Evelyn Whitman-Dunn, a former leader, Trustee, and steadfast supporter of Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center, passed away on January 2, 2021.
“Evelyn was an integral part of our Foundation’s journey of growth and success for more than 40 years. Her contributions to Southwestern Medical Foundation were immeasurable. She served as a beacon and an example for those of us who followed.”
-Kathleen M. Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Mrs. Whitman-Dunn celebrated her 100th birthday on December 11, 2020. We reflect on her life driven by purpose, commitment, and devotion, and celebrate a tremendous legacy.
Growing with the Foundation
Mrs. Whitman-Dunn’s career with Southwestern Medical Foundation began in 1945 at the age of 25, when she joined the team as an assistant and secretary. At the time she joined, the Foundation owned and ran a medical school called Southwestern Medical College of Southwestern Medical Foundation. She helped in many tangible ways to launch the school, which later became UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her intelligence and work ethic set her apart, and she quickly rose through the ranks. She became Executive Director of the Foundation, and helped lead tremendous progress and innovation in medicine for this region.
“[Mrs. Whitman-Dunn] grew up with the Foundation. Her great knowledge and character were vital. She was not only outstanding, loyal, and efficient – she was just exceptionally helpful. Hers was a great contribution to the development of what we know as the UT Southwestern Medical Center.”
-James W. Aston, former Chairman of Southwestern Medical Foundation
As her role at the Foundation evolved, her outstanding loyalty to the Foundation’s mission and her dedication to serving our community remained steadfast. After more than four decades of service, she retired from her role at the Foundation in 1988 but continued offering her support and leadership as a Trustee and as an active member of the Board and its Audit and Scholarship Committees.
Mrs. Whitman-Dunn was loyal to the city of Dallas and had an unparalleled passion for health care. That passion permeated her professional life, and later, her life as a philanthropist. Upon her retirement, Trustees of the Foundation established the Evelyn M. Whitman Scholarship Fund with a permanent endowment to recognize her many years of talented service and devotion.
After her retirement, Mrs. Whitman-Dunn continued as a philanthropic champion of the Foundation and remained committed to furthering important work at the Medical Center. She gave a generous gift in support of neurodegenerative disease research at UT Southwestern. The gift established a postdoctoral fellowship in neurodegenerative disease in the Department of Psychiatry under the direction of Dwight German, Ph.D. These funds have helped researchers further study and develop treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, providing vital support to neurodegenerative discovery. When the gift was made, Dr. German expressed his gratitude for her vision and support.
“We are hopeful for the opportunities this gift will provide our researchers. This level of support will go a long way in helping us better understand nerve-cell death and develop noninvasive techniques for identifying neurodegenerative disease,” said Dwight German, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry
Mrs. Whitman-Dunn was an exceptional leader who committed her career to the improvement of health care in our region. Hers is an enduring example of leadership in action. Her essential role in the early days of the development of Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern will be remembered and treasured as a critical part of Dallas’ important history.
“You cannot say enough about Evelyn Whitman-Dunn simply because there is nothing that fully expresses the incredible dedication, the hard work, and the enormous dimensions of her contribution to Southwestern Medical Foundation.”
-Charles C. Sprague, former President of Southwestern Medical Foundation