South Plains Couple Makes Landmark Gift to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center recently received a monumental gift from two of its most loyal donors, Shirley L. and Mildred Garrison of Lubbock. The couple’s $5 million gift, the largest in the health sciences center’s history, benefits the Institute for Healthy Aging—now renamed the Garrison Institute on Aging.

The gift will help the institute implement comprehensive geriatric programs in education and clinical services. The institute will also be able to recruit stellar research faculty to develop novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of age-related diseases, said Paula Grammas, Ph.D., executive director of the Garrison Institute on Aging.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates in the next 10 years, 75 million baby boomers will begin to reach the age of 65,” Grammas says. “As the number of elderly patients increases, the demands on the public health system will continue to grow."

“The Garrisons have a distinguished history of supporting initiatives involving aging and long-term care,” says TTUHSC President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S. “It is our goal to make the Garrison Institute on Aging a source of cutting-edge education, research and care for the elderly. Through their continued generosity, we are uniquely positioned to become major participants in the quest to answer profound research questions on Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.”

In 2000, the couple established the Mildred and Shirley L. Garrison Geriatric Education and Care Center, a 120-bed, five-wing teaching nursing home. The Garrison Center is a collaborative effort between Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Sears Methodist Retirement System Inc. The couple created an endowed professorship and million-dollar chair in 2003, and contributed an additional $500,000 to support the Institute for Healthy Aging.

Married for 64 years, Shirley and Mildred Garrison settled in Idalou, Texas, in 1948. Shirley was a farmer and rancher and was in the cattle feed and banking businesses. In their later years, Mildred developed Alzheimer’s disease, and Shirley has been her primary caregiver.

“Mildred is loyal and loving, and she has always been supportive of the things I wanted to do,” he says. “We have been very fortunate. The good Lord allowed us to prosper, and now it’s our time to give back.”