The UNT Mathematics Department has recently received rightful recognition for their tireless work in biostatistics research led by associate professor Dr. Xuexia Wang. The department is now pleased to officially announce that an incredibly generous $150,000 gift from alumna Dr. Linda Truitt Creagh has inspired them to name the statistics laboratory in her honor. Soon a sign outside the door to the lab (located in room 440 of UNT's General Academic Building), which conducts groundbreaking research in genetic statistics and public health, will read "The Dr. Linda Truitt Creagh Statistics Lab."
Dr. Creagh recalls that most of her life has been connected to the university. Her father, Dr. Price Truitt, was a science professor here, and North Texas State College even had a demonstration school which she attended as a kindergartener in 1945. It just made sense to pursue her education here, she reminisces. "Growing up, I saw how much my father enjoyed teaching and mentoring his students. I saw how rewarding he found his time in the lab," she said. "Our family friends were university faculty."
A long-standing member of the UNT Alumni Association, Dr. Creagh graduated with a bachelor degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics from UNT in 1962. She received her MA in organic chemistry in 1963, and went on to become UNT's first recipient of a doctoral degree in Chemistry in 1967. After earning her degree, she enjoyed a successful career as a research chemist, advancing liquid crystal display (LCD) technology at Texas Instruments and developing printer and ink-jet technology for Xerox, Spectra, and Fuji Film. She retired in 2008.
Dr. Creagh's gift to UNT Mathematics will carry her legacy of innovation. It opens doors to conduct even more advanced research in the statistics laboratory, much of which Dr. Wang and her team hope will contribute to revolutionary public health benefits. Dr. Creagh's generosity has already been cited in two papers to come from the lab, one appearing in Genetic Epidemiology ("A general statistic to test an optimally weighted combination of common and/or rare variants") in September, and the other published in Plos|One ("A gene based approach to test genetic association based on an optimally weighted combination of multiple traits") in August.
Besides serving as a dedicated Advancement Board Member in the College of Science, Dr. Creagh is a UNT Diamond Eagle and member of both the 1890 Society and the Chilton Society. She has funded dozens of scholarships, programs, and research projects, and can often be found on campus lending a hand with events, search committees, and other volunteer efforts at the university. She and her family created the Price and Elaine B. Truitt Endowment Fund, and her daughter also attended UNT for Early Childhood Education, earning her BS in 1986 and her MEd in 1991.
It is clear that Dr. Creagh's commitment to student success and research initiatives at UNT is unmatched; she takes pride in helping the university grow. "I'd like to see UNT continue to thrive in the path it seems to be developing now," she said. "Accepting a diverse range of students, providing financial and emotional assistance to the students who need it, and personal guidance for those attending college for the first time. Giving that kind of support is so important. I think that's a very necessary role for a state supported institution to have, and I'm proud to be a part of that."
The Department of Mathematics is grateful for the opportunity to use the gift to further excel the high-impact research of Dr. Wang and her team. An official ceremony and celebration will take place soon in the Statistics Lab, which will be named after Dr. Linda Creagh in honor and gratitude of her generosity. Dr. Creagh is also being honored this year by the UNT Alumni Association for her Outstanding Alumni Service in the annual Alumni Awards taking place on October 30 at the Apogee Stadium; check out the University's press release for more information about the awards ceremony and recipeints.
The Dean and the leadership team at the College of Science have been actively working to cultivate a spirit of giving since it was established as an independent college in 2017. At the UNT Advancement gift signing with Bruzzy Westheimer in the Spring, he said he was hopeful that the influential gift would inspire other philanthropists to consider funding similar programs that improve student success rates and strengthen the research abilities of departments and institutes within the College. If you are interested in discussing a gift or joining the Advancement Board to help enhance the programs in the college, please reach out to our development team via Meghan Dours or Matt Bethea at the College of Science. Together, we can build a better world.