UT System Regents to honor Austin philanthropists with its highest award

The University of Texas System Board of Regents Wednesday voted unanimously to bestow its highest honor – the Santa Rita Award – to Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long of Austin.


First presented in 1968, the award shares a name with Santa Rita No. 1, the first producing oil well on University Lands in West Texas. The well hit oil in 1923 and jumpstarted the growth of the Permanent University Fund, which has provided transformational resources for UT & Texas A&M institutions.


Only 25 Santa Rita awards have been presented by Regents over the past 50 years. The award is given to individuals or organizations who demonstrate a record of commitment to furthering the purposes and objectives of the UT System and serving as the highest example of selfless and public-spirited service. 


Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker called for the motion at the Regents meeting to present the Santa Rita Award to the Longs.


“Joe and Terry’s love story is one that touches all of our hearts. They decided as a couple that their devotion to one another would include extending educational opportunities to others who could benefit from their successes,” Tucker said. “Among their many generous acts is ensuring that first-generation students can attend medical school without debt and return to their communities as physicians, serving countless individuals who need their healing expertise.


“Multiply that over the years, with the more than 200 students who have already been ‘Long Scholars’ or ‘Long Physicians’ at UT Health San Antonio, and one can easily see that the Longs will have made a difference beyond measure and will touch millions of lives over many generations to come,” Tucker added.


The Longs, who have contributed approximately $100 million to UT Health San Antonio, UT Austin and UT Rio Grande Valley, have created numerous student scholarships, faculty chairs and professorships, and contributed programmatic funds in numerous disciplines including medicine, law, business, education, pharmacy, music and art.


The Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies at UT Austin, an internationally acclaimed scholarly institute, bears Teresa Lozano Long’s name and integrates more than 30 academic departments in educational and research activities to promote a greater understanding of, and close scholarly and cultural relationships with, Latin America. 


The medical school and campus at UT Health San Antonio are both named for the Longs, in honor of their commitment of $50 million ($25 million in 2008 and again in 2015) to build a significant future pipeline of physicians, nurses and other health care providers from South Texas, who in turn will serve regions throughout Texas during their professional careers. The fund, which supports faculty and student endowments and other critical research funds, has since positioned UT Health San Antonio as one of the nation’s leading medical schools for graduating Hispanic physicians.   


Teresa Lozano Long, the daughter of a dairy farmer, grew up in Premont, Texas. As valedictorian of her high school, she attended UT Austin, earning bachelor of science and master of education degrees. She was also the first Hispanic woman to earn a doctorate in health and physical education at UT Austin. Terry Long has served on state and national boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, and she is a Distinguished Alumna of UT Austin and a member of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. 


Joe Long attended what is now Tarleton State University and received his bachelor's degree from UT Austin.  After graduation, he met Terry when they were both teachers in Alice, Texas. While there, Terry had an interest in returning to UT Austin for a doctorate, and Joe wanted a law degree. They both achieved their educational goals at UT Austin, and Joe began his professional career as an attorney, first with the State Securities Board, then with the Attorney General’s office before transitioning into private banking. Joe Long also is a Distinguished Alumnus of UT Austin and has served on and chaired many boards, including the Austin Symphony Orchestra.


“Terry and I are extremely pleased to be given this highest honor from the University of Texas System and its Regents,” Joe Long said. “We hope that our giving will encourage others to do the same.”   


The Longs will receive the Santa Rita award at a ceremony in Austin on Aug. 9. 


About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and a projected enrollment of more than 234,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2018 is $18.3 billion, funded in part by $3.6 billion in sponsored programs from federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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