"Throughout its history, Baylor College of Medicine has had a strong relationship with the Cullen family. Today, the Cullen Foundation, the Cullen Trust for Health Care and the Cullen Trust for Higher Education continue to provide major support to the College.
It all started with Hugh Roy Cullen. According to Beth Robertson and Corbin J. Robertson Jr., grandchildren of H.R. Cullen, their grandfather backed the College from its earliest days in Houston.
"Baylor College of Medicine is a project that my grandfather adopted early in his career. In 1947 when they opened the first building, it was the Cullen Building. It was named after granddad who paid for building it," said Corby Robertson. "For many years, he also paid for the operating losses for Baylor each year."
"I understand, in the early years, my grandfather would write a check for the deficit. Dr. Feigin told me that Dr. (Earl) Hankamer would come to him and say 'we're short an amount of money' and he would write the check," said Beth Robertson, who serves as chair of the Cullen Trust for Health Care and a trustee for the Cullen Foundation. "So, my grandfather was very instrumental in getting Baylor started. Gampa was proud of his impact on the Texas Medical Center and very proud of its first medical school. Our whole family continues to be proud of Baylor and its important contributions to medicine and to our community's health."
In 1947, Roy and Lillie Cullen gave $800,000 to help get the school off the ground, and continued to donate funds to the project for a total of $2.5 million through 1954. The Lillie and Roy Cullen Building continues today as the centerpiece of the College's Main Campus and the Texas Medical Center.
Corby Robertson, a BCM trustee, said the Cullen family has been a long-time supporter of things that are the most important. "And a good education and good health are essential to a good life."
"My parents raised me in a way that said 'to those who much is given, much should be expected.' I was raised with the thinking that we as a family must give back to the community," he said.
Throughout its history with BCM, the Cullen groups have provided major support to the College, including significant gifts this year from both the Foundation and the Trust for Health Care to help in opening the first clinical practices in the BCM Medical Center on the McNair Campus.