UT Southwestern celebrates first Founders Day

Inaugural day of giving brings together alumni to invest in the institution's future

From its inception, UT Southwestern Medical Center has been an institution driven by generosity.

Numerous academic and civic leaders have shaped the university’s vision, but Dr. Edward H. Cary planted the first seed in 1943 when he pitched Dallas philanthropist Karl Hoblitzelle and a coalition of business leaders with the idea for a world-class medical center.

Founders Day illustration featuring historic and current photos of students and faculty

What started with their act of giving 78 years ago flourished into the institution UT Southwestern is today. Ranging from award-winning patient care and ground-breaking discoveries to renowned scholars and Nobel Laureates, the university’s litany of accolades is surpassed only by its impact on the lives of students and patients through exemplary education, research, and patient care.

On May 5, alumni and community supporters honored that heritage by commemorating the anniversary of the institution’s creation and starting a new Founders Day tradition.

Founders Day is an opportunity for alumni and community supporters to celebrate UT Southwestern’s achievements with a day of giving back to the institution. In the weeks leading up to May 5, alumni were encouraged to make a gift – of any amount – to invest in the institution’s future.

Hughes challenge amplified scholarship giving

Fundraising efforts were amplified by a gift from UT Southwestern alumni Drs. Linda and Lannie Hughes. Inspired by the message of Founders Day and hoping to inspire generosity from others, the couple made a gift of $25,000 to be used as a matching challenge to raise additional funds for Medical School student scholarships.

Dr. Lannie Hughes graduated from UT Southwestern in 1966 and went on to specialize in gastroenterology care and serve as a battalion surgeon in the Vietnam War. A founding member of Dallas Diagnostic Association, he retired as founding physician and Medical Director of Baylor Scott & White – Plano. His wife, Dr. Linda Hughes, was one of four women who graduated from UT Southwestern in 1967 and later served as President of the UT Southwestern Alumni Association. A board-certified psychiatrist, she was the first woman Medical Director of Charter Medical Center and held the same role at several other psychiatric hospitals and programs.

The Hughes’ gift provided an opportunity for alumni and friends of the Medical School to double their scholarship giving for Founders Day. Enthusiastic response surpassed the matching challenge, doubling the impact of the Hughes’ donation.

Organizers are already planning Founders Day activities for 2022, which will be held again on May 5.