrow 'Cause Tomorrow You Might Not Have To Do It.

Birthplace

Born:
7/16/1929
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Interview Date

May 4, 2006

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Representative

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Royal Blue, Periwinkle
Favorite Food:
Salad, Soup
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere with Family
Favorite Quote:
Don’t Do Today What You Can Put Off To Tomorrow 'Cause Tomorrow You Might Not Have To Do It.

Birthplace

Born:
7/16/1929
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how The Honorable Wilhelmina Delco is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

On July 16, 1929, Wilhelmina R. Delco was born to Juanita and William P. Fitzgerald in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago where she served as president of the student body and was a member of the National Honor Society. Delco received her B.A. degree in sociology from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1950.

In 1952, Delco married, had four children and relocated to Texas. As a concerned parent, Delco became an active leader in the Parent Teacher Association of her children’s school. Delco ran and was elected to the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees in 1968, three days after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This landmark victory made Delco the first African American elected to public office in Austin, Texas. Following her first term on the school board, Delco sought to become a force in statewide policy-making and ran a successful campaign for the Texas House of Representatives, making her the first African American elected official elected at-large in Travis County.

Delco served ten terms in the Texas Legislature and served on more than twenty different committees. Delco was a founding member of the Austin Community College Board. In 1979, Delco was appointed chair of the House Higher Education Committee where she served until 1991 when she was appointed speaker pro tempore. This made her the first woman and the second African American to hold the second highest position in the Texas House of Representatives.

Since her retirement from the Texas Legislature in 1995, Delco remains an active force in education. Having been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from ten colleges and universities, Delco is the chair of the Board of Trustees at Houston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas, and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin with the Community College Leadership Program. She and her husband, Dr. Exalton A. Delco, Jr., live in Austin, Texas. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

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