The Medical City Dallas founder was a man of vision and analytical skills, both as a successful developer and a university board member.
Emeritus Trustee Robert J. Wright was influential at TCU. Wright and his wife supported two residence halls, the Mary Wright Admissions Center and multiple endowed scholarships. Courtesy of the TCU Office of the Chancellor
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More in Campus News: Alma Matters
Topics: Frogs We Will Miss
Robert J. “Bob” Wright, who served on the TCU Board of Trustees from 1993 to 2013 and then received emeritus status, died Jan. 17 at Medical City Dallas, the hospital he created 45 years before.
Mary Wright said her husband’s route to TCU was paved by his uncle, TCU’s business manager for years and later a trustee. Loy Calvin “Pete” Wright (1910) went without a salary to help save TCU during the Great Depression, she said. His nephew, who attended the university too, carried on that dedication to the school.
As a member of the board’s executive committee, Bob Wright “initiated several things from a governance standpoint that we adopted,” said Luther King ’62 (MBA ’66), board chairman from 2005 to 2012. Among them was forming an executive compensation committee to gather data from other universities on chancellor salaries.
“When I would have issues and wanted advice or counsel, I would ask Bob,” King said. “He was a wise individual and a gentleman at all levels.”
Marcia French, a trustee with Wright, called him “very staunch and willing and intelligent on the board.” Wright, who developed the Business Jet Center at Love Field, also helped her buy an airplane, explained avionics and gave her pointers.
Wright began his career in medical management in Fort Worth, said Mary Wright, recalling the newlywed days of their 68-year marriage. His career took off with his idea for Medical City, a mall concept that put the hospital and medical services where a growing number of patients and doctors lived. Before then, medical care typically required a trip downtown.
With their success, the Wrights gave back to TCU and Austin College, where Bob Wright also was a trustee. At TCU the couple gave gifts for new buildings, including two dormitories and the admissions center. They also paid for the education of 36 students, Mary Wright said.
It was “just natural to go back to his alma mater and help things,” she said.
— Linda Stallard Johnson
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