Then and Now

Black-and-white aerial photo
Aerial view of the dedication ceremony of Southwestern Medical School's Edward H. Cary Building (foreground), with Parkland Memorial Hospital in background, 1955.

Just as Dallas was a much different place in 1963 than it is today, so has UT Southwestern Medical Center grown and changed dramatically from when the nation was rocked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In the fall of 1963, Southwestern Medical School admitted a class of slightly more than 100 first-year students. A class of 92 fourth-year students would have medical degrees conferred the following June. Enrollment would continue to grow: Last June, 221 medical degrees were awarded and, at the start of the academic year in September, 235 incoming students began their quest for medical degrees.

Color photo of aerial view
The campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center, 2013

The number of faculty members in the mid-1960s stood at about 135. Today, UT Southwestern’s full-time faculty members total almost 2,100 and include five Nobel Laureates, a unique distinction, nationally and internationally, for UT Southwestern as an academic medical center.

Construction of the Dan Danciger Research Building began in 1963, and in the mid-1960s the campus included three buildings totaling 300,000 square feet of space. UT Southwestern’s annual budget then was $4 million.

The growth of the medical center, which skyrocketed in the 1960s, led one of the storied clinicians and educators in UT Southwestern history, the late Dr. M.T. “Pepper” Jenkins, Professor Emeritus of Anesthesiology, to remark: “Day to day, great progress and change seem slow. In plotting 25 years as a segment at Southwestern, however, the peaks of progress and accomplishment are so many that there is hardly room for valleys.”

By the 1970s, the Medical School was reorganized, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences had been created. The Allied Health Sciences School, today’s School of Health Professions, also opened during this period. In the ensuing years UT Southwestern’s noted preeminence included establishment of the first Center for Human Nutrition in an American medical school (1981); the Howard Hughes Medical Institute selecting UT Southwestern to house one of its 12 principal laboratories nationwide (1986); Zale Lipshy University Hospital opening (1989); and the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center attaining National Cancer Institute designation, an elite distinction held by only the top-tier cancer centers nationwide (2010).

Today the medical center encompasses 10.9 million square feet of building space and has an operating budget of $1.86 billion.

And UT Southwestern continues to grow and mature. The academic medical center is world renowned for its research, widely respected for its teaching and training, and highly regarded for the quality of clinical care its faculty provides to patients. As part of its strategic priorities, UT Southwestern has secured affiliation agreements with elite academic and research institutions in China, Israel, South Africa, and Peru. It also has created new scientific partnerships with UT Dallas and UT Arlington. More than 1.4 million square feet of construction projects are either underway or in design, with the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, scheduled to open in late 2014, the most visible testament of a vibrant clinical enterprise. All these innovations are occurring on a campus where the faculty and staff are dedicated to advancing UT Southwestern’s enduring core missions of research, education, and patient care.