Research is being propelled to a new level of prominence in San Antonio through gifts totaling $5.6 million, including a personal leadership gift from John T. and Debbie Montford to establish the John T. and Debbie Montford Fund for Cancer Research at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
General Motors Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr.
William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president, with his wife, Mary, made the announcement to more than 1,000 attendees during the fourth annual President’s Gala for the Future of Health held Sept. 25 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. To top off the spectacular evening, Dr. Henrich also announced that gifts from across the community established the President’s Cancer Research Fund, and an anonymous $5 million gift will support research and faculty programs.
The Montford Fund is named in honor of the longtime senator, philanthropist and businessman and his wife who were gala honorees.
“We are greatly indebted to this community, which has opened its hearts and treasure in support of the Health Science Center,” Dr. Henrich said. “Their support allows us to ignite science through research that will advance new treatments for life-threatening diseases such as cancer.”
General Motors Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr. and his wife, Linda, served as honorary co-chairs of the gala, with Whitacre lending his leadership as the event’s emcee.
“A key ingredient in the success of the Health Science Center is the support of the community,” Whitacre said. “John and Debbie Montford have been champions of that community support for years.”
(L-R) Alethea Bugg and J. Bruce Bugg Jr., chairman and trustee of The Tobin Endowment, and Marilyn and William G. Moll, president of KLRN Public Television, enjoy the gala.
John Montford served as president of the Health Science Center Development Board from 2007 to 2009. His wife has been a major supporter of the San Antonio Symphony, and both remain active volunteers in the community.
Joe R. Straus III, speaker of the Texas House, presented a painting of the San Antonio River to the Montfords. “What a jewel in the crown of San Antonio is our Health Science Center, and tonight we honor two more jewels in our community’s crown, Debbie and John Montford,” Straus said.
Montford and his wife urged their fellow community leaders to strongly support
education and cancer research at the university, including the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Debbie Montford serves on the CTRC Board of Governors.
“ ‘We make lives better’ is more than a slogan,” Debbie Montford said. “It is a promise. It is a promise that we will do what we can to find a cure for cancer. Thank you for being a part of that promise. I hope you will be inspired to continue and increase your commitment to support the Health Science Center, cancer research and fulfilling the promise, ‘we make lives better.’ ”
Presidential Circle sponsors of the gala were the General Motors Foundation and the AT&T Foundation.