Family says Preston Smith would be ‘astounded’ by progress of Texas Tech Medical School

Family members say Preston Smith would be 'astounded' by progress of Texas Tech Medical School

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Summer is a time for reunions, but what happened tonight was like no other celebration for the Texas Tech Medical School, recognizing 50 years in Lubbock.

The event brought nearly 500 people to Lubbock tonight to celebrate their part in this timeline.

Hosting the event was Dr. Tedd Mitchell, the first ever to serve two roles: President of the TTUHSC and Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.

He said tonight, “We have a lot of our donors. We actually have also brought in a number of our old professors and people that were here from the beginning. In addition to that, we’ve brought in the families of some of the folks that politically were making this a reality back in the ’60s.”

The Texas Tech University School of Medicine began in 1969 as a vision of then governor Preston Smith, who was from Lubbock and concerned at the time that there was no physician anywhere in the 19 counties surrounding Lubbock.

Today, TTUHSC serves 4,000 students across the nation and has graduated almost 28,000 health professionals with nearly one in four staying right here to serve West Texas.

Governor Smith is gone now, but his heirs were at the celebration in Lubbock tonight.

His grandson, Dr. Rob Schmid, is a Lubbock plastic surgeon and said this about his grandfather, “He’d be so happy to know that the victory he gained in the legislative process created this wonderful facility.”

Jan Smith Taylor, the governor’s daughter and Dr. Schmid’s mother, agreed, “He would be astounded. I don’t think when he signed the bill he had any idea what it would take to make this all come together.”

Lucky for us that Governor Smith signed that bill. While Lubbock remains the hub for Texas Tech, its medical school has grown to include a presence in Amarillo, El Paso and Odessa, with the Health Sciences Center adding campuses in Abilene, Midland and Dallas-Ft. Worth. The 50-year celebration tonight brought about 500 people to the new University Center, a building which was recently unveiled as the new entrance to the Health Sciences Center campus on 4th street.

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