Georgia "Billie" Gough is looking to her left and laughing. She has white hair and wears glasses and a pink coat.

Georgia "Billie" Gough

Advancement Board Member, emeritus

Art and Seek article: Georgia Gough, A Major Influence on Denton's Art Scene, Turns 100

UNT alumna and Professor Emeritus Georgia "Billie" Gough remains dedicated to supporting her alma mater more than 75 years after graduation.

"My husband and I started our careers there," says Georgia. "UNT really helped us grow. We never had any children, so UNT is our family."

After earning a master's degree from UNT in 1946, Georgia was a UNT professor for 25 years and continues to support the school into her retirement.

Ray and Georgia Gough seated and facing forward smiling. Photo was taken in about 1960.She and her late husband, Ray, consistently contributed to the university over the last 35 years, supporting areas such as the UNT Alumni Association, UNT libraries and the Inspire UNT Fund. However, they are most dedicated to the College of Visual Art and Design, having two scholarships in their name and a lecture series named in honor of her husband. Ray ('40, '41 M.S.) and Georgia ('46 M.S.) both hold the distinction of professor emeritus of art at UNT, an honor bestowed upon a professor who has retired from a tenured position of at least 10 years with a record of distinguished service. In 2004, the Goughs were recognized with UNT's Green Glory Award for exceptional service to the university.

"I love the friendliness, quality of education and the overall atmosphere," says Georgia. "There's nothing like being on campus."

Georgia donated $150,000 to establish the Ray and Georgia Gough Research Fund in Interiors, Fibers, Ceramics, Jewelry, Metals and Related.

"This gift is important because it is potentially eligible for the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP)," says David Wolf, vice president for advancement. TRIP is a state-matching grant program that supports the university's research and research-enhancing activities. "We are grateful to donors like Georgia Gough for her continued support and dedication to UNT and its students."

"UNT is a place where your gift will grow and continue to make an impact that lasts forever," says Georgia.

Gough earned her bachelor’s degree at Central State College in Oklahoma and then taught in Oklahoma City and Denison while working on her master’s in arts at UNT. In 1947, Cora Stafford, the formidable director of the art department in Denton, hired Gough – when there were only five other faculty members in the entire department in what was then-called North Texas State College.

Stafford eventually changed Gough’s life and career by having her teach ceramics—she had to go back to school to learn the craft. For her ceramics classes at UNT, Gough and her students had to carry their clay pieces to be fired in a kiln in an old powerhouse across campus—blocks away from their studio.

In 2019, UNT opened its College of Visual Arts and Design Building. Inside the $70 million high-tech facility is the Ray and Georgia Gough Design Research Space.

Georgia taught at UNT until she retired in 1975 – and married Ray, who had created UNT’s interior design program. Retirement did not end their involvement in the arts. UNT is home to the Goughs’ extensive art collection and Ray’s collection of color slides taken on the pair’s many trips through Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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