Each year Southwestern Medical Foundation honors select individuals who have provided extraordinary support in enhancing patient care, medical education and medical research in North Texas. This year the organization named three people, whose names have become synonymous with generosity and innovative leadership, as the 2012 recipients of its highest recognition, the Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award. Rolf and Ute Haberecht and Lyda Hill join an elite list of community leaders, whose dedication to Dallas have earned them the award.

In 1991 the Foundation created a community service award, which later was renamed the Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award, in honor of the Foundation’s former president, CEO and chairman emeritus, and in recognition of the significant and lasting influence his service at UT Southwestern Medical Center and at Southwestern Medical Foundation had on medicine in Dallas.

Prior award recipients have included: Ruth Collins Altshuler, James W. Aston, Paul M. Bass Jr., Julie T. and Louis A. Beecherl Jr., H.R. (Bum) Bright, Nancy Brinker, Rita C. and William P. Clements Jr., Mary McDermott Cook, Joe M. Dealey, Robert H. Dedman Family (Nancy Dedman, Patricia Dedman Nail, and Rachael and Robert H. Dedman Jr.), Jerry Farrington, Earl A. Forsythe, F.B. Pete Goldman, Cecil H. Green, Nancy B. Hamon, Jess T. Hay, Adelyn and Edmund Hoffman, Sydney and J.L. Huffines, Vester Hughes, Nancy and Ray Hunt, J. Erik Jonsson, Robert Korba, George L. MacGregor, Margaret M. McDermott, Sammye and Mike A. Myers, Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr., Margot and Ross Perot, Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens, Caren and C. Vincent Prothro, Charlene and Lee Raymond, Laura and Jack Roach, Ralph B. Rogers, Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay, Annette and Harold C. Simmons, Jean and Dr. Bob Smith, Gay F. and William T. Solomon, Charles Cameron Sprague, M.D., Jean and Tom Walter, and Donald Zale.

LYDA HILL: Responsive to the needs of all, all over the world

A business entrepreneur, environmentalist, volunteer and innovative philanthropist, Lyda Hill is, quintessentially, an adventure-seeker. One of the most enterprising businesswomen in the country, she also is one of the most philanthropic, having pledged to give away her entire fortune – most of it during her lifetime.

Born into a family of Texas leaders – her grandfather was oil magnate H.L. Hunt – Miss Hill developed a lifelong thirst for knowledge and an ingrained desire to give back to the community in which she was raised.

President of LH Holdings, a real estate, tourism and venture investment firm, she is an inquisitive traveler and lifelong athlete who has trekked, skied and snorkeled in more than 100 countries. She credits her broad experiences, both at home and overseas, for keeping her grounded and “open to the incredible needs of others, all over the world.”

President of the Lyda Hill Foundation, an organization that supports increased understanding of nature and science, the celebrated civic leader had her first foray into business development in 1967, when she founded Hill World Travel.  The agency quickly became the largest travel agency in Dallas and was one of the largest in the country when she sold it 15 years later.

Her many real estate preservation projects include the award-winning redevelopment of the Fort Worth Stockyards, which transformed the area into a historic tourist attraction.

Countless nonprofit organizations have benefited from Miss Hill’s leadership as chairman or president, including the Visiting Nurse Association of Texas, the Dallas Chapter of the World Presidents’ Organization, the Crystal Charity Ball, the Junior League of Dallas, the Dallas and Texas Chapters of the American Heart Association, Easter Seals North Texas and the Women’s Texas Golf Association. She chaired the Public Affairs Committee of the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board of Trustees for many years and now serves as an Honorary Trustee of the Foundation.

In addition to her volunteer leadership, she has made multiple seven-figure gifts to many Dallas organizations, including to UT Southwestern for the Lyda Hill Endowment for Systems Biology (see pages 22-23).

She has received numerous awards and honors, including the Betty Ford Individual Philanthropy Award from Susan G. Komen for the Cure; the Luminary Award from the Committee of 200; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Volunteer Center of North Texas; and distinguished alumnus awards from the Hockaday School, Hollins University and  Leadership Dallas.

In the 1980s she launched the Volunteer Connection, an enormously successful pilot project she created in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to promote volunteerism. The initiative, which was widely duplicated nationwide, received high honors from local and national leaders and earned the prestigious President’s Volunteer Action Award. The project also earned Miss Hill a spot on the President’s [Ronald Reagan’s] Advisory Council on Private Sector Initiatives.

She describes her most recent business ventures as “philanthropreneurial.” She is particularly proud of her work with the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, where she summered as a child and still has a second home; her conservation efforts in the Arctic Ocean; and her new biomedical research company, Remeditex.

Spirited, candid, and unpretentious, Miss Hill sat down with us to talk about her past accomplishments and future ambitions. Click here to read more.

UTE AND ROLF HABERECHT: Changing the world through technology

Fueled by imagination and an infectious enthusiasm for the wonder of invention, Dr. Rolf Haberecht and his wife, Ute, have spent much of their lives looking for ways to teach and inspire others.

With an unsurpassed passion for all things technological, the couple has infused the Dallas community with their creativity and commitment to educating the next generation of scientists.

Born and raised in Germany, the Haberechts made their home in Dallas more than 50 years ago, when Dr. Haberecht was recruited to work at Texas Instruments as a researcher. During his 22-year career with TI, he rose to corporate vice president, responsible for the company’s worldwide semiconductor operations.

In 1984 he struck out on his own to co-found VLSIP Technologies, now a worldwide manufacturer of electronic medical modules. A lifelong inventor, he holds a number of patents, one of which is part of the Chip Collection in the Smithsonian.

Longtime champions of medical research, the Haberechts gave $1 million earlier this year toward construction of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s new $800 million William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. The couple has previously donated more than $4 million to the medical center, which has recognized them with the naming of the Rolf and Ute Haberecht Administration and Academic Center of the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Rolf and Ute Schwarz Haberecht Deanship of the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Haberecht Family Fund in Honor of Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D.

Perhaps their most personal project, the Haberecht Wild-Hare Idea Program, was created by the couple to foster speculative research based on innovative and controversial ideas. Begun by the couple more than a decade ago, the program has spawned many ideas, one of which has resulted in promising drugs to treat neurodegenerative disorders. These early-stage compounds may hold promise in fighting Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Haberecht is a longtime member of the Board of Visitors for UT Southwestern University Hospitals & Clinics and the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board of Trustees. He is also a trustee of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Greifswald and a master’s degree and doctorate in chemistry and physics from the Technical University in Berlin. Dr. Haberecht also holds a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.

To read more about the couple’s version of the “American Dream” and express their thoughts about the union of creativity and science, click here.