Faculty, staff, students and family members of the late John M. Smith Jr., M.D., celebrated the legacy of the legendary health care and health education advocate this spring at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The Dr. John M. Smith, Jr. Family and Community Medicine Conference Room was unveiled in the School of Medicine March 4. Glenn Halff, M.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine, and Carlos Roberto Jaén, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and the Dr. John M. Smith Jr. Professor at the Health Science Center, led the ceremonies. Guests had the opportunity to view the conference room’s permanent display of Dr. Smith’s numerous awards as well as historical documents, photos and other memorabilia related to Dr. Smith’s many achievements.
Dr. Smith led efforts to secure passage of House Bill 9 in 1959, the legislation that established The University of Texas South Texas Medical School at San Antonio, which, today, is the UT Health Science Center. Dr. Smith was a former president of the Texas Medical Association and the Bexar County Medical Society, a longtime trustee of the San Antonio Medical Foundation and a Health Science Center Development Board member. He campaigned vigorously for improved health care and health education in Texas and the nation until his death in 2003.
Dr. Smith’s sons J. Marvin Smith III, M.D., and Paxton J. Smith, M.D., who attended the March 4 event with their families, accepted a framed plaque from Drs. Halff and Jaén in recognition of an endowment that the Smith children, together with friends, created at the Health Science Center in their father’s honor 15 years ago.
With a gift of $100,000 in 1995, Dr. Smith’s family established The John M. Smith, Jr., M.D., Professorship in Family Practice in the Department of Family and Community Medicine to honor their father’s lifetime of service. The gift continues to grow. Dr. Jaén is the current holder of the professorship.
“Our father took great pride in what was created and achieved at the Health Science Center,” Dr. J. Marvin Smith III said. “My family and I are honored that someone of Dr. Jaén’s stature, and the faculty members he has assembled in his department, will distinguish the professorship through their actions and through the teaching of clinical care. The conference room named in my father’s honor will, no doubt, pique future physicians’ interest to learn more about my father, and will inspire them to accomplish great things just as he did. These are excellent and fitting tributes to his legacy.”