Prominent Austin arts and education patron Teresa “Terry” Lozano Long died March 21 at age 92 after a long illness.
Long and her husband, Joe Long, have contributed tens of millions of dollars to the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio. In Austin, they’re perhaps best known as the donors of $20 million to what later was named the Long Center for the Performing Arts, directly south of Lady Bird Lake. The center, which opened in 2008, is a space for an array of performances, and is home to the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin, and the Austin Opera.
On Twitter, Austin Mayor Steve Adler wrote that the Longs “opened doors to worlds that would otherwise have been unavailable to so many. I close my eyes and can feel the warmth that would come with her smile and support. Austin has lost one of its royalty.”
To pay tribute to Mrs. Long, the Long Center planned the night of March 22 to illuminate its iconic ring-shaped architectural feature in white.
“Teresa didn’t just give; she always showed up and gave her time, energy, and support,” Cory Baker, president and CEO of the Long Center, says in a statement. “Always gracious, she has been with us for every Long Center milestone. She will be incredibly missed.”
At UT Austin, the Institute of Latin American Studies was renamed the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies in recognition of an endowment that the Longs contributed in 2000. The $10 million gift finances student scholarships and awards, as well as professorships and visiting professorships. In addition, the Longs have financially supported numerous students and scholars at UT Austin.
In a statement, Virginia Garrard, former director of the Latin American studies institute and a history professor at UT Austin, praises Mrs. Long’s “openhearted generosity.”
“Terry’s graciousness, her unwavering good spirit, her fierce determination, and her kindness are irreplaceable,” Garrard says. “She was a role model as a wife, an intellectual, a patron of the arts, and above all, as an advocate for young people who possessed talent and grit, but who lacked the financial resources to reach their goals: young women, Mexican-Americans, aspiring artists and musicians, underrepresented students in higher education, and many of the future doctors and other health professionals of this state, who have all been the beneficiaries of Terry and Joe Long’s vision and generosity.”
In Alamo City, the Longs’ legacy of giving to UT Health San Antonio exceeds $70 million.
This includes a $25 million gift in 2008 to establish the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Scholarship, Research and Teaching Fund. Nine years later, the Longs chipped in another $25 million for medical students’ scholarships and faculty support. In recognition of their philanthropy, the medical school at UT Health San Antonio is named the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.
“Teresa Lozano Long, together with her beloved husband, Joe R. Long, changed the future for our medical school and our university. She will touch our mission forever, in a profound way, through the dozens of permanent endowments they have created to benefit UT Health forever,” Dr. William Henrich, president of UT Health San Antonio, says in a release.
The Longs received the University of Texas System’s highest honor, the Santa Rita Award, in 2018 as appreciation for their gifts to UT Austin, UTSA and UT Rio Grande Valley.
Mrs. Long, the daughter of a dairy farmer, grew up in Premont, a small town about 75 miles north of the Rio Grande Valley. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, she went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from UT Austin.
She met her husband when both were teachers in Alice, about 50 miles west of Corpus Christi. They eventually relocated to Austin, where she earned a doctoral degree in education and he earned a law degree (both at UT Austin). In 1965, Mrs. Long became the first Latina to receive a doctoral degree in health and physical education at UT’s flagship campus. Mr. Long went on to become an attorney and subsequently entered the private banking industry, where he amassed his fortune. Mr. Long once estimated that he and his wife had given more than $150 million to charitable causes.
Mrs. Long served on a number of state and national boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a distinguished alumna of UT Austin and a member of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2019, she received the National Humanities Medal in a ceremony at the White House.
Aside from donating to the Long Center and UT institutions, the Longs pledged $10 million in 2002 to set up a permanent endowment at their charitable foundation to help Hispanic youth in Texas.
The Longs recently sold their mansion in Austin’s Old Enfield neighborhood, which had been on the market for $8.5 million. Earlier this month, the eight-bedroom, 11-bathroom estate sustained heavy damage in a fire. After selling the property, the Longs moved to a senior living community.
The Longs were married for more than 60 years.
“Joe and Terry’s love story is one that touches all of our hearts,” Sara Martinez Tucker, who then was chairwoman of the UT System Board of Regents, said in 2018. “They decided as a couple that their devotion to one another would include extending educational opportunities to others who could benefit from their successes.”