Applause resounded Monday morning across the UTHealth Medical School campus, now to be known as the John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School, thanks to a monumental $75 million gift from the John P. McGovern Foundation.
The largest gift in the history of the medical school was announced by UTHealth president Dr. Giuseppe Colasurdo at ceremonies held in Webber Plaza which connects the McGovern Medical School and the Texas Medical Center Library. The announcement was greeted with a standing ovation and resounding applause for benefactor Kathrine McGovern, president of the foundation.
Colasurdo spoke of the gift as "transformational and visionary . . . supporting student scholarships, faculty endowments, scientific discovery and, of course, the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. It will have an immediate impact on our school as the entire gift will go to endowments in support our students and faculty for generations to come."
The gift represents the pinnacle of philanthropy that the McGoverns have exhibited throughout the city and across the medical center. Six schools at UTHealth have endowed professorships that bear the McGovern name as well as a number of student scholarships.
"My late husband was devoted to excellence in patient care, research and education, the same high standards that the UT medical school pursues daily," Kathrine McGovern said. "He also understood how to manage money . . . more importantly how to make it grow. He loved doing that and seeing his efforts go back to helping people in the areas that he felt were important. He would be so very proud."
The ceremony included the launch of a new tradition — presentation of white coats to three medical students who are McGovern scholarship recipients. In addition, professors seated on the first rows in the plaza officially donned their new white coats bearing the McGovern Medical School insignia.
Joining in the program were McGovern Foundation director Bill Shrader and UTHealth development board chair Bob Graham, who observed, "This truly extraordinary gift to our community and to UTHealth represents a game-changing moment that will impact the way that health care is taught and delivered for generations to come."