Family Ties Matter: Behind A Big Medical Center Gift At UT Southwestern

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center recently announced a $25 million gift from W.A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr. to establish the Monty and Tex Moncrief Medical Center at Fort Worth. There's an interesting backstory, here, rich in Texas history.

Moncrief was born in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1942 with a degree in petroleum engineering. After working as an engineer in the East Texas oil fields, Moncrief received a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served in the Pacific. When he returned, he went into the oil business with his father, a legendary wildcatter. Moncrief has amassed quite a bit of money over the years, and in the past, has been on the Forbes billionaire list.

Moncrief's association with University of Texas, though, goes far beyond his attending the school system and this recent gift. There's a long history of giving, here, and it involves multiple members of the Moncrief family and deep and multigenerational ties to the state.

I've written before about other Texans laser-focused on the UT system with long histories of giving. There's billionaire lawyer Joe Jamail, who's given at least $50 million to the University of Texas over the years, with a slew of different outfits bearing his name. Then there's Edith and Peter O'Donnell, who've given hundreds of millions away in Texas, with the University of Texas system being supported.

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Well, the Moncrief family is another name to keep in mind in Texas. In addition to taking over his father's business, Moncrief also helms the charity originally set up by his parents, the William A. and Elizabeth B. Moncrief Foundation. Since its creation in the 1950s, the foundation and Moncrief have given some $14 million for programs at the Dallas campus of UT Southwestern. In 1958, what was then known as the Radiation Center began treating patients. The Moncrief family has supported major expansions since, and the outfit is now known as the Moncrief Cancer Institute.

On some level, Moncrief is continuing the philanthropy that his father started as he doubles down on a long history of work at University of Texas. We talk all the time about how multiple gifts to a school over time involve trust and a donor's happiness with how funds are being spent. In the case of Moncrief, this trust and committment is multigenerational, and as he puts it, "My dad would be pleased that the Moncrief Radiation Center that he created in Fort Worth years ago has now evolved into UT Southwestern’s plan for a major clinic in Fort Worth to help take care of the medical needs of the citizens of Fort Worth and North Texas."