Rita Crocker Clements held a powerful spirit of determination. With a distinct prowess in mobilizing others around causes dear to her heart, Rita held a variety of leadership roles in the Republican party as well as a number of civic and charitable organizations. She was heavily involved in the election campaigns of her husband, former Texas Governor William P. Clements, Jr., who passed away in 2011.

“Rita Clements will be greatly missed by our community,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation.  “She was a tremendously insightful leader and generous philanthropist in advancing medical research and education in the State of Texas.”

In 2000, the Foundation awarded The Sprague Award to Bill and Rita Clements for their visionary support of health care. Bill was a longtime member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and Rita joined the board in 2010, lending her voice and wisdom to the Executive Committee before becoming an Honorary Trustee in 2015. Rita’s son, Jim Bass, was formerly a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and her daughter, Bonnie Bass Smith, is a current member of the Board, joining in 2016.

“She was a tremendously insightful leader and generous philanthropist in advancing research and education in the State of Texas."

Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation

Rita and Bill Clements’ financial support of Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center was longstanding and transformational.

In 2009, the couple made a $100 million gift to Southwestern Medical Foundation, the largest in the Foundation’s history. They donated $10 million in 2005 to complete a clinical and medical research facility now named the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building. In 1998, they established the William P. Clements Jr. Scholar in Medical Research with a $1.25 million gift to UT Southwestern.

“I think UT Southwestern is, and always will be, in the forefront of bringing more industry, more research and more private biotech firms here to Dallas. It enhances Texas to have medical institutions like UT Southwestern,” said Rita in a 2000 interview in Perspectives magazine.

Though our hearts are heavy, we at Southwestern Medical Foundation know that Rita’s legacy lives on in her children, and in the many contributions she made toward elevating research and education in Texas.


Related content:
Read Rita Clements' obituary in The Dallas Morning News