Texas Baptists have long recognized the importance of education. They established universities to provide quality education taught from a Christian perspective.
To enrich and/or develop leadership for Texas ethnic/minority churches, scholarships are provided for worthy African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian students. The scholarships are the realization of a dream of Woman's Missionary Union of Texas. WMU has continued to support the scholarships through promotion of the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions, named for a long-time president of WMU of Texas.
Mary Hill Davis, a native of Greenville, Georgia, moved with her parents to Dallas, Texas as a small child. Her parents joined the First Baptist Church of Dallas, founded two years previously. At the age of twenty, she married Dr. F. S. Davis, a physician. They had a son, Raymond S. Davis, a physician and surgeon.
A tall, stately woman, Mary Hill Davis served WMU of Texas for thirty-three years. Her tenure as recording secretary began in 1898. She served in this capacity until 1906, when she became president, a position she held until 1931.
The causes to which Mary Hill Davis gave her life reflect her deep concerns. Among the tangibles were four educational buildings: two of them on foreign fields, one at Baylor University (Woman's Memorial Dormitory) and one at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. (Formerly called the Woman's Training School Building, it is now Barnard Hall.)
In 1933, Mary Hill Davis received an amethyst necklace from her husband. With his consent, she returned it, and joyfully gave the money to missions.*
Every September members of the Texas Baptist churches observe a week of prayer and take the offering to support a variety of missions endeavors in Texas. One allocation of that offering provides funds for these scholarships.
Recipients of the scholarships help perpetuate the benefits by giving testimony to their value, by encouraging churches to observe the week of prayer and offering, and by participating as a growing Christian in the life of their local church.
*(Adapted from the Mary Hill Davis brochure by Mrs. H. C. Hunt.)