Dean’s Outreach Visit – Austin
As reported by Rose Hochner on April 9, 2009
I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Austin for the Dean’s Outreach Visit. The event was a great success - everyone in attendance seemed genuinely excited and appreciative to hear the latest news from the Medical School. As a first time attendee at one of these outreach dinners, it was clear to me that our alumni are hungry to become more engaged with their alma mater and grateful to Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo for coming out to meet them in their hometown. Job well done to Jackie Callies and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations for putting this concept together and executing the events so flawlessly.
And what a beautiful time of year to travel through Texas! I drove up to Austin Wednesday afternoon (April 8) with Dean Colasurdo and Dr. Margaret McNeese, associate dean for Admissions and Student Affairs. As we drove past pastures blanketed with bluebonnets and the occasional patch of Indian paintbrush, we talked quite a bit about the Medical School’s past, present, and future – and the amazing faculty and students that make this institution a leader in education, research, and patient care.
The drive turned out to not only be informative but also a bit of an adventure. Without getting into specifics, there was one point along the way where the three of us really were wondering, “Where in Texas are we?” But we did make it to Austin and the Shoreline Grill by 5 p.m. with plenty of time to prepare for the event.
The dinner was held in a beautiful private room overlooking the Colorado River and as the guests arrived around 6:30, they were treated to a spectacular sunset over the water. Approximately 60 people attended the dinner, including alumni with graduation years ranging from 1976 to 2003, along with parents, students, and faculty. Everyone had a nice opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones before we sat down to eat just after 7.
Dr. Mark Chassay (’92), the co-founder of Texas Sports & Family Medicine in Austin and the current team physician and coordinator of sports medicine for Women’s Athletics at UT Austin, welcomed all of the guests as dinner was served. As we ate, I had a chance to talk with the five alumni seated at my table, including a urologist, an ob/gyn, a cardiologist, a pathologist, and an anesthesiologist. Some had stayed in Texas since graduating, some had completed their residencies elsewhere, but they all agreed that there was nothing like practicing medicine at “home” in Texas.
As dessert was served, Dr. Chassay showed a video clip featuring some of the recent national and regional news stories featuring the Medical School’s physicians, students, and researchers. He then introduced Dean Colasurdo, who gave a presentation on the school’s recent accomplishments and current strategic focus. The theme of the hispresentation was excellence in all of our endeavors – from providing the very best medical education to the brightest and most dedicated students, to focusing on cutting-edge research that will transform healthcare, to serving our patients with highest quality of treatment and care. The dean’s message and enthusiasm clearly resonated with all of the guests.
The dean then invited fourth-year medical student Allison DeGreeff to speak about her experiences at UT. She described medical school as the “most challenging and most rewarding” thing she has ever done, and how proud she was when she got her first pager (that is, until it went off in the middle of the night a few times and she was ready to toss it out the nearest window).
Dr. John Green (’79), incoming president of the Alumni Association, then spoke about the many ways that alumni can stay connected or reconnect with UT along with how the association supports current and future students. The alumni seemed excited to know that there are opportunities for involvement and participation not only in Houston but throughout the state.
Following Dr. Green’s remarks, Dr. Chassay bid us all a good night and the guests slowly said their goodbyes and updated their contact information for the Alumni Association on the way out.
It was really great evening and trip overall, and as the dean, Dr. McNeese and I downed Chappell Hill sausage kolaches on our way back to town the next morning, I was certainly hoping to be included on the invite list for the next Outreach Visit!
The Office of Development and Alumni Affairs is planning another dean’s outreach visit in Fort Worth on June 10, 2009. To find out more, contact Jacquelyn.Callies@uth.tmc.edu
If you would like more information or would like to attend any of the events listed below, please contact Leslie Dick in the Office of Alumni Relations at (713) 500-5168 or by emailing Leslie.Dick@uth.tmc.edu. Thank you.