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’s Outreach Visit – San Antonio

As reported by Darla Brown on November 2, 2008

Nov. 2, en route to San Antonio

With the dean’s latest outreach visit in San Antonio – my hometown – I decide to drive the three-plus hours instead of flying. Even though I learned to drive in this town, navigating it 20 years later provides a challenge – freeway entrances and exits have changed, new streets have popped up, and things aren’t where I remember they were. Fortunately, I seem to drive instinctively here, so I can get to where I need to go – which is the Witte Museum.

5 p.m.

I arrive at 5 p.m. Sunday – the event, a cocktail reception and dinner, is set to start at 6:30 p.m. The museum is a great environment for the event – walking past dinosaurs and a special photography exhibit, you arrive at the World War II Auditorium, where the tables and podium are set up – candles on the tables, off-white satin draping the chairs. Staff from the Office of Development and Alumni Relations are setting out the nametags and putting the finishing touches on the room.

One-hundred people are expected tonight – a bigger turnout than the Dallas event due to the American Association for Medical Colleges annual meeting, which is taking place downtown at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. More Medical School faculty and staff are expected as well, since they are in San Antonio for the AAMC national meeting.

The alumni and parents are enjoying mingling and meeting many faculty members during the reception. Dr. Judianne Kellaway, assistant dean for admissions, and Nancy Murphy, of admissions, have set up a simulation center with mannequin body parts so the attendees can see how Medical School students learn and practice in the Surgical and Clinical Skills Center before interacting with real patients.

The guests are ushered into the auditorium for a welcome by Dr. John Green, president-elect of the Alumni Association and graduate of the Class of ’79. They then line up for the buffet dinner, returning to the auditorium, which is buzzing with chatter.

Before Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo takes to the podium, Dr. Green shares two funny video clips from the 2008 Student Retreat to show the close interaction between students and faculty. Dean Colasurdo then highlights the Medical School’s latest achievements and priorities through a PowerPoint presentation. The audience seems impressed by the research achievements and amazed by the clinical facilities, which include the Roger Clemens wing of the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, the planned expansion of LBJ General Hospital, the UT Physicians buildings, and the 30-story Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza.

Dean Colasurdo also shows a highlight video of several news segments featuring Medical School faculty, including Dr. Charles Cox, Dr. Sean Savitz, Dr. Mark Wong, Dr. Nehal Parikh, and Dr. Alex Valadka.

Two students, second-year Camden Tissue and third-year Chris Schneller, are invited to the podium by Dean Colasurdo to say a few words from their perspectives. Camden talks about the opportunities at the Medical School and what makes it unique – “the faculty go out of their way for us,” he says. “They are very supportive, and it makes me never want to leave.”

Chris talks about how great it was to be seeing patients in the clinical settings, and how he never will forget the first patient he lost. “A four-year-old boy had come in the hospital; he had been hit by a car. I was astounded by his resilience, and I will take the memory of Carlos home with me every day.”

Dr. Frank Moody, professor of surgery and former chair of the Department of Surgery, also addresses the audience. “We have fantastic students. Our school is on a roll, but we can’t stay still – it’s not good enough.”

Dean Colasurdo also asks Dr. Henry Strobel, associate dean for faculty affairs, to say a few words. He speaks about what has not changed: “The Medical School is still home – that has not changed, and that’s why I haven’t left in 37 years.”

Dr. Green closes the program, saying that what makes the Medical School so special and unique “is that faculty and staff treat students like junior colleagues from the very first day.”

The Office of Development and Alumni Affairs is planning dean’s outreach visits in Austin and Fort Worth in 2009. To find out more, contact

Next stop … Austin!


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.