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Dolores Phalen Lescure ('38) (1916-2006)

Community leader and
former president of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation

Photo: Dolores Phalen Lescure

In the year 1916 when Dolores Lescure was born, Woodrow Wilson was finishing his first term as president of the United States. More than 50 years later, she would become indelibly linked to Wilson's name and memory. Mrs. Lescure already had a career as a respected journalist and educator when her family moved to Staunton, Va., Wilson's birthplace. She soon became an icon of leadership in the community, serving on the city council, and as vice mayor and then mayor of the city. From 1973 to 1993, she was president of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation and later served as honorary chair of the foundation. Mrs. Lescure was instrumental in taking the foundation from a local landmark to national prominence as the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. In 1988, JMU recognized her with the Ronald E. Carrier Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for her outstanding leadership and service to her community. In 2004, the Woodrow Wilson Museum building was renamed the Dolores Lescure Center to recognize her efforts in honoring the 28th president of the United States and serving as a faithful steward of his legacy.

Don W. Wilson, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, said: "Dolores Lescure's life consisted of service to her community. Her legacy is so strong that we cannot help but remain forever inspired by her commitment to service. She taught us to always give back to the community, and this is what we all strive to do."