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Mary Saunders

Mary Saunders


Executive Director of the Leadership Institute
Texas Woman's University


Major General (Maj. Gen) Mary Saunders is the current executive director of the Leadership Institute at Texas Woman's University (TWU). The program was established in 2006 to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly global community. She is charged with developing and leading TWU's Leadership Institute with three core components including: (1) leadership development, (2) health and wellness and (3) financial security. The students selected for membership are sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a minimum grade point average of 3.25 and prior demonstrated leadership skills.

Maj. Gen. Saunders retired from the Air Force in 2005 after 34 years of service. She served as a General officer in the Air Force from 1996-2005. From 2002-2005 she was the vice director for the Defense Logistics Agency, Ft. Belvoir Virginia with a workforce of over 22,000 military and civilian personnel located both overseas and in 48 states in the United States. The organization contracted for food, fuel, uniforms, medical supplies and 95 percent of spare parts for all military services including airplanes, ships, tanks and missile systems. The contracting result was over $28 billion in sales during 2005. Two years earlier, she also served in the District of Columbia at the Pentagon where she was the second female African American in the Air Force selected to the rank of general, and as the first female general officer selected as the director of transportation for the Air Force. In this capacity she provided guidance for 32,000 active duty and civilian personnel and was responsible for a fleet of 115,000 vehicles valued at $3.8 billion.

Maj. Gen. Saunders is a native Texan, born in Nacogdoches and educated in Houston. She earned her BS in Social Work from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas and her MA in Guidance and Counseling from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Mary attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. She completed the National Security Leadership Course at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Maj. Gen. Saunders is a member of many professional associations including the American Association of University Women, the National Association for Female Executives, the Air Force Association and the Logistics Officer Association. She is a former member of the North Texas Supply Chain Council whose vision it is to advance logistics education, research, technological advancements and workforce training in the North Central Texas region. General Saunders was named a Distinguished Alumni of Texas Woman's University in 1998. She is on the board of trustees for the Dallas Women's Foundation. She is on the Advisory Board for Denton County Friends of the Family, a member of the board of directors of SPAN, Denton County Meals on Wheels program, and she was inducted into the 2012 Texas Women's Hall of Fame. She was selected as a Vision 2020 National Delegate from Texas.

Two leadership awards have been named in Maj. Gen. Saunders' honor and are presented annually. The "Excellence in Leadership Award Scholarship" is presented to a federal civil servant employee, and the "Air Force Logistics Officers Association Chapter Distinguished Service Award" is presented to a military member at the junior, mid, and senior grade level.