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Our History

Meet Annette and Harold C. Simmons

Annette and Harold C. Simmons

Annette and Harold C. Simmons

In 1987, Dallas businessman Harold C. Simmons and his wife, Annette, already generous supporters of UT Southwestern biomedical research, committed $41 million to transform cancer research and care. The Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center was established in 1991. Further support was supplemented by Mr. and Mrs. Simmons and the Harold Simmons Foundation.

In 2005, Mr. and Mrs. Simmons committed an additional $50 million to ensure that the center could mark unparalleled achievement in clinical and research programs concerning all major types of cancer. Later that year, they donated $500,000 to establish an endowed chair in clinical oncology in memory of Dr. Charles C. Sprague, the first president of UT Southwestern.

Mr. Simmons’ unwavering personal and foundation support of medical research and clinical care at UT Southwestern also included funds for arthritis, kidney disease, and diseases of the brain and nervous system. The lifetime contributions to the Medical Center and Southwestern Medical Foundation by Mr. and Mrs. Simmons, the Harold Simmons Foundation, and related entities now exceed $177 million.

Timeline of Achievements


The National Cancer Institute renews Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s comprehensive designation, reaffirming its place among the country’s elite cancer institutes.

Radiation Oncology 71,000-square-foot expanded facility is completed with 49 exam rooms, procedure rooms, patient support rooms, two children’s areas, a cafeteria, and more than a dozen advanced imaging/treatment machines.

The new Gamma Knife suite opened at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital.


Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center joined the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of 30 distinguished cancer centers throughout the United States.

The Simmons Acute Care opened to provide outpatient care for acute illnesses to established Simmons patients with a focus on supportive care, such as infusion and transfusion support, medication administration, and wound care.


The Cancer Care Outpatient Building, an expansion of Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center breaks ground for 2022 completion.

Radiation Oncology breaks ground on a 71,000-square-foot expansion.


The Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach, Engagement, and Equity is established to reduce the cancer burden in North Texas and promote equity in cancer prevention, care and outcomes through research, education and engagement particularly for our diverse race/ethnic, rural, and other underserved communities. 


Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., is named new Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center Director.

The Radiation Oncology Building, part of Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and an outpatient clinic at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, opens its 63,000-square-foot facility.


Simmons Cancer Center is designated a “comprehensive cancer center,” the highest ranking awarded by the National Cancer Institute. The designation recognizes exceptional depth and breadth in cancer research, as well as innovative teamwork among scientists to better understand cancer and improve patient and community care.

A new, 4,000-plus-square-foot cyclotron facility begins operations, expanding scientists’ ability to use positron emission tomography to see events inside the body as they occur and to discern details of cancer and other diseases that may aid in the selection of more effective, individualized therapies.

The bone marrow transplant program, deemed a National Center of Excellence by major national insurance carriers, performs the 1,000th transplant in its 16-year history. Among programs in the region, UT Southwestern’s has the highest one-year survival for allogeneic (donor) stem cell transplantation.

UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center – Fort Worth, encompassing more than 22,500 square feet in Moncrief Cancer Institute, is dedicated, offering the latest in clinical care and access to clinical trials to residents of Tarrant and 10 other counties.

Moncrief and the Simmons Cancer Center roll out a $1.1 million, custom-designed Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic to deliver follow-up care and screening services in Tarrant and eight rural counties, focusing on underserved, uninsured cancer survivors.

Parkland Memorial Hospital, UT Southwestern’s primary teaching institution, opens its new, 862-bed hospital, nearly doubling the size of its previous facility.

A $4.8 million CPRIT award to Moncrief Cancer Institute, the largest prevention grant the agency has awarded, funds the Colorectal Screening and Patient Navigation (C-SPAN) program. The program provides free colon cancer screening and assistance with follow-up care for patients in Tarrant and 20 surrounding rural counties.


The Department of Radiation Oncology leads a research consortium to plan for the first national Heavy Ion Radiation Therapy and Research Center, a major technological advance in cancer care.

The PROSPR Center mission expands to cervical cancer prevention and detection, studying HPV vaccination and screening in women who are without insurance or underinsured.

UT Southwestern is among just 30 U.S. cancer research centers to be named a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site, bolstering the Cancer Center’s clinical cancer research for adults and providing patients access to cancer trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

A formal research affiliation with the Dallas Regional Campus of the University of Texas School of Public Health enhances the Simmons Cancer Center’s public health research expertise and faculty.

The state-of-the-art William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital opens, with its entire 11th floor – 64 beds – devoted to cancer care.

