Southwestern Medical Foundation celebrates 85 years of impact and stands as a pillar of the North Texas community for its transformative impact in advancing the field of medicine.

Founded in 1939 by Dr. Edward H. Cary with the help of Karl Hoblitzelle and other community leaders, Dr. Cary had a bold vision to bring a world-class medical center to Dallas to serve the Southwestern region of the United States. The Foundation was formed with the community’s support to raise funds to build the medical center. In 1943, Southwestern Medical Foundation established Southwestern Medical College and the school welcomed its first class of medical students as part of Dr. Cary’s grand vision.

Edward H. Cary, M.D. (left) and Karl Hoblitzelle (right) were two key figures in bringing the vision of Southwestern Medical Foundation to life.

Established during the height of World War II, Southwestern Medical College struggled to find the building supplies due to wartime rations. However, the military needed Doctors and the Eighth Service Command, based in Dallas, authorized top priority for Southwestern Medical College to acquire the necessary building materials to construct 30,000 square feet of buildings. In exchange, all male students who graduated were required to join the military during the first few years of the school’s operations.

Plywood barracks were quickly built, and classes commenced. It didn’t take long before the buildings of Southwestern Medical College were quickly nicknamed “The Shacks.”

Plywood barracks were built to serve as Southwestern Medical College’s first buildings in 1943. “The Shacks,” as they were called, were constructed on the Parkland Hospital campus due to a shortage of materials during World War II.

In 1949, Southwestern Medical Foundation deeded the land, the medical college, and all of its equipment to the University of Texas System, eventually creating what we know today as the UT Southwestern Medical Center. From humble beginnings as a small medical college housed in plywood shacks, it was the community of this region that set into motion the development of a world-class medical center that we continue to support to this day. The collaborative efforts between the Foundation and UT Southwestern have propelled advancements in diverse medical disciplines.

Michael Brown, M.D. (left) and Joseph Goldstein, M.D. (right) celebrate winning the Nobel Prize, the first for UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Over the years, Southwestern Medical Foundation’s supporters have been a driving force behind groundbreaking discoveries and innovation. Our region’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge research has led to medical breakthroughs that have improved the lives of countless individuals. An unwavering dedication to medical education has cultivated a new generation of health care professionals, shaping the future of medicine.

As we celebrate this milestone, it is evident that the community’s impact extends far beyond Southwestern Medical Foundation’s early years. We honor the multi-generation relationships that have grown and led progress forward for decades while passing down a spirit of generosity.  

Here’s to 85 years of transformative investments and to working with our growing region to chart a future path for the benefit of generations to come.