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Dr. Richard Wainerdi, 1931-2021

Collage of contact sheet frames featuring Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi in his office. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]

by Alethea Drexler, Archives Assistant Lead

On March 17, 2021 the Texas Medical Center lost long-time leader Richard E. Wainerdi.

Dr. Wainerdi had an interesting and diverse career. Following a stint in the Air Force, Dr. Wainerdi earned a Master’s and then a Ph.D. in engineering at Pennsylvania State University.  He began his career in nuclear engineering at Dresser Industries before moving to Texas to teach nuclear and petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University.  In twenty years at TAMU he established TAMU’s Nuclear Science Center and contributed to the foundation of both its Cyclotron Institute and its College of Medicine.  In 1977 he moved on to 3D/International and then, in 1982, to Gulf Oil.

In 1984, Dr. Wainerdi accepted what he expected to be a short-term position as president of the Texas Medical Center (TMC).  He stayed for twenty-eight years. Dr. Wainerdi’s combined experience in academics, research, and business uniquely prepared him to build the TMC into the burgeoning medical complex we know today.  He encouraged institutions to collaborate and complement each other’s expertise.  Even after his retirement as President Emeritus in 2012 he remained a supporter of the TMC as a whole, of individual member institutions, and of numerous charitable organizations.

The McGovern Historical Center holds two collections that Dr. Wainerdi generously donated.

Richard E. Wainerdi, Ph.D papers: contains Dr. Wainerdi’s personal papers and administrative records related to his work as president of the TMC.

Richard Wainerdi’s Texas Medical Center Memorabilia Collection: contains three-dimensional objects presented to Dr. Wainerdi during his tenure as president of the Texas Medical Center. The collection includes numerous scrolls, fabrics, desktop items such as paper weights, pen sets, commemorative plaques, ceramic, toy-like models and other objects. Many items came from Houston-area institutions and businesses as well as numerous international organizations.

Explore our collection site for other collections that contain materials related to Dr. Wainerdi.

Images of Dr. Wainerdi

Image of Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi at lectern. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]
Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi with Marvin Zindler at Shriners. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]

 

Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi with Marvin Zindler at Shriners. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]
Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi with Marvin Zindler at Shriners. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]

 

Detail of contact sheet featuring frames of Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi in his office. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]
Detail of contact sheet featuring frames of Dr. Richard E. Wainerdi in his office. [McGovern Historical Center, IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, Box 56]