McDermott $4.5 million donation ensures ‘very best’ landscaping

Personal, foundation support continues for William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital

This latest gift is in addition to Mrs. McDermott’s $10 million lead contribution in 2011 to the $200 million Building the Future of Medicine campaign for the new hospital, as well as the McDermott Foundation’s prior gift of $1 million.

Mrs. McDermott
Image courtesy of Nan Coulter. 

Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, said of Mrs. McDermott’s latest gift: “Her vision and standards of excellence challenged us to think more deeply and creatively about our landscape design plans for the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, and her extraordinary generosity then made it possible for us to engage Peter Walker and his team. Their efforts will not only make the Clements University Hospital a landmark addition to our city’s outdoor environment, but they will also be a milestone in defining the role of the physical environment in the hospital of the 21st century. The landscape design that Mrs. McDermott’s gift made possible will have a significant impact on our patients and their families, as well as on the quality of the work environment for our hospital staff.”

Dr. Podolsky added, “Mrs. McDermott said that if we were going to build this hospital at UT Southwestern, it needed to be the best in every dimension. And as part of her overall commitment to excellence for Dallas, she wanted to ensure that the hospital’s surroundings reflected the very best landscape design and contributed to the healing process for patients and to the well-being of their families, the hospital staff, and visitors.”

William T. Solomon, Chairman of the Board of Southwestern Medical Foundation and Chair of the Building the Future of Medicine campaign, said: “Margaret McDermott is one of UT Southwestern’s and Southwestern Medical Foundation’s most loyal, generous, and creative supporters. Her personal donations over the decades, along with those of the Eugene McDermott Foundation, have been transformative in their effects.

“Her continued support of the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital campaign underscores the vital role of philanthropy in building strong institutions where medical breakthroughs actually happen. And the groundbreaking work at UT Southwestern – from the laboratories to the classrooms to the clinics and hospitals – is in fact changing and improving lives for the better,” Mr. Solomon said. “As the Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary of supporting quality health care in the Southwest, we are again grateful to Mrs. McDermott, whose family was among the earliest and most important visionaries in nurturing the Foundation and in forming and growing the medical center. We thank Margaret McDermott for her generosity and take tremendous pride in seeing this shared vision of quality care flourishing – especially through the opening of a hospital so transformational in its approach to state-of-the-art, patient-centered care.”

Mr. Walker and the staff at his firm, PWP Landscape Architecture, have designed and are now directing the landscaping of garden areas for the hospital. He is renowned for co-designing the National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York City, the Constitution Gardens at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, among many other international projects of distinction. His work in Dallas includes the outdoor spaces of the Nasher Sculpture Center and the transformation of the campus grounds at UT Dallas.

A Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the Institute for Urban Design, Mr. Walker has been granted the International Federation of Landscape Architects’ Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Gold Medal, the Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects, Harvard University’s Centennial Medal, the University of Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson Medal, and the ASLA Medal.

“The new hospital, named for the past Governor of Texas, William P. Clements Jr., will bring new distinction to this city,” Mrs. McDermott said. “World-class administration; noted medical expertise in various departments; cutting-edge technological equipment; art in attractive surroundings; plus Peter Walker and company’s famous landscape design will give new reasons for Texas-Pride – bragging too.”

All four corners of the UT Southwestern campus feature the McDermott name. The Eugene McDermott Plaza, the Eugene McDermott Administration Building, and the Eugene McDermott Lecture Halls are not only distinctive physical spaces on campus, but also serve as architectural expressions of the medical center’s commitment to the integration of its academic, research, and clinical missions.

Other vital contributions include the Eugene McDermott Center for Pain Management; the Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair in Molecular Genetics, held by Dr. David W. Russell, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Vice Provost and Dean of Basic Research; and the Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair for the Study of Human Growth and Development, held by Dr. Helen Hobbs, Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics. Mrs. McDermott also has added her personal touch to UT Southwestern with donations of Asian and African textiles that are displayed throughout Zale Lipshy University Hospital and other works of art from throughout the world, including sculptural tables designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.

Philanthropy was a shared passion with her husband, the late Eugene McDermott, who co-founded Texas Instruments. In 2004, Mrs. McDermott received the UT System’s highest honor, the Santa Rita Award – an honor her husband received in 1969.

In 1950, Mr. McDermott established the Biological Humanics Foundation, which in 1973 became the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at UT Southwestern. His generosity resulted in the creation of an endowment that supports the research and educational missions of the Center, which is directed by Dr. Hobbs.

“It’s hard to say something about Margaret that people haven’t said. She’s such an extraordinary person in so many ways,” Mr. Walker said. “We wouldn’t be at the medical center if it weren’t for Margaret. She said, ‘Pete, this is a really important building, and this is a really important institution.’ She’s just the most wonderful client one could ever wish to have.”

UT Southwestern’s new $800 million hospital will serve as a model for academic medical centers across the country. Representing the vanguard of the highest standards of patient care, leading-edge science, and state-of-the-art technology, the patient-centric environment at the hospital will be enhanced by the positive effects of the green spaces and calming gardens made possible by Mrs. McDermott and the McDermott Foundation’s very generous additional gifts. 

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A Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at UT Southwestern, Dr. Hobbs also holds the Dallas Heart Ball Chair in Cardiology Research, and the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D., Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D., Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

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