Dr. Daniel Robbins: Hudson-Penn Award for Excellence in Surgery

By Lin Lofley

Dr. Daniel Robbins walked on campus at UT Southwestern Medical Center four years ago with one plan: He was going to become a surgeon. 

Dr. Daniel Robbins
Dr. Daniel Robbins

“I enjoyed all my rotations,” said Dr. Robbins, who grew up in McKinney, Texas, “but surgery clicked for me. I love the intellectual challenge of it. The constant, rigorous training appealed to me, not to mention the thought of dealing with crises.

“There’s a technical precision that’s required. It’s the reason that the residency takes five years to complete; it takes that long to hone the skills required to be a surgeon.”

The Hudson-Penn Award for Excellence in Surgery, established in 1979, was named for Dr. Lee Hudson, Chief of Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital when UT Southwestern was founded, and for Robert Penn, Dr. Hudson’s brother-in-law.

Dr. Robbins, who earned a degree in biochemistry at UT Dallas, had begun shadowing Richardson surgeon Dr. Gary White, a member of the UT Southwestern Class of 1977, while still in high school.

“I remember when Daniel called me to inquire about shadowing our practice,” Dr. White said. “He’s a very serious young man, mature, and smart. My advice to people who are interested in becoming surgeons is always the same: Whatever you do, be the best you can be.”

After graduation, Dr. Robbins will begin his residency at UT Southwestern at a particularly propitious time. The William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital will open in late 2014, to be followed shortly thereafter by the new Parkland Memorial Hospital.

“Our new hospital will help us grow our patient outreach, and the new Parkland will still be connected to the rich history of the old Parkland hospital,” Dr. Robbins said.

Throughout his medical school career, Dr. Robbins was drawn to surgery. A third-year clerkship confirmed his desire to make it his specialty. 

“The ability of surgeons to alleviate pain, improve life, and cure diseases with their hands resonated deeply with me,” he said. “I simply cannot see myself in any profession other than surgery.” 

“The Hudson-Penn Award for Excellence in Surgery is quite competitive,” said Dr. Robert Rege, Chair of Surgery. “Each year, several students entering surgery rank in the top of their class and distinguish themselves as they rotate through their required and elective rotations on surgery. This year was no exception.  

“Daniel is an extraordinary student and individual. We are very proud to present this award to him and excited that we were fortunate to have him stay at UT Southwestern for his surgical training.”


Dr. Rege holds the Hall and Mary Lucile Shannon Distinguished Chair in Surgery.