For generations, the families of Dr. Gregory and Margie Dess have placed a high value on education, something they consider to be a powerful force in changing the world. The couple’s passion for learning and strong relationship with The University of Texas System, including UT Southwestern Medical Center, is what led them to establish a charitable gift annuity with Southwestern Medical Foundation.  

Dr. Gregory and Margie Dess

“We are deeply grateful for Wildenthal Society members Dr. and Mrs. Dess, and their generous commitment to advancing medical education and research,” said Michael McMahan, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation. “Their visionary support signals a belief aligned with ours – that investment in academic medicine is critical to ensuring a thriving future for all families and individuals across our region.” 

Dr. and Mrs. Dess have taken great pleasure in watching their daughter flourish through many years of schooling and discover her purpose. They recall one of the most exciting and emotional moments they have shared during their 33-year marriage. “Our daughter called us and told us that she was accepted to UT Southwestern Medical School, which would enable her to complete her dream of becoming a medical doctor while remaining in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This was very important to us since she is our only child,” Dr. Dess said. 

Their visionary support signals a belief aligned with ours – that investment in academic medicine is critical to ensuring a thriving future for all families and individuals across our region.

Michael McMahan
President & CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation

To their delight, their daughter walked away from UTSW with much more than a medical degree and outstanding residency experience. She met the love of her life while they were both medical students. Today she is an emergency physician in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and her husband will complete his residency in anesthesiology next year as a Chief Resident at UTSW. 

Grateful for the exceptional education their daughter and her husband received at UTSW, Dr. Dess said, “The value of the education at UTSW is astounding! Not only is the school highly ranked nationally, but also the cost of attendance is extremely low and is roughly half the cost of many public medical schools, not to mention private medical schools.”  

Each day, Dr. Dess is reminded of the positive impact that higher learning has on one’s life and outlook. He is an internationally recognized business strategy expert who holds the Andrew R. Cecil Chair in Applied Ethics in the School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas with primary research interests in strategic management, entrepreneurship, and knowledge management. He has served on the faculties of UT Dallas and the University of Texas at Arlington for a total of 30 years.  

The couple’s decision to support UT Southwestern – one of the highest ranking academic medical centers in the nation – was an easy one. 

We have every confidence in the administration and leadership at UTSW and have requested that our gift be unrestricted in its use.

Dr. Gregory Dess
Member, The Wildenthal Society Member

“UT Southwestern is clearly an outstanding and prestigious institution that makes seminal contributions in teaching, research, and service for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Texas, and the world,” said Dr. Dess. “At the same time, of course, costs are constantly increasing, and private funding is crucial in maintaining that critical margin of excellence. So, we are very happy to be able to give back and support UTSW in some small way—given how much our daughter and son-in-law have benefitted from UTSW.” 

Family Inspires Service to Others

Both Dr. and Mrs. Dess grew up in families with military backgrounds, where they developed a unique sense of adventure and a great appreciation for the world. They were influenced by strong mothers who held the family together while their dedicated fathers served their country.  

“My dad served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force that included 21 combat missions over Japan in World War II as a B-29 pilot and had multiple assignments in the U.S., Italy, and South Korea. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. My mother was a homemaker, and after raising five children and supporting her husband during his career, she earned her master’s degree in English. She taught for many years at the community college level until her sight began to fail when she was in her 70’s,” Dr. Dess said. 

Alfred Hulm, Mrs. Dess’s father, was a Korean War veteran and represented many firms as a self-employed insurance salesman. Her mother, Mary Hulm, was an elementary school teacher and spent many years as a homemaker in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  

Mrs. Dess enjoyed a career in marketing and sales before embracing motherhood and supporting their daughter’s school activities, including varsity cheerleading. She is passionate about helping underserved communities and was an active volunteer and board member for Dress for Success Dallas, as well as a board member of the Galaxy Counseling Center. She has also served as a development/research volunteer for the non-profit think tank, National Center for Policy Analysis.  

Impact Through a Planned Gift 

The couple enjoy attractive annual returns on their charitable gift annuity. With their gift, they became members of The Wildenthal Society, established in 1995 by the Foundation to recognize those who make planned gifts to benefit UT Southwestern. They are confident their investment will make a tremendous impact on the community and inspire medical progress forward. 

Dr. Gregory and Margie Dess picture with Randal Daugherty, Director of Gift Planning at UT Southwestern.

“We have every confidence in the administration and leadership at UTSW and have requested that our gift be unrestricted in its use. One can certainly not predict, with any great certainty, how needs may change in the future. Thus, we are comfortable making our CGA unrestricted, so that it can be used to address the most critical needs, as determined by UTSW’s leadership,” he said.  

The Dess’s appreciate their life in Dallas, where they enjoy spending time with their new granddaughter, golfing, reading, and traveling.