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The Dallas Morning News Robert Miller Column: UT Southwestern Medical Center Receives Big Gifts

March 6, 2008

By Robert Miller, The Dallas Morning News

Mar. 6–Texas oilman Vernon Faulconer and his wife, Amy, have given $1 million to support gynecologic oncology programs and establish a distinguished chair at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The gift, made through the Southwestern Medical Foundation, will create the Amy and Vernon E. Faulconer Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. John Schorge, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has been named the first person to hold the chair.

“We think very highly of UT Southwestern and of Dr. Schorge, so this gift simply has been our way of thanking the medical center for all it does for Texas and the rest of the world,” Mr. Faulconer said.

“Obviously, gynecologic oncology research is an area of great importance affecting the lives of millions of women and families everywhere. We’re pleased to be able to contribute whatever we can to the cause and are truly excited about the kinds of research and clinical programs that might be helped through this gift.”

Mr. Faulconer is chief executive of Vernon E. Faulconer Inc., an independent oil and gas production company in Tyler that he also founded. He is a native of El Dorado, Kan.

In 2003, Mr. Faulconer was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Iowa’s Grinnell College, his alma mater.

The Faulconers are major supporters of the arts in Dallas. In 1990, the couple established the Faulconer Academic Incentive Award for minority students to attend a Texas college of their choice. More than 350 black students have benefited from the awards.

“Amy and Vern Faulconer’s generous support of UT Southwestern will help ensure that our programs in gynecologic cancer will remain second to none,” said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, UT Southwestern president.

Geriatric program gift

Dallas oilman John R. Murrell and his wife, Kelley, have given $100,000 to support geriatric research, education and clinical care at UT Southwestern.

In the 1990s, Mr. Murrell’s mother was a patient of renowned geriatrician Dr. Craig Rubin. Dr. Rubin is director of the Mildred Wyatt and Ivor P. Wold Center for Geriatrics Care.

“Dr. Rubin is a fine gentleman and a thorough and compassionate doctor,” Mr. Murrell said. “I greatly admire the work he’s doing in the often unsung field of geriatrics and have found his compassion for the elderly quite refreshing. Kelley and I are big fans of UT Southwestern and of the high-caliber research being done there.”

A Dallas native, Mr. Murrell graduated from St. Mark’s School of Texas in 1973 and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Southern Methodist University in 1977.

Mr. Murrell is president of Three M Oil Co. and of the Murrell Foundation, which his family established in 1990. He is on the board of visitors of UT Southwestern Health System and is a member of the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C., and the Conference of Southwest Foundations in Dallas.

Mrs. Murrell, a former commercial real estate and banking attorney, earned a law degree from the University of Memphis in 1984 after graduating from Rhodes College in 1977.

“Friends like John and Kelley Murrell are essential to our ability to build and maintain great medical research, teaching and patient care programs,” Dr. Wildenthal said.

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