Briscoe, a Texas icon, adds to legacy with $5 million gift to UTHSC

Announcement comes at gala celebrating School of Medicine’s 40th anniversary

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 20, 2008) — More than 1,300 people attending The University of Texas Health Science Center’s second annual gala Saturday received great news for women in South Texas: the evening’s special honoree, former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr., announced he is giving $5 million in support of cardiology and women’s health.

The gift, which will advance heart disease research and care of women in Texas, augments $600,000 raised through the gala. In appreciation, the university will name the division of cardiology the Janey and Dolph Briscoe Division of Cardiology, said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center.

It was an electrifying announcement on an evening when speakers hailed the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Health Science Center School of Medicine.

“Until you need it, you don’t realize what a precious resource we have in the UT Health Science Center,” said Gov. Briscoe, whose beloved wife was treated by Health Science Center physicians after a heart attack. “I will always be grateful to the doctors who took care of Janey, especially Dr. Steven Bailey, the head of cardiology at the Health Science Center. I have no doubt that they gave me at least two more years to share with Janey. You cannot put a price tag on having more time with your loved one.”

Dr. Cigarroa said: “There is no way to express what this gift means to us. Certainly it will further critically important research in cardiology, which will save lives. We thank Gov. Briscoe and his entire family.”

The Briscoe gift will support the four cornerstones of the Health Science Center mission: teaching, healing, research and service. The gift will make lives better for women and their families, Dr. Cigarroa said.

Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, sent best wishes to Gov. Briscoe and the School of Medicine in a recorded video. Former Gov. Mark White was in the audience.

John Montford, chair of the Health Science Center Development Board, urged the community to build on the School of Medicine as a community asset. The School of Medicine was a long-sought dream by San Antonio visionaries extending to the 1940s and before, and opened in 1968, the same year as University Hospital, its primary teaching hospital.

“Our School of Medicine is ranked in the top third of medical schools in the country, yet is one of the most affordable in the country,” Montford said. “I wonder if we realize what an asset we have here in San Antonio.”

William L. Henrich, M.D., M.A.C.P., dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at the Health Science Center, said the School of Medicine has educated more than 6,300 physicians and has trained 3,500 residents in every subspecialty.

“Looking forward, from the age of 40, where do we go from here?” he asked. “We are on a journey to the highest medical excellence. Our plans are ambitious. Our goals are lofty.”

He said the school would support its talented faculty, compete for dozens of new scientific programs, add new clinicians and grow its scholarship programs. “We will be the school of choice,” he said. “San Antonio will be in the vanguard of scientific discovery. Our city will be the destination for the very best medical education and the very best health care available.”

Janey Briscoe Marmion of Uvalde accompanied her father. Gov. Briscoe and Ms. Marmion received gifts of appreciation from the Health Science Center, including a sculpture by a Fredericksburg artist specially commissioned for the governor, who is a Western art aficionado.

Gov. Briscoe has now donated more than $9 million to the Health Science Center for cardiovascular disease research to honor the memory of his wife.

Janey Slaughter Briscoe, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, served as a member of the UT System Board of Regents from 1981 to 1987. Her accomplishments as first lady of Texas included setting up the state’s runaway hotline. She and Gov. Briscoe were married for 58 years.

“Gov. Briscoe is a Texan to the core,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “And he has always been known for his generosity with his time, intellect and philanthropy.”

Gov. Briscoe’s previous gifts established the Janey Briscoe Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research, which Dr. Bailey, a renowned interventional cardiologist, directs. Dr. Bailey also occupies the Janey Briscoe Distinguished University Chair in Cardiovascular Research.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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