Celebrating 130 years image over a black and white picture of old red

UTMB celebrates 130th anniversary

One hundred and thirty years ago, 23 students and 13 faculty gathered on Galveston Island and began a tradition of improving health through education, research and patient care. It was the first class meeting of the state’s first medical school.

Now with more than 3,500 students and nearly 14,000 employees, The University of Texas Medical Branch will mark its 130th anniversary on Oct. 5, 2021.

“Over the years, UTMB has weathered many storms and celebrated many triumphs,” said Dr. Ben Raimer, president ad interim of UTMB. “We have trained generations of health care providers and biomedical scientists and have made countless research discoveries. We see the benefits of that training and research during the COVID-19 pandemic and future generations will reap the benefits of the hard work, education and research happening on our campuses today.”

In 1891, UTMB had one hospital – the original John Sealy Hospital, made possible through a $50,000 bequest from its namesake. Today, UTMB is a comprehensive health system with four campuses and 90 clinics throughout the region that serve thousands of patients every year. The university also operates an extensive Correctional Managed Care program.

UTMB’s educational options have also grown from the original medical school and soon after a nursing program, to now the School of Health Professions and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Soon UTMB will be adding a School of Public and Population Health to the academic enterprise. UTMB currently offer 59 accredited residency and fellowship programs and will soon be adding a 60th with a new Emergency Medicine residency. And its internationally recognized research enterprise includes the Galveston National Laboratory. 

“All of this growth and success has been possible because of one thing,” Raimer said. “Our people have been a shining beacon of hope and healing for the communities we serve. I want to thank our students, faculty and staff, along with countless friends, philanthropists, elected officials and the University of Texas System Board of Regents, who have believed in our mission and supported us unwaveringly throughout our history.”

Among the long-time supporters of UTMB is The Sealy & Smith Foundation, which carries on the giving legacy of the Sealy family and will celebrate its centennial in 2022. 

Because of the ongoing pandemic, UTMB will not host a large, public gathering to commemorate the 130th anniversary, but instead will have a series of smaller celebrations for employees and students at each of the four campuses. The celebrations will begin on the Galveston Campus on Oct. 5 and will continue on Oct. 8 on the Angleton Danbury, Clear Lake and League City campuses.