We are deeply saddened by the loss of Southwestern Medical Foundation Trustee, Honorary Trustee, and friend Dr. Rolf R. Haberecht. The world has lost a leader in innovation. However, his established and endowed support for medical innovation and progress lives on.

Dr. Rolf Haberecht and his wife Ute Haberecht posing for a photo at a Foundation event.
The late Dr. Rolf Haberecht photographed with his wife, Ute, at The Sprague Award Ceremony in 2015.

Serving the Community

Dr. Haberecht was a leader on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for many years. He was an active member of the Audit and Personnel Committees and consistently encouraged the team to dream big dreams. He generously shared his personal journey in learning and leading. Additionally, Haberecht invested not only his time and resources, but also his insights. In doing so, he helped in the journey to advance the leading academic medical center that UT Southwestern has become. In recognition of the tremendous leadership, service, and commitment that Rolf and Ute Haberecht gave to aid our work and mission, Southwestern Medical Foundation awarded the Haberechts with The Sprague Award in 2012.

The Sprague Award, created in 1991, is the highest distinction in community service awarded by the Foundation. It recognizes those who have provided significant support to advance health care through their contributions of time, leadership, and resources.

Wild-Hare Idea Program

Through a gift made to the Foundation in 1996, the Haberechts established UTSW’s Wild-Hare Idea Program. This was an annual grant program to provide seed money for high-risk research. The program was designed for exceptionally creative faculty pursuing relatively unexplored research based on innovation and imagination.

Dr. Haberecht had a tremendous ability to both discover and build businesses. He created the Wild-Hare Idea Program to provide investigators with bold ideas a funding source. These types of “wild-hare” ideas typically wouldn’t gain traction without philanthropic support. Since establishing the fund with Southwestern Medical Foundation in 1998, the Haberechts began to support many other needs of strategic importance to UT Southwestern. 

They generously supported the campaigns to build the research and faculty endowment. Above all, it was important to them to help further the development of clinical care. They were supporters of Zale Lipshy Hospital and donors to the Clements University Hospital Campaign. Furthermore, the Haberechts were tremendously loyal to their many friends. They gave generously in honor of dear friends such as Nobel Prize Laureate Al Gilman, M.D.; Kern Wildenthal, M. D.; and lifelong friends, Margaret and Bob Rogers. 

It is impossible to measure the ripples of the Haberechts’ influence and inspiration across UT Southwestern. Their leadership and support inspired faculty, young and old; students and innovators reaching for the stars; and other builders in our community. Their deep involvement and leadership in working to build the best academic medical center possible is a legacy unto itself.

“Visionary builders and innovators like Dr. Rolf Haberecht take risks on bold and ambitious ideas that have the potential to lead to important discoveries.”

Michael McMahan, President & CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation

Dr. Rolf Haberecht’s Lasting Legacy

“Visionary builders and innovators like Dr. Rolf Haberecht take risks on bold and ambitious ideas that have the potential to lead to important discoveries. Rolf knew his support had the potential to build better outcomes and the new companies that would deliver them. His innovative thinking and charismatic personality will be missed, but his impact will last forever,” said Michael McMahan, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Dr. Haberecht’s passion for science and technology, combined with an innate sense of discovery, has sparked many new ideas at UT Southwestern. As a result, Dr. Haberecht’s bold and visionary leadership left an immense impact on our community in terms of research and innovation. Throughout his life, Dr. Rolf Haberecht and his wife Ute contributed in innumerable ways. As members of The Heritage Society, their planned giving will continue to sustain the work that they found essential to a healthy and thriving community.

Dr. Rolf Haberecht listening to someone while sitting at a desk.

Rolf Haberecht

Make a Memorial Gift

For those wishing to send tributes honoring the life of Dr. Haberecht, please click the link below to go to Southwestern Medical Foundation’s memorial gift page.

Make A Gift

Click here for Dr. Rolf R. Haberecht’s full obituary from The Dallas Morning News.