Southwestern Medical Foundation presented The Sprague Award for 2017 to Hoblitzelle Foundation at a private dinner on Tuesday, February 7 at Old Parkland.

The Sprague Award (formerly the Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award) is the Foundation’s highest community distinction created in 1991 to honor those who provide significant support to the improvement of medical education, medical research and patient care.

The Sprague Award was named for Dr. Charles Cameron Sprague, the Foundation’s former President, Chairman Emeritus, and the first President of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Since its creation, The Sprague Award has been bestowed on 45 distinguished civic and business leaders who have given generously of their time and resources to make life better for others.

PrintBoth Southwestern Medical Foundation and Hoblitzelle Foundation have played a significant role in community service, continually helping to build the best science and medicine possible for the citizens of North Texas.

“Hoblitzelle Foundation has a long, storied history of giving to the community where it’s most needed and encouraging other donors to follow its lead,” said Robert B. Rowling, Southwestern Medical Foundation Chairman. “Its contributions to the advancement of medicine and science are a continuation of the proud legacy of Karl Hoblitzelle, one of the legendary founders of Southwestern Medical Foundation.”

In the 1930s, before Dallas had even hit a population of 300,000, Hoblitzelle – a vaudeville entrepreneur who owned the Majestic Theater – joined other local businessmen in raising money to build a medical center to meet Dallas’ growing demands for medical care.

Hoblitzelle Foundation was established in 1942 by Karl Hoblitzelle (1879–1967) and his wife Esther Hoblitzelle. The Foundation awards grants to meet the needs of educational, social service, medical, cultural, and civic organizations in Texas, particularly in the Dallas area.  

“Hoblitzelle Foundation has a long, storied history of giving to the community where it’s most needed and encouraging other donors to follow its lead.”

Robert B. Rowling, Southwestern Medical Foundation Chairman

Hoblitzelle Foundation has given nearly $30 million in support of UT Southwestern Medical Center over the years, in addition to the land on which the Medical Center now sits. Their most recent gift was $2 million for the purchase of a Magnetoencephalography (MEG) machine that will provide advanced non-invasive brain imaging technology capabilities as part of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. At the institute, UT Southwestern investigators are paving the way for new therapies and diagnostic approaches for brain illness and brain injury.

Among many other examples, Hoblitzelle Foundation has given $5 million to the Innovations in Medicine campaign to support early-career investigators, research programs in advanced imaging, and construction of research facilities. They have supported the recruitment of Scholars in Medical Science, and launched the careers of outstanding new faculty members.  Hoblitzelle contributed $2 million to help equip the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building on UT Southwestern’s North Campus.

Over the decades, the contributions of Karl Hoblitzelle and Hoblitzelle Foundation have helped to nurture UT Southwestern into the world-renowned institution it is today. Appropriately, one of the buildings on campus bears his name – The Karl Hoblitzelle Clinical Science Building.

“During the 75th anniversary of our organization’s founding, we are deeply honored to receive The Sprague Award from Southwestern Medical Foundation,” said Paul W. Harris, President and CEO of Hoblitzelle Foundation. “We are proud to help advance the future of medicine and education and improve communities in Dallas and around the world.”

Before he founded Hoblitzelle Foundation in 1942, Karl Hoblitzelle played an instrumental role in founding Southwestern Medical Foundation and later Southwestern Medical College.

Dr. Edward H. Cary – a co-founder of Southwestern Medical Foundation – declared that Dallas needed a great medical center in the Southwestern US.  As Dr. Cary and Mr. Hoblitzelle signed the charter establishing the Foundation in 1939, Hoblitzelle said, “This beginning is but the seed of a tremendous idea and a visionary ideal. From it, in time, will spring the steel, concrete, and stone of a great city of mercy where haven may be found by all, the rich and poor alike.”

“We are pleased to honor Hoblitzelle Foundation not only for its remarkable generosity, but for carrying the torch and legacy of Karl Hoblitzelle, an engaged and visionary leader who worked hard to improve the lives of people in Dallas and around the world,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of the Foundation.

“Mr. Hoblitzelle helped to build Dallas’ medical standards and medical care through his active involvement in our Foundation and Medical School,” said Ms. Gibson. “Since, Hoblitzelle Foundation’s Board and business, currently led by Bill Solomon and Paul Harris, have been equally involved as a critical source of support for our community through their insights and informed giving.”

Hoblitzelle Foundation joins an elite list of community leaders whose dedication to Dallas have earned them The Sprague Award. Past Sprague Award winners include Ruth Sharp Collins Altshuler, James W. Aston, Paul M. Bass Jr., Julie T. and Louis A. Beecherl Jr., H.R. (Bum) Bright, Nancy G. 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, Ute and Rolf Haberecht, Nancy B. Hamon, Linda and Mitch Hart, Jess T. Hay, Lyda Hill, 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, Terry and Robert B. Rowling, 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.