President’s Perspective

President’s Perspective: How the TMC Came to Be

President’s Perspective: How the TMC Came to Be

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William F. McKeon is the president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center.

A number of significant events unfolded in the early 1900s that led to the formation of the largest medical city in the world.

In the 1800s, Galveston served as the center of commerce for Texas and the center for medicine in the region. In 1881, Galveston was chosen as the site for The University of Texas Medical Department, now The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. But in 1900, a hurricane devastated the beautiful island and claimed more than 8,000 lives. Galveston’s tragedy led to opportunity in Houston, however, with the development of a deep water shipping channel that extended 52 miles inland to Houston. The Port of Houston is roughly the same size and age as the Panama Canal, a testament to the continued importance of that infrastructure.

Four months after the Galveston hurricane, a well came in at the Spindletop oil field 80 miles east of Houston. That discovery launched the Texas oil boom, which fundamentally reshaped the economy of our city and state.

All of these independent factors led to a population surge in the Houston area. That growth required a strong medical infrastructure to support the ever-expanding community. City leaders formed the Texas Medical Center with a mission to advance research, education and the health of Texas.

Today, the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical city in the world. Our 110,000 employees include some of the very best researchers and clinicians on Earth.

True to our Texan spirit, we are now looking for ways to advance our mission through collaboration. We are uniquely positioned to leverage the resources on our campus to optimize and accelerate discovery and advancement of patient care. This opportunity does not exist anywhere else in the world.

Houston has come a long way since the early 1900s, but its spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship has remained strong for more than a century.


William F. McKeon
President and CEO
Texas Medical Center

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