UT Health San Antonio President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, announced on Feb. 1 an extraordinary gift that significantly expands the educational legacy of philanthropists Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long, of Austin.
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 from across Texas studying to be physicians, nurses, physician assistants or scientists. President Henrich announced that the Longs have contributed an additional $25 million that will forever change the trajectory of health science education for Texas and beyond.
“Mr. and Mrs. Long chose to announce their new gift today, Feb. 1, on their 59th wedding anniversary as an expression of their shared commitment to each other, our students and UT Health and its School of Medicine,” President Henrich said. “The enduring result of their legacy of investment in health education and research will be improved health for all.”
Their previous gift of $25 million established the Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Scholarship Research and Teaching Fund, a permanent endowment in the Office of the President that supports student scholarships in medicine, nursing, graduate and physician assistant studies; advances medical research in diabetes and other areas that affect the health of the population; and sustains faculty through perpetual funding of new endowed chairs that support efforts in priority areas of UT Health’s education, research and patient care missions. Two new endowed distinguished chairs have been established to date.
“Endowments deliver significant long-term impact, and the Long Fund has demonstrated that,” President Henrich said. “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 commitments to UT Health, the UT System Board of Regents enthusiastically authorized the naming of the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio as the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.
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 held in the Office of the President to support priority faculty recruitment in the School of Medicine in a variety of ways, at the strategic direction of the president. The president and dean of the Medical School will work together in setting faculty recruitment priorities.
“Faculty recruitment is crucial to the success of an academic health center, and Joe and Terry Long have empowered us to do this, in perpetuity, for our School of Medicine,” President Henrich said.
“The Board of Regents and UT System are honored to recognize these two devoted and longtime supporters of higher education, Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long,” UT System Chancellor William McRaven said. “Their gifts are remarkable for many reasons, but especially for the extraordinary impact they have already had on improving health care access and delivery in South Texas.”
Total gifts made by the Longs to UT System institutions, including UT Austin, which houses the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, exceed $80 million.
The Longs have supported more than 290 scholarships to more than 115 students, predominantly in the School of Medicine but also in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Nursing and School of Health Professions at UT Health San Antonio. Today, 44 Long Physicians are practicing medicine in South Texas and beyond – graduates of the Long-funded scholarship programs that covered their medical school tuition for their entire education at UT Health. Another 13 Long Physicians had part of their tuition covered.
“The Longs’ gifts touch every new baby delivered, every sick child or elderly patient treated, every lifesaving surgery performed – every aspect of the daily medical practices of each of these young physicians – and their giving will do that and more for generations to come,” President Henrich said. Today, 50 students across four schools at UT Health receive Long Scholarships every year.
“The Longs’ gift to me exceeds the present moment,” said Leo Lopez III, M.D., a 2015 School of Medicine graduate who is a primary care resident in San Antonio. “Their generosity has given me the tools and foundation to go out into the world and serve people for generations. I’m proud to carry the name Long Physician into my career and practice.”
The Longs met as young schoolteachers in Alice, Texas. They most enjoy interacting with young people and supporting their dreams of education. Teresa Lozano Long, Ed.D., and Joe R. Long, J.D., both earned their doctoral degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.
“Good health is a necessity in life,” Mr. Long said. “Our goal is to empower generations of young people to enter health care and enhance the quality of life of our state.”
One of Mrs. Long’s inspirations is legendary Laredo internist Joaquin G. Cigarroa, M.D., who cared for her parents in their later years. They traveled from their home in Premont, Texas, to Laredo for their doctor appointments with him. Dr. Cigarroa is the father of Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., head of pediatric transplant surgery at UT Health San Antonio and formerly president of UT Health and chancellor of the UT System.
“In continuing the missions of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine, we are advancing our commitment to our community through excellence in patient care, education and research,” said Ronald Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine. “The Long School of Medicine will never stop in its quest to be one of the best medical schools in our nation.” The Long School of Medicine consistently ranks among the top medical schools in the nation for graduating Hispanic physicians.
“I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Long for the help and support they have provided me and my family over the last four years,” said Long Scholar Jana Waters, a married mother of two and a native of San Antonio. “In my fourth and final year as a medical student, I am blessed to be able to pursue a career in ophthalmology. As this next chapter in my life unfolds, I know this is possible because of their generosity.”
“Sometimes saying ‘thank you’ isn’t enough to show appreciation to people as generous as Mr. and Mrs. Long,” said Long Physician Joel Torres, M.D., a 2009 School of Medicine graduate who practices emergency medicine in Edinburg, Texas. “They gave me a wonderful gift, not only financially, but also the gift of their trust that today I can honor by being the best physician I can be.”
A celebration of the Longs’ legacy of giving will take place Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Campus of UT Health.