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Mayfield Honors Physician Father with Nearly $2.8 Million Gift
Gift will create three endowed faculty positions in UT Medical School's Department of Surgery
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Development Board member Jack Mayfield Jr. wanted to find an appropriate way to honor the memory of his late physician father and namesake, Jack H. Mayfield, M.D.
Deciding that named endowments were the best way to create an enduring legacy, Mayfield and his wife, Susan, established a charitable lead trust and funded it with common stock in Riverway Bank of Houston in 1996. The gift was designed to create interest income for the couple during their lifetimes and fund several endowments upon their deaths. After two bank mergers, the market value of the stock grew to more than $2.7 million.
“After the assets of the charitable lead trust had experienced considerable appreciation, my wife, Susan, and I elected to terminate our future interest and distribute the proceeds to the Surgical Department of the Medical School during our lifetime,” Mayfield said.
The gift will establish the Jack H. Mayfield, M.D., Distinguished University Chair in Surgery; the Jack H. Mayfield, M.D., Chair in Surgery; and the Jack H. Mayfield, M.D., Distinguished Professorship in Surgery in the UT Medical School at Houston. “
"Jack Mayfield and his family are major supporters of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston,” said UT Health Science Center President James T. Willerson, M.D. “We are deeply indebted to them for their generosity, their support of medical education and discovery, and their far-sighted vision.”
Devotion to Medical Arts and Sciences
Jack Mayfield said that he and his wife chose the Medical School for their generosity because, “Inasmuch as my late father was an active participant in medical affairs and activities surrounding the early development of the Texas Medical Center, it seemed natural to me that endowments arising from this trust commemorate his devotion to the advancement of medical arts and sciences at the health science center and in the Texas Medical Center.”
The endowment agreement stipulates that the Distinguished University Chair be held by the chairperson of the Department of Surgery; therefore, Richard J. Andrassy, M.D., will be appointed the first holder of the endowed position.
“Jack Mayfield is one of the nicest and most down-to-earth people you will meet,” Andrassy said. “He has always been a true gentleman to be around. I truly mean it, and I have told him, I can’t thank him enough for his support and kindness, as well as his generosity.”
Andrassy said the three endowments will supplement research that, in turn, can attract grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also noted that endowments allow faculty more freedom to not only teach, but learn as well.
“The future of academic medicine will most likely be directly tied to endowments supporting the medical school faculty. NIH funds are harder to get, state dollars have decreased, and reimbursement for clinical work has decreased,” Andrassy said. “Time spent on academic endeavors, research and teaching are frequently inadequately funded or not funded.
“Endowments allow some time away from clinical work to pursue scholarly activities. There are few Distinguished University Chairs of this magnitude at UT Houston, so future recruitments will be helped by this,” Andrassy said.
Medical School Interim Dean Jerry S. Wolinsky, M.D., said that Andrassy is the ideal person to be the first holder of the Jack H. Mayfield, M.D., Distinguished University Chair in Surgery.
“Dr. Andrassy is one of the Medical School’s distinguished surgeons, so his appointment to this endowment is fitting,” Wolinsky said. “He plays a major role in the administrative, academic and clinical life of the Medical School and our affiliated hospitals.”
“Individuals in the community who recognize the excellence of our faculty and the importance of the school’s mission are more than friends; they are full participants in the pursuit of our mission,” Wolinsky said. “Mr. Mayfield is one such individual, and we are forever grateful to him.” Jack Mayfield Jr. said he’s glad he was able to see the endowments established during his lifetime, but he thinks the tribute may have surprised his father.
“He and I had a contentious relationship, although when he died, I was holding his hand,” he said. “Considering the former, I think he would be surprised. He would also be pleased with the recognition. I could never predict what he would say.”
Jack H. Mayfield, M.D., (1907-87) was a UT Austin undergraduate and received his medical degree from Tulane University in 1937. During World War II, he served under Gen. George S. Patton Jr. as a flight surgeon in the Army Air Corps stationed in North Africa and served in a similar capacity under Gen. Mark Clark in the Italian campaign. Following the war, he became one of the first chiefs of staff at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and served on the Texas Medical Center Ethics Committee.
Jack Mayfield Jr., chairman of family-owned Goldston Oil, has strong ties to The University of Texas. He received his master’s degree in geology from UT Austin, and his children and his wife are all UT graduates, as well. He chaired the UT Houston Endowment Campaign during the 1990s and received the Outstanding Fund Raising Program Award from the Greater Houston Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.
The Mayfields also have been steadfast supporters of the entire health science center for more than 20 years. Apart from the recently established endowments, the couple has contributed nearly $700,000 to a variety of programs and campaigns, including the School of Nursing building fund and the President’s Excellence Fund. The Mayfields also are among the founding donors of The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases.
By Wendy K. Mohon, Institutional Advancement