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Building for the Future

The Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower will integrate classroom education with research and clinical experience.

Baylor Receives $30 Million Lead Gift to Construct Transformative Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower in New Health Sciences Park

Healthcare and life sciences are a driving force in Houston’s economic success. Houston has more than 1,760 life sciences companies, healthcare facilities and research institutions – employing almost 395,000 workers – a force larger than the city’s energy sector. Central to that activity is the Texas Medical Center (TMC), the largest medical complex in the world. The TMC is continuing to expand its impact with $3 billion in construction projects underway. Adding to this expansion is Baylor College of Medicine’s construction of the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.

Lillie and Roy Cullen had a vision to establish one of the nation’s top-ranking medical schools in Houston, believing that no matter how many hospitals would eventually be built, the TMC could not thrive and significantly advance care without a superior medical school to feed it. In 1947, the couple helped fund the construction of the first Baylor College of Medicine building, beginning to realize their vision and setting the TMC on a trajectory few would have believed possible at the time.

Decades later, that vision continues to evolve thanks to one of the largest combined philanthropic gifts from The Cullen Foundation, The Cullen Trust for Health Care and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education. With their $30 million commitment, the three organizations will help construct the first tower in Baylor’s new Health Sciences Park, a planned 800,000-square-foot hub for collaboration and innovation. The Park will integrate medical education and research, all right next to Baylor’s premier patient care facilities, allowing trainees to enhance their classroom learning with lab and clinic experience and encounter patients directly impacted by the work they are doing every day.

From left: Corbin J. Robertson, Jr., chairman of The Cullen Trust for Higher Education, Wilhelmina Robertson, chairman of The Cullen Foundation, Paul Klotman, M.D., and Katherine Cullen McCord, trustee, The Cullen Trust for Health Care

When completed in 2026, the new 503,000-square-foot Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower will house ultramodern learning spaces that integrate classroom education with research and clinical experience. As well, The Cullen Tower will sit adjacent to the TMC’s Helix Park and the Baylor Center for Medical Innovation, adding exposure to biotech industry partners and commercialization opportunities. The new learning experience Baylor is building weaves all of these elements together, revolutionizing the model for how students learn, collaborate and thrive.

“As a great-grandchild of Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen, I know how proud they both were of Baylor and the TMC.”

– Cullen Geiselman Muse, Ph.D.
Chair, The Cullen Trust for Health Care

Read Dr. Muse’s blog here.

A rendering of the Center for Space Medicine in the new Cullen Tower promoting group collaboration

“To really change the future of health, we need a space where our educational programs prepare our students for the ongoing evolution in healthcare,” said Baylor President, CEO and Executive Dean, Paul Klotman, M.D. “We are immensely grateful to the trustees of the Cullen organizations for their dedication to our shared vision for education, research and patient care. The Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower will nurture talent, spark brilliance and enable breakthroughs that improve quality of life for patients from all over the world and all walks of life. The Cullen Tower is not just a building – it is the future
of healthcare.”

The Cullen Tower will include a state-of-the-art anatomy lab, teaching labs, and a simulation center to offer immersive, hands-on learning opportunities before students conduct their first clinical rotations. Small group and studio classrooms and large capacity, high-tech theater-style event space will facilitate active learning, while the innovative research space supports big data analytics, an increasingly vital tool in the future of scientific discovery and personalized patient therapies.

A rendering of a high-fidelity simulation operating room

While the building may be part of Baylor’s footprint, the knowledge gained and the progress made to advance medical breakthroughs will belong to the TMC, the Houston community and far beyond. The Cullen Tower will serve as a place to foster connection, collaboration, and compassion.

“As a great-grandchild of Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen, I know how proud they both were of Baylor and the TMC,” said Cullen Geiselman Muse, Ph.D., chair of The Cullen Trust for Health Care.

“Now, 75 years after the dedication of the Cullen building, Baylor is entering a new era of educational excellence. My family and I are honored and grateful to support this new building and the aspirations of present and future trainees. We cannot wait to see what new beginnings will come from inside the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower,” she said.

Gifts to The Cullen Tower total $100 million – $30 million from Cullen entities, with an additional $12 million from The DeBakey Medical Foundation, $10 million from the Huffington Foundation, and more than $45 million from Baylor’s Board of Trustees members and community donors including the M.D. Anderson Foundation, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, Maire and David Baldwin, Polly and Murry Bowden, Ronda and Greg Brenneman, The Elkins Foundation, Claudia and Fred Lummis, and Jeri and Marc Shapiro.

“The Cullen Foundation’s work focuses on improving the quality of life of all people in Houston,” said Beth Robertson, board chair of The Cullen Foundation. “Investing in education and healthcare are vital components of that mission. Baylor College of Medicine has always served Houston in this way, and we are proud to partner once again with this great institution.”

“The new Cullen Tower will serve as the foundation for developing the next generation of physicians and scientists whose discoveries and talent will power the future of health and continue to position Houston and the TMC as the world’s epicenter for solutions to humankind’s most devastating diseases,” Dr. Klotman said.

Visit The Cullen Tower website to watch an animated fly through of the building.

Thank You to Those Who Generously Donated to The Cullen Tower

Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation

Dr. John F. and Rachel P. Anderson

A.R. “Tony” and Maria J. Sanchez Family Foundation

Jamie Bailey

Maire and David Baldwin

Mr. and Mrs. Greg D. Bassett

Ben Taub and Henry J.N. Taub Foundation

Polly and Murry Bowden

Biykem Bozkurt, M.D.

Ronda and Greg Brenneman

Cathy and Bob Brewton

The Cullen Foundation

The Cullen Trust for Health Care

The Cullen Trust for Higher Education

The DeBakey Medical Foundation

Mary E. Dickinson, Ph.D.

Joe and Michelle Doty

The Elkins Foundation

Sarah and Doug Foshee

The Hackett Family

Caroline and Larry P. Heard

Hobby Family Foundation

Huff Family Foundation

Huffington Foundation

Austin King, M.D.

Drs. Paul and Mary Klotman

Claudia and Fred Lummis

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc

Dr. and Mrs. James T. McDeavitt

Julie and Brooks McGee

M.D. Anderson Foundation

Tanya and Bill Mearse

Precious Williams Owodunni

Thomas J. Rosenbalm, M.D.

The Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal and Mr. Gary L. Rosenthal

Jeri and Marc Shapiro


Vivian L. Smith Foundation

Mr. Christopher D and Mrs. Kristin A Wallis

Stephanie and Keith Young

* As of May 24, 2023