UT Health San Antonio honored philanthropists Peggy and Lowry Mays at the annual President’s Gala on Saturday, Sept. 29.
A record attendance of nearly 1,800 guests helped raise more than $500,000 to establish the Peggy and Lowry Mays Patient Care Endowment. The endowment will support the Patient Supportive Care Program at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, honorifically called the Mays Cancer Center.
With the theme “A Legacy of Caring,” the event also marked the 50th anniversary of the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and its continued service to the South Texas community.
Endowment to benefit cancer patients
Speaking of the gala honorees, UT Health San Antonio President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, said: “We are so grateful to Lowry and Peggy and all they have done for our cancer center through the years. The Patient Supportive Care Program provides critical services for our cancer patients with the greatest financial needs. The endowment will also fund wellness and survivorship programs that help our patients lead healthier lives after they complete treatment. This program is vital to caring for our patients in the compassionate way we would want to be treated ourselves. They embody our mission to provide the very best in care to patients close to home.”
Peggy and Lowry Mays and their family have been key supporters of the cancer center since its early years. Peggy Mays, a former member of the Board of Governors of the cancer center, founded its highly successful annual fund program – the Cabinet – in 1996. The Cabinet has raised nearly $8 million over the program’s 21-year history. Cabinet gifts provide essential support for innovative cancer research, state-of-the-art equipment, and critical cancer education and patient care programs.
Kathryn Mays Johnson, daughter of Lowry and Peggy Mays, is president of the Mays Family Foundation. She is a member of the cancer center’s Board of Governors and is a past president of the SA Cancer Council. Over the past 33 years, the council has supported the cancer center through fundraising, volunteer services, community outreach and education, and patient assistance. The SA Cancer Council has raised more than $4.5 million for these purposes.
In February, the Mays Family Foundation increased its legacy gift to the cancer center to $30 million. The contribution provided a substantial endowment to perpetually support the cancer center director and establish up to 10 new permanent distinguished endowed chairs for the recruitment and retention of key faculty members. The gift also established the Mays Cancer Center Excellence Endowment to support top priorities for future success and long-term sustainability for generations to come.
“My parents, brother and I have all been touched by cancer,” said Kathryn Mays Johnson in an interview. “Because we know what it’s like to hear the difficult words, ‘You have cancer,’ and have appreciated the excellent care we have received here at the Mays Cancer Center and at MD Anderson, we feel compelled to give back. We are pleased that our investments are developing our cancer center’s affiliation with MD Anderson and have been impressed with the rapid progress of this relationship that will benefit cancer patients in our region.”
At the gala, Lowry Mays said, “Peggy and I are very excited about this honor. We are so happy to help this community in any way that we can.”
President Henrich presented Lowry and Peggy Mays with a beautiful bowl made by glass artist Gini Garcia. The bowl was filled with homemade Texas pralines. “I want everyone to know that 50 percent are wrapped in maroon and white and 50 percent are wrapped in burnt orange and white,” quipped President Henrich, to match Lowry’s alma mater, Texas A&M University, and Peggy’s alma mater, UT Austin. The room erupted in laughter.
Long School of Medicine’s 50th anniversary
In celebration of the Long School of Medicine’s 50th anniversary, President Henrich recalled its beginnings in 1968 on what was then a dairy farm northwest of San Antonio. The groundbreaking included civic leaders, university and education leaders, elected officials and citizens of San Antonio.
“Fifty years later, would they be proud tonight to know that the medical school they started was quickly joined by outstanding schools of nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate science? Or that the institution now educates 3,300 health professionals a year, has 36,000 alumni, touches 2 million people with its care each year, has 1,700 faculty on a campus of 4.7 million square feet and provides training to 1,000 interns, residents and fellows, most of whom remain in San Antonio and Texas to practice?”
President Henrich introduced Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long, for whom the Long School of Medicine is named, for their generosity and dedication to the students of South and Central Texas. He added, “Joe and Terry were recognized recently by the UT System Board of Regents with UT System’s highest award for philanthropy, the famed Santa Rita Award.”
He introduced nine founding faculty members in attendance:
- Anatolio Cruz (Surgery),
- Marvin Forland (Physiology and Internal Medicine),
- James Hadnott (Obstetrics/Gynecology),
- Robert Persellin (Physiology and Internal Medicine),
- Waid Rogers (Surgery),
- Jim Story (Surgery),
- Robert Waggener (Radiology),
- Elliott Weser (Physiology and Internal Medicine), and
- Norman Wulfsohn (Anesthesiology).
President Henrich also acknowledged Dr. James L. Holly, a distinguished alumnus of the Long School of Medicine and the first alumnus to receive the prestigious Aesculapian Award for philanthropic support of the Long School of Medicine. He also introduced Dr. John Doran, the school’s second recipient of the Aesculapian Award. Dr. Michael Brennan, who graduated from the Long School of Medicine in 1978, received the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award.
The evening closed with a dance for UT Health San Antonio students and gala guests.
How to give to the endowment
To make a gift to the Peggy and Lowry Mays Patient Care Endowment, visit makelivesbetter.uthscsa.edu/gala.