Long, Teresa Altagracia Lozano [Terry] (1928–2021)

By: Teresa Palomo Acosta

Type: Biography

Published: October 12, 2021

Updated: October 13, 2021

Teresa “Terry” Altagracia Lozano Long, philanthropist and arts patron, was born on July 20, 1928, in Premont, Texas, to Amalia (Salazar) Lozano and Hector Dávila Lozano. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm. During her childhood, she studied piano and was also introduced to the visual arts through a government program that distributed cards featuring works of art and artist information. As an adolescent, she also witnessed first-hand the lack of good medical care in her town, and consequently her family had to travel to San Antonio for proper treatment. This early introduction to the arts and the memory of poor local medical care guided her educational and philanthropic interests. Importantly, she developed her lifelong principles at home. She recalled in an interview that Premont’s residents often consulted her father for advice and assistance, and both her parents instilled in her a high regard for service to others. She attended Premont High School and, at the age of sixteen, was the valedictorian of her graduating class in 1945.

As a University of Texas at Austin student, Teresa recognized the role of her ethnicity and her opportunity to implement her parents’ examples. She remembered, “One day I was in my swimming class and I realized that I was the only Mexican American girl.” She added, “This is where I can help, give back. I’ll have the opportunity to encourage young people.” She joined the Alba Club, an outlet for the university’s Mexican American students to socialize and to discuss social issues such as segregation. Education professor George I. Sánchez, who was also a noted Mexican American civil rights leader, was the club’s sponsor. He instilled in the members a desire to improve their community. Sánchez also inspired her to pursue graduate education.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology in 1948 and 1951, respectively, from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1965 she earned a doctor of education degree at the same university and achieved the distinction as the first Mexican American woman to be awarded a doctorate in health and physical education from the school.

After receiving her master’s degree, she joined the Alice, Texas, junior high school’s faculty in the first year of Anglo and Mexican American-integrated classes. For seven years, she taught physical education. In Alice, Teresa Lozano met fellow teacher Joe Long. They married on February 1, 1958. The couple made their home in Austin, where Joe Long earned his law degree at the University of Texas. In the decades that followed, Lozano Long (as she was known and in giving homage to her Mexican American heritage) continued to make good on her lifelong commitment to help the people of her state.

After first serving as a volunteer at St. Austin Catholic Church and other local institutions in Austin, Lozano Long became one of the state’s most generous philanthropists. Her husband Joe became a successful attorney and was involved in the financial sector, having organized two banks in Austin. The financial security achieved through his career ensured a great fortune for the couple, and Teresa Lozano Long committed herself to promoting the arts, backing educational programs to support Mexican American students, and endowing Latin American studies and medical education programs. With her husband, she contributed, during her life, more than $150 million to support these projects.

Two of her major efforts resulted in the establishment of the Long Foundation (originally known as the Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Foundation for the Arts) in 1999 to promote the arts and education in Austin and the creation of the Lozano Long $10 Million Promise to Hispanic Texas. A $10 million contribution to her alma mater in 2000 eventually led to the renaming of the world-renowned Institute of Latin American Studies as the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. Other initiatives ranged from a multi-million-dollar grant that resulted in the Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin to a $25 million gift to medical training at the University of Texas at San Antonio that created faculty positions, student scholarships, and permanent funds to support research in diabetes and other pervasive diseases in South Texas. By 2017 Lozano Long and her husband had donated more than $61 million to UT Health San Antonio. The institution honored their extraordinary generosity with the naming of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine as well as the naming of its main campus.

Friends and colleagues noted that Lozano Long’s work to uplift fellow Texans emanated from her compassion, joy of life, and commitment to supporting the dreams of future generations through the funding of (as of mid-2021) more than 300 scholarship recipients. Celeste Guzmán Mendoza, longtime colleague and friend at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, considered her “a magnificent mentor and model” and noted her sound fundraising advice. “She would focus on the positive and progress always,” said Guzmán Mendoza. Others echoed similar views. “Her personal connection to the students was a major joy to her and Joe,” said Nora Comstock, founder of Las Comadres para Las Americas. Former University of Texas at Austin president Larry Faulkner considered her “a remarkable citizen.” Friend Myra Leo Atkins, who served as chair of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute advisory committee, noted, “Education and philanthropy ruled her heart.”  

Lozano Long served on a number of boards, including the Texas Committee for the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Council on the Arts. She was also a member of the UT Development Board and the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. Numerous honors recognized the endeavors Lozano Long championed. With her husband, she received the Texas Medal of Arts Award in 2005. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Other honors included the Bob Bullock State History Museum’s “Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century” award and the Inaugural Madeleine Rast Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2018, with Joe Long, she shared the rarely-bestowed Santa Rita Award for philanthropy and public service from the University of Texas System Board of Regents. In a White House ceremony, she received the National Humanities Medal in 2019.

With her husband at her side, Teresa Altagracia Lozano Long died in Austin on March 21, 2021. A rosary was recited in her memory on March 23, 2021, and her body was laid to rest at the Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas, on March 24, 2021. Following her death, her family encouraged the public to support programs important to her, including AVANCE-Austin, the Texas Interscholastic League Foundation, and Austin Soundwaves, all of which promote opportunities for Texas youths.

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Austin American-Statesman, March 23, 2021. Lindsay Fitzpatrick, “Teresa Lozano Long” based on Interview by Brenda Sendejo, December 7, 2004, Austin, Texas, Voces Oral History Center, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin (voces.lib.utexas.edu/collections/stories/Teresa-lozano-long), accessed April 8, 2021.

Susanna Sharpe, “Philanthropist and Educator Teresa Lozano Long Has Died,” March 22, 2021, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin (https://www.liberalarts.utexas.edu/llilas/news/philanthropist-and-educator-teresa-lozano-long-has-died), accessed April 7, 2021. Texas Women’s Hall of Fame: Teresa Lozano Long, Ed.D., Texas Woman’s University (https://twu.edu/twhf/honorees/teresa-lozano-long-edd/), accessed October 7, 2021.

  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Education
  • Educators
  • Physical Education, Home Economics, and Health
  • Health and Medicine
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Women
Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Texas in the 21st Century
  • Central Texas
  • Austin
  • South Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Teresa Palomo Acosta, “Long, Teresa Altagracia Lozano [Terry],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/long-teresa-altagracia-lozano-terry.

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October 12, 2021
October 13, 2021

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