Dr. Garland D. Anderson is currently the executive vice president and provost and dean of the UTMB School of Medicine. Prior to his appointment as dean, he served as the chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for over 17 years. As one of UTMB’s senior leaders, Anderson is committed to UTMB and its future. 

Dr.Garland Anderson was a Little League Baseball coach.

When asked what it is like to work for Anderson, Jacqueline Genovese, chief communications officer for the academic enterprise, said that it is a lot of fun to work for him, adding, “We work hard, but we also laugh a lot.” She mentioned that it is difficult for her to keep up with him since he is always 10 steps ahead of her and everyone else. She said that he has a very kind heart and that he is one of the fairest individuals she knows.  

Because Anderson, a Tennessee native, has been a fixture at UTMB for many years, most people probably think they know everything there is to know about him. However, some of the things he recently had to say just might surprise some folks:

What does the Road Ahead look like for you? 

Ever since Hurricane Ike hit, I have said that UTMB has the potential to do more in the next five years than it has in any five-year period in its history. However, it is too bad that it took a hurricane to create this opportunity. Any time you have a natural disaster, it makes you re-evaluate everything and causes you to see things in a different light. Our goal will be to see a renovated hospital complex, a new support building and a new surgical tower. All of this would be built and renovated as disaster proof as possible against future hurricanes.

Talk about your belief that every child deserves to be wellborn, and how that guided your decisions as the chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology.

You clearly cannot make a level playing field for everyone in the United States because of a multitude of reasons.  If you start off disadvantaged for whatever reason, then you really do not have a lot of opportunities. We owe it to society to make sure every newborn child has the best opportunity to meet their full potential in life.  Children do not work their way into poverty so you really shouldn’t be disadvantaged based on your family background at birth.  While I was chair, our department operated the Regional Maternal and Child Health Program in several regions of Texas. We took care of a large number of people who were low income, and I believe that we should do the best we can for every child we take care of.

Dr.Garland Anderson with Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa at the School of Medicine's 2009 commencement.

What is your favorite Texas vacation spot?

I really do not have a favorite vacation spot. There are a lot of places in Texas that I have not been that I would like to visit. I would like to explore the Davis Mountains in West Texas.  If you look at almost any picture of a sunset on the mountains, it will be a picture of the Davis Mountains.  We are fortunate that Texas has so many different regions and areas.

What is something that you wish you were better at doing?

I wish I was better at speaking a foreign language, particularly Spanish.  We used to talk about Spanish-speaking people only being along the border states, but now they are all across the United States.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I guess the best advice anybody ever gave me was - people are more impressed by your deeds and accomplishments rather than by you telling everyone how wonderful you are.

What three words would people most likely use to describe you?

I think that folks would describe me as persistent, energetic and optimistic.

What is your favorite book of all time?

I love to read, but I do not have the chance to read as much as I used to. My all time favorite book is the three volume edition of Lyndon B. Johnson’s biography written by Robert Caro. It is probably the best description and explanation of what makes someone tick of any biography I have ever read. It is a great read, particularly if you like Texas history. It was a fascinating look at the man.

What is something about yourself that most people don’t know?

When I was 16 years old I spent a month in Washington, D.C. as a page at the Capitol. I had the opportunity to shake hands with President Kennedy and three of his successors: Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. I also met the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, who was a Texan. It was a fascinating month. It was the first time I had ever flown on an airplane.

What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?

I have traveled a lot, but there are still two or three places in the world that I would like to visit: Patagonia, Chile, recognized as one of the most beautiful places on earth; Gabon in Africa, which has set aside a portion of its country to attract tourism; and Guyana in South America, known for having some of the most beautiful fauna and flora in the world. 

What do you like to do when you’re not in your office at UTMB?

I like to read and I like to work in my yard. I also like to go to the Field House and exercise. I live out on the bay, and I like to watch the white pelicans on my neighbor’s dock. I like to visit with my granddaughter, and I like to smoke a cigar once in a while.