Betty grew up in Beaver Falls in the same neighborhood as fellow Larry Bruno Foundation Inductee Joe Namath. She attended and graduated from Beaver Falls High School where she won Scholastic Awards in poetry, short story writing and visual art. While in Beaver Falls, she studied piano for 10 years, sang in youth choirs and was a Girl Scout through the senior level.
Professor Douglas’s collegiate preparation began with an Andrew Carnegie Scholarship to study painting and design in the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute of Technology where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her Master of Arts in the History of Art and Architecture came from the University of Pittsburgh. After a year on a factory assembly line after college, Ms. Douglas began her teaching career as an art instructor at Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA. After that she held positions as assistant and associate professor at LeMoyne College, Memphis, TV, Philander Smith, Little Rock, AR and Texas College, Tyler, TX. Then art director at nationally distributed SEPIA Magazine and special assistant to John Howard Griffin, whose investigative journalism led to the book, Black Like Me, that played a key role in the U.S. civil rights struggle.
In the early 1960s Professor Douglas returned to academia, accepting an appointment to the faculty of Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. She rose to a full professorship and was coordinator of the team-taught interdisciplinary humanities curriculum that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. Even though now retired, she continues to rerun each semester for guest lecture stints.