James Wade Rockwell

The recent appointment of Dr. Chester Burns to the Rockwell Professorship gives the Medical Branch an opportunity to acknowledge this splendid gift, the donor, and the man in whose memory the Professorship was established.

The gift was made by Mr. Henry Martin Rockwell, President of the Rockwell Fund, Houston businessman, and philanthropist, in memory of his brother, James Wade Rockwell, who died in 1962. The initial gift was made in 1966 but additions have been made to this endowment in each of the past two years.

James “Jim” Rockwell moved to Houston as a boy and became a pioneer business leader of Houston along with a close friend and youthful business associate, Jesse H. Jones. Jim was an outstanding athlete, an ex-student of The University of Texas at Austin, and served as an Army officer with the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

The lumber business was his field for the major part of his life. At the time of his death, he was President of Rockwell Lumber Company, which operated nineteen branches in Texas and New Mexico and was also a partner of Rockwell Brothers and Co., Lumbermen. Jim Rockwell had a major part in the Rockwell Brothers Endowment, Inc ., which was organized in 1961 for charitable, religious, and educational purposes. He served on the Board of Regents of The University of Texas and The University of Houston. Indicative of his business expertise was his service as a Director of some of the largest corporations and financial institutions in Houston as well as his initiating several substantial business enterprises in this area. Many civic, social, and religious organizations were enriched by his interest and endeavors.

The donor of this Professorship, Mr. Henry Rockwell, is a well known lumberman and philanthropist in Houston. “Mr. Henry” has been active and influential in the business, civic, and social life of Houston and his philanthropic interests span Texas and the nation. He is president and trustee of the Rockwell Fund, Inc., trustee of the Cecil G. Rockwell Trust, of Provident Trust, and president and trustee of Rockwell Brothers Endowment. Mr. Henry Rockwell’s gifts to The University of Texas Medical Branch have made him a member in both The Chancellor’s Council of The University of Texas System and The President’s Club of the Medical Branch. Mr. Rockwell is a welcome and frequent visitor to many UTMB functions.

Dr. Chester Burns was appointed formally as the James Wade Rockwell Assistant Professor in Medical History on September 1, 1971. Dr. Burns, who received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from Vanderbilt University has been at the Medical Branch since August 1969.

last updated in 1970