Former TX governor gives school $100M

June 12, 2009 3:51:53 PM PDT
Former Texas Gov. Bill Clements has given UT Southwestern Medical Center a landmark $100 million gift, officials announced Friday. The donation, which was given through the Southwestern Medical Foundation, is the largest single gift in the medical research center's 66-year history. The foundation supports the all aspects of the school.

"To those who may have questioned the prospects for philanthropy in a time of economic uncertainty, Bill Clements has answered in a profound and extraordinarily selfless way," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern.

He added that the historic gift is especially noteworthy because of Clements' insistence that there be no restrictions on how the money is used.

Podolsky said the university will create the William P. Clements Jr. Fund with the goal of finding "transformative ways to advance and improve the human condition."

Clements, 92, said he wants to help UT Southwestern continue to encourage scientific discovery and innovation, prepare the next generation of doctors and ensure the delivery of world-class medical care.

It is not Clements' first financial gift to the university in Dallas.

In 2006, he donated $10 million to complete a clinical and medical research facility. The Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building were named in honor of Clements and his wife.

In 1998, he gave $1.25 million to UT Southwestern to create the Rita C. and William P. Clements Jr. Scholar in Medical Research, which recognized new and promising faculty members.

"I have great admiration for the medical school and the fabulous progress it has made during the past several years," Clements said.

Clements served on the search committee that convinced UT Southwestern's first president, the late Dr. Charles C. Sprague, to leave Tulane University's medical school in New Orleans to become dean of the medical school in Dallas in 1967.

Dr. Sprague and Clements had been chemistry classmates at Southern Methodist University.

Clements made his money as an oil drilling contractor. He founded SEDCO in 1947, which became the world's largest oil and gas drilling contracting company. A year after a 1984 merger with Schlumberger Limited, Clements retired as chairman.

Clements was the first Republican to serve as governor of Texas since Reconstruction when he served from 1979-83. His second term was 1987-91.

A former adviser to U.S. presidents, Clements was deputy secretary of the Department of Defense from 1973 through 1977.

Today he raises cattle and is a Texas history buff.

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