The Baylor College of Medicine community gathered this afternoon outside the Roy and Lillie Cullen Building to celebrate the building’s dedication as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
The Texas Historical Commission recognized the Cullen Building at Baylor’s main campus as the first building to be completed in the Texas Medical Center. An official Texas Historical Marker was unveiled acknowledging the Cullen building as a significant part of history. Baylor President, CEO and Executive Dean Dr. Paul Klotman opened the ceremonies with special guests former Texas Gov. Mark White, former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Corbin J. Robertson Jr., board member and grandson of Roy Cullen, for whom the building is named. Other members of the Cullen family also were in attendance as well as representatives from the Harris County Historical Commission.
The Cullen family, The Cullen Foundation and The Cullen Trusts for Health Care and Higher Education have been deeply involved in the support and growth of Baylor for 71 years. In 1947, Roy and Lillie Cullen’s gift of $800,000 helped complete construction of the building. Since then, their commitment has continued with the establishment of the $160 million Cullen Foundation to provide continual aid to education and medicine. “Baylor has played an important role in the history of this city and state, and we are very proud of that,” said Klotman. “It was made possible through the incredible generosity of the Cullen family, and we are grateful for their support.”
Dr. Edward C. “Ed” Ming Chen, representative of the Harris County Historical Commission, talked about the importance of Baylor to the community as well as the significance of the Cullen family, not just on Baylor but other institutions as well. White added, “The Cullen family has made an unparalleled investment in the future of our state and world. They truly have made a difference in the lives of all of us.”
Dr. William Butler, chancellor emeritus at Baylor, who was instrumental in acquiring the designation, spoke on the history of the Cullen building. The history of the college is rooted in its relationship with Baylor University and that relationship continues to be strong today. When the institution moved from Waco to Houston to start the Texas Medical Center in 1943, it was a catalyst for the development of the largest medical center in the world. In 1947 the building was completed and in 1969 the college separated from Baylor University to become an independent institution known as Baylor College of Medicine. “We have a lot to be proud of in the state of Texas, especially our history. Part of that history is this building,” said Dewhurst. “The Cullen family’s love of Houston and the Texas Medical Center has impacted us all.”
Robertson, who unveiled the marker, emphasized that it’s not just the building that is important, but the work that goes on inside of it. “Today is about the people that those buildings attract, including doctors, trainees and researchers,” he said. “Their shared knowledge will continue to be beneficial to us all. The quality of life we all enjoy is because of the work of the people at Baylor and others. As the Cullen family, we are happy to be a part of this.”