Riter Center for Advanced Medicine is dedicated at UT Health Center at Tyler
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
With hundreds of orange and blue balloons soaring across the sky, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler on Friday dedicated the new Riter Center for Advanced Medicine.
The late A.W. “Dub” Riter, Jr., was a long-time supporter of UTHSCT. He served on UTHSCT’s Development Board and was chairman of the board from 1992 until August 2003. He was appointed to The University of Texas Board of Regents in 1997 and was still a regent when he died Sept. 23, 2003.
“This is a historic day for the Health Center. It is a great honor for us that this building, the former Ambulatory Care Center, will bear the Riter name,” UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun told the crowd of about 150 people seated under a tent in front of the Riter Center.
“We’re naming this building for Dub Riter because we respect him and we love him. We care immensely about this man and about this facility. Dub Riter was the epitome of servant leadership, accountability, diversity, and excellence, the core values of the Health Center,” Dr. Calhoun said.
The Riter Center is a four-story, 100,000-square-foot building with 15 clinics, 99 exam rooms, and 13 procedure or treatment rooms. In 1997, it cost $12.8 million to construct the four-story building and finish out the first two floors, leaving the third and fourth floors empty shells. The third floor was finished and opened in May 1997.
The Center houses the Ralph and Mary Prince Pulmonary Center, the Pediatric Clinic, the Family Practice Clinic, the Center for Healthy Aging, the Center for Diabetes Control, the Robert B. Irwin Internal Medicine Clinic, the Women’s Diagnostic Center, and Surgical and Procedural Services.
Whit Riter, the son of Regent Riter, said his father had a vision for UTHSCT: to be a top-tier medical and research institution. That vision is becoming a reality, he said.
“UTHSCT now is researching pulmonary fibrosis, which is the disease that took dad,” Whit Riter said. In pulmonary fibrosis, the lungs become scarred, and patients with this condition have difficulty breathing. Many times its causes are unknown, though it tends to affect older people.
“What people here are doing in research will put a mark on this city and will put a mark on our family’s heart. Thank you for this honor,” he said.
Herbert Buie, chairman of the UTHSCT Development Board, said “Dub Riter was a model leader. He and his leadership are sorely missed in this community.
“He wanted health care for everyone, he wanted education for everyone, he wanted a spiritual walk of their choosing for everyone. His heart was to help people,” the development board chairman said.
Many local leaders attended the dedication, including U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler; former Chief Justice of the Texas 12th District Court of Appeals Judge Tom Ramey; Rep. Leo Berman; Smith County Judge Becky Dempsey; University of Texas at Tyler President Dr. Rod Mabry; Texas College Acting Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Neville Morgan; Tyler Junior College President Dr. Bill Crowe; and Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber. UTHSCT President Emeritus Dr. Ronald F. Garvey and former UTHSCT Director Dr. George A. Hurst also attended the dedication.