Former Texas Gov. Bill Clements gives $100 million
June, 2009In a visionary act intended to have a transformative impact, former Texas Gov. William P. Clements Jr. has made an unexpected and unprecedented $100 million gift for UT Southwestern Medical Center. This marks the largest single donation in the institution’s history and was given through the Southwestern Medical Foundation, which supports the research, education and clinical mission of
“To those who may have questioned the prospects for philanthropy in a time of economic uncertainty, Bill Clements has answered in a profound and extraordinarily selfless way,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern. “This historic gift, especially noteworthy in his insistence that there be no restrictions on its use, allows us to create the William P. Clements Jr. Fund with our pledge to apply it strategically in truly transformative ways to advance and improve the human condition.”
Mr. Clements said, “In supporting UT Southwestern, my single goal is to help encourage and advance scientific discovery and innovation, prepare the next generation of physicians for Texas and the nation, and ensure the delivery of world-class medical care, which I believe uniquely happens at this academic medical center, already recognized as one of the top institutions in this country.”
He said he hoped the university would find ways to leverage his gift to attract even more contributions to UT Southwestern.
In 2006 Mr. Clements donated $10 million to complete a clinical and medical research facility now named the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building, in honor of Mr. Clements and his wife. In 1998 Mr. Clements donated $1.25 million to
UT Southwestern to create the Rita C. and William P. Clements Jr. Scholar in Medical Research to recognize newly appointed and promising faculty members.
Dr. Podolsky cited the landmark $100 million donation and Mr. Clements’ previous gifts as testament to his confidence in the collaborative research, teaching and patient care mission of UT Southwestern, as well as Mr. Clements’ long relationship with his personal physician, Dr. Albert D. Roberts, who formerly held the Walter Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern, established in his honor in 2004.
“I have great admiration for the medical school and the fabulous progress it has made during the past several years,” said Mr. Clements, who served on the search committee that convinced the first president of UT Southwestern, the late Dr. Charles C. Sprague, to come to Dallas in 1967 from Tulane University School of Medicine to be dean of the medical school. Mr. Clements and Dr. Sprague had been chemistry classmates at Southern Methodist University.
William T. Solomon, chairman of the board of Southwestern Medical Foundation and lifelong friend of Mr. Clements, said, “Bill Clements is and always has been a man of bold vision and purpose. In making the largest gift in UT Southwestern history — and arguably one of the largest single gifts in Dallas history — he underscores the vital role of philanthropy in building strong institutions where medical breakthroughs actually happen. And the breakthroughs at UT Southwestern — from the labs to the classrooms to the clinics and hospitals – are in fact life-changing. There can be no more fitting legacy for Bill Clements than changing people’s lives for the better.”
UT System Board of Regents Chairman James R. Huffines said, “We are tremendously grateful for this remarkable gift from Mr. Clements. It has been my privilege to know him and Mrs. Clements for many years and, as a result, to understand that each of them always has the best interests of Texas at heart. As he hopes, this transformational gift will help raise up a new generation of outstanding Texas physicians, medical researchers, and health care professionals who will make a profound difference in the quality of life in Texas and the nation. The Board of Regents expresses its gratitude to Mr. Clements for this generous investment in the continued excellence of UT Southwestern and the health of our state.”
Mr. Clements was the first Republican to serve as governor of Texas since Reconstruction, serving from 1979 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1991. He achieved major success as an oil drilling contractor before he went into politics. He founded SEDCO in 1947, and it grew to become the world’s largest oil and gas drilling contracting company, merging with Schlumberger Limited in 1984. He retired as chairman in 1985. Mr. Clements today raises cattle and is an avid Texas history enthusiast, with a personal library of more than 8,300 volumes, most of which are about Texas history and the Southwest.
An adviser to U.S. presidents, Mr. Clements from 1969 through 1970 served on the Department of Defense Blue Ribbon Defense Panel. He was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense from 1973 through 1977 and is credited with helping modernize America’s armed forces and institute sound business practices and efficiencies. In 1983 he served on the President’s Commission on Central America and the President’s Commission on Strategic Forces.
A 1939 alumnus of SMU, he served on its Board of Governors for many years and as its board chairman. He is married to Rita Crocker Clements, who was a UT System Regent from 1996 to 2007.
In 2000 Mr. and Mrs. Clements were honored with Southwestern Medical Foundation’s Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award, which recognizes those who have provided significant support to the fields of health care, medical education and medical research.
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