Center for BrainHealth Award Honors Former Regent

UT Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth has presented its annual Legacy Award to James Huffines in appreciation of the former UT System regent’s longtime support for the institute and its leading-edge research programs.

Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the UT System, presented the award to Huffines during a banquet Nov. 4 at the Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. The award is the center’s highest honor, given to individuals who have made notable contributions to its wide-ranging efforts to understand, protect and heal the brain through groundbreaking research investigations. Huffines was an enthusiastic champion of the center’s effort to expand its programs by moving into its current state-of-the-art facility on West Mockingbird Lane.

Huffines has dedicated his life to nurturing excellence by cultivating the minds of Texans, said Dr. Sandra Chapman, chief director of the center. He served more than seven years as a system regent and acted as chairman for four years.

Huffines also has served on the board of The University of Texas Investment Management Co. and on many other boards throughout the state. The native Dallasite is president and chief operating officer of PlainsCapital Corp.

As regent of the second-largest university system in the country, Huffines vigorously supported efforts to elevate the Texas schools to national and international status, Chapman said. His backing of the Center for BrainHealth’s move to its current facility permitted unprecedented expansion of the vital brain research conducted there. It also enabled an exponential increase in the number of top-flight neuroscientists calling the center their research home.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert acknowledged BrainHealth’s many “contributions to research and information, especially in this age of knowledge. I can’t think of another institution that’s going to better lead Dallas onto the world stage with the passion and the impact of the Center for BrainHealth.”

Chapman called Huffines a “dedicated visionary” who recognized the importance of expanding the role of Dallas in the world of brain science. “James Huffines is a true Texas hero,” she said.

Thanks in large part to his vision and the remarkable growth of the center that his leadership helped make possible, BrainHealth research “is not evolutionary, but revolutionary,” she said.

Cigarroa praised Huffines for his “true generosity” of spirit. “He has been the Center for BrainHealth’s advocate and supporter since the early stages of its development and growth,” he said.

“(Huffines) continues his commitment to the center to this very day,” Cigarroa said. “The Legacy Award recognizes the pioneering spirit of individuals whose generosity, foresight and dedication to brain research enables the center to explore the vast potential of the human mind.” These are areas where Huffines “has left a lasting legacy.”

In his remarks, Huffines said he believes the Center for BrainHealth and UT Dallas are prime examples of how teamwork, coupled with a compelling vision, can make a lasting difference in people’s lives.

“It’s inspiring what can be achieved when there is a vision, when there is unwavering determination and, above all else, when there is a desire to improve the quality of life for future generations like there is at the Center for BrainHealth,” he said.

Dr. David Daniel, president of UT Dallas, received a hearty laugh when he thanked Huffines personally for chairing the Board of Regents that hired him to lead UT Dallas. He welcomed a roomful of distinguished guests to the award dinner, including Vice Chancellor of External Affairs of the UT System Dr. Randa Safady, UT Regents Bobby Stillwell and wife Gail, and Printice Gary and wife Cynthia. Also in attendance were former Regents Thomas Rhodes Sr. and wife Lillian, and Bob Rowling and wife Terry, a member of the Center for BrainHealth’s Advisory Board. Daniel also recognized Dr. Daniel Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center and his wife, Carol; Dr. Aaron Conley, UT Dallas vice president for development and alumni affairs and his wife, Stefanie; Dr. Bruce Gnade, UT Dallas vice president for research, and his wife, Linda; and Dr. Bert Moore, dean of UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

All three previous Center for BrainHealth Legacy Award recipients – Dianne Cash, Debbie Francis and T. Boone Pickens – attended this year’s event.

James Huffines (left) is given the Legacy Award by Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the UT System.

From left: Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, previous Legacy Award recipient T. Boone Pickens, and patron Barry Andrews.



Host Committee

Vickie and George Bayoud

Cinda and Tom Hicks

Janie and Cappy McGarr

Carol and Phil Montgomery

Sammye and Mike Myers



Terry and Bob Rowling

Gail and Bobby Stillwell

Lindy and Dary Stone

Annette and Jack Vaughn

Lee Ann and Alan White

Dinner Committee

Sue Justice, Chairwoman

Nancy Carter

Ka Cotter

Sandra Estess

Julie Hawes


Rita Hortenstine

Sarah Losinger

Lynn McBee

Jill Smith

Debbie Snell

Major Patrons

Lana and Barry Andrews

Barclays Wealth

Nancy Dedman

Cinda and Tom Hicks

Rita and Henry Hortenstine

Mary Catherine and Donald Huffines

Patty and James Huffines

Holly and Phillip Huffines

Ann and Ray Huffines



Sammye and Mike Myers

The Boone Pickens Foundation

PlainsCapital Bank

Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr.

Sandy and Tommy Rouse

The Rowling Foundation

Gail and Bobby Stillwell

Lee Ann and Alan White 

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].