BrainHealth Bestows Legacy Award on Donor Lyda Hill for Her Support of Veterans

Center for BrainHealth Legacy Dinner 2014

From left: Debbie Francis, Center for BrainHealth Advisory Board chair; Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth; Lyda Hill, 2014 Legacy Award recipient; Lynn McBee, 2014 Legacy Dinner chair; and Eric Bennett, executive director of the Brain Performance Institute.

On Veterans Day, the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas celebrated Lyda Hill and her dedication to America’s servicemen and women, presenting her with its highest honor, the Legacy Award. The award recognizes the pioneering spirit of individuals whose vision and dedication to brain research enable the center to explore the vast potential of the human mind.

Dinner Chair Lynn McBee commenced the program describing Hill as someone who epitomizes the meaning of giving through serving members of the armed forces.

“You approach everything with gusto,” McBee said to Hill. “And tonight we hope to show you the same gusto as we celebrate you and the lives you touch.”

After four BrainHealth veterans presented her with the crystal award, Hill said that her nephew, Michael Wisenbaker, deserved a lot of the credit. An Air Force F-16 pilot and Iraq War veteran, he urged her to find a solution for the often overwhelming and unseen injuries of war that make the transition from military to civilian life difficult for veterans and military service members.

Her quest led her to give $2 million to the Center for BrainHealth’s Brain Performance Institute to activate the Warrior Training Team, mobile units of clinicians and veterans who deliver programs that build brain resilience, achieve brain regeneration and reverse losses in cognitive function.

“Lyda, having a warrior’s spirit herself, knew she had to do something … and that she has done,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair at UT Dallas. “Lyda’s gift ignited the extension of our proven trainings to go well beyond our current Department of Defense-funded research.

“Her gift to our Warrior Training Team program has been transformative — launching stress-inoculating and brain health building programs to hundreds of military service members and their families — farther and faster than we ever imagined possible. Lyda's investment is a revolutionary way of ensuring that those who fight for freedom will be able to enjoy it as well.”

The Warrior Training Team has reached more than 500 warriors, including active duty elite special forces, veterans, and military spouses and caregivers, in several states last year. Projections for next year are in the thousands.

“Thanks to Lyda’s gift, our brothers and sisters in arms are getting the opportunity to focus on training their brains with the same intensity that they do their bodies,” said Morgan Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL lieutenant and graduate student in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “The strategies I learned assisted me as a leader in the SEAL teams while at home training or deployed on combat missions around the world. Today I continue to apply the strategies and benefit as a husband, father, student and an active member in society.”

Past Legacy Award recipients include Dianne Cash, Debbie Francis, T. Boone Pickens, James Huffines, Dee Wyly, Daryl Johnston, Lee Roy Jordan and Jane and Bud Smith.

Legacy Award Dinner

The event was held at the Joule Hotel in Dallas and was attended by approximately 250 guests, including many veterans. The Legacy Award Dinner was sponsored by:


Al Hill Jr.Gene and Jerry Jones Family FoundationToni Brinker and T. Boone PickensPlainsCapital Bank


Sally and Forrest Hoglund; Rita and Henry Hortenstine; Sandy and Tommy RouseThe Alinda Hill Wikert Foundation


Ruth and Ken AltshulerLucy and Henry BillingsleyPeggy DearBarbara and Steven H. DurhamDebbie and Jim FrancisCarol and Jeff HellerHighland Capital ManagementBobby B. LyleEugene McDermott FoundationCarolyn and Karl Rathjen; Nancy Perot and Rod JonesKatherine and Eric ReevesJane and Bud SmithMr. and Mrs. Ray W. WashburneWells Fargo Private Bank

Host Committee

Peggy and Richard Allison; Ruth and Ken Altshuler; Diane and Hal Brierley; Barbara and Don Daseke; Peggy Dear, Barbara and Steve Durham; Bess and Ted Enloe; Debbie and Jim Francis; Al Hill Jr.; Sally and Forrest Hoglund; Caroline Rose Hunt; Gene and Jerry Jones; Bobby B. Lyle; Lydia and Dan Novakov; Alice and Erle Nye; Margot and Ross Perot; Nancy Perot and Rod Jones; Toni Brinker and Boone Pickens; Carolyn and Karl Rathjen; Betty and Gerald Regard; Deedie and Rusty Rose; Jane and Bud Smith; Elisa and Stephen Summers; Heather and Ray Washburne; Alinda and Jim Wikert; Cody Wikert; Margretta Wikert; Lindsey and Michael Wisenbaker; and Wesley Wisenbaker

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

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