An anonymous donor provides $10 million to establish the Eugene P. Frenkel Program for Endowed Scholars in Clinical Oncology, which promotes the recruitment and support of the next generation of clinical leaders in cancer care.


Simmons Cancer Center establishes its Phase I Clinical Trials Unit to help speed testing of the latest promising potential treatments for cancer patients.

The Cancer Center’s external advisory board approves the Population Science and Cancer Control scientific program, led by Dr. Skinner and Ethan Halm, M.D., and focusing on early cancer detection.

The Cancer Answer Line (1-888-980-6050, – a service to help patients, family members, and the community get answers to general questions about cancer and to better navigate care – makes its debut.


The Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, a $150 million venture dedicated to transformative research on cancer, birth defects, and metabolic diseases, is launched; noted stem cell biologist Sean Morrison, Ph.D., leads the Institute.

B-SPAN expands its mammography and breast cancer diagnosis support into 12 additional counties to the north, west, and south of Tarrant County and plans an expansion that targets public housing residents in Dallas County through a partnership with the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

UT Southwestern begins offering low-dose CT screening for lung cancer after national trials show the technique saves lives by detecting tumors early in patients with a history of moderate to heavy smoking.

The new, $22 million, 60,000-square-foot Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth is dedicated, offering genetic and nutritional counseling, mammography, telemedicine, and support services for cancer patients and survivors.


A five-year, $6.3 million NCI grant establishes the Parkland-UT Southwestern PROSPR Center for colorectal cancer screening, a unique cancer prevention and detection effort that targets people who lack insurance or are underinsured.

Children’s Healthâ„  Children’s Medical Center Dallas, the primary pediatric teaching hospital for UT Southwestern, opens new inpatient and outpatient cancer facilities.

The DNA Repair and Radiation Oncology and Molecular Therapeutics programs is transformed into a new Experimental Therapeutics of Cancer scientific program, to more closely focus on translating UT Southwestern’s foundational scientific discoveries into real-world cancer treatments.


Simmons Cancer Center attains National Cancer Institute designation, placing it among an elite group of top-tier U.S. cancer centers. The recognition acknowledges the Cancer Center for scientific leadership and its substantial resources devoted to finding new insights into, and better treatments for, cancer.

The Cancer Center is named one of 14 medical sites to participate in the federally funded Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium, a clinical trial protocol that offers patients with advanced lung cancers free, extensive genetic testing of their tumors in an effort to find the best possible treatments.

The Breast Screening and Patient Navigation (B-SPAN) program, designed to overcome financial and geographical hurdles that keep women from getting mammograms and timely diagnostic services, begins outreach in five rural counties.


Zale Lipshy University Hospital receives the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award, an honor bestowed on fewer than one in five hospitals evaluated the previous year for programs designed to ensure excellence in cancer care.

The Cancer Biology Graduate Program receives approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

UT Southwestern is named a pilot center for the NCI’s Cancer Target Discovery and Development (CTD2) Network, an initiative designed to translate masses of genomic data about cancers into strategies for treating patients.


UT Southwestern’s bone marrow transplant program is accredited as a joint BMT program with Children’s Healthâ„  Children’s Medical Center.


Moncrief Cancer Foundation commits $20 million over 10 years to establish community outreach programs focused on cancer prevention and survivorship. Keith Argenbright, M.D., is appointed medical director of UT Southwestern’s Moncrief Cancer Resources.

Celette Sugg Skinner, Ph.D., is recruited to lead Population Science and Cancer Control, a developing scientific program designed to partner with the community and local health systems to improve cancer prevention, screening, and other services, particularly in patients who lack ready access to the health care system.


A cooperative training program for oncology nursing students from Texas Christian University is created in the Simmons Cancer Center Clinics.

The Advanced Imaging Research Center, which has become a leader in developing new magnetic resonance and other imaging technologies to shed light on cancer and other diseases, is established with 150,000 square feet devoted to it in the new Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building.

Cancer Center faculty move into more than 32,000 square feet of laboratory space in the newly constructed T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Research Building on the North Campus.


Mr. and Mrs. Simmons made an additional $50 million commitment to ensure UT Southwestern’s eminence in care and research for all types of cancer.


James K.V. Willson, M.D., is named Director.


The 27,000-square-foot-plus Simmons Cancer Center Clinics were established in the Seay Biomedical Building, providing a central location for oncology services and related care.


Pioneering work by Drs. John Minna and Adi Gazdar opened the door for the Cancer Center, with M.D. Anderson, to receive its Lung SPORE.


The Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center was established.


A $41 million gift from Dallas businessman Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, provides seminal funds to transform cancer research and care at UT Southwestern.