The First Lady of Austin College

Posted by Anna.Centala on August 2, 2017

Sarah Moseley
Sarah Moseley, pictured with Robert Johnson in 2013, courtesy of Austin College.

Sarah Bernice Moseley was born on August 9, 1917. She grew up in Anson, Texas and graduated from Texas State College, now known as Texas Woman’s University. A few years after marrying John D. Moseley, they moved to Sherman, Texas where her husband served as president and chancellor of Austin College, and she became known as the “First Lady of Austin College.”

Moseley was involved in the Sherman community in several ways throughout her life. She was the first woman elected as a ruling elder of First Presbyterian Church Sherman, now known as Covenant Presbyterian. Not only was she the first woman elected at that church, but she was one of only a few elected women in the presbytery at the time. She was also heavily involved in Presbyterian Women and through these channels, made great strides for women’s involvement in the church. In 1978, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Austin College, which in 1974 named her an honorary alumna.

After years of involvement with her church in Sherman and with Austin College, she was the first woman elected Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly in 1978. One of her biggest pushes as Moderator was to merge the two branches of the Presbyterian Church, PCUS and PCUSA, which happened in 1983. She went on record expressing her two “profound hopes” for the newly united Presbyterian Church that, “God will equip His people in effective ways to live out their faith,” and that, “with the integrity of the Presbyterian system, we will keep the church open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”

Sarah Bernice Moseley died in Sherman, Texas on July 18, 2013 at age 95. She is still remembered by the Presbytery and Austin College for the incredible impact she made on individuals and the church. Sarah and John have scholarships named in their honor at Austin College for Presbyterian, enabling students to continue to emphasize the importance of faith and education. 

Anna Centala is the 2017 NorthPark Presbyterian Church summer intern. She is a rising junior at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, currently majoring in Religious Studies and Sociology.


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