Volunteer Spotlight

Michael Lunceford on His Role with the President’s Advisory Board

Longtime Mary Kay executive shares his government relations expertise with UT Southwestern

When Michael Lunceford talks about his career, he shares stories that travel I-35 from Dallas to Austin and end up inside the beltway that encircles the U.S. capital. But he still calls it work. When he talks about his efforts with UT Southwestern, he calls it a labor of love.

Michael Lunceford
Michael Lunceford Provided by Michael Lunceford

Since the creation of the President’s Advisory Board in 2017, Mr. Lunceford has been actively engaged with the organization, which provides UT Southwestern President Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., and the institution’s leadership with guidance on opportunities and challenges facing the Medical Center. He also leads the Board’s Government Relations Committee, which supports the institution’s efforts to develop relationships with local, state, and federal governments.

Mr. Lunceford is adept at cultivating long-standing relationships, a skill he honed over a 35-year tenure at Mary Kay Inc. He currently serves as President of the Mary Kay Ash Foundation, the non-profit named for the founder of the cosmetics empire, which funds translational research of cancers affecting women. He also served as a Trustee of the Washington-based think tank, Hudson Institute, and advised numerous local and national elected officials.

An articulate communicator and strategic thinker, Mr. Lunceford reflected on his family’s connection to UT Southwestern and the pivotal role the institution continues to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How has UT Southwestern impacted you and your family?

UT Southwestern is home to amazing doctors who provide care for my family. We are blessed to be able to access the best physicians practicing medicine at the best hospital in North Texas that provides care at the highest level with a warm and welcoming attitude.

“I am honored to volunteer for such a dynamic institution that renders leading-edge care, excellent education, and unrivaled research.”

What distinguishes this institution as a leader in academic medicine?

As Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar wrote in an op-ed piece a few years ago, entitled “Let’s Make Texas the ‘Third Coast,’” our state is poised to become a major hub in the vibrant biotechnology industry. And UT Southwestern is at the forefront of that effort. I should add that at UT Southwestern, the state has seen as much as a 9-to-1 return on every research dollar invested through competitive grant monies secured from out-of-state sources – a direct infusion to the Texas economy.

What do you find most engaging about the President's Advisory Board?

It is a joy for me to use my decades of government relations experience from my time with Dallas County Commissioner, Roy Orr, and the past 40 years at Mary Kay Inc. It is a blessing for there to be such talented and experienced members of the Board’s Government Relations Committee who readily provide outstanding ideas and guidance. There is a high level of commitment on behalf of all the members of the President’s Advisory Board who dearly love the Medical School. They are well invested in making UT Southwestern an even greater institution.

What have you learned about UT Southwestern?

My long engagement with UT Southwestern has provided me with such a depth of knowledge about the Medical School and the incredible people and programs available to the citizens of Dallas and Texas. I am not surprised by the amazing care and research that separates it from other medical schools. That said, I did witness during the beginning of the pandemic an astonishing pivot to address COVID-19 in the community. Dr. Podolsky and his team have been such a blessing to North Texas, demonstrating leadership on all fronts from important research on COVID-19 treatments to providing guidance to government and business leaders.

Member of UT Southwestern’s Material Management Operations team, sorts through 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
Dorothy Whittington, part of UT Southwestern’s Material Management Operations team, sorts through 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer donated by Mary Kay in April 2020. UT Southwestern Medical Center

What has been your most memorable experience volunteering with UT Southwestern?

Chairing the Government Relations Committee for the President’s Advisory Board and Dr. Podolsky is unto itself a memorable experience in that it is a labor of love for me. I am honored to volunteer for such a dynamic institution that renders leading-edge care, excellent education, and unrivaled research.

As a donor, why do you continue to give?

UT Southwestern is such a treasure to Dallas and to the state of Texas.

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

Clearly, UT Southwestern is the finest hospital in North Texas and has been for five years. It provides the highest level of care and is on the forefront of innovative research, quickly evolving into new treatments for patients. During the past two years UT Southwestern has been the leader in assisting the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area in navigating COVID-19. The Medical School provided much needed guidance to local leaders and companies as those entities made decisions about returning to work. Dr. Podolsky’s weekly briefings brought clarity to a very chaotic situation. And the Medical School conducted research on potential therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 patients, testing for people and vaccinations once the vaccine became available. Its modeling work was amazing and extraordinarily helpful to the community.

  • 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.