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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS: At 100 Years Young, Alumna Celebrates Life of Adventure, Service

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University of Texas at Dallas issued the following announcement on June 11

At 100 years old, Jane Yates BA’78 is a study in how to make the most out of life. She’s not only The University of Texas at Dallas’ oldest living alumna, but she also has spent decades serving others and engaging in the world around her.

This month, Yates marked her milestone birthday with a celebration at her assisted living home, followed by a family gathering in the conference room that bears her family name at the UT Dallas Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center.

The occasion was marked with celebratory balloons, flowers, food and cake, along with a room full of people impacted by Yates’ life. And like Comets do, the guest of honor shone bright among friends and family who gathered to pay tribute to a live well lived.

“She’s always been interested in trying new things, doing new things, going new places and meeting new people,” said Susan Collins, one of Yates’ four children. “She’s always been motivated to learn and do and go and see.”

Born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, Yates grew up near the Atlantic Ocean. After graduating from high school, she attended a women’s college then worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for her father.

In early 1943, Yates met her late husband, Jack Yates, who was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps, on a blind date. The two had a whirlwind romance, marrying a few months later. They bought a house on Wrightsville Beach, and he shipped out to Germany shortly thereafter.

The couple welcomed their first daughter, Janet, in 1944, although the new dad would not meet her until she was almost 1. Daughter Susan was born in 1947, followed by sons Steven in 1954 and Jeff in 1957.

“She’s always been interested in trying new things, doing new things, going new places and meeting new people. She’s always been motivated to learn and do and go and see.”

Susan Collins, one of Jane Yates’ four children

As a military wife, Yates got used to picking up and moving to the next destination, spending time in Alaska, Texas, Indiana and Maryland before settling in Texas when her husband retired from the military. She was a dedicated mother, chauffeuring her daughters to dance classes and joining the PTA.

“She was always available to talk to, and she would listen,” said Steven Yates. “I don’t remember her giving me a lot of advice; she just listened a lot.”

In 1971, at the age of 50, Yates decided to go back to college to complete her degree once most of her children had left home.

After earning her associate’s degree from Richland Community College, Yates enrolled at UT Dallas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and graduated summa cum laude.

“Once she got to UTD, she got a lot of encouragement there from her professors,” Collins said.

Her pursuit of education, whether in a formal or informal setting, has been a continuous theme throughout her life.

“She has always liked to read and was very interested in world affairs,” Collins said.

Yates’ contributions to the Dallas community are extensive. She’s been an active member of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church for years, and she volunteered with The Family Place and Trinity River Mission, a nonprofit that recently joined forces with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas to help West Dallas students.

She and her husband were frequent world travelers, trekking across Europe, China, Thailand, Russia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and Canada, and, in their 60s, traveling to Kenya on a mission trip to help build a hospital.

“My husband and I used to laugh when we were thinking about going somewhere because he’d say, ‘Well, call your mother; I’m sure she’s been there,’” Collins said.

Original source can be found here.

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