UTHealth Heritage Society – Building a legacy of transformational support
Published: May 01, 2014 by UTHealth Office of Development
Picture a gift box that began to swell five years ago explode into the sky like fireworks, and $20 million rains down.
The visual is now a reality for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
“It’s not just impressive; it’s inspiring,” Kevin J. Foyle, vice president for Development, says of the many positive outcomes of the UTHealth Heritage Society. A planned-giving organization, the society comprises community leaders and retired faculty on a mission to support UTHealth and its programs in transformational ways through their philanthropy and passion.
The organization held its first UTHealth Heritage Society Founders Luncheon at Brennan’s April 17 honoring members and an advisory council of Houston leaders who are a virtual Houston “who’s who” in financial gift-planning circles – all committed to growing the programs and reach of UTHealth.
During the lunch program the more than 35 attending founding members were serenaded by students comprising the UTHealth Acapella Choir, who delivered a trio of selections, followed by a keynote presentation by Bryant Boutwell, DrPH, the John P. McGovern Professor of Oslerian Medicine. All attendees received a personal signed copy of his book and a behind-the-scenes author’s perspective on the research and writing of “John P. McGovern, MD: A Lifetime of Stories.”
“It’s hard not to be successful when you fill an advisory council with accomplished individuals who represent a culture of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterize the very best of UTHealth,” says Shirley Druggan, director of gift planning. “This is a group that shares a collective confidence in this institution; they give of themselves, their resources and their vision to make a difference.”
Ed Deery, JD, founding partner of Ytterberg, Deery, Knull (YDK) and chairman of the Gift Planning Advisory Council, proposed a special toast during the luncheon to celebrate the society’s good work and many accomplishments. Frank C. Arnett, MD, retired chairman of Internal Medicine at the UTHealth Medical School, then introduced Boutwell as the guest speaker.
“It was such an honor to look across that room and see current and retired faculty sitting with involved citizens of our community who believe in our institution and work so hard to make a difference for UTHealth,” Boutwell says. “Everyone in that room shared the spirit of giving back of their time, energy and resources that was the hallmark of my friend and mentor, John P. McGovern. Dr. McGovern was simply one of them – an example of the giving spirit that filled the room that day.”
Boutwell describes Houstonians and their pride and spirit of giving as “Houston’s gift to humanity” that makes the city better than it would be otherwise.
“Institutions like ours don’t just get dropped into a community and thrive. They have to become part of the community and that requires an investment in effort that generates broad-based community support that our Heritage Society exemplifies,” Boutwell says. “What a wonderful spirit of citizenship and shared vision I saw in the room that day. I was simply preaching to the choir as I told the stories of John P. McGovern’s amazing life and his spirit of giving back.”
Druggan adds that these founding members of the UTHealth Heritage Society recognize UTHealth as among the select comprehensive academic health centers in the world and strive to make the university even better. The first $20 million raised in recent years includes funds supporting The Denton A. Cooley, MD, and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS, University Life Center; the Frank Arnett, MD, Center for Autoimmunity and Immunobiology; student scholarships; and unique global health initiatives benefiting students and faculty alike.
“The many accomplishments of our Heritage Society are impressive and make a real difference in the life of this institution,” says UTHealth president Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD. “Enough cannot be said of the power of talented and forward-thinking community leaders working side by side with dedicated faculty – all with an eye on building our programs for the future.”