Robert B. Price, B.B.A, M.B.A., executive vice president for administration and business affairs at UT Health San Antonio for more than 30 years, died June 28 in San Antonio. He was 86.
Mr. Price, as most employees addressed him out of respect, was one of the young institution’s major architects.
“For me, Bob Price was the heart of the Health Science Center,” John P. Howe, III, M.D., president of UT Health San Antonio from 1985 to 2000, said in a telephone interview.
“Whether it was the faculty, the staff, the San Antonio community, the Board of Regents or the Texas Legislature, Bob was revered,” Dr. Howe said. “He was a role model for all of us, and we were his beneficiaries. I among many will miss him greatly.”
Mr. Price was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and served as the institution’s chief financial officer. He also oversaw campus departments including the UT Police Department and Physical Plant (now called Facilities Management), and represented the Health Science Center at legislative sessions in Austin.
James D. Kazen, executive vice president for facility planning and operations, said it is impossible to overstate Mr. Price’s impact on UT Health San Antonio.
“The institution was smaller then, but he laid the administrative foundation for the burst of growth that occurred when Dr. Francisco Cigarroa (president from 2000 to 2009) came into office,” Mr. Kazen said.
“He headed the new construction, renovation and facilities in addition to his other duties, and he really did lay the foundation for what was about to happen, which catapulted the institution to where it is today,” Mr. Kazen said.
Clinical psychologist Bonnie L. Blankmeyer, Ph.D., was a Department of Psychiatry faculty in 1991 when she was appointed by President Howe to be director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA). She immediately felt the positive effects of Mr. Price’s camaraderie and leadership.
“Bob Price was a caring, warm, gentle man, a consummate professional,” Dr. Blankmeyer, now professor of psychiatry, said. “He always did the right thing. Without his wise counsel and guidance, I would not have been able to do my job as the director of EEO/AA as effectively.”
Dr. Blankmeyer remembered attending periodic staff meetings in the former President’s Conference Room, which was in a wing that, in 2015, was torn down to make room for the Academic Learning & Teaching Center (ALTC) on the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long Campus. “Bob had quite a few people there,” she said. “Almost anything that four, five or six people now do, he did with his team. And he was in charge.”
Dr. Howe became president at UT Health San Antonio in early 1985 amidst a historic snowstorm in the Alamo City. Because of an economic downturn, skies were also gray over budget deliberations at the state Capitol.
“When I arrived at the Health Science Center, it snowed 13 inches and the price of oil fell precipitously,” Dr. Howe said. “After a storied beginning, the institution faced some daunting challenges. It was Bob Price who led the way through the legislative process to see the Health Science Center emerge with great financial support from the Texas Legislature.”
Robert Byron Price was born Jan. 3, 1932 in Colorado City, Texas, to Oscar and Lela Price.
He received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1953 and Master of Business Administration degree in 1961, both from Texas Tech University, and completed his CPA exam.
Mr. Price worked in higher education for more than 47 years, including various business officer positions at Texas Tech (1956-1968), vice president for business affairs at The University of Texas at Arlington (1968-1972), and executive vice president for administration and business affairs, UT Health San Antonio (December 1972-September 2003).
In retirement, Mr. Price held the title of vice president emeritus at UT Health San Antonio. He was an active member of the Association of Retired Faculty & Associates and from 2013 to 2018 was a member of the Development Board of UT Health San Antonio.
Mr. Price also was a member of Rotary International (1963-2004); First Presbyterian Church, Ordained Deacon and Ordained Elder; City of Olmos Park – City Council Member (1997-2007); Board of Directors, Texas Research Park Foundation (2000-2018); Board of Directors, Morningside Ministries (2005-2011); and Board of Directors, San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic (2013-2018).
Memberships in professional associations and accomplishments included the National Association of College and University Business Officers (1968-2003), Texas Association of College and University Business Officers (1968-2003), chairman of the Council on Governmental Relations (1996-1998; 1999-2000), chairman of the Association of Academic Health Centers – Fiscal Officers (1978-1980) and Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Business Affairs (AAMC/GBA, 1972-2003).
Mr. Price married the love of his life, Rebecca Ann Coles, and cherished a wonderful marriage of 66 years. Throughout his life, Mr. Price understood his role with a strong faith and belief in placing his family first. He loved music, bird hunting and had a passion for fly fishing. He was preceded in death by his son, David Price, and is survived by his wife, Becca; their children, Doug Price and Mary Alice McKean and husband, Randy; and grandchildren, Callie Lee McKean and Mackenzie Ann McKean.
A memorial service was held July 3 at First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a memorial donation to one of the following:
San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic, #1 Haven for Hope Way, Building 1, suite 400, San Antonio, TX 78207
First Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205-1918
David C. Price Memorial Scholarship Fund, UT Health San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229