Department renamed to honor TTUHSC and Abilene benefactor

TTUHSC Public Health building on the Abilene campus

TTUHSC Public Health building on the Abilene campus.

The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the naming of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Department of Public Health as the Julia Jones Matthews Department of Public Health. The department will become the Julia Jones Matthews School of Public Health once accreditation of the future school is approved.

“On behalf of everyone at TTUHSC, I want to express my sincerest thanks to Mrs. Matthews for providing us with this foundational and transformational gift.” TTUHSC President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., said. “Her willingness to so boldly place her faith in TTUHSC and our ability – through our faculty, our students and the learning and research that takes place in the Abilene campus to positively impact West Texas - means the world to us. We are proud to have her legacy live on in the Department of Public Health and in the future School of Public Health.”

Julia Jones Matthews, a longtime supporter of the Abilene community, Hendrick Medical Center and TTUHSC, co-founded the Dodge Jones Foundation, which works to improve and support philanthropic efforts in Abilene. In 2014, the Dodge Jones Foundation joined with other Abilene community partners who contributed to the establishment of an accredited School of Public Health. The effort included the development and construction of the Department of Public Health building in Abilene.

Matthews, who passed away in November 2016, was one of two Abilenians of the Millennium and was named the city’s Citizen of the Year in 2000. She was a key supporter of bringing TTUHSC to Abilene and her philanthropic efforts resulted in an impact of more than $23 million for TTUHSC’s programs in Abilene.

“The impact of Julia Jones Matthews' legendary philanthropy touches virtually every charitable need and organization in our community, spanning the arts, education, health care, animal rescue, the zoo and a host of other humanitarian causes,” Hendrick Medical Center CEO and President Tim Lancaster said.  “Much of her life, she followed the lead of her mother Ruth Legett Jones by giving most of her gifts anonymously. In later years, her vision for Abilene's future shifted to the establishment and development of the TTUHSC-Abilene campus. Mrs. Matthews was drawn to this project for the quality employment opportunities and professional caliber education TTUHSC provides. I can't think of a more fitting way to honor such a generous individual and family.”

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