Biomedical Research Building named in honor of UTSW President Emeritus Dr. C. Kern Wildenthal
March 19, 2015 - UT Southwestern
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s newest biomedical research building is being named in honor of Dr. C. Kern Wildenthal, President Emeritus and Professor of Medicine Emeritus, who served more than two decades as UT Southwestern’s second President and helped steer the development of the campus and its research and clinical facilities.
The 12-floor, 331,400-square-foot, $216 million C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building, located on UT Southwestern’s North Campus at 6000 Harry Hines Blvd., is being formally named for Dr. Wildenthal in a special dedication ceremony on Friday, March 20.
Dr. Wildenthal, currently President of Children’s Medical Center Foundation and Executive Vice President of Children’s Health System of Texas, served as UT Southwestern President for 22 years, during which time he helped lead the Innovations in Medicine campaign, which raised more than $750 million between 2001 and 2007 for research and clinical programs at UT Southwestern. Among other accomplishments, he also led the initiative to develop the North Campus, including construction of the building now being named for him.
“The C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building is a fitting acknowledgment of Dr. Wildenthal’s legacy of significant contributions and enduring impact,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, who holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. “As home to the groundbreaking research that Dr. Wildenthal’s vision helped promote, the building stands as a testament to his passion and commitment for our missions of research, education, and patient care.”
The C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building (NL on UT Southwestern campus map), is home to state-of-the-art laboratory space that includes the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), and laboratory space for the Departments of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, Dermatology, Microbiology, and Cell Biology. The building also houses offices for UT Southwestern’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ Rolf and Ute Haberecht Administration and Academic Center.
The CRI, directed by Dr. Sean Morrison, Professor of Pediatrics and holder of the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics, is a joint venture established by Children’s Medical Center Dallas and UT Southwestern in 2011. Its research programs focus on areas of unmet needs of children and encompass stem cell biology, cancer, and metabolism.
“I am very gratified by this recognition, and deeply honored to be associated with the world-class research that is undertaken every day in these laboratories,” said Dr. Wildenthal, a 1964 graduate of Southwestern Medical School.
Dr. Wildenthal spent the majority of his career, from 1970 to 2008, at UT Southwestern, first as a faculty member, then as a Dean for 10 years, and finally as the institution’s President from 1986 to 2008. He then served as President and Senior Consultant of Southwestern Medical Foundation for five years, and in 2013 joined UT Southwestern’s pediatric partner, Children’s Health System of Texas, where he continues to be an advocate for the institutions that comprise the Southwestern Medical District, including Children’s, Parkland Memorial Hospital, and UT Southwestern. In 2013, the UT System Board of Regents elected him to the honorific positions of Professor Emeritus and President Emeritus of UT Southwestern, in recognition of his contributions.
Under Dr. Wildenthal’s leadership, the institution more than quintupled in size and emerged as one of the world’s leading medical institutions. Research expenditures grew more than tenfold to nearly $400 million per year. The medical center’s endowment grew from $40 million to more than $1.3 billion, including more than 300 new chairs, professorships, and other special endowed funds. The size of the campus grew from 65 acres to more than 300 acres, including the addition of two referral hospitals and outpatient facilities, as well as the first half of a planned 4-million-square-foot research complex.
During his academic career, Dr. Wildenthal practiced cardiology, was active in teaching (he was elected by the student body as Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1975), and led an internationally prominent heart research program. He has published more than 120 scientific and medical papers, as well as numerous articles on health and education policy issues. He has held leadership positions in the American Federation for Medical Research; Association of Academic Health Centers; American Heart Association; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and International Society for Heart Research, among many other organizations. In 1975, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1999, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Wildenthal has been a visiting lecturer and organizer of conferences in 24 countries. He was awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by Southern Methodist University in 2006 and by Austin College in 2010. In 2008, Dr. Wildenthal was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the first leader of a non-profit organization to be so honored. Also in 2008, upon his retirement and in appreciation of his contributions, community and medical center leaders donated more than $20 million to establish two professorships, a distinguished chair, and the “Kern Wildenthal Fund” in his name.
Dr. Wildenthal earned a B.A. from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, an M.D. from UT Southwestern, and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in England. He spent his post-graduate training in internal medicine, cardiology, and research at Bellevue Hospital in New York; Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas; at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland; and at the University of Cambridge.
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