LU Holm Memorial Scholarship honors educational icon
Family and friends of Belle Mead Holm have established a Lamar University scholarship that pays tribute to the pioneering educator, administrator and advocate for women’s athletics. The Dr. Belle Mead Holm Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to dance or kinesiology students at the university.
“Dr. Holm was an inspiration to everyone who knew her – friend, student, colleague. Her vision was extraordinary, and that guided all of us to pursue our personal goals as well as those of her programs in dance, kinesiology and athletics,” said Pat Park, a former coach of golf, tennis, basketball and softball under Holm’s leadership at Lamar. “The recipients of this scholarship will be challenged to attain their highest educational goals.”
After Holm’s death in January 2010, Park and Regina Myers, a former student of Holm, headed efforts to raise funds to create an endowment in the Lamar University Foundation.
Holm’s leadership skills led her to become Lamar University’s women’s athletic director and department head for health, physical education, recreation and dance for 19 years. When she arrived at Lamar in 1964, Holm found a young, yet budding women’s athletic program that she cultivated and grew into teams that could compete on a national level. She started the highly successful women’s tennis program and guided the team to a state championship in 1965.
A strong advocate of women’s athletics, Holm held positions in state and national organizations, wrote articles and presented lectures. In 1971, she served as board chairman of the Texas Foundation of Intercollegiate Athletics, the forerunner to the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
Holm was chairperson of Dance in Higher Education for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; co-founded the Maureen Connally Brinker Foundation for Junior Tennis Foundation; and worked with Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the development of Special Olympics.
She was instrumental in the formation of the Southland Women’s Conference, serving as president of its executive committee. The conference began competition in the fall of 1983 and merged with the Southland Conference a year later.
Holm earned numerous awards and recognitions during her tenure at Lamar, including induction into the Southland Conference Hall of Honor, 1999; Cardinal Hall of Honor, 1996; Southeast Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in Education, 1985; and Kitty Magee Lectureship Honor Award as an outstanding Texas Woman’s University alumna in physical education, 1989.
She was a patron of the arts, a student and scholar of Texas history, collector of artifacts, student of archaeology, a lover of nature and an avid fisherperson. Her expertise in Texas history, archaeology and geography became so well known that she became a lecturer at elder hostels throughout Texas after her retirement in 1987.
As an artist, Holm hand-carved masks decorated with artifacts that depict ancient man; the masks have been shown in galleries and have received national accolades.
Holm was born Aug. 29, 1925, in Fruita, Colo., to Mae Fellows Mead and Perry Avery Mead of Odessa. A graduate of Odessa High School, she attended Lord Belmont Finishing School and earned her bachelor of science at Peabody University. Holm earned her master of science from Vanderbilt University and was the first person to receive a doctorate in dance and related arts from Texas Woman’s University.
Holm began her professional career as a teacher at Odessa High School and later began building an intercollegiate sports and activities program at Odessa College. Her success was evident with a national title in men’s tennis and nationally recognized women’s golf and tennis teams. In addition, Holm formed the Odessa College Senoritas de las Roses Drill Team.
For more information about establishing an endowed scholarship, contact the Lamar University Foundation at (409) 880-2117.