TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
By Breyia Grate-Capers
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recognized Southwestern Medical College as a significant part of Texas history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker. The subject marker designation honors the founding of Southwestern Medical College, now known as UT Southwestern Medical Center, by Southwestern Medical Foundation in 1943, as an important and educational part of local history.
Southwestern Medical Foundation hosted an intimate event to dedicate this historic marker on December 12, 2018 on the Old Parkland campus where the marker is located. Speakers included The Honorable Mayor Michael S. Rawlings; Fred Durham, chairman of the Dallas County Historical Commission; Robert B. Rowling, chairman of the Board of Southwestern Medical Foundation; and Kathleen Gibson, president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation.
“What the Foundation has meant to our city over the past eight decades is remarkable and I’m so grateful for their leadership,” said Mayor Rawlings. “Innovation is critical for our community’s success, and we’re at the leading edge because we’ve supported this institution.”
For eight decades, Southwestern Medical Foundation has supported the community in advancing medicine through medical education, medical research, and patient care. Through sustainable funding from a large group of individuals, families and corporations, medical progress is advancing rapidly.
“There are now over 350 Texas Historical Markers in Dallas County,” said Fred Durham, chairman of the Dallas County Historical Commission. “Certainly, none of them are any more significant than this one. So often we take for granted the history behind major institutions like UT Southwestern Medical Center, and we aren’t aware of the years of dedication and work that went into creating such a facility. This is an important reminder of where it all began, and of what our community has made possible.”
The marker’s location is in the same footprint of the original Southwestern Medical College. With leadership from Dr. Edward H. Cary, founder of both the Foundation and College; Karl Hoblitzelle, local philanthropist; and others, the Foundation and community came together to build an A-rated medical school in an area that was previously considered a medical wilderness.
“We are so grateful to the Dallas County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission for their work and support,” said Kathleen M. Gibson, president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “Inspired by this community and visionary leadership, this marker represents a great story of like-minded physicians coming together time and again to raise the bar of medical excellence for our region. That story continues today and will continue tomorrow, with a world-class faculty and leadership at UT Southwestern Medical Center, who are making extraordinary breakthroughs in medicine. We are deeply proud of all that has been and continues to be accomplished.”
“The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission. “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources,” Wolfe said.
A subject qualifies for a marker if two basic criteria are met: historical significance and age. Historical significance is established by reviewing its role and importance in local history, and the age requirement depends on the topic. The THC’s Official Texas Marker Policies are outlined in the Official Texas Historical Marker Procedures, which may be obtained by visiting the web site of the History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission at thc.texas.gov or calling 512-463-5853.
Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with more than 16,000 markers. Seventeen states have used the Texas program as a model; the THC reviews more than 300 marker applications each year.