Baldridges create preventive care professorship

Longtime advocates of healthful living and preventive care, Jerry and Emy Lou Baldridge have given $100,000 to establish a professorship at UT Southwestern to promote optimal clinical care and lifestyles.

The gift, which was made to Southwestern Medical Foundation, will create the Baldridge Family Professorship in Internal Medicine and Preventive Care. Dr. Carol Croft, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, has been named to hold the professorship.

"Emy Lou and I have thoroughly enjoyed every experience we've had at UT Southwestern and have the utmost respect for its physicians - all of whom are so committed to providing world-class care," said Mr. Baldridge. "We're big believers in the importance of exercise and proper nutrition, and we hope that this gift will help provide guidance to patients on how they can improve their health by taking good care of their bodies. We're particularly excited that Dr. Croft, whose outstanding work we so admire, will hold the professorship."

Mr. Baldridge is the chairman and former chief executive officer of Republic Energy, Inc., a company he founded in 1984. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University (1959) and has held several prominent positions in management consulting and corporate finance. In 1968 he founded General Recreation Inc., a major recreation-equipment supplier he headed until 1977. Later that year, he founded Sportpages, a mail-order catalog he ran until 1983. He is also one of the founders of Petro Russo, an independent oil and gas company based in Russia. He serves on the board of the EastWest Institute, a think tank involved in projects in Russia and the Middle East.

Mrs. Baldridge is an active child advocate and the founding chairperson of Greater Texas Community Partners, a volunteer organization providing emergency resources and support to abused and neglected children and their families involved with Texas Child Protective Services. She recently was reappointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, his national initiative to encourage volunteerism. She has received many honors for her volunteer efforts, including the Pi Beta Phi Unsung Angel Award in 2002 and the Daily Point of Light Award by the Points of Light Foundation in 2001. In 1998 she was chosen as Sustainer of the Year by the Junior League of Dallas.

The Dallas couple has two grown children. Their son, Dr. Jeff Baldridge, is a clinical psychologist in Dallas. Their daughter, Kim Salomon, is a homemaker in Greenwich, Conn.

"Jerry and Emy Lou are committed to improving the lives of others, and this generous gift is a wonderful way to promote their belief in healthful living," said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern. "Dr. Carol Croft is one of our finest clinicians, and her dedication to her patients and her desire to help them make wise health choices is evident in everything she does."

Dr. Croft earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1991. She joined UT Southwestern's faculty after completing an internship and residency at the medical center - where she was chief resident from 1994 to 1995. Her professional interests include exercise as an adjunct to the treatment and prevention of chronic conditions.

Dr. Croft, the Baldridges' family physician, was featured in D Magazine's "Best Doctors" list (2003 and 2004) and on the "Best Family Doctors" list in Town and Country Magazine.

"This generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Baldridge demonstrates a very gratifying level of confidence in my work and in that of all my UT Southwestern colleagues," said Dr. Croft. "I'm extremely grateful for this unexpected honor, and I'm excited that they have decided to support what we feel is a tremendously important area of patient care."