Anonymous gift of $4 million to support UT Tyler School of Medicine | Local News

The University of Texas at Tyler on Monday announced a second $4 million gift to its School of Medicine — this one to support scholarships and faculty research.

“We are tremendously appreciative of this gift to our new School of Medicine,” said UT Tyler President Kirk A. Calhoun. “We continue to be amazed by the support of those who generously desire to help us address the healthcare needs of East Texas and beyond.”

This support comes as a warm welcome to the School of Medicine’s founding dean, Dr. Brigham Willis, who began his tenure in February.

Pediatrician, Associate Dean of Medical Education chosen as founding dean of UT Tyler medical school

Dr. Brigham Willis

“I am extremely pleased at the warm reception that my family and I have received since arriving in Tyler,” Willis said. “What is even more impressive is the overwhelming philanthropic support that we have received since the medical school was announced.”

The anonymous gift comes on the heels of the RW Fair Foundation’s $4 million contribution to support the first cohort of medical students.

UT Tyler and RW Fair Foundation officials in November revealed the $4 million donation would provide four-year scholarships for all 40 students in the incoming class. That $4 million will help address some of the worst measurable health outcomes in rural East Texas, enhance local and regional education and invest in the strongest regional economic driver in a generation, RW Fair Foundation President Bob Garrett said in November.

UT Tyler Senior Vice President for Advancement Dr. Archie Tucker called the current philanthropic momentum “exciting.”

“Texans are beginning to realize the impact that the School of Medicine will have in the state, both from a health and economic perspective, and it’s exciting,” Tucker said. “Thus, we are seeing positive trends in our efforts to raise philanthropic dollars thanks to individuals like our anonymous donor.”

In February 2020, the East Texas Medical Center Foundation gave $80 million to help in the establishment of a medical school in Tyler. In the same month, the UT System Board of Regents approved a proposal for the school.

This past May, the Texas Legislature approved authorizing the Health Science Center at UT Tyler to put resources toward getting accreditation for a doctor of medicine program.

The Texas Legislature made the medical school possible and the UT System provided a start, but the funding of this institution is largely a community responsibility, Garrett said in November.

Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by US News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.


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