Tribute celebrates Wildenthal's service

Decades of service to UT Southwestern, including 32 years of institutional leadership, were celebrated Sept. 9 during the "A Legacy of Excellence: a Tribute to Dr. Kern Wildenthal" program.

The event for the medical center's faculty, students and staff included reflections by current and former faculty members, administrators and UT System speakers covering Dr. Wildenthal’s status as an academic leader, his days as a fellow and junior faculty member, his administrative start as dean of UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and UT Southwestern Medical School; his storied 22-year career as president of the medical center, and his lasting impact on clinical and research initiatives at
UT Southwestern and on UT System.

  Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of Southwestern Medical Foundation (right), is greeted by members of the campus community (from left) Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Joseph Goldstein and Dr. Ellen Vitetta.

“It is appropriate that we take note and celebrate Dr. Wildenthal’s career and accomplishments, as they have had lasting and far-reaching impact,” said
UT Southwestern President Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, who presided over the campus-wide event. “UT Southwestern is considered one of the top medical centers in the world, and that is due in large part to the vision and leadership of Dr. Kern Wildenthal.”

The longest tenured president of a Texas state university at the time of his retirement in September, Dr. Wildenthal has been associated with the medical center since first arriving on campus as an 18-year-old medical school student.

He now devotes most of his efforts to philanthropic pursuits on behalf of the medical center as president of Southwestern Medical Foundation and remains on the faculty as a tenured professor.

Tribute speakers included Dr. Kenneth Shine, UT System interim chancellor and executive vice chancellor for health affairs; Nobel Laureates Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Erik Jonsson Center for Research in Molecular Genetics and Human Disease, and Dr. Joseph Goldstein, chairman of molecular genetics; Dr. Peter Fitzgerald, retired executive vice president for business affairs; Dr. Jere Mitchell, professor of internal medicine; Dr. William Neaves, former executive vice president for academic affairs and dean of the graduate and medical schools at UT Southwestern who is now president and chief executive officer of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research; Dr. Duke Samson, chairman of neurological surgery; Dr. Donald Seldin, former chairman of internal medicine; and Dr. Ellen Vitetta, director of the Cancer Immunobiology Center.