RICHARDSON, Texas (June 2, 2005) – The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), with enthusiastic support from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and officers of the Green Trust and Cecil and Ida Green Foundation, has combined $11 million of endowment funds accrued from individual gifts to UTD by the late Cecil and Ida Green to create a major university-wide focus on the interdisciplinary research field of systems biology.
Systems biology encompasses a wide variety of mathematical, computational, physical science and engineering research that is becoming more and more critical to progress in the biomedical sciences.
UTD’s new Cecil and Ida Green Center for Systems Biology Science will provide endowed faculty positions for 10 faculty members working in this field and scholarships for their students. The center will operate in close cooperation with the similarly focused Cecil H. and Ida Green Comprehensive Center for Molecular, Computational and Systems Biology at UT Southwestern. The UT Southwestern Center was created in 2004 by adding the more than $13 million of endowment funds from prior gifts from the Greens to UT Southwestern to $12.8 million in new gifts from the Green Foundation and the Green Trust.
Cecil Green was one of the founders of both Texas Instruments and the research institute that in 1969 was turned over to the state to become The University of Texas at Dallas. Green and his wife, Ida, were major benefactors to a globe-circling host of educational and cultural institutions.
UT Southwestern in particular has received vitally important support from the Greens over many years. However, arguably no institution owes more to the Greens and their friends and partners, Erik and Margaret Jonsson and Eugene and Margaret McDermott, than does UTD. Prior to Cecil and Ida Green’s bestowing of the individual gifts that provide the basis of the new Green Center, the university’s founders, primarily through their Excellence In Education Foundation, provided UTD with land, buildings, operating funds and endowments that, in today’s dollars, are worth more than $300 million. Even more essential, they provided the vision and community leadership without which UTD simply would not exist.
UTD Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Hobson Wildenthal worked closely with UT Southwestern Dean Alfred Gilman and with Bryan Smith and Rust Reid, trustees of the Cecil Green Trust and officers of the Cecil and Ida Green Foundation, in refocusing the Green Legacy at UTD. Smith and Reid have enthusiastically endorsed the structure of the new UTD Green Center with its emphases on emerging technologies in the fields of systems biology and on enhanced collaborations between UTD researchers and researchers associated with the new Green Comprehensive Center at UT Southwestern. They noted that the goals of the center were consistent with two dominant themes of the Greens’ philanthropy -- interdisciplinary research focused on enhancing the quality of human life and cooperation and collaborations between institutions.
Wildenthal said he believed “Cecil Green would be excited and pleased to see the two Dallas institutions that owe so much to his and Ida’s generosity and vision moving forward in a highly cooperative partnership to support cutting-edge research in an area that promises so much for progress in human welfare in this new century. I am greatly indebted to the scientific vision of Dean Gilman and to the bold, astute leadership of Bryan Smith and Rust Reid, who together provided crucial stimulation and support for these important developments.”
The creation of the new Green Center at UTD, along with the center’s advisory council, is awaiting formal approval by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.
Provost Wildenthal noted that the creation the new Green Center addresses both of the key recommendations given to UTD last year by The Washington Advisory Group, a prestigious panel of consultants engaged by the UT System to identify optimum strategies by which system institutions could enhance research productivity. “The WAG recommended that UTD focus its faculty development on biomedical research and on research in the physical and engineering sciences that provides new dimensions to biomedical science. It also noted that UTD and UT Southwestern would derive great mutual benefits from closer and more extensive collaborations, particularly the domain that is becoming known as systems biology,” he said. “The WAG recommendations were in accord with UTD’s own strategic planning priorities and were also enthusiastically endorsed by UT Southwestern.”
Wildenthal continued, “The 10 endowed faculty positions that are the heart of the new UTD Green Center for systems biology will greatly strengthen the university’s ability to recruit and retain outstanding researchers in this vital research area. Moreover, the center will provide an organizational structure by which enhanced and expanded cooperation between UT Southwestern and UTD will be stimulated and guided. To this end, the UTD administration is creating an advisory group for the center composed of leading researchers from both UT Southwestern and UTD, augmented by community representatives active in the domain of biomedical technology transfer. This committee will assist in identifying and recruiting researchers who are both internationally distinguished in their fields and whose research provides intrinsic linkages between the two institutions. It will also provide the mechanism for securing continuing institutional focus on the goals of the center.”
Gilman, who serves as director of the Green Comprehensive Center at UT Southwestern, said, “The new Green Center for Systems Biology Science at UTD, with its focus aligned closely with that of our center and a structure that coordinates research activities in systems biology at our two institutions, significantly enhances our ability to create a very strong research effort in this vitally important research area. The two Green Centers can lead the way in promoting closer and more productive collaborations between our two Dallas institutions.”
“The most distinguished scientific voices at UT Southwestern uniformly concur that our institution can become stronger still by building research and educational links with our general academic institutions in North Texas,” added Dr. Kern Wildenthal, UT Southwestern president. “Advances in biomedical research in the 21 st century will depend ever more critically on synergistic collaborations between the research areas in which UT Southwestern has historically built its strength, and on research in engineering, computational science, physics and chemistry. The enhancement of collaborations between UTD and UT Southwestern that will transpire as a result of UTD’s new Green Center will benefit both institutions and the North Texas area in general.”
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu