Unwavering Passion and Dedication for Brain Health
Since 2006, the Legacy Award has recognized individuals whose unwavering passion and dedication enable the Center for BrainHealth® to generate a sustainable impact on brain health in Dallas and beyond.
As BrainHealth's highest non-science honor, the prize symbolizes the lasting mark left by the recipient’s pioneering spirit and enduring vision. These individuals have made momentous contributions to groundbreaking research and interventions, their steadfast determination energizing the center’s mission to protect and heal the brain throughout the lifespan. This distinguished cadre share a vision of future generations empowered to prioritize brain health, and they have championed countless individuals in realizing their brain potential.
Introducing the 2022 honoree: Tom Leppert
Dr. Geoff Ling – neurology professor at Johns Hopkins, past DARPA doctor, and Jean Ann Brock Co-leader of The BrainHealth Project – introduces the 2022 Legacy honoree, the Hon. Thomas C. Leppert.
Past Award Recipients
2022: Tom Leppert
Thomas C. Leppert, businessman and former mayor of Dallas, has led visionary movements in education, manufacturing and public service ethics. As co-leader of The BrainHealth® Project, Leppert has drawn attention to the role of brain health in a thriving economy, propelling an innovative shift in thinking. Through equitable health resources, societies can build brain capital, amplifying human progress and overall well-being.
2021: Emy Lou & Jerry Baldridge
Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge view brain health as one of life’s greatest treasures. The pair have poured their hearts into championing children’s causes and inspiring others to maximize their brain’s potential. As long-term supporters of BrainHealth® research and programming, the Baldridges have proven instrumental to the growth of the center and realization of translational programming through their steadfast support.
Linda and Joel Robuck have contributed countless hours to advocating for BrainHealth® research and programming. The pair have championed the center’s Adolescent Reasoning Initiative™, which prepares middle and high school teachers to provide cognitive training to countless at-risk students, helping young people improve how they think and learn through integrated reasoning, problem solving and innovation.
2018: Georgeann & William McRaven
Georgeann and Adm. (Ret.) William McRaven, former Chancellor of The University of Texas System, have shaped the vision and growth of The BrainHealth® Project, an international, multi-year research collaboration led by Center for BrainHealth. The pair also agreed to serve as national spokespersons for the public launch of the Project, helping ignite a movement – scientific and popular – focused on rewiring the brain.
2017: Margaret McDermott
Margaret McDermott, iconic Dallas philanthropist, had a special appreciation for UT Dallas. Her husband Eugene served as one of UTD's founders in 1969, and Margaret remained devoted to the school throughout her life. At the delivery of her Center for BrainHealth® Legacy Award, UTD Executive Vice President Dr. Hobson Wildenthal referred to McDermott as a "chief executive of a major enterprise of doing wonderful things."
2016: Dan Branch
Dan Branch, former Texas state representative, authored landmark legislation to encourage private giving to emerging research universities. Rep. Branch wrote and helped pass House Bill 51, the “Tier One universities” law, which has boosted gifts to eligible public universities, including BrainHealth® research. President of UT Dallas Dr. Richard Benson has lauded “the tremendous impact Dan Branch has made on education in Texas.”
2015: Clint Bruce
Clint Bruce was inspired to write a letter after his first visit to Center for BrainHealth® in 2011. His sentiments moved the organization to reach out to veteran communities and reinforce its presence among veterans and first responders. The former Navy SEAL joined the center's Advisory Board and has worked to help expand the reach and vision of the center’s warrior initiatives and high performance brain training.
2014: Lyda Hill
Lyda Hill helped activate the Warrior Training Team, filling a gap in support for veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. After her nephew asked for support in addressing the unseen injuries of war, Hill gifted Center for BrainHealth® $2 million to extend programming to serve veterans and their families through mobile delivery units. These stress-inoculating and brain health building programs proved transformative.
2013: Jane & Bud Smith
Jane and Henry J. (Bud) Smith have propelled the BrainHealth’s vision throughout Dallas and beyond. By endowing the Jane and Bud Smith Chair at the Center for BrainHealth, the Smiths have helped strengthen the center’s ongoing research and establish a foundation for making worldwide brain health a reality. First Couple Laura and George Bush joined the event via video to congratulate them for their “generous heart and pioneering spirit.”
2012: Daryl Johnston & Lee Roy Jordan
Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan created a movement among professional athletes to harness the upward potential for brain health across the lifespan. The former Dallas Cowboys have encouraged others to use BrainHealth® strategies to maximize cognitive potential. Founder and chief director Dr. Sandra B. Chapman has credited the pair with bringing hope and recovery to many who experience concussions.
2011: Dee Wyly
Dee Wyly became involved with BrainHealth® to help make cutting-edge brain research a reality in Dallas. In 2004, Dee and Charles Wyly endowed the $2 million Dee Wyly Distinguished Chair at the Center for BrainHealth, currently held by founder and chief director Dr. Sandra B. Chapman, who finds enduring inspiration in Wyly’s vision: “Holding the Dee Wyly Distinguished Chair inspires me every single day.”
2010: James Huffines
James Huffines, former UT System regent, has dedicated his life to nurturing excellence. A champion of several developing BrainHealth® programs, Huffines noted that the center and UT Dallas serve as true examples of how teamwork and vision can create sustainable improvements in people’s lives. Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the UT System, presented the award to Huffines as a symbol of his “true generosity” of spirit.
2009: T. Boone Pickens
T. Boone Pickens became interested in brain health following his mother’s death from a brain tumor. Pickens provided instrumental support throughout the center’s growth, describing his generosity to BrainHealth® as an investment in quality of life for generations to come. A proponent of wind power and alternative energy, Pickens made his fortune in the energy business. His Legacy Award was presented by then-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.
2008: Debbie Francis
Debbie Francis has led the BrainHealth® advisory board through periods of exponential growth, sharing the center’s vision with the Dallas community. A member of several local and national boards, Francis’ commitment to BrainHealth has stemmed from both personal experience and a keen awareness of how brain development, injuries and disease affect families. Her longtime friend, first lady Laura Bush, presented her Legacy Award.
2006: Dianne Cash
Dianne Cash found assistance at the center after her mother's diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Cash’s support of BrainHealth® programs has included a $5 million contribution for the development of a new facility, the Frances and Mildred Goad Building, honoring her mother and grandmother. The keynote speaker at her inaugural Legacy Award was Pulitzer Prize-winning author and scientific expert on aging Dr. Robert Butler.