The Office of Development and Alumni Relations have scheduled outreach visits around the state of Texas so that Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo can gather insight from alumni, parents, and friends of the university while sharing his vision for the future of the Medical School.

The visits kicked off with a Houston event April 29, and continued with the visit in Dallas Sept. 25-26. Trips to San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth also are planned.

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Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo’s Outreach Visit to Dallas

As reported by Darla Brown on September 26, 2008

1 p.m. Sept. 26 en route to Dallas

I am accompanying Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo and members of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations on the first dean’s alumni outreach visit outside of Houston. Dean Colasurdo and development and alumni staff traveled to Dallas yesterday, meeting last night with members of the Medical School’s Alumni Association in Arlington. The dean has had a full itinerary today, starting with a breakfast meeting at 9 a.m. with parents of 2008 graduate Ken Raney, continuing with a lunch meeting with alumna Dr. Karen Meador, and followed by a meeting with Bruce Esterline, vice president for grants for the Meadows Foundation.

I will be attending the reception with the Dallas Host Committee and the dinner with Dallas alumni and parents, which starts with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Both of these events will be at the historic Belo Mansion – the house built by A. H. Belo, founder of the Dallas Morning News. The dean and other speakers will update the Dallas contingent on the latest news from the Medical School – I believe more than 50 are expected. In addition to a small suitcase for the overnight trip, I am bringing the Office of Communications video camera with me, and if all goes well, I will have video to post from the event.

Right now I am on a short Southwest Airlines flight to Dallas and soon after touching down will head to the Belo Mansion. Dallas looks overcast and hazy from the plane’s windows. The pilot says the temperature is in the mid-80s. The flight is continuing to Denver and Las Vegas – part of me hates to deplane at my stop.

3:30 p.m.

Arrived at the Belo – a beautiful venue for tonight’s events. The house has been added on to yet maintains its original architectural integrity – rich wood interiors, a fireplace in each room. The Medical School dinner will be in a more modern banquet room, which blends seamlessly from the original structure. The development and alumni staff has been here all afternoon, preparing for the events – making decisions about number of place settings per table, setting placecards, programs, and scrolls – a history of the Medical School for each guest. The Belo staff is busy setting the silverware and putting on the finishing touches in the dining room. Varessa Kelton has brought her laptop, which is set up with a projector and large screen. I place two versions of a PowerPoint presentation for the dean on the laptop – I’m not sure of what the dean will present. Varessa tests the presentation via the wireless mouse, and all is ready to go.

5:30 p.m.

The reception in appreciation of the Dallas Host Committee begins. This is the group who helped to secure the venue and guests. Carolyn and Ken Raney, parents of 2008 Medical School graduate, Ken Raney, worked hard to secure the Belo Mansion, which is now owned and operated by the Dallas Bar Association. Carolyn was very involved in its renovations and transformation since being owned by the association and can tell you its history backwards and forwards. She even docents at the mansion for tour groups. They are both very proud of the building and are hopeful that the Medical School will be able to use it for future alumni events in Dallas – perhaps in conjunction with the neighboring museums.

Just minutes before the dinner guests are scheduled to arrive, Dean Colasurdo decides to make a change to his PowerPoint presentation. Tonight is the first presidential candidate debate, and he wants to have a shorter version of his presentation in case the audience wants to get home in time for the political showdown. I watch over his shoulder as he cuts about 10 slides from the presentation.

6:30 p.m.

The dinner guests make their way to the venue – everyone picking up a nametag and mingling. Before we know it, the chimes signal the start of the dinner. Before the dinner begins, I am able to get a few videos of some of the attendees: Jackie Callies, executive director of development and alumni relations; Ken and Carolyn Raney; and Dr. Ralph Cox, ’82 alumnus.

Dr. Nicole McGinty, president of the Alumni Association, welcomes the guests and introduces Dean Colasurdo, who decides to go ahead with his presentation as dinner is being served. He uses the short version, but it doesn’t feel rushed. People laugh at the appropriate times, and there is a group gasp when the dean mentions that less than 4 percent of our Medical School students receive any type of scholarship – the average being less than $2,000.

After the dean completes his presentation, he calls two current students – Camden Tissue, MSII, and Allison DeGreeff, MSIV – up to the podium to share their insights into the Medical School. They both urge alumni to be involved with the students. Former Dean John Ribble, Dr. Margaret McNeese, Dr. Judianne Kellaway, Resa Ott, and Dr. Karen Meador all take to the microphone to give their perspectives on the Medical School. After the event concludes, so many parents and alumni say they are very excited about getting more involved with the Medical School and already are planning for the next such event in Dallas.

Next stop … San Antonio!


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 Thank you.