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At a standing-room-only celebration marked by laughter, tears and a balloon drop, philanthropists Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long were honored for their legacy of giving with the renaming of the medical school.The newly named Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine recognizes the Austin couple who initially gave $1 million to UT Health San Antonio in 1999 to support scholarships for medical students from South Texas. In 2008, the Longs made a transformative $25 million gift to expand scholarships for students studying to be physicians, nurses, physician assistants and scientists and to support new faculty endowments and medical research.
The Longs announced their most recent gift of $25 million on Feb. 1, their 59th wedding anniversary. This $25 million establishes a $1 million distinguished chair endowment for the dean of the Long School of Medicine; a $4 million endowment to support scholarships for students from throughout Texas who are attending UT Health and studying to be physicians; and a $20 million President’s Endowment for Faculty Excellence in Medicine. The total value of the Longs’ gifts to the university exceeds $61 million with the majority for scholarships.It was no accident the naming celebration was held on Valentine’s Day. The Longs’ lifelong love story was honored as well as their love for students whose lives have been changed as has our University and its Long School of Medicine by this exemplary generous couple.
After welcoming the crowd in the packed Holly Auditorium on the Long campus, University President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, recognized the Longs’ “abiding care for each other and their love for students as well as their unwavering fidelity to the principle that education is the preeminent factor that lifts people up. Their compass is and has been set on the precept that, just given the chance, each of us can make lasting contributions to improve the human condition.”
Joining the Longs on stage were many of the Long Physicians and Long Scholars, who received or are receiving scholarships from the Longs. Jana Waters, a fourth-year medical student and Long Presidential Scholar, and Leo Lopez III, M.D., now a Long Physician graduate whose education was funded in full by the Longs, represented their peers, thanked the couple, and described the continuing impact of their gifts.
UT System Chancellor William McRaven, Chairman Paul Foster of the UT System Board of Regents, former UT Health President and former UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., and Interim Medical Dean Ronald Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., all shared their comments about the Longs’ tradition of improving health care through the education of promising students, support for faculty and advancing medical research.
A special part of the presentation was when first Teresa Long and next Joe Long spoke at the event. Both expressed their genuine pride in the Long Scholars, noting that many were the first in their families to attend college—much less medical school. “They prove that if you give them an opportunity, they will work. They don’t come here to have fun,” Teresa Long said.
Joe Long explained to the students in attendance that when he began attending UT Austin in 1949, tuition was $25 a semester, and “the whole shebang”—a year of tuition, books, fees, room and board—cost a little more than $700.
“Of course, back then, we had state-supported education,” he said. “I’m not sure we have it now. It bothers me that education might (become reserved) for just the rich.”
Both Joe and Teresa Long came from humble backgrounds and both graduated from UT Austin. Teresa Long was the first Latina to receive a doctorate, a doctor of education, from the school. Joe Long received a law degree and went on to achieve great success in banking.
After both were presented with “traditional” white coats, Dr. Henrich said, “The white coat represents medicine’s loftiest ideals. Through their generosity, Mr. and Mrs. Long have joined us in the quest to accomplish what is our daily motto here—to make lives better.”
Joe Long responded by saying “in real life, I was a lawyer. Doctors didn’t like us much. Not sure they do now. I never thought I’d be one … Now my wife is a real doctor.” The crowd was moved by his honest and humorous comments.
The joyous ceremony concluded with the official naming of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine as balloons rained down on the Longs, the University’s grateful leaders, alumni and students, all touched by this remarkable couple’s lasting gifts.