50 Heroes: Dr. Ralph Willard

July 13, 2020

Dr. Ralph Willard Web

During his tenure at HSC Fort Worth, Dr. Ralph Willard helped establish education, research and community service as the pillars that support the institution’s commitment to finding solutions for a healthier community, preventing disease and fostering a collaborative learning environment.

They are the ideas woven into the fabric of the Health Science Center you see today.

In 1975, Dr. Willard, a decorated World War II bomber pilot and surgeon, moved from Michigan to call North Texas his newest home and became the Dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 1981, he was named the second President of TCOM.

Aside from establishing the areas that formed the HSC mission, Dr. Willard led the evolution of TCOM’s physical presence from a renovated bowling alley and various leased facilities into a modern campus in Fort Worth’s Cultural District.

During his tenure, the tallest building on campus, the Carl E. Everett Education and Administration Building (formerly Medical Education 1) was completed in 1978, and the Research and Education Building (formerly Medical Education 2) opened in 1982. Students were finally able to say “good bye” to classes in Denton, as this building’s construction finally brought together all basic science teaching and research under one roof.

Although Texas was experiencing an economic downturn and there was concern from the Texas legislature regarding future funding, Dr. Willard persisted in his call for construction allocations from the state, and groundbreaking for TCOM’s third building began in 1984, nine months before Dr. Willard left his post as president.

We can thank Dr. Willard’s persistence for bringing to life the cohesive college campus that now serves our students, faculty, staff and alumni.

50th Anniversary Logo

ContributeHonor your HSC hero today! Please make a tribute gift, submit a photo or share a story that you value.

Join us throughout 2020 as we celebrate the people, events and innovations that made UNTHSC all it is today — and look ahead to the next 50 years.

For the 50th anniversary, team members nominated people whose contributions make them HSC Heroes. Each week, a new Hero will be revealed.

View the list of all our Hero profiles published so far this year. There is a new one each week.

New Logo Hsc Install On February 16th On Ead Building.
Inaugural Garth N. Graham Distinguished Lectureship Award spotlights trailblazers who are advancing health equity

By Diane Smith-Pinckney The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) is joining the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine (SHLI), and YouTube in celebrating the first recipient of the Garth N. Graham Distinguished Lectureship Aw...Read more

Sep 16, 2021

TCOM Academic Student Navigator, Paloma Bermudez, MS
Hispanic Heritage Month offers history lessons while celebrating diversity

By Diane Smith-Pinckney For Alex Fernandez, connecting with his Cuban-American roots is a lifelong lesson.  “The more I learn, the more I appreciate where I came from,” said Fernandez, a Student Services Coordinator in the Office of Care and Civility at The University of North Texas...Read more

Sep 16, 2021

Jeremy Joseph, Assistant Director for the Office of Care and Civility at HSC.
At HSC, saving lives means making suicide everyone’s business

By Diane Smith-Pinckney Every 11 minutes there is a death by suicide in the United States.  In 2019, more than 47,500 people died of suicide and 1.4 million attempted suicide, according to statistics gathered by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Experts at The Univ...Read more

Sep 10, 2021

Flag Fc
In their own words: TCOM family shares memories of 9-11 terrorist attacks

By Steven Bartolotta Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing during the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.  This Sept. 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the cras...Read more

Sep 9, 2021