In memoriam: Kathrine G. McGovern

Kathrine G. McGovern

Kathrine G. McGovern—who helped to transform UTHealth Houston into what it is today—passed away on Dec. 1. (Photo by UTHealth Houston)

In honor of a transformational $75 million gift from the John P. McGovern Foundation, the school was renamed John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School. (Photo by UTHealth Houston)

Kathrine G. McGovern, who was committed to supporting scientific discovery and innovation at UTHealth Houston, passed away on Dec. 1. She was 90 years old.

Known for her kindness and commitment to community service, Kathy and her late husband, John P. McGovern, MD, dedicated their lives to making Houston a better place, and UTHealth Houston was among the institutions where they sought to bolster education, scientific discovery, and innovation.

In 1981, the John P. McGovern Foundation made a $100,000 gift to the university to establish a professorship in health promotion at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. It was the first of 526 gifts totaling almost $93 million. The McGoverns have provided funding to support UTHealth Houston’s six schools, in addition to university-wide initiatives ranging from lecture series to student scholarships to medical humanities and ethics.

After her husband passed in 2007, Kathy became president of the John P. McGovern Foundation and seamlessly led the foundation’s board as chair for more than 15 years — creating her own legacy of generosity and community service.

In the fall of 2015, the John P. McGovern Foundation made a transformational $75 million gift to the university and medical school. In honor of the gift — the largest in the history of both UTHealth Houston and the foundation — the school was renamed John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School.

“We will forever be grateful to Kathy, Dr. McGovern, and members of the John P. McGovern Foundation’s board. More than 60 years after the establishment of the foundation, the McGoverns’ vision continues to transform the Texas Medical Center and Houston as a whole,” said Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair at UTHealth Houston.

A memorial service honoring Kathrine G. McGovern was held Wednesday, Dec. 13, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 5501 Main St., Houston, Texas 77004.