About Governor Clements

Former Governor William P. Clements Jr. Left an Indelible Mark on UT Southwestern

William P. Clements Jr.
William P. Clements Jr.

Former Texas Governor William P. “Bill” Clements Jr. was a legendary supporter of UT Southwestern Medical Center and a champion of Texas education. His philanthropic spirit and commitment to advancing scientific discovery and innovation had a transformative impact on the Medical Center.

Gov. Clements, who died in 2011 at the age of 94, was a longtime friend of UT Southwestern. His philanthropic support of the Medical Center began in 1998, when he and his wife, Rita, donated $1.25 million to UT Southwestern to create the Rita C. and William P. Clements, Jr. Scholar in Medical Research program. In 2006, Gov. Clements donated $10 million to complete a UT Southwestern clinical and medical research facility now named the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building, in honor of Gov. Clements and Mrs. Clements, a former member of The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

In 2009, Gov. Clements made an unexpected and unprecedented $100 million contribution to UT Southwestern – the largest single gift in the institution’s history. The new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is named in his honor.

At the time he made this unrestricted gift, Gov. Clements said his goal in supporting UT Southwestern was to “help encourage and advance scientific discovery and innovation, prepare the next generation of physicians for Texas and the nation, and ensure the delivery of world-class medical care, which I believe uniquely happens at this academic medical center, already recognized as one of the top institutions in this country.”

In his long, distinguished career, which included serving as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1977 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Gov. Clements made history in 1979 by becoming Texas’ first Republican governor since Reconstruction. He served two terms as Texas governor, from 1979 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1991, making him the longest-serving governor in state history at the time. He also was an honorary trustee of Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Gov. Clements achieved major success as an oil drilling contractor before he went into politics. He founded SEDCO in 1947, which grew to become the world’s largest oil and gas drilling contracting company, merging with Schlumberger Limited in 1984. He retired as chairman in 1985. In retirement, he raised cattle and was an avid Texas history enthusiast, with a personal library of more than 8,300 volumes, most of which focus on the history of Texas and the Southwest.