Leaders celebrate decade of achievements in McDermott Building
With its legendary namesake as keynote speaker, a proclamation from the city of San Antonio and greetings from leaders instrumental in its progress, the Robert F. McDermott Clinical Science Building turned 10 years old on Oct. 23. More than 100 people attended the anniversary celebration.
"It is a special day — to be with General McDermott and to celebrate this milestone," said Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, president. "This is a celebration of collaboration. The McDermott Building is unlike any other research facility in the United States and it is a model for the rest of the country to emulate. Today we salute our partners who made this possible 10 years ago."
President Cigarroa praised longstanding partnerships with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, directed by Jose R. Coronado; with the Texas Research Park Foundation, represented by York Duncan; with the U.S. Air Force, represented by Col. Stephen McGuire; with the UT Austin College of Pharmacy, represented by Dr. Steven Leslie; and with The University of Texas System, the San Antonio Medical Foundation, the Lions Sight Research Foundation and federal grant agencies. "Without these partners, our smiles would not be so big today," he said.
Introducing the keynote speaker, President Cigarroa said: "General McDermott, you are indeed the father of the biosciences in San Antonio. Years ago, you inspired the dream that has become the preeminent sector of the city's economy." Since the late 1990s, the Chamber of Commerce has announced that the biosciences are San Antonio's leading economic generator, surpassing tourism and the military.
Dr. Peter T. Fox, director of the Research Imaging Center, which occupies two floors of the McDermott Building, noted that 130 people with international prestige now work in the building. He recalled visiting with H. Ross Perot, the Texas philanthropist who gave an amazing $15 million for the building. "Mr. Perot is a proud man today," Dr. Fox said. "He has been known to ask for gifts back if progress was not accomplished. But he has not asked for this building back."
The Research Imaging Center is one of the nation's preeminent centers of its kind. Center faculty members publish major scientific papers each month and hold $4.4 million in active grants. The Department of Ophthalmology, also located in the McDermott Building, is listed among the top third of departments nationwide. Another tenant, the Clinical Pharmacy Program, is recognized as an outstanding educational and clinical research program. In fact, the Clinical Pharmacy Program has been ranked second in the nation in U.S. News & World Report.
"Nothing will be more important the next 10 years than medicine and research," General McDermott said in his remarks. "The city did not have an economic generator 30 years ago. But we had crown jewels, including the newly formed Health Science Center, and opportunities in the medical field that we had in no other field. Ten years ago, it was announced that the biosciences had become the number two leading economic generator. Now we are number one. We have a great city and great partnerships."