Harold C. Simmons and his wife, Annette Simmons

Harold Simmons had a form of arthritis that affected his spine and shoulder. The middle son of rural Texas schoolteachers, Simmons was a self-made billionaire.

At age 29, he borrowed money to buy a small drugstore and within a
decade had built a statewide drugstore chain, which he sold to the Eckerd Corporation in 1973 for more than $50 million. Following the sale, Simmons prospered as an intuitive investor and creative financier.

Simmons’ arthritis specialist was in private practice at St. Paul.
Appreciative of the care he’d received, Simmons offered to fund research that might help others. His doctor redirected Simmons’ interest to UT Southwestern and Morris Ziff, MD, who was leading one of the most advanced arthritis research programs in the country.

In April 1983, Harold Simmons pledged $7.5 million to establish the Harold C. Simmons Arthritis Research Center. At the time, it was the largest gift the medical school had ever received — and the start of what would become a remarkable legacy of giving.

In 1988, Harold Simmons made an unprecedented $41 million commitment that would begin development of the North Campus at UT Southwestern. At the time, it was the largest philanthropic gift in Dallas history and ranked as one of the largest donations ever made for medical research in the U.S.

Black and white portrait of man

Harold Simmons’ remarkable legacy of giving to the medical center began in 1983.

The commitment included funds to complete the Simmons Biomedical Building, provide additional funding for cancer research and help establish the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Simmons’ support of Southwestern Medical Foundation became exceedingly important in advancing scientific and medical research at UT Southwestern.

The 11-story Simmons Biomedical Building opened in 1993. It was the first research tower constructed on the North Campus and is named in honor of the late Reuben Leon and Fairess Clark Simmons, parents of Harold Simmons.

The completion of the Simmons Biomedical Research Building in 1993 was a landmark achievement.

The building was designed to accommodate a mix of basic science and clinical researchers. Laboratory space could be customized to meet the needs of specific kinds of research. In combination with the unique esprit de corps that existed between departments, the new building became a powerful recruiting tool to attract and hold a critical mass of “movers and shakers.”

Simmons Biomedical Building

Featured Departments, Labs, and Research Programs

» Multiple Neuroscience Research Labs

» Developmental Biology Program ( funded by a gift from the Excellence in Education Foundation)

» Department of Pathology ( two floors)

» The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center

» The Cancer Immunobiology Center

» Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth

and Development

» The Program for Excellence in Postgraduate Research

» Frank M. Ryburn, Jr. Cardiac Center