SAN ANTONIO (May 8, 2008)—The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, close on the heels of the annual Fiesta in San Antonio, held its own Fiesta-style ceremony today to recognize the generosity of Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long and name the university’s original San Antonio campus for them.
The Longs, an Austin couple who have supported the arts, education and causes throughout Texas, donated $25 million to the UT Health Science Center San Antonio at the close of 2007. This matched the single largest cash gift in Health Science Center history and is one of the single largest cash gifts in the history of The University of Texas System.
The generous gift created the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Scholarship, Research and Teaching Fund, which established permanent endowments for student scholarships ($12.5 million), medical research to alleviate suffering ($6.25 million), and educational enrichment fueled by recruitment and retention of the world’s top health science academicians ($6.25 million).
Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center, said the scholarships will help students in medicine, nursing, graduate and physician assistant studies. Among other things, the gift also will establish two new $1 million distinguished chairs for faculty.
“Because of you, Texans will be healthier,” Dr. Cigarroa said to the Longs. “Additional young people with the dream and determination to pursue health careers will have the resources to do so. Investigators seeking cures for diabetes and other diseases common in South Texas will have a better chance of finding those cures. And additional preeminent faculty will be recruited to teach and perform research. You have indeed made a grand gift for Texas.”
The Longs previously gave $1 million to establish the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Presidential Scholars Program. During today’s ceremony, 10 Long Presidential Scholars walked down the aisle in starched white coats symbolizing their entry into the health professions.
Joel Torres represents the goal of the Long Presidential Scholars Program to a tee. Torres was 7 when his father died after an illness and his mother become a migrant farmworker. The family worked in Idaho and Michigan, where in the fields Torres missed his father and began to think about a medical career saving lives.
His education-conscious mother made sure the family returned to Alamo in the Rio Grande Valley in time for each school year. Torres became valedictorian of his high school class and was recruited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford. Today, he is a third-year student in the Health Science Center School of Medicine.
“Saying ‘thank you’ isn’t enough to show appreciation to people as generous as the Longs,” Torres said. “They have given me a wonderful gift, not only financially but also the gift of their trust, which one day I will honor by becoming the best physician that I can be.”
An estimated 400 guests attended today’s celebration. The platform party included John T. Montford, senior vice president, external affairs, Western Region, with AT&T and chair of the Health Science Center’s Development Board; Sen. Judith Zaffirini, whose work in Austin has been instrumental in expanding the Health Science Center to new campuses and programs; James R. Huffines, vice chairman of the UT System Board of Regents; and Student Regent Randal Matthew Camarillo.
Regent Huffines particularly noted the Longs’ generosity to UT Austin. Joe R. Long is a UT Law School graduate and Teresa Lozano Long holds a doctorate in education from UT Austin.
As the ceremony drew to a conclusion, Dr. Cigarroa, the Longs, the Long Presidential Scholars and other platform party members pulled ribbons in various colors to unveil a monument bearing the name of the Joe R. Long and Teresa Lozano Long Campus. To further set a festive mood, a street rhythm dance group, Samba Vida, began marching to Fiesta-style notes.
About the UT Health Science Center San Antonio:
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 $576 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 allied 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, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.