October 23, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 36


HSC Profile

In Memoriam


The Howe Years 1985~2000

"Three things fell the day I arrived in San Antonio — the price of oil, funding for higher education, and 13 inches of snow."

—Dr. John P. Howe, III

It was in that atmosphere in February 1985 that Dr. Howe assumed the presidency of Health Science Center. From his earliest days here, he has played an integral leadership role in San Antonio and South Texas.

Dr. Howe served as a key member of a group of community leaders who developed the Texas Research Park in western Bexar County. The first tenant of the park was the Health Science Center’s Institute of Biotechnology (IBT). Dr. Howe also supported the development of organ transplantation programs that generated several South Texas "firsts"—including the first heart transplant in a civilian hospital in this region and the first lung, liver and pediatric intestinal transplants. In October 1991, Dr. Howe’s leadership also culminated in the opening of the Robert F. McDermott Clinical Science Building, which houses the Health Science Center’s world-acclaimed Research Imaging Center.

In 1995, Dr. John P. Howe, III, escorted Texas First Lady Laura Bush and introduced her to Susie S. Ramirez, custodial services.

Dr. Howe applauded members of the Special Events Council on their efforts to help 1998 flood victims.

Dr. Howe and Dr. Sanford Miller visited with the guest speaker before a Graduate School commencement;

Dr. Howe congratulates the winners of the annual South Texas Poison Center poster contest.

The early and mid-1990s under Dr. Howe saw the development of the South Texas/Border Initiative, a cluster of programs funded by the Texas Legislature and designed to increase the availability of health education programs to residents of the South Texas/Border Region. Dr. Howe worked with many leaders to ensure creation of the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The Health Science Center’s Medical School was chosen to operate the RAHC’s Medical Education and Medical Research divisions in Harlingen and Edinburg, respectively. Even in the years before the South Texas/Border Initiative or the RAHC, the federal government designated the Health Science Center as one of the country’s Medical Hispanic Centers of Excellence, and more recently the Health Science Center was lauded for its exemplary ranking in graduating Hispanic students and hiring outstanding Hispanic faculty by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine.

"President Howe’s support for our school has resulted in more nurses serving rural South Texas."

— Rudy Gomez,
nursing dean’s office

"Dr. Howe has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Dental School, and his support was essential to our rise in national prominence."

— Dr. Victor Sandoval,
dental dean’s office

"President Howe’s great rapport with legislators increased our support in Austin and Washington."

— Robert B. Price,
vice president

"Dr. Howe started the Gifts For Children program and has warmly backed our efforts in every holiday season."

— Kim Johnson,
photographic services

"Dr. Howe’s annual attendance at Fiesta de Tejas has encouraged us to make the event bigger and better."

— Sally Crouser,
educational resources

"Dr. Howe’s strong endorsement of our Microbiology Evening Program for schoolteachers was invaluable."

— Dr. Stephen Mattingly,

"John Howe encouraged us to do our best, whether it was research, teaching or clinical medicine, and recognized our achievements accordingly."

— Dr. Bettie Sue Masters,

Also during the ’90s, Dr. Howe’s vision resulted in a partnership with the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) to form the San Antonio Cancer Institute. The Institute attained prestigious status as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—one of only two in Texas. Dr. Howe’s many honors during the decade included the presidency of the Texas Medical Association, which serves 37,000 members statewide.

His leadership resulted in projects such as the expansion of the School of Nursing and construction of the Allied Health/Research Building housing a major research facility and allied health departments that now rank among the top in the nation. On his watch, the School of Nursing continued its proud tradition as the largest nursing school in The University of Texas System. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute recognized the Health Science Center’s research expertise with two major grants to encourage the recruitment of new faculty members and to foster their development. The university took a leadership role in the international Human Genome Project.

Through the years, Dr. Howe successfully recruited scores of outstanding scientists and clinicians to the Health Science Center.

These experts and their research programs have been featured prominently in the national media, including The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, CNN and all the major television networks. Health Science Center researchers have been profiled in thousands of stories in area, state, national and international publications.

In 1999, Dr. Howe was foremost among those responsible for securing $200 million in endowment funds from the state’s tobacco settlement—the nation’s largest single cancer endowment. The result is the Children’s Cancer Research Center, which will serve children and their families. As the century drew to a close, the biosciences, anchored by the Health Science Center’s research, assumed the mantle as the top economic generator in San Antonio, surpassing the military and tourism.

Today, partnerships nurtured by President Howe remain strong. These include close relationships with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, the University Health System, Brooke Army and Wilford Hall Medical Centers, Christus Santa Rosa, the CTRC and dozens of other organizations throughout the region.

The Dental School continues to maintain the excellence that prompted magazine surveys to rank it the number one dental school in the country. The School of Nursing’s graduate program is ranked with the national leaders, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has tripled its research funding. The Medical School continues its tradition of outstanding primary care training, finishing at the top in national surveys, as well as continuing its national stature as a leading research institution.

