Volunteer Spotlight

Gay F. Solomon on Her Role Leading the Arts and Interiors Committee

Art collector focuses her aesthetic eye on UT Southwestern's growing collection

When asked to sum up the character of Gay F. Solomon, internationally recognized art curator and scholar Jeffrey Grove lauds her poise and compassion.

Gay F. Solomon
Gay F. Solomon UT Southwestern Medical Center

As Consulting Curator for Williams P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, Mr. Grove has enjoyed collaborating with Mrs. Solomon in her role as Chair of the Arts and Interiors Committee at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Leading with kindness, intelligence, and an intuitive eye for what is beautiful – and healing – in art, she has been a formidable champion in guiding the collection to its status as one of the finest in any U.S. hospital,” said Grove, who is director of museums and publications for the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York.

Through her tireless service, Mrs. Solomon is both generous donor and keen-eyed curator of new art acquisitions. Working with Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., UT Southwestern President, and John Warner, M.D., the institution’s Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs, she has advocated for patient-centered room design throughout Clements University Hospital and other campus buildings.

For her, it’s about making discerning art choices that foster a healing and enriching environment at a world-class hospital.

A longstanding member of the President’s Advisory Board, Mrs. Solomon remains active on the Patient Services Committee, which was established by her husband, William T. Solomon. Mr. Solomon is former President, CEO, and Chairman of Austin Industries, one of the nation’s preeminent industrial and commercial construction companies, and an Honorary Trustee of Southwestern Medical Foundation, where he served as Chairman.

“... She has been a formidable champion in guiding the collection to its status as one of the finest in any U.S. hospital.”

The Solomons’ engagement with UT Southwestern dates to 1982. The couple are longstanding members of the President’s Research Council, Circle of Friends, and the Board of Visitors. They are also charter members of The Heritage Society, an organization that recognizes donors who have committed to making a planned gift benefiting UT Southwestern or Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Active philanthropists, the Solomons made a significant endowment gift to support research and clinical care in the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine. They have also supported the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, establishing the William T. and Gay Solomon Education Center Auditorium during the hospital’s initial capital campaign and The Rose Garden in honor of their friends Deedie and Rusty Rose during construction of the building’s third tower.

A panel of speakers present during the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Clinical Symposium hosted by UT Southwestern's Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center on August 26, 2016. The event was held in the William T. and Gay Solomon Education Center Auditorium at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. UT Southwestern Medical Center
The Rose Garden creates serene and secure space for contemplation among nature at Clements University Hospital. UT Southwestern Medical Center

Reflecting on her aesthetic commitment to UT Southwestern, Mrs. Solomon shares how UT Southwestern has impacted her family and why she supports the institution with her volunteer leadership and philanthropy.

How has UT Southwestern impacted you and your family?

We are grateful for the prompt, thorough, and exemplary medical care we have received for years at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the warmth and thoughtfulness with which it has been delivered. We have peace of mind knowing the latest treatments and best solutions to complex issues will be worked out by a cohesive team of medical experts who are renowned in their fields. How lucky we are to have this world class medical center right in our city!

Daniel K. Podolsky, Gay F. Solomon, William T. Solomon, and Ethan Halm
From left, Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern, stands with Gay F. Solomon, William T. Solomon, and Dr. Ethan Halm, a Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Science, during a reception celebrating a new outpatient clinic of the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine on October 21, 2015. UT Southwestern Medical Center

What distinguishes this institution as a leader in academic medicine?

UT Southwestern has distinguished itself by the astounding number of Nobel Laureates and the National Academy of Science and National Academy of Medicine members. It integrates pioneering research with exceptional clinical care and education, thus ensuring the advancement of medicine both now and in the future. The collegial atmosphere benefits students, patients, and staff at all levels.

What do you find most engaging about the Arts and Interiors Committee?

The most engaging part of our committee is the opportunity to choose among wonderful art with an outstanding group of art professionals and art aficionados. Seeing thrilling work through the eyes of the dedicated committee members is exhilarating. Each piece is carefully analyzed to be sure it fits our objective of providing a comforting, uplifting, and thought-provoking experience for our diverse audience. We choose pieces that are compatible with UT Southwestern’s objectives to be at the cutting edge of research, care, and technology in medicine.

