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NEW YORK -- Valero Energy Corp., based in San Antonio, donated $5 million to the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC). The money will be used to create the position of transplant surgeon faculty chair, and support transplantation research, such as understanding the biology of transplants to improve patient care, the San Antonio Express News reported.
The gift, presented earlier this week by Valero's CEO and chairman Bill Klesse, was among the largest in the organization's history, the report stated. The donation will go toward the center's Campaign for the Future of Health, which has a goal of raising $150 million in private donations and $150 million in public funding.
"Valero's employees and stockholders recognize the important work the health science center is doing, and we're glad to be able to help the people there in their efforts," Klesse told the paper.
UTHSC has yet to announce which member of its team would hold the newly created Valero President's Distinguished Chair in Transplantation. The money will also support oral health programs for low-income patients; a dual-degree program; and medical humanities and ethics education, including laboratory equipment and scientific infrastructure for the transplant program, the report stated.
"Our vision is to use it to train compassionate leaders in academic medicine whose future work will provide the gifts of health and life for all," Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, president of the UTHSC, told the Express News. "This (new faculty position) will acknowledge the lifesaving benefits our transplant surgeons provide to citizens of this region."
Valero itself has felt the impact of the center. Bob Peugh, the company's director of marketing for propane sales, underwent a liver transplant performed by Dr. Kenneth Washburn, a UTHSC surgeon two years ago. After the surgery, Peugh wrote a letter to Klesse encouraging Valero to support the transplant center, according to the paper.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City-based Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores said it will launch its annual nationwide campaign to support the Children's Miracle Network on Sept. 1, the ninth consecutive year Love's has supported the organization.
Throughout the years, Love's and its customers have raised more than $1.5 million to help support affiliated children's hospitals, the company stated.
"Love's is proud to continue our relationship with the Children's Miracle Network and raise much-needed funds to help give children, who in some cases are fighting for their lives, the best medical care imaginable," Love's CEO Tom Love said in a statement. "Our customers and store associates are important partners with us in this effort. Our customers have given generously through the years, and we believe this year will be no different. As a company, we look forward to seeing what we hope will be record contributions this year."
The campaign, themed "Have a Heart in September," allows customers at all Love's locations in 31 states to donate to the cause from Sept. 1 to 30.
"We are fortunate to have generous companies like Love's as our partners," Rod Hamson, vice president of sponsor relations for Children's Miracle Network, said in a statement. "The 'Have a Heart' campaign raises awareness and funds to support the programs and services provided by the Children's Miracle Network hospitals in the communities where Love's employees and customers live and work. Love’s is helping us educate these communities on the important medical advances happening every day at more than 170 hospital affiliates in the United States and Canada. Every year, Love's management, employees and customers demonstrate through their generosity that they truly 'Have a Heart' for kids."