DALLAS, TX (June 1, 2023) – Southwestern Medical Foundation today announces the renaming of The Heritage Society in honor of former UT Southwestern president and community leader, Dr. Kern Wildenthal. The Heritage Society, of which Dr. Wildenthal and his wife, Marnie, were early members, was established in 1995 by Southwestern Medical Foundation to recognize those who make planned gifts to benefit UT Southwestern Medical Center. Since then, more than $200 million in planned gifts have been received with one-third coming from The Heritage Society members. Thanks to the generosity of visionary friends, UT Southwestern proudly celebrates a distinguished record of breakthrough scientific discoveries, outstanding medical education and training, and excellence in patient care.

Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Southwestern Medical Foundation president and CEO, Michael McMahan pose for a picture.
Dr. Kern Wildenthal (left) with Michael McMahan, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation, at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees.

“We are thrilled to announce the renaming of our Heritage Society in honor of Dr. Kern Wildenthal,” said Michael McMahan, Southwestern Medical Foundation President and CEO. “Dr. Wildenthal has been an integral part of the growth and evolution of medicine in Dallas and the continued prestige that has become synonymous with UT Southwestern and Southwestern Medical Foundation. This is a very exciting way for us to recognize his work over the past several decades and to acknowledge the differences he will continue to make in our communities for years to come.”

Dr. Wildenthal has been a leader in Dallas medicine for more than four decades. His career in medicine began when he was accepted to Southwestern Medical School in 1960 at the age of 18 and after graduating in 1964, he trained at multiple hospitals and institutions, including Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Wildenthal spent 32 years as a dean and then president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, four years as president of Southwestern Medical Foundation, and three years as president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation. He has also spent multiple years as a board member, officer, and consultant for numerous medical charities in North Texas, nationally and internationally.

During his tenure as UT Southwestern’s president, the institution more than quadrupled in size and emerged as one of the leading medical centers in the world. Additionally, under Dr.
Wildenthal’s leadership, philanthropic support for Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern soared. Upon his retirement as president, more than 300 community leaders and faculty members contributed over $20 million to endow the “Kern Wildenthal Fund” at Southwestern Medical Foundation to support programs at the Medical Center, including a distinguished chair and two professorships.

“The naming of The Wildenthal Society is an exceptionally gratifying honor,” Dr. Wildenthal said. “The encouragement of planned gifts has been a top priority for Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern for many decades. When my mentor and predecessor, Dr. Sprague, retired from the Medical Center and became president of the Foundation, we agreed that the long-term future of both organizations would be crucially dependent on planned giving and that those who provided far-sighted support through their wills, trusts, and endowments should be honored through membership in a ‘Heritage Society.’ To have my name now linked to this society in perpetuity is an extraordinary and heart-warming honor, and I am deeply grateful.”

Those interested in membership to The Wildenthal Society may qualify by making a bequest to Southwestern Medical Foundation or UT Southwestern in their will or revocable trust or by making some other type of planned gift such as a charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity. For additional information on Southwestern Medical Foundation and the newly named Wildenthal Society, please visit https://swmedical.org/the-wildenthal-society/.



Southwestern Medical Foundation is a public charity and a registered 501(c)(3) organized in 1939 with a question: “Why not a great medical center in the Southwestern United States?” The Foundation was created to rally citizens in support of the highest quality health care possible in the Southwestern US. Out of that community vision, UT Southwestern Medical Center emerged. Today it remains the Foundation’s partner and most significant beneficiary. Southwestern Medical Foundation is guided by four core principles: Service to Community, Vision of Excellence, Mindful Stewardship, and Best Outcomes. Each principle is a promise to donors, beneficiaries, and generations to come that the Foundation is dedicated to bringing the gift of better health to the Southwest and the world beyond. Southwestern Medical Foundation continues to earn a Candid (formerly GuideStar) Platinum Seal and Charity Navigator Four-Star Rating. These organizations rate governance, accountability, and transparency, supported by both qualitative and quantitative measures. Learn more about our story here.


UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,900 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in more than 80 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients, more than 360,000 emergency room cases, and oversee nearly 4 million outpatient visits a year. Learn more at www.utsouthwestern.edu/.