“Teresa Lozano Long, known as Terry to her many friends, made a significant and profound impact on health care education in her beloved South Texas during her lifetime,” said William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio).
Mrs. Long died March 21 at the age of 92. Her legacy lives on in the more than 307 physicians, nurses, health professionals and MD/PhD students whose education at the UT Health Science Center has been funded by scholarships from Teresa Lozano Long and her husband of 63 years, Joe R. Long.
“No one can ever fully quantify the positive impact of Terry and Joe Long’s generosity, but it is safe to say that every patient treated, and every family served, by a Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Scholar in Medicine, Nursing, Health Professions or Graduate Studies has been profoundly touched by their exemplary and caring investment in the future of health for San Antonio and South Texas, as well as our state and nation,” President Henrich said.
‘She will touch our mission forever’
“We celebrate the memory of Teresa Lozano Long today, with every past, present and future Long Scholar from UT Health San Antonio and with each of our faculty who benefit from endowed chairs or research support made possible by the Longs. We will honor and cherish her memory,” Dr. Henrich said. “Teresa Lozano Long, together with her beloved husband Joe R. Long, changed the future for our medical school and our university. She will touch our mission forever, in a profound way, through the dozens of permanent endowments they have created to benefit UT Health forever.”
The Longs’ support began in 1999 as an annual major gift for scholarships to 12 deserving medical students who were the first in their families to attend college and were from UT Health San Antonio’s 38-county South Texas service region. These 12 were the first “Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Presidential Scholars” of 106 medical students impacted by the Longs.
Helping students realize dreams without debt
“Investing in outstanding medical students who would become excellent physicians for our medically underserved South Texas region was the goal, but Mrs. Long was especially interested to help first-generation students who had been accepted to our School of Medicine but also had great financial need. She wanted to help them realize their dreams and not be held back by student debt when they graduated,” said Francisco Cigarroa, MD, former president of UT Health San Antonio, former chancellor of The University of Texas System. “Terry understood the health needs of South Texas, as she and Joe also had been teachers. They understood the pressures students felt. They wanted their deserving Long Presidential Scholars to be able to focus on their challenging medical studies and pursue their dreams to become doctors, and, if they chose, to be able to stay in South Texas to care for families in their home communities.”
Teresa Lozano Long, the daughter of a dairy farmer, grew up in Premont, a small town on State Highway 281 about 75 miles north of the Rio Grande Valley. As valedictorian of her high school, she attended The University of Texas at Austin, earning Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees.
She met her husband when both were teachers in Alice, Texas. Terry had an interest in returning to UT Austin for a doctorate, and Joe wanted a law degree. They both achieved their educational goals. Terry was the first Hispanic woman to earn a doctorate in health and physical education at UT Austin. Joe began his professional career as an attorney, first with the State Securities Board, then with the attorney general’s office before transitioning into private banking.
Mrs. Long served on state and national boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Distinguished Alumna of UT Austin and a member of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame.
Momentous and historical gifts
On Jan. 7, 2008, UT Health San Antonio announced that the Longs had donated $25 million to establish the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Scholarship, Research and Teaching Fund. The gift established permanent endowments toward scholarships for students, support of faculty recruitment and retention, and research in diabetes and other diseases that most affect the people of South Texas.
In honor of this generous gift, the university’s original campus was renamed the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Campus.
On Feb. 1, 2017, Dr. Henrich announced a second transformative $25 million gift from Mr. and Mrs. Long to fund additional scholarships for medical students and support priority faculty needs to advance the School of Medicine, in alignment with the strategic vision of the president and the goals of the dean of the School of Medicine.
“Endowments deliver significant long-term impact, and the Long Fund has demonstrated that,” President Henrich said at the time. “When considered in its totality, the impact of the Longs’ philanthropy, with their new gift of $25 million, exceeds $61 million.” In recognition and appreciation of the new gift and the collective impact of the Longs’ previous and future commitments to UT Health, the UT System Board of Regents enthusiastically authorized the naming of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio as the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.
The Longs visited the campus later that month for an inspiring celebration with faculty, staff and students, including more than 70 of the 106 Long Scholars and Long Physician graduates whose four-year medical education had been supported by Terry and Joe.
A legacy of triumphs
Today the Longs’ legacy of giving to UT Health San Antonio exceeds $70 million. A portion of their great legacy continues to make it possible for first-generation students to attend medical school without debt and return as physicians to communities like Premont, to serve countless patients in need. Students in UT Health San Antonio’s School of Nursing and School of Health Professions receive a similar benefit, thanks to the Longs.
Their scholarships also supported the development of the university’s now-nationally top ranked rigorous MD/PhD program by funding scholarships for these future leaders in academic medicine and more. “The Long School of Medicine is on the rise in national prominence,” said Robert Hromas, MD, FACP, dean of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and holder of the designated endowed chair Mr. and Mrs. Long established to support the School of Medicine dean, in perpetuity. “We are attracting great faculty from other highly competitive institutions to our Long School of Medicine in San Antonio because of the Longs’ transformational generosity. This year, our new Long Medical School MCAT scores were among the highest in the state. Terry and Joe Long paved the way to make that achievement possible.”
Terry and Joe Long received the Board of Regents’ highest honor, the Santa Rita Award, in 2018 to recognize and honor their giving to UT Health San Antonio, UT Austin and UT Rio Grande Valley. Santa Rita Award winners demonstrate a record of commitment to furthering the purposes and objectives of the UT System and serving as the highest examples of selfless and public-spirited service.
On Nov. 21, 2019, Terry Long, a lifelong supporter of the arts and education, received the National Humanities Medal at the White House. Others receiving either the National Humanities Medal or the National Medal of Arts that day included actor Jon Voight, musician Alison Krauss, author James Patterson and the musicians of the U.S. military.
“Terry, because of you and Joe, our state will be healthier in the future,” Dr. Henrich said in his remarks today. “Thank you for the love you have shown to the people of your region and your home state. We are forever grateful for the enduring difference you have made.”