PATMAN, CARRIN M. ( ~ ). The following article on Carrin Patman, wife of Congressman William "Bill" Patman, was taken from the University of Texas at Austin's School of Liberal Arts Web site at http://www.utexas.edu/cola/college_features/recent/patman/. The article was last updated March 30, 2006.
"Facing Challenges with Persistence
Carrin Patman has never shied away from a challenge - no matter how big.
Whether it's raising a million dollars for The Swedish Studies Excellence Endowment, hitting the campaign trail or driving a 60-ton truck, Carrin Patman has never shied away from a challenge - no matter how big.
'The best advice my life's experience can offer is persistence,' Patman said. 'Whether it's been political battles or challenges like fundraising, it is important to either overcome or outlast the resistance. That has always made the difference in my success.'
Patman was born in Houston, the granddaughter of Swedish immigrants. Her mother, who died when Patman was born, was one of Texas' earliest women school superintendents in Sugar Land and her father, Fred Mauritz, served in the Texas House and Senate. From childhood, her interests, indeed her passions, have centered on education, politics and her Swedish heritage.
One summer day at Barton Springs she met law student Bill Patman. The two immediately found much in common; they were both students at The University of Texas at Austin and belonged to political families. The couple married in 1953. She continued her college education, switching from Plan II and earned her degree in English and Philosophy with honors in 1954. Their daughter, Carrin Foreman Patman, was born in 1956 and she - like her father - is a graduate of The University of Texas Law School.
The family moved to Patman's hometown Ganado, Texas, engaged in farming and ranching, and began their long political journey. She had campaigned from door-to-door in that same town for her father as a child and seemed the experienced choice to manage her husband's political campaign. Bill served 20 years in the Senate, before he was elected to the U.S. Congress where he served two terms - with his wife managing all of his campaigns.
She also led a two-year campaign that resulted in a national award-winning elementary school library for Ganado's children. At her insistence it was air-conditioned, making it the only air-conditioned room in the school. As a result, she was made an honorary member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society for outstanding women educators.
For two decades Patman served on the Democratic Party's State Executive Committee, eventually being elected the Democratic National Committeewoman for Texas in 1969. She was a leader in instituting the reforms that led to broader participation of women and minorities and successfully lobbied a bill requiring both the Democratic and Republican Parties of Texas - for the first time in history - to write down and publicize their party rules.
In 1976 she led the fight at the Democratic National Convention to ban winner-take-all presidential primaries. She made the case before the 5,000 National Convention delegates and won.
Patman has shown a commitment to the university and her Swedish heritage. She was a longtime member of the Liberal Arts Foundation Advisory Council and served on its executive committee for nine years.
Patman has worked to establish the Swedish Studies Excellence Endowment in the College of Liberal Arts at the University. The endowment has supported scholarships and fellowships, symposia, study abroad opportunities, lecturers, as well as cultural exhibits and performances.
'To most Swedish Americans, Sweden is not just a place - it's an idea,' she said. 'It's an idea infused with our history, values, and family, so I think it's not surprising that we want to keep that idea alive and vibrant.'
When she and her husband visited the Volvo factory in Sweden a few years ago, she was told she could test drive any vehicle on the lot - she chose a 60-ton truck. She has approached fundraising much in the same way - with a big goal, determination and grace.
After 10 years of hard work, the endowment totals more than $1 million."
Other biographical information available through Texas State Cemetery file materials.