Health Center Named After Tisdale

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

June 24, 2009

ARDMORE, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma's planned Specialty Clinic at North Tulsa will be named in memory of Sooner basketball legend Wayman Tisdale, who lost his two-year battle with cancer in May at the age of 44.  The OU Board of Regents unanimously approved the naming at their June meeting in Ardmore. 

"The University of Oklahoma Wayman Tisdale Health Center will honor Wayman and his exemplary life and carry forward his passion for youth, Tulsa and OU," said OU President David Boren.  "With his tremendous smile and unflagging positive spirit, he inspired countless people in his hometown of Tulsa, his home state and throughout the country."  

Tisdale was born into a prominent family in Tulsa, excelled at Booker T. Washington High School and chose OU as the place to make his mark on college basketball.  He played three years at OU from 1983 through 1985 and was the first player in collegiate history to be named a first-team All-American his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.  A three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and an Olympic gold medalist, Tisdale went on to successful careers in the NBA and as a musician. 

In 2007, Tisdale broke his right leg while walking down stairs in his home in California.  After doctors discovered a cancerous tumor behind his knee, he returned home to Oklahoma.  His leg was amputated a year after his cancer was discovered.  During his fight with cancer, Tisdale continued to smile, make music and embrace those who saw him now as a model of living life to the fullest, even during trying times. 

In the months before his death, Tisdale focused on helping others, including those who cannot afford prosthetic limbs.  His experience led him to refocus the work of the Wayman Tisdale Foundation to reflect these new priorities and to work with the OU Cancer Institute.

The OU Wayman Tisdale Health Center will carry forward his tradition of caring by bringing specialty medicine, including cancer, cardiac and urgent care services, to those with limited access. The clinic will be built beside Neighbor for Neighbor at 36th Street North and North Hartford Avenue in a region with minimal access to these types of services.

The 50,000-square-foot clinic, which will serve patients in north, east and west Tulsa, also will feature MRI and CT, endoscopy, outpatient surgery and a cardiac rehabilitation center. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year. 

Funding for the $20 million clinic was secured in late 2007 from a variety of public and private sources, including $6 million from the state Legislature, $4 million from other state agencies, $3 million from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, $3.5 million from anonymous donors, $1 million from the Morningside Healthcare Foundation, and $1 million from Saint Francis Health System.  Contributions of $750,000 from both the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and the Helmerich Foundation were the final gifts that helped OU-Tulsa achieve the goal.  St. John Medical Center provided $1 million in medical equipment support.

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