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News Updates from the Texas Heart Institute

Texas Lyceum to Honor Heart Surgeon Pioneer Dr. Denton A. Cooley
 with the 2010 Stewardship of Texas Values Award

Denton A. Cooley, MD

Dr. Denton A. Cooley

Houston, Texas (January 7, 2011)
Officials with the Texas Lyceum announced today that the recipient of the association's 2010 Stewardship of Texas Values Award  (SOTV) is world-renowned Houston heart surgeon and founder of the Texas Heart Institute, Dr. Denton A. Cooley.  

Past Texas Lyceum Chairs will present the honor to Dr. Cooley next Tuesday, January 11th at a luncheon in Houston.  

"Dr. Cooley has devoted a lifetime of leadership and service to our state, nation and world from his service in the U.S. Army, to developing leading cardiac surgical techniques, to the more than 100,000 open heart surgeries he and his team at the Texas Heart Institute have performed for nearly half a century, " said Maggie Radford, 2008 Lyceum Chairman and current SOTV committee chair. "We are enormously proud to present him with the Stewardship of Texas Values Award."

"I am so proud to receive the distinguished Stewardship of Texas Values Award," said Dr. Cooley.  "The Texas Lyceum is a stellar example of public and private leaders from a wide spectrum of political persuasions coming together to discuss the important issues of our day."  

About Dr. Cooley
Denton Arthur Cooley, son of a Houston dentist, was born in 1920 in Houston.  A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Cooley played Longhorn varsity basketball and studied Zoology. After becoming fascinated with surgery, Dr. Cooley switched his major to pre-med and graduated with highest honors, later being accepted to the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston. Two years later he transferred to Johns Hopkins University, where he received his medical degree. During his residency, Dr. Cooley took a leave of absence from 1946 to 1948 to serve in the U.S. Army Corps.  

After his residency, Dr. Cooley served on the full time faculty at Baylor College of Medicine from 1951 to 1969.  In 1962, he founded the Texas Heart Institute, located in Houston in the Texas Medical Center and where 800 surgeons are now members of the Cooley Surgical Society.  

Dr. Cooley pioneered many cardiovascular surgery techniques, including the first successful human heart transplant in the United States in 1968.  The following year, he was the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart into a human. He is also known globally for techniques he developed to repair and replace diseased heart valves, as well as surgical treatment of heart irregularities of infants and children.  

His numerous honors and awards include the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, the Rene Leriche Prize, the highest honor of the International Surgical Society, the National Medal of Technology and the NCAA Roosevelt Award. He is the author or co-author of more than 1,300 scientific articles and 12 books.

Dr. Cooley has been married for 61 years to Louise Thomas Cooley.  They have five daughters and sixteen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.  He enjoys his family at their ranch and at their Galveston beach house.  Dr. Cooley enjoys many hobbies, but currently is hooked on golf.

The Stewardship of Texas Values Award (SOTV) was developed in 1988 to honor extraordinary Texans who best exemplify Texas values and who have served our state with distinction. Past recipients include Lady Bird Johnson, President George H.W. Bush, Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby, world-renowned concert pianist and founder of the International Festival Institute James Dick, Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher, business executive Red McCombs, and philanthropists George and Ronya Kozmetsky, among others.

The Texas LyceumAbout The Texas Lyceum
The Texas Lyceum, now 30 years strong, is a non-profit, non-partisan statewide leadership organization focused on identifying the next generation of Texas leaders. The Texas Lyceum consists of 96 men and women from throughout the state. Directors begin their service while under the age of 46 and have demonstrated leadership in their community and profession, together with a deep commitment to Texas. 

The Lyceum has an impressive list of former members who are serving or have served in public office, including: Former President George W. Bush, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Governor Rick Perry, State Attorney General Greg Abbott, former Texas Comptroller John Sharp, Texas State Senators Rodney Ellis and Kirk Watson, Texas State Representatives Dawnna Dukes, Jose Menendez, David Farabee, Tommy Merritt, Pete Gallego, Garnet Coleman and Veronica Gonzales, Houston Mayor Bill White, Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, Texas Supreme Court Justices Don Willett and Dale Wainwright, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, and Congressmen Pete Olson, Henry Cuellar and Jim Turner. Marc Veasey is a current Lyceum Director serving in the Texas House. 

The Texas Lyceum acts as a catalyst to bring together diverse opinions and expertise to focus on national and state issues, and seeks to emphasize constructive private sector, public sector, and individual responses to the issues. 

To accomplish these purposes, the Lyceum conducts periodic public forums, publishes the Lyceum Journal, commissions The Texas Lyceum Poll, and convenes programs for the Directors to explore and discuss key economic and social issues of the state and nation. For more information, please visit

For media inquiries please contact:
Texas Heart Institute
Frank Michel  ♦  832-355-9510

Texas Lyceum
Margaret Justus ♦  281-250-8253


For THI and St. Luke's media profiles, see Public Affairs.

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