New programs and faculty are added almost daily. In every area of its existence, the continuing excellence of the Health Science Center will prove to be the lasting legacy of President John P. Howe, III, M.D.


  • John P. Howe, III, M.D., begins his term as president

  • President Howe initiates the first Fiesta de Tejas on campus

  • Family Practice Residency Program expands with new facilities in McAllen

  • Former Gov. Dolph Briscoe, Jr. and Janey Briscoe help dedicate the new Dolph Briscoe, Jr. Library


  • First $1 million endowed chair is created by the Humana Foundation Inc.

  • The Parman Chair in Medicine is established, a gift to the Health Science Center along with The Parman House and Conference Center from the Dan F. Parman family

  • Department of Surgery begins heart transplantation program


  • H. Ross Perot announces $15 million gift for the Health Science Center’s Institute of Biotechnology in the Texas Research Park


  • Health Science Center and VA collaborate to bring a VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center to San Antonio, the first of its kind in the Southwest

  • Dental School’s two new dental vans provide outreach screening throughout San Antonio and South Texas


  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and Health Science Center commit to bring $5 million PET system to future Research Imaging Center

  • Fifth floor added to Dental School building to accommodate growing teaching and research needs


  • Institute of Biotechnology’s Hayden Head Building is dedicated in the Texas Research Park

  • Dental School celebrates its 20th anniversary

  • School of Nursing receives approval to grant Ph.D. in nursing


  • Robert F. McDermott Clinical Science Building is dedicated

  • School of Nursing offers advanced degrees to Valley students in cooperation with The University of Texas-Pan American


  • President’s Council created to help fund important projects in all five schools

  • Health Science Center researchers receive $7.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to fund San Antonio’s leading role in the Human Genome Project


  • Health Science Center is the first university in the nation to enter into a collaborative agreement with Mexico’s national health agency


  • Heath Science Center convenes the South Texas/Border Region Health Conference resulting in expanded health education programs


  • Texas First Lady Laura W. Bush visits the campus

  • Health Science Center/VA partnership on aging research earns major grant to create Nathan Shock Aging Center

  • School of Nursing celebrates 25th anniversary with special guest Luci Baines Johnson

  • The J. Kent Trinkle Center for Transplant Sciences, honoring the Health Science Center transplant pioneer, opens at University Hospital


  • Dr. Howe serves as president of the Bexar County Medical Society

  • New 450-bed Brooke Army Medical Center is officially dedicated, with Dr. Howe recognized for his key role in ensuring BAMC’s continued presence as a preeminent military hospital

  • 44,000-square-foot addition to the School of Nursing is dedicated


  • Business and civic leaders, elected officials and friends of the university launch the Health Science Center’s 25th anniversary festivities


  • Dr. Howe is installed as president of the Texas Medical Association

  • Allied Health/Research Building is dedicated


  • Health Science Center receives $200 million endowment for the new Children’s Cancer Research Center

  • Health Science Center and the University Health System collaborate to establish the Texas Diabetes Institute on the West Side


  • U.S. Department of Defense approves $14 million for major study of disease management in patients with congestive heart failure

  • Officials celebrate ceremonial groundbreaking of RAHC Medical Education Division building in Harlingen

  • South Texas Centers for Biology in Medicine and SBC Teleconference Center are dedicated in Texas Research Park

  • $7 million is awarded to Health Science Center scientists for the most advanced research equipment

  • 50-acre tract of land, valued at $7 million, is given to the Health Science Center by the San Antonio Medical Foundation for the site of the Children’s Cancer Research Center

  • Leaders break ground for the Health Science Center’s campus extension in Laredo

Each of the schools—allied health, nursing, graduate, medical and dental—found a warm supporter in President Howe. In the photo at left, he visits with a race winner at the "Miles for Smiles" dental outreach fund-raiser. "Schoolchildren benefited from Dr. Howe’s constant affirmation of our community dental programs," said Dr. Maria Lopez Howell, pictured in the photo at right with Drs. Howe and Ken Kalkwarf, dental dean.


Under Dr. Howe’s leadership, his talented team achieved remarkable progress, which included the following accomplishments.

  • $250 million in philanthropic gifts raised for the Health Science Center.
  • Annual research funding increases from $32 million to $128 million.
  • Health Science Center budget grows from $134 million to $332 million.
  • Regional Academic Health Center in the Lower Rio Grande Valley changes the future of the rapidly growing South Texas/Border Region.
  • Bioscience sector becomes the city’s top economic generator, with the Health Science Center as the primary catalyst for this industry.
  • Endowment grows from $5 million to $56 million.
  • Health Science Center garners $200 million endowment for Children’s Cancer Research Center.
  • A total of 15,000 graduates now serve as health care professionals.
  • Texas Research Park is created, bringing international acclaim to San Antonio as a center of bioscience research.
  • Twelve new buildings or building expansions are added to Health Science Center sites.
  • Health Science Center/Cancer Therapy & Research Center-sponsored San Antonio Cancer Institute earns prestigious designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
  • Health Science Center earns maximum 10-year reaccreditation with glowing reports and commendations