In the Family
Richard and Jack Stanley, husband and son survivors of former Austin-American Statesman editor Debra Ann Davis Stanley, have donated $60,000 to the Moody College of Communication establish the Debra Ann Davis Stanley Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Journalism in her honor.
While she was not an alumna of the Moody College of Communication, Debra admired the School of Journalism and The University of Texas at Austin. She spent the final 26 years of her career at the Statesman, where her husband Richard also worked.
Growing up in a military family, Debra’s family often struggled to make ends meet. To afford college, she earned high grades and was awarded grants. Debra graduated from the University of Michigan in 1981, because her father retired near campus, where she could live and commute easily.
“My son and I believe it's important to work through our sorrow by honoring his mother in ways that help others,” said Richard Stanley. “A scholarship in her name is a reminder that she also needed financial assistance to finish college. We plan to add to the endowment over the next few years to make it more valuable to its recipients.”
After graduating from college, Debra moved to Texas and worked at small newspapers in Lewisville and Denton before becoming a reporter and editor at the Dallas Times-Herald from 1982 to 1989.
As newspaper consolidation of the paper loomed, Debra made the move to Austin to become assistant city editor at the Statesman, where she met senior reporter and future husband Richard.
After initially turning him down for a date, his persistence paid off and the two married in 1992. The couple enjoyed sailing and working in media and had their first and only child Jack in 2000.
Debra served the Statesman as national and state editor, overseeing wire service stories, international bureaus, statehouse and political coverage and spent her final two years battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma while supervising the investigative team and the Sunday Insight section.
Preference for the scholarship will be given to undergraduate students studying journalism based on need and merit.