Longs honored, celebrated, applauded
Philanthropists Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long were greeted with sustained applause and heartfelt gratitude by UT Health San Antonio faculty, staff and students during a Feb. 14 ceremony acknowledging an extraordinary legacy of giving by the Austin couple.
The event marked the formal naming of the School of Medicine at UT Health as the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. Through several gifts, the most recent being $25 million announced Feb. 1, the total value of the Longs’ giving to UT Health San Antonio exceeds $61 million, most of which is devoted to scholarships.
In welcoming the crowd to a packed Holly Auditorium on the Long campus, also named in their honor, UT Health San Antonio President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, cited the Longs’ “abiding care for each other and their love for students as well as their unwavering fidelity to the principle that education is the preeminent factor that lifts people up. Their compass is and has been set on the precept that, just given the chance, each of us can make lasting contributions to improve the human condition.”
Also speaking at the ceremony and thanking the Longs were UT System Chancellor William McRaven, Paul Foster, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, former UT Health president and former System chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., and Ronald Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine.
Many of the Long Physicians and Long Scholars, those who have received or are receiving financial aid from the Longs, sat on the stage behind the dignitaries. Two speakers, fourth year medical student and Long Presidential Scholar Jana Waters, and Leo Lopez III, a Long Physician, represented their peers in thanking the couple and explaining the continuing impact of their gifts.
Joe and Terry Long both spoke about their pride in the Long Scholars, noting that many were the first in their families to attend college, much less medical school. “They prove,” said Terry Long, “that if you give them an opportunity, they will work. They don’t come here to have fun.”
Joe Long noted that when he began attending the University of Texas at Austin in 1949, the tuition was $25 a semester and the entire year–tuition, books, fees, room and board, “the whole shabang”–cost a little over $700. “Of course, back then, we had state-supported education,” he added. “I’m not sure we have it now. It bothers me that education might (become reserved) for just the rich.”
At the end of the ceremony, the Longs were presented with white coats, traditionally given to first-year medical students to mark their initial step toward becoming a physician.
“The white coat represents medicine’s loftiest ideals,” Dr. Henrich said. “Through their generosity, Mr. and Mrs. Long have joined us in the quest to accomplish what is our daily motto here, ‘to makes lives better.’”
In an aside that met with prolonged laughter, Joe Long responded by saying that “in real life, I was a lawyer. Doctors didn’t like us much. Not sure they do now. I never thought I’d be one…. Now my wife is a real doctor.”
Both Joe and Teresa Long came from humble backgrounds; both graduated from UT Austin. She was the first Latina to receive a doctorate, a doctor of education, from the school. Joe received a law degree and went on to earn a fortune in banking.
As festive balloons dropped from the ceiling, a video revealed new signage on the newly named School of Medicine.
The Longs initially gave $1 million to UT Health in 1999 to support scholarships for medical students from South Texas, and they followed this with a transformative $25 million gift in 2008 to expand scholarships for students studying to be physicians, nurses, physician assistants or scientists.
The Longs’ new $25 million gift will establish a $1 million distinguished chair endowment for the dean of the School of Medicine; a $4 million endowment to support scholarships for students from throughout Texas who are attending UT Health and studying to be physicians; and a $20 million President’s Endowment for Faculty Excellence in Medicine.