Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President, UT Southwestern Medical Center; Dr. Philip D. Tolley, 2018 Ho Din Award Winner, Robert B. Rowling, Chairman, Southwestern Medical Foundation; Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation; Jere W. Thompson, Jr., Trustee, Southwestern Medical Foundation

During the UT Southwestern Medical School Commencement on June 1, Southwestern Medical Foundation will present the 2018 Ho Din Award to Dr. Philip D. Tolley.

“It is a privilege to bestow this year’s Ho Din to Dr. Philip D. Tolley,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “Dr. Tolley has led a distinguished academic pursuit at UT Southwestern Medical School. Combined with his passion for education, his leadership, and his service-oriented heart – he holds the all the qualities symbolized by the Ho Din.”

The award will be presented to Tolley by Jere W. Thompson Jr., Co-Founder and CEO of Ambit Energy and member of Southwestern Medical Foundation’s Executive Committee. Along with the Ho Din medal, Tolley will receive a commemorative certificate and a $10,000 scholarship.

“Philip has led a distinguished academic pursuit at UT Southwestern Medical School. Combined with his passion for education, his leadership, and his service-oriented heart – he holds the all the qualities symbolized by the Ho Din.”

Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation

“For 75 years, this award has been given to those special graduating students who have already demonstrated a genuine desire to help others, and that’s what makes it so wonderful,” said Thompson. “Phil has been a phenomenal student with a 4.0 average, and he has also contributed richly to the care of his patients, his teammates, and his community. He is a natural learner and teacher. Faculty have commented on his compassionate bedside manner, reflective nature, and critical thinking. Classmates say that his care for his patients has inspired them to want to be better. Dr. Donald Seldin passed away recently, but he was one of UT Southwestern’s brightest guiding lights for the past 67 years. Caring for patients was his highest priority, and I believe he would have been very proud of Phil.”

Academic Leadership and Service to Community

Dr. Tolley graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science in 2014. He is known among his peers as a dedicated student who is dedicated to giving back to his community. He received numerous accolades for his academic performance, and maintained a 4.0 GPA while also serving as an athletic trainer.

Dr. Tolley and his wife, Elisse

“I just try to do the best that I can,” said Dr. Tolley. “I’m not satisfied with anything but my best, but you have to balance that with a healthy amount of realizing there’s only so much you can do.”

During his time at UT Southwestern, Dr. Tolley has taken every opportunity to expand his reach and explore different ways to support our community. With a strong inclination to develop the skills of others, he was a full-time teaching assistant for Anatomy. Tolley was engaged in research in the Department of Plastic Surgery related to facial reanimation surgery for facial paralysis with Dr. Shai Rozen, Professor of Plastic Surgery and a UTSW faculty mentor. Most recently, he served as President of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society campus chapter and spearheaded the creation of two new service committees directed toward aiding fellow classmates with board preparation.

Tolley’s future career aspirations are to eventually secure a faculty position at an academic institution. “I have a passion for teaching and would love to be able to someday teach residents,” said Dr. Tolley. “I want to give back to the medical community that has given me so much and will no doubt continue to do so throughout my training.”

After graduation, Dr. Tolley, his wife Elisse, and their 18-month-old son will move to Seattle to begin his six-year integrated plastic surgery residency at the University of Washington affiliated hospitals.

“I have a passion for teaching and would love to be able to someday teach residents. I want to give back to the medical community that has given me so much and will no doubt continue to do so throughout my training.”

Dr. Philip Tolley

“Phil is not only an exceptionally smart individual with a fantastic capacity to absorb new material and apply it, but also an extremely hard worker, with fantastic work ethic, and natural emotional intelligence,” said Dr. Rozen. “He has the ability to adjust quickly to new situations, interact comfortably with both his seniors and juniors, and create a very calm and enjoyable environment for those around him.”

The Ho Din Origin and Legacy

Dr. Tolley at the 2018 Southwestern Medical Foundation Board of Trustees Meeting

"The Southwestern Medical Foundation was established in 1939 by Dr. Edward Cary and Karl Hoblitzelle to own and operate a medical school,” said Thompson. “Dr. Cary had been the driving force, and Karl Hoblitzelle was the driving philanthropist to pull Dallas out of the ‘medical wilderness.’ On May 5, 1943, Southwestern Medical Foundation announced the founding of Southwestern Medical College. An endowment had to be raised, land had to be found, faculty had to be paid, a building had to be secured, a library needed to be stocked and students needed to be recruited. In other words, it was a complete start-up. So what did founder Dr. Cary do first? He focused on people. He knew success was ultimately about recruiting and retaining the best doctors and the best students. To communicate that vision, at the very first meeting of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Medical College in 1943, the Board voted to establish an annual award to recognize a graduating medical student who best exemplifies the ideal physician envisioned by the founders.”

The Ho Din, which represents “the spirit of medical wisdom and human understanding,” has been a hallmark of excellence at UT Southwestern and is the foremost honor bestowed on outstanding seniors.

The first recipients of the Ho Din Award were eight physicians designated as the “Founders.” This group included Dr. Cary, who was noteworthy for leaving an indelible mark on the medical profession in Dallas and medical education in the state of Texas. In special circumstances, the award may be presented to faculty members or administrators who have exemplified the spirit of Ho Din through their service to humanity.

UT Southwestern has received several national accolades based on extraordinary achievements by its faculty and graduates, which is a testament to the level of distinction instilled by its founders. Its faculty has received six Nobel Prizes and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. Many recipients of the Ho Din award go on to achieve success in their respective fields, including Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, the 1966 Ho Din Award winner who later became a recipient of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

The rich tradition of the Ho Din Award serves to inspire and remind the next generation of physicians of the ideals esteemed by Southwestern Medical Foundation and its Founders — knowledge, understanding, and, most of all, compassion.


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Learn more about the Ho Din Award