Celebrating 100 years with MSU Texas: Diann Taylor

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 7:04 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - News Channel 6 is celebrating a century with Midwestern State University, and we’re continuing our tribute to the university’s past, present and future with a woman who has made a lasting impact in the MSU and Wichita Falls community.

MSU Texas honored Diann Taylor at the Centennial Alumni Awards Ceremony with the Arthur F. Beyer Distinguished Alumnus award. It’s the highest award an alumni at the university can receive.

“First, I was nominated by the West College, and then I was selected by my peers,” Taylor said. “So, I’m just humbled and appreciative that they thought enough of me to select me for such an outstanding award for the university.”

While she has an impressive resume, she didn’t always believe she would have an expansive career.

“In high school, during the era of the 60s, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for us,” Taylor said. “I was just thinking that I would be someone’s secretary, but then when my coach came, and she was just such a dynamic coach and we still have a relationship today, I said I just wanted to be just like her. Her name is Carol Dakan and she still lives in Colorado City.”

“Once she came into my life, that gave me a new goal to shoot for and I always put my best foot forward, even though there were challenges,” Taylor said. “I always tell my students you can either go over the challenge or around the challenge, so that’s what I always did when situations were placed before me.”

Taylor is originally from Colorado City, Texas, but she considers Wichita Falls her home. She came to Midwestern State University as a transfer student in 1972, where she met the love of her life.

“I met my husband here, we have one son, we own a business in the community, so I think that now that I’ve been here almost 50 years, I would say yes this is now home for me, Wichita Falls and the university,” Taylor said. “Go Mustangs!”

With the help of her faith and mentors at MSU, the 1974 graduate was able to overcome any obstacles that came her way.

“My favorite scripture is Philippines 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I’m just under the philosophy that if you trust and believe in God, that he’s going to direct your path,” Taylor said. “And I think each and every career path that I’ve had, that God has had a hand in it and I’m so thankful that he has had a hand in it.”

After her coaching career, she decided to become a PE teacher at several elementary schools in Wichita Falls. She then made the jump into administration and served as principal at Lamar Elementary and Kirby Elementary.

As part of her retirement, the Kirby Library was renamed in her honor. Some of those students she left an impact on were even at the awards ceremony.

“I just believe in the philosophy that all children can learn if you give them the right opportunity, so you have to stay focused on what’s important for students in learning and make sure the teachers are doing what they need to do also,” Taylor said. “When they announced during my retirement that they were renaming the library at Kirby, that was just a very exciting moment for me. Again, I’m humble and appreciative that they thought enough to do that.”

“I would say Midwestern State University gave me the springboard, gave me the steppingstones, in order to be able to go into that career with that success with being a National Magnet School of America,” Taylor said.

And her time at MSU is not over quite yet. Taylor currently serves as the president of the Alumni Association.

“I’m just thankful, you know,” Taylor said. “I think that each and every honor, each and every board that I serve on I think is the path that God has guided me to go through. I just believe in that scripture and that if someone calls, there’s a need and if I can serve, I’m willing to serve.”

“Each and every day, do your best and give your best and the best will come to you,” Taylor said.

All MSU Texas centennial celebration stories can be found by clicking here.

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