Nancy Dedman, longtime friend of Southwestern Medical Foundation and matriarch of one of the state’s most generous families, hopes that her most recent investment is a catalyst for others. Through a transformational gift of $1 million to the Foundation, Nancy established the Dedman Family Distinguished Chair in Neurologic Disease at UT Southwestern Medical Center. This permanently endowed Chair will directly benefit work being completed at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.

Investing for the Future

“Southwestern Medical Foundation is a great steward of the funds entrusted to it and has been a great partner with UT Southwestern in improving the quality of health care for our community,” said Robert H. (Bob) Dedman Jr., Chairman of the Dedman Foundation and Nancy’s son. “We believe that UT Southwestern is the one institution that can make a meaningful impact in brain health within our lifetimes. They have the ability to attract the right talent and resources to unravel the mysteries of the brain.”

“We believe that UT Southwestern is the one institution that can make a meaningful impact in brain health within our lifetimes. They have the ability to attract the right talent and resources to unravel the mysteries of the brain.”
Robert H. (Bob) Dedman Jr.


Through her generous contribution, Nancy and her family are enabling brilliant minds at the Medical Center to tackle the challenges of brain disease and injury. UT Southwestern O’Donnell Brain Institute teams currently have more than 500 studies in flight related to neurodegeneration, neuromodulation, neurorepair, and neuro-oncology. These leading edge pursuits are bringing us closer to answers about some of the biggest medical problems facing our society, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression and mood disorders, and the staggering impacts of stroke or brain injury.

“All of us have family and friends that have been affected by brain health issues,” said Bob. “With Edith and Peter O’Donnell’s commitment and willingness to have the Brain Institute named after them, I know it will be successful.”

The American Dream

The Dedman family name is synonymous with giving in North Texas. They’ve brought to life some of the most recognizable and inspirational programs in our area, including the Dedman School of Law, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute in the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports at Southern Methodist University.  

The Dedman Foundation gave $12 million in 2008 to establish the Dedman Family Endowed Program for Scholars in Clinical Care at UT Southwestern. The gift, made to Southwestern Medical Foundation, was matched to create a $24 million endowment that allows UT Southwestern to recruit promising early-career physicians to the medical center to be mentored by senior clinicians and clinical scientists. 

Twenty Dedman Scholars have been appointed since 2008, with the program supporting their innovative work across fields such as Type I diabetes, organ transplant recipients, Cystic Fibrosis, liver disease, and many more. In 2017, Drs. Pearlie Chong and Alexandra Callan were honored with the title and granted funding to support their work in the fields of infectious diseases and oncology, respectively.

In 2009, Southwestern Medical Foundation presented the family with The Sprague Award, one of the most prestigious philanthropy in health care awards.

In 2012, the Dedman Foundation made a landmark gift of $1 million to support the capital campaign for William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. Bob Dedman has been a member of the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board of Trustees since May of 2000 and he served on the Innovations in Medicine capital campaign at UT Southwestern, which helped raise $770 million for medical research, education and patient care.

Nancy McMillan Dedman was married for 49 years to the late Mr. Robert H. Dedman Sr. She has served on the UT Southwestern University Hospitals & Clinics Board of Visitors, the board of the Shelter Ministries of Dallas, and the Salvation Army Advisory Board. She also is a supporter of the Dallas Museum of Art, the Texas Ballet Theater, and the AT&T Performing Arts Center. She was honored with the Annette G. Strauss Humanitarian Award in 2004.

“At almost 90 years young, my mother continues my parents’ legacy of caring for others,” said Bob. “It started in 1951 when my parents met in Dallas, fell in love, raised a family and built a business with the help of many great employee partners that far exceeded their expectations of success. In essence, our family has lived the American dream. We believe part of the American dream is the responsibility of helping others who may not be able to help themselves.”

An Inspiring Legacy

“The Dedman family’s generosity has been at the epicenter of so many of Dallas’ key initiatives,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “They are encouragers, innovators, and changemakers who are shaping our city with a vision that is full of heart and thoughtful insight.”

"They are encouragers, innovators, and changemakers who are shaping our city with a vision that is full of heart and thoughtful insight.”
Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation

“My mother is inspired by her faith first, and second, by sharing the gift of better health with others,” said Bob. “She has been blessed by great health and great health care throughout her life and she would like to share that gift with others.”