Art and science collide as UTHealth celebrates historic year in philanthropy at UTHealth LIVE!

Published: June 13, 2016

At the second annual UTHealth LIVE! event held on Tuesday, May 24 at the Midtown Arts and Theatre Center Houston (MATCH), The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) thanked its donors and partners for helping surpass $110 million in philanthropy since September 2015.

Mark Summers, the internationally renowned Canadian artist behind the university’s award-winning branding campaign, The Many Faces of UTHealth, was the evening’s special guest. Summers, whose illustrations are part of the Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design collection at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, is well known for his scratchboard artwork for the New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone and Barnes & Noble.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our donors and volunteer leaders for their support, and we are proud that they share our vision for excellence in research, health care and health education. UTHealth LIVE! gives us the opportunity to say, 'Thank you', and also to show our supporters the tremendous impact they have on our students, faculty and staff,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., president of UTHealth and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair.

UTHealth reached the $100 million milestone in February, and is currently at $110 million with three months left in the fiscal year. This momentous achievement was supported by the John P. McGovern Foundation’s commitment of $75 million, the largest gift in the university’s history. The result of this gift is the renamed John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and the funding of mission-critical areas of education, research and patient care, all of which are guided by the foundation’s strong humanities and ethics principles.

Other foundations that contributed to UTHealth’s historic milestone include The Schissler Foundation Fellowship, the Memorial Hermann Foundation, the Elkins Foundation, New York Life Foundation, Houston Endowment, Inc., John S. Dunn Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, Hermann Eye Fund and The Vivian L. Smith Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of these foundations and the 2,300 individuals who have made gifts to the university, UTHealth is able to fund cutting-edge research, scholarships and endowments, and create initiatives in trauma, healthy aging, neuroscience, heart health and orthopedics.

Game Changers, UTHealth’s matching gift initiative, contributed a combined $18 million in funds in FY15 and FY16. The program works by matching qualified individual donor endowment gifts of $100,000 to $1 million, one-to-one with institutional funds. The university’s endowments have also experienced significant growth between 2015 and 2016. In 2016 the endowments grew from 516 to 586, an increase of 13.6 percent and in under a year the market value for these endowments increased 27 percent from $220 million to $280 million.

“Our donors’ generosity can be felt throughout UTHealth and their support will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of our students, faculty and patients we care for now and for generations to come,” said Kevin J. Foyle, vice president for Development and Public Affairs.

Approximately 130 donors attended the exclusive UTHealth LIVE! event, including members of the UTHealth Heritage Society, President and Dean’s Excellence Society, Development Board, Advisory Councils and the President’s Council, to hear Summers discuss the inspiration for his art. Summers is credited with bringing the university’s The Many Faces of UTHealth branding campaign to life. The campaign was launched in September 2015 and has since garnered numerous accolades from the American Advertising Federation Houston, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Collegiate Advertising Awards.

Guests at UTHealth LIVE! were able to experience Summers’ work during special gallery exhibition consisting of the pieces that were used in the university’s branding campaign. Guests also had a chance to win a custom portrait done in Summers’ famous scratchboard style. UTHealth Chair-Elect Phil Ferguson was the winner of the portrait.

Guests dined on beef tenderloin carpaccio presented on seared polenta bleu cheese aioli and crispy shallots, risotto cakes with apricot chutney, mesquite smoked chicken breast garnished with fresh thyme, and minced ahi tuna tartare presented in a miniature corn taco shell and topped with red salsa and cilantro. For dessert guests enjoyed chocolate ganache truffle splashed with edible paint and lime basil bars served on a shortbread crust, all prepared by A Fare Extraordinaire. The décor and floral was provided by R.E. Event Solutions.

Guests included Sally and Joe Bridges, Gayl Carlberg, UTHealth Chair-Elect Phil Ferguson, current Board Chair Bob Graham and his wife Annie, Russell and Diana Hawkins, Maria Pappas, Lanie Rose, Lisa Roy, Nancy Schissler and her daughter Lynn Red, Mark Summers, Carol and Carl Vartian, Memorial Hermann Health System Board Chair Will Williams his wife Mary, Memorial Hermann Health System President and CEO Benjamin Chu, M.D., and former State Rep. Martha Wong.