Sculpture made up of thousands of reflective steel balls hung from thin steel wires.
Suspended above the lobby of the new third tower at Clements University Hospital, “Myriad” by artist Danielle Roney is comprised of more than 5,000 stainless steel spheres. The artwork is a gift by Barbara Thomas Lemmon in honor of Dr. Mark L. Lemmon. UT Southwestern Medical Center

“Each piece is carefully analyzed to be sure it fits our objective of providing a comforting, uplifting, and thought-provoking experience for our diverse audience.”

What have you learned about UT Southwestern?

It has been overwhelming to hear the positive comments and see how the art has been so well-received by the community. Dr. Warner likes to joke that William P. Clements Jr. Hospital is an art museum masquerading as a hospital. Groups come just to tour the exhibits. I will be forever grateful for the wisdom of Dr. Podolsky, who established a policy ensuring there are funds included in the budget of each building project to support art enhancement, which have been supplemented by generous philanthropic gifts from the community.

What has been your most memorable experience with the Arts and Interiors Committee?

My most memorable experience was touring the spectacular art pieces donated by Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein located just off Donald Seldin Plaza. But personally, because I think mental health is important in overall health, the Rose Garden in the psychiatric section of Clements University Hospital has been particularly special to me. Research shows that nature and natural images facilitate the healing process and mental well-being. When a committee member, Deedie Rose, suggested that the in-patient services for mental disorders needed an opportunity for patients to experience fresh air and nature, Dr. Podolsky and Dr. Warner decided to include a secluded, elevated garden in the recent expansion of Clements Hospital. In touring the private garden, I was overjoyed to see the design was so inviting, spacious, and beautiful.

Gay F. Solomon, right, speaks with Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at UT Southwestern, at a reception celebrating the installation of an untitled sculpture by New York artist Joel Shapiro on June 11, 2019. Robert McMurrey/UT Southwestern Medical Center
Installed along UT Southwestern's Dr. Donald Seldin Plaza, "Untitled," a sculpture by Joel Shapiro is a gift from Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein. © 2018 Joel Shapiro/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York Mei-Chun Jau/UT Southwestern Medical Center

As a donor, why do you continue to give?

My husband Bill and I give because we know our gifts will be used effectively and intelligently to address the most pressing health needs of our community as well as our specific interests. We trust the conscientious and creative management and dedication to the common good of this institution. The Clinical Services Initiative and Dr. Podolsky’s subsequent Clinical Transformation Initiative have brought UT Southwestern’s clinical care up to the same standard of extraordinary excellence as the research and educational efforts – all while continuing to constantly improve all three missions.

What is UT Southwestern's biggest contribution to the community?

UT Southwestern provides far-sighted leadership and collaboration for our health care community. They also model efficient care and respect for the patient as well as provide tertiary care and clinical trials for difficult, complex cases.

“We trust the conscientious and creative management and dedication to the common good of this institution.”

Years ago, Dr. Podolsky foresaw the need for a public health response to diseases like COVID-19. This resulted in the Texas legislature voting to fund a new School of Public Health at UT Southwestern in May. Also, the leadership of the Medical Center has recently decided to focus on the frontier area of the brain with the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.

In order to better serve the community, UT Southwestern works with other partners like Texas Health Resources and The University of Texas at Dallas. UT Southwestern’s concern for underserved areas has recently led to an expansion to provide medical services to South Dallas.

  • Dr. Goldstein, a Regental Professor, holds the Julie and Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research and the Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine.
  • Dr. Halm holds the Raminder Kumar, M.D. Distinguished Professorship in General Internal Medicine and the Walter Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine in Honor of Albert D. Roberts, M.D.
  • Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.
  • Dr. Warner holds the Jim and Norma Smith Distinguished Chair for Interventional Cardiology and the Nancy and Jeremy Halbreich, Susan and Theodore Strauss Professorship in Cardiology.