Photo: Darren Abate /For The Express-News
The president and CEO of San Antonio-based refiner Valero Energy Corp. and his wife will be honored Saturday night at the 2017 President’s Gala of UT Health San Antonio with the establishment of the Lacie and Joe Gorder President’s Endowment in Heart Disease Research.
Each year the gala raises more than $500,000 to support the university’s clinical, research and educational initiatives. The couple are interested in helping children born with heart defects, according to a press release Wednesday.
Dr. William Henrich, president of UT Health San Antonio, said the gala has helped support Alzheimer’s and cancer initiatives in the past.
“This year the target that we are aiming to fill with regard to need is the area of heart disease research,” Henrich said. “We have a robust program in heart disease research at the Health Science Center and we are looking to expand our research capabilities as well as our clinical capabilities.”
Henrich said he knows the Gorders professionally and personally and said “they are a very sincere, giving, and authentic couple who care deeply about the health of San Antonio.”
“As we think about individuals whom we would like to invite to honor from year to year, we start first with individuals exactly like Joe and Lacie, a couple that has made a commitment to giving back to the community they love in a way that will make a tangible difference for the health of the community,” Henrich said.
He added that the Gorders have a “personal connection” to heart disease, but emphasized that many Americans do given the prevalence of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S. is related to heart disease.
Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas declined to comment on the award.