Ceremony Honors Two El Paso Philanthropists Instrumental in Development of TTUHSC El Paso
See a full photo gallery from the event on TTUHSC El Paso’s Facebook page.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and the City of El Paso honored Rick Francis and Robert Brown on Friday morning during a ceremony on the university corner that bears their names.
Earlier this year on the campus of TTUHSC El Paso, North Concepcion Street and Alberta Avenue were officially renamed Rick Francis Street and Robert Brown Avenue, respectively.
TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., thanked Francis and Brown for their “pivotal roles in obtaining the TTU System’s support for our university’s mission.”
“Thanks to these visionaries, and many other individuals, we gather here at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso — the only health sciences center on the U.S.-Mexico border and the fourth university in the Texas Tech University System,” Lange said. “It is a fitting honor to have these two streets named after them, right in the heart of campus.”
Francis and Brown were given memorial plaques with a picture of the corner of Rick Francis Street and Robert Brown Avenue, along with life-size ceremonial street signs.
Francis and Brown both spoke at the ceremony and credited a group approach to making the vision of TTUHSC El Paso come to fruition. Francis joined the Texas Tech University (TTU) System Board of Regents as Brown left in 2003, and Francis praised Brown’s guidance and leadership.
“The street sign represents a journey for me,” Francis said. “We didn’t get into this to get our names on streets or buildings. We got into it for a love of community and the opportunity to give back on our watch. You only have to look around at this dynamic campus to see the impact it’s having on El Paso’s economy. That’s what the sign really represents to me.”
Brown said after the ceremony that he was looking forward to showing the street signs to his children.
“I don’t think they are going to believe I have a street named after me,” Brown said. “I can’t believe it myself. We’re going to have to come and take a lot of pictures.”
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, and Cassandra Hernandez, El Paso City Council representative for District 3, which includes TTUHSC El Paso, spoke, as well, thanking Francis and Brown for their dedication to the city and to TTUHSC El Paso.
Rick Francis, chairman and CEO of WestStar Bank, is an El Paso native and former El Paso Inc. El Pasoan of the Year. He was named chairman of the Texas Tech University (TTU) System Board of Regents on Feb. 23, 2017, and served in that role until October 2018. Francis has served on the board since 2003, having been reappointed to the board twice.
He previously served as chairman of the Board of Regents from Jan. 1, 2005 to May 11, 2007 and has also headed the TTU System’s Finance and Administration Committee. In addition to his role on the Board of Regents, Francis is currently a member of the Academic, Clinical, and Student Affairs and Regents’ Rules Review Committees.
Robert Brown, an El Paso businessman, was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1995 and served until 2003. He was elected chairman of the board for a two-year term in 2001. Brown was also a member of the Texas Tech Foundation, serving from 2004 until 2012. Brown was honored as the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus for the TTU Rawls College of Business.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) became the fourth university of the public Texas Tech University System in 2013. TTUHSC El Paso’s mission is to provide quality education, academic research opportunities, patient care and community service programs to meet the unique health care needs of the U.S.-Mexico border, a historically underserved region.
The university is comprised of three separate but interrelated schools — the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences — fostering collaboration between medical, nursing and graduate research students. A fourth school, the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine, was approved by the TTU System Board of Regents in August 2018. With subsequent approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the WLHSDM will be the first and only dental school in West Texas.