The bionorthTX Annual iC3 Life Science Summit provides life science companies (biotechnology, medical device, pharmaceutical, and diagnostics) executives, academia, investors, and industry support organizations an opportunity to meet in one place during the course of the region’s largest annual conference.
The Dennis Stone Award is presented annually to an individual who has positively impacted quality of life by raising awareness and funds for life science research, who has impacted innovation to bring discoveries to commercial relevance, and who has given back to their community and those in the scientific field as a supporter, mentor, leader, or educator.
Past recipients of the Dennis Stone Award
2015 – Phil Ralston, CEO and Co-Founder of MacuCLEAR
2016 – Dennis K. Stone, Chief Scientific Officer of Remeditex Ventures
2017 – Lyda Hill, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur
2018 – To be announced, September 2018
Dennis Stone Award Presenters
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Helen Hobbs, M.D.
Professor, Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Presentation of Dennis K. Stone Award to Lyda Hill
October 12th, 2017
I thank Terry Foster and the other organizers for inviting me and my two sons, Lang and Hunter Stone, to this meeting and giving me the opportunity to present the first award, which is named in honor of my late husband. I want to express my gratitude to the organization for recognizing Dennis with this award. A little less than a year ago, Kay Tieman came to our home to give Dennis the award. He was thrilled. I only wish he could be here today to see the size and vitality of this group.
My husband was a man who was circumspect in all that he did. Those of you who knew him, know that he did not talk unless he had something to say (or had a clever joke to tell). He did not move unless he was forced to do so. Outside of his work, he loved all pursuits he could do from a couch: read books, watch movies, engage in conversation, play backgammon. But whatever he did, he did with intensity and commitment:
– He was a loyal and devoted friend. Many of his friends are here today.
– He was loyal and committed medical student and former faculty member of UT Southwestern.
– He was a physician devoted to the care of his patients; I am biased, but he was one of the best doctors I have ever seen.
– He believed in the importance of medical education: while at UT Southwestern, he obtained teaching awards from medical students. As a faculty member overseeing training in internal medicine, he did everything possible to make certain the process was enlightening, humane and fair.
– He was committed to excellence in science: he loved the process of discovery and delighted in innovation.
– And he was committed to Dallas, and delighted in watching the Metroplex transform over his lifetime.
So, if he loved science and medicine so much, why did he choose to leave the laboratory and the clinic to become the first Vice President of Technology Development at UT Southwestern, when asked by Kern Wildenthal? Because biotechnology, what all of you here do, brought together all the things that Dennis was passionate about in his work: science, medicine, industry (actually making something that improves lives), and finally Dallas and Texas. His overarching goal was to turn new discoveries into useful, commercial products that would alleviate suffering and prolong lives.
As Vice President of Technology Development at UT Southwestern, he devised and developed programs to support the very best research projects until they became mature enough to attract venture capital. His vision of creating a biotech incubator at UT Southwestern was realized in the building and establishment of the BioCenter on Inwood Road. And he realized that if he was going to develop the biotechnology sector in Dallas, the folks who needed to have a stake in the process needed to get together and get to know each other: individuals from science, from medicine, from engineering, from city government, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalist. As you know, this group started with breakfast meetings, and this group eventually became this organization here, bionorthTX.
Last year, our oldest son, Langdon, accepted the Helix Award on behalf of Dennis. And at the behest of Warren Huff and others, the award was renamed the Dennis K. Stone Award. Dennis would be so pleased that the first award carrying his name would go to Lyda Hill. Lyda gave Dennis the opportunity of a lifetime. To participate in financially supporting biotechnology directly, both in Texas and in Colorado, her two states of residence. By forming Remeditex, Lyda committed resources to a burgeoning industry in the Metroplex, the very thing that Dennis had worked for all his life.
Dennis first met Lyda at the medical school, where she has been a longstanding supporter. But he really got to know her at Reata, the company that Dennis helped start with Warren Huff. And then he got the opportunity to work directly for her at Remeditex. He admired and delighted in her vision, her vitality, her verve and her vigor. Now, he did not dare ski with her (remember I told you, moving was not Dennis’s long suit). He left skiing with her up to me. (And if you are wondering how I fared on the slopes…I only saw the back of Lyda skiing, irrespective of whether I started down the slope first or not; and you can always see Lyda on the slopes, attired in orange from helmet to skis).
Dennis delighted in Lyda’s unfettered curiosity and the constancy of her commitments to those things she supports. And one of those things has been biotechnology: She epitomizes the three processes captured in your name, IC3: innovation, collaboration, capital and commercialization.Lyda believes in the power of science to solve the problems of the world, ranging from hunger to cancer.
She has generously supported medicine and science in Texas. Her own battle with breast cancer propelled her to provide generous funding to support research in cancer at MD Anderson. She understands that attracting the best and the brightest to science and engineering is essential if we are going to solve the many challenges that we face. Thus, she has provided generous funding to Hockaday School in Dallas to support the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In this age of big data, she has provided funds to establish a new Department of Bioinformatics at UT Southwestern. And she has invested generously in biotechnology, which culminated in her formation of a venture fund, Remeditex Ventures, to provide funding to get through the so-called “valley of death.”
One would be hard pressed to find someone more worthy than Lyda Hill for this award. No one would be happier than my late husband, Dennis Stone that the first recipient of his namesake award would be Lyda Hill.
In recent years, Miss Hill has focused her life sciences philanthropic efforts on a number of other game-changing advances. Chief among them are a $50 million pledge to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Moon Shots Program which aims to combat and eliminate cancer; a $20 million grant to her alma mater, The Hockaday School, to fund a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) program; a $10 million pledge to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s for various initiatives including an Endowment for Systems Biology, a $2 million pledge to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), to establish a Veteran Health and Trauma Clinic and related academic program, a $2 million pledge to the Center for BrainHealth, intended to help military service members and veterans recover from traumatic brain injuries, as well as grants to fund a variety of environmental/marine conservation efforts being conducted by The Nature Conservancy and Pew Charitable Trusts.
Also a patron of projects designed to revitalize communities near and dear to her, Miss Hill has been instrumental in the funding and development of, among other things, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, and UCCS and the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center in Colorado Springs
As part of her desire to leave a lasting mark on society, Miss Hill became a member of The Giving Pledge in 2010. The Pledge, created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, is a commitment by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals/families to dedicate a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Miss Hill has pledged to donate the entirety of her wealth to charity, the bulk of which she plans to do during her lifetime.
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