DALLAS, TX (October 4, 2023) – Southwestern Medical Foundation presented The Sprague Award to James (Jim) E. Bass, Barbara Bass Moroney, Bonnie Bass Smith, and The Rita Crocker Clements Foundation on Tuesday, Oct. 3 on the Old Parkland Campus in Dallas.

2023 Sprague Award recipients posing with Southwestern Medical Foundation leadership at The Sprague Award reception.
Southwestern Medical Foundation President, Michael T. McMahan (left) and Board Chair, W. Thompson, Jr. (right), alongside the 2023 Sprage Award Recipients: James E. Bass, Bonnie Bass Smith, and Barbara Bass Moroney.

“It is with deep gratitude that we honor Jim, Barbara, and Bonnie alongside The Rita Crocker Clements Foundation, for their extraordinary dedication and profound contributions to Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center,” said Michael McMahan, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “We congratulate them on receiving The Sprague Award, a well-deserved recognition of their enduring family legacy in the pursuit of better health for all.”

Following the presentation, guests enjoyed one of the Foundation’s signature Leading the Conversation on Health programs featuring UT Southwestern Medical Center faculty. “Inspiring a Higher Standard: Exploring New Intersections of Engineering and Medicine” featured:

  • Marc A. Nivet, Ed.D., M.B.A., Executive Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Kareem Azab, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
  • Elizabeth Moody Davenport, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Radiology, Advanced Imaging Research Center
  • James de Lemos, M.D., Professor, Internal Medicine, Chief, Division of Cardiology, Sweetheart
    Ball – Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Chair in Cardiology.

About the Award

Established in 1991, The Sprague Award is the Foundation’s highest community distinction. The award is named for Dr. Charles Cameron Sprague, the first president of UT Southwestern Medical Center and former president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. It recognizes outstanding community leaders who have provided significant support to advance health care through contributions of time, leadership, and resources. Since its inception, The Sprague Award has been bestowed on 51 exceptional philanthropists, business leaders, and innovators who have provided resources to build and inspire progress within what’s become one of the leading medical communities in the world.

A Lasting Family Legacy

The family’s tradition of philanthropy spans three generations, starting with Mrs. Rita Clements and her husband, former Texas Gov. William P. Clements, Jr., who were honored with the 2000 Sprague Award. Notably, in 2009, the Clementses made a $100 million gift – the largest in the Foundation’s history – to support UT Southwestern in building a new, state-of-the-art hospital.

Mr. Bass, Mrs. Moroney, and Mrs. Smith have continued the legacy of funding across various UT Southwestern initiatives and programs, including working together to establish the Rita Clements Chair in Brain Research. Each December, the siblings invite their children to participate in philanthropic investment by inviting them to select a charity that will receive a gift from the family foundation.

Mr. Bass, who previously served on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, noted how proud his mother would be to see the siblings working together and being honored with the same award she received. “It shows how her children learned to give to their community and help others, arising from her strong example of caring.” Mr. Bass said, “We share great admiration, respect, gratitude, love, and devotion to her. And our reciprocal sharing of this award would touch her deeply.”

Award Reaction

“I am truly privileged to receive The Sprague Award, particularly thinking about the stature and the beneficence of all the prior awardees,” said Mrs. Smith, who serves on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Investment Committee and Chair of the Personnel/Retirement Plan Committee. Additionally, she has served on the Campaign for the Brain Steering Committee and the President’s Advisory Board.

In speaking about what the award means to her, Mrs. Moroney said, “What is most meaningful to me is that The Sprague Award is an extension of what my mom taught us and the example she set for us. It is like a beautiful circle of life. It is extremely special for me to receive this award with my siblings. I am grateful for the collaboration we share to give to the world outside of ourselves, which is important to each of us.”


ABOUT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL FOUNDATION                                      

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.