There are some things you simply never tire of. For me, one of them is driving into work each morning. I never cease to be both amazed and appreciative when I approach the campus and I see the gleaming pink granite of our Texas Children’s buildings.
Even after all these years, I can still so easily picture where we began. When I came to Texas Children’s Hospital in 1989, we only had the seven-floor Abercrombie Building. We had a great Board – some of those same members are still on the Board today. We had talented physicians and nurses, and the best employees. When I was recruited, the Board convinced me that we could do something incredible here. And optimist that I am, I believed that as well.
I would look at the unassuming structure that was Texas Children’s at the time, and I dreamed beyond those walls and the seventh floor. I was convinced and often spoke of the preeminent children’s hospital we would someday become. But even I could never have imagined anything like what Texas Children’s is today. We dream big here, and yet we keep finding ways to exceed our imaginations.
I have continued to think about that since the Board surprised me with last week’s announcement about the renaming of the Clinical Care Tower. I love the clinical building especially because of the story behind the purchase. As some of you might know, it sits on a piece of property called the S Lot, which is owned by the Texas Medical Center. When we were expanding the West Tower and building the new clinical building, we had to go to TMC President Dr. Richard Wainerdi to get the rights to build on the S Lot.
Board member Ben Brollier and I met with Dr. Wainerdi and laid out a comprehensive plan for the West Tower and new clinical care building. And it was pretty ambitious – at the time, the project was one of the nation’s largest building projects for a health care organization. When we started to discuss the cost of the purchase. Dr. Wainerdi said, “Mark, how about if we do a long-term land lease? How about 199 years for $1 a year?” Wow. I grabbed my checkbook and wrote the check right then and there.
I am convinced that Dr. Wainerdi was a believer like us – he could see our dream. We have been blessed with so many moments, supporters and believers like that. Board members, donors, staff and employees who embody and take ownership of our mission and find new ways daily to help Texas Children’s be better than the day before. I know I will always think of that when I see the newly named tower. I will be reminded that we did it – you and I, the Board. We did it, Texas Children’s. And the very best part, though, is that we are still doing it, still imagining and still exceeding.
Thank you. Not just for the name on the building, but for the journey behind it. I am so humbled, and I cannot adequately put into words just how much this means to me. This gift is a symbol of our success. Together, we have done amazing things, and we have done them because 27 years later, we still have a great Board, talented physicians and nurses, and the world’s best employees. And I think we keep growing because we simply cannot contain the boundless dreams and possibilities of Texas Children’s.