History & Leadership

50th Anniversary Celebration
September 18, 2012
Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston, Texas

50th Anniversary Gala  
The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital honored its founder, Dr. Denton A. Cooley, and marked its 50th anniversary on Sept. 18, 2012, with a gala celebration at the Westin Galleria hotel. 

Founded in 1962, THI at SLEH has been ranked by U.S. News among the nation's top 10 heart centers for 22 consecutive years. THI has been the site of numerous milestones in the advancement of cardiac medicine including the first successful human heart transplant in the U.S. in 1968, and the world's first implant of a total artificial heart in 1969. More recently, THI physician scientists were the first in the world to use a patient's own bone marrow derived adult stem cells to help regenerate new heart muscle tissue and blood vessels in patients with severe heart failure following a heart attack.

The Golden Anniversary celebration, attended by almost 1,000 guests, included a surprise musical performance by Lyle Lovett. Dr. Cooley was introduced by his son-in-law, Dr. Charles Fraser, surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital, and former U.S. Secretary of State James. A. Baker.

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, a THI board member, acted as emcee for the event hosted by THI President and Medical Director James T. Willerson, MD.

Dr. Cooley speaking at the 50th anniversary gala. View photos on Flickr.It was a stellar evening with many dignitaries in attendance, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Senators Rodney Ellis and Tommy WilliamsTexas Rep. Jim Pitts, Nolan Ryan and many others. 

Coverage of the Event

Old Houston Salutes an Irreverent Heart Surgeon
by Mimi Schwartz in New York Times, September 29, 2012  

The Houston Chronicle website


THI Flickr Website (Photos)

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