image008DALLAS – November 19, 2013 – The Southwestern Medical Foundation presented the 2013 Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Awards to Linda and Mitch Hart and Terry and Robert B. Rowling at a dinner Monday night, November 18, at the Hilton Anatole.

The Sprague Award is the Foundation’s highest community distinction and was created in 1991 to honor those who provide significant support to the improvement of medical education, medical research and patient care. Each year, Southwestern Medical Foundation gives the award to individuals in recognition of their generosity and innovative leadership. In 1996, it was renamed for Dr. Charles Cameron Sprague, president emeritus of UT Southwestern Medical Center and chairman emeritus of the foundation until his death in 2005.

“These two exceptional couples have played critical roles in improving the quality of life for those in our community,” said William T. Solomon, Southwestern Medical Foundation board chairman. “Their service to Dallas sets a remarkable example for others to follow.”

In 1962, Mitch Hart joined Ross Perot as one of the founders of Electronic Data Systems.  He later became a founder of Home Depot and Rmax, where he remains Chairman of the Board.  Mr. Hart also founded and serves as Chairman of the Hart Group, which is involved in insulation, manufacturing and investments. Linda Hart is Vice Chairman, President, and CEO of the Hart Group and Vice Chairman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a nonpartisan public policy research institution in Washington, D.C. Longtime supporters of UT Southwestern Medical Center, the Harts recently gave $1 million to help fund construction of the new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital.  The couple’s previous gifts over a span of more than 15 years have established the Perry E. Gross, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Family Medicine, the Linda and Mitch Hart Distinguished Chair in Neurology, and the Ms. Linda W. Hart and Mr. Milledge A. Hart III Fund in Honor of Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D.

image006“You can’t have a great city without a great medical facility, without a great university, and without great culture” said Mrs. Hart. “By focusing on these things, we feel that we have a chance of helping others to make a mark and helping Dallas develop into one of the world’s greatest cities in every way.  Because of the people who have been awarded this honor before us, it is extremely meaningful to us.”

Mr. Rowling is owner and chairman of TRT Holdings Inc., a company with global interests in energy, hotels, financial services, fitness, and consumer retailing. He serves on the Executive Committee and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Southwestern Medical Foundation. He previously served as Vice Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents and as Chairman of the UT Investment Management Co. In 2003, he was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and in 2005, he was inducted into both the UT Austin McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame and the All-American Wildcatters for his achievements in the oil and gas industry.  This year, on November 1, Mr. Rowling was honored by his alma mater with the University’s highest distinction as he joined the ranks of UT’s Distinguished Alumni.

Mrs. Rowling, also a UT Austin graduate, and Mr. Rowling have given generously to numerous organizations in Dallas and worldwide. Their most recent gift to UT Southwestern totaled $5 million to support construction of the new William P. Clements, Jr. University Hospital.

“We think the new hospital is going to be transformational for UT Southwestern,” Mr. Rowling said. “In terms of basic sciences and education, UT Southwestern is ranked at the top in the country.  In terms of clinical care, this hospital is going to put them on the map.”

Founded in 1939, Southwestern Medical Foundation marks its 75th birthday in 2014.

“As we look back on the history and progress that has been made in the last 75 years, we recognize how essential the Sprague Award winners have been in building this wonderful Foundation and tremendous asset in our city,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of the Foundation. “We are pleased to honor the Rowlings and the Harts for their leadership, their generosity and their enduring legacy that will enrich the community, the state, and the world for years to come.”