Centennial Philanthropy Lecture
Philanthropy has always been an integral part of Houston Methodist’s ability to lead medicine. This lecture celebrated the benefactors who have helped Houston Methodist achieve our current level of excellence and who have helped us create a culture of innovation.
The marquee honorees were Paula and Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter III. In fact, the entire Walter family, Rusty and Paula, Rusty’s sister Carole and her husband Jim Looke, and their parents Elizabeth and Joe Walter Jr., have been extraordinary supporters to Houston Methodist.
Rusty followed his father onto the hospital board in 2006 and also serves on the boards of the Houston Methodist Research Institute and Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation.
In 2017, Rusty and Paula along with Walter Oil and Gas made the single largest commitment in Houston Methodist history, $101 million. This provided endowed support for cardiovascular disease and cancer research; established two Translational Research Initiatives (TRI I and TRI III); named the J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center; supports the Nantz National Alzheimer Center; and created the Walter Neurological Restoration Initiative and Walter Fund for Innovation.
As impressive as their $101 million investment is, the impact of their gift is even more incredible. They wanted to direct their gift to inspire others to give as well. This created the unique program the Centennial Chair Challenge, or C3, designed to help Houston Methodist establish 100 endowed chairs for our 100-year anniversary. The current total of their philanthropic impact of their gift, which adds their gift to gifts from others in response to their various challenge initiatives, totals more than $180 million… and counting!