Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
Cecilia Abbott’s story reminds us all that the American Dream is alive and well in Texas. The granddaughter of immigrants from Mexico, Cecilia was raised in San Antonio by parents who were both educators, and who instilled in Cecilia, her sister and two brothers a love of learning and helping others. Cecilia took their lessons to heart, and studied at the University of Texas at Austin before subsequently earning three degrees from the University of St. Thomas in Houston: a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Theology.
Cecilia then devoted her life to serving others. She has been a teacher, vice-principal, and principal at several Catholic schools across Texas. Most recently she served as the principal of the Cathedral School of Saint Mary in Austin from 1996 to 2001. Cecilia then went on to another noble calling working in senior health care services, where she served as the managing director of community relations from 2004 to 2013 for a health care company specializing in senior adult health care facilities and services.
But Cecilia hasn’t only devoted her professional life to helping others; she’s done the same thing in her personal life. She currently serves on the board of several educational organizations – the University of St. Thomas Board of Directors, the Huston-Tillotson University Board of Directors, the Saint Gabriel’s Catholic School Board of Trustees, and the Cathedral School of Saint Mary Advisory Board.Cecilia is also active in numerous philanthropic groups - she is a member of the Women’s Symphony League of Austin, the Dell Children’s Women’s Trust, and is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
Cecilia is a former member of the State Board for Educator Certification, where she served from 2001 to 2008, and also served on advisory boards for the Alzheimer’s Association Capital of Texas Chapter, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Texas Regional Office, the Holy Trinity Seminary, the Catholic Diocese of Austin Schools, Ballet Austin, and the Principals’ Center at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Cecilia believes strongly in giving back to our communities, and recently announced the launch of her Texanthropy Initiative, which she will use to promote volunteerism and service to others as her primary focus as First Lady of Texas. She has also partnered with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on a new initiative – Network of Nurture – to raise awareness about the ways Texans can support the children and families in the state’s child welfare system.
Cecilia is a classical music devotee, having begun playing the piano at the age of six. Her piano training came in handy when she moved into the Castilian Dorm at UT, where she serenaded her future husband from behind the keyboard with music, the likes of which he had never heard. She is also a prolific animal lover, and has nurtured numerous dogs into their late teens. She has raised a variety of pets, including a Nubian goat named Petunia and the current Abbott family dogs, Oreo and Pancake.
But most importantly, Cecilia is a proud mother to her daughter, Audrey, and a devoted wife to her husband of 35 years, the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. With her husband’s election as Governor, Cecilia made history by becoming the first Hispanic First Lady of Texas. The Abbott Family lives in Austin with their two dogs, Oreo and Pancake.