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Dallas Opera Names Interim General Director & CEO

Dallas Opera Names Interim General Director & CEOThe Dallas Opera has announced the appointment of longtime Dallas Opera Board member, Executive Committee member, and former Board Chairman Kern Wildenthal as Interim General Director and CEO of the company. He will serve in a volunteer capacity, with no compensation, until a permanent general director is appointed.

Dr. Wildenthal, who chaired TDO's Board from 2008 to 2012 (during its move to the Winspear Opera House), has been a loyal supporter of the company for many years. In 2015, Mrs. Eugene McDermott and the McDermott Foundation made major 7-figure gifts to endow the company's top job and to honor Dr. Wildenthal by naming the position-in perpetuity-the "Kern Wildenthal General Director."

"I have always had the highest regard for Kern Wildenthal's ability to apply his wide-ranging experience and leadership skills to The Dallas Opera, We are so fortunate that he has agreed to assume the responsibility to steer the company through this transitional time," says Board Chairman Holly Mayer.


Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., was the second President of UT Southwestern Medical Center, serving in that position from 1986-2008, after a ten-year stint as Dean. Under his administrative leadership, UT Southwestern quintupled in size; four faculty members were awarded the Nobel Prize; two million square feet of research buildings were constructed; two hospitals and six clinics were added to the campus, while referral medical services increased ten-fold. Also during this period, the institution's endowment grew from $40 million in 1986 to $1.3 billion in 2008.

Following his retirement as President of UT Southwestern, he became President and Senior Consultant of Southwestern Medical Foundation from 2008-2013. From 2013 to 2016, he served as President of Children's Medical Center Foundation and Executive Vice President of Children's Health System of Texas. Since his retirement from those roles in September 2016, he holds appointments as Past President of the Foundation and Consultant for Children's Health, as well as President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Wildenthal received his medical education at UT Southwestern and New York University Medical Center and his research training at UT Southwestern; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the University of Cambridge in England, where he earned a Ph.D. in cell physiology in 1970.

He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, as well as being selected to chair multiple medical and educational organizations and committees.

Locally, Dr. Wildenthal has been a member of numerous civic, arts, and philanthropic boards, including the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas Assembly, Science Place, Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony Association, The Dallas Opera, Moncrief Cancer Foundation, Hamon Foundation, Reves Foundation, and Hoblitzelle Foundation.

He has received the Excellence in Community Service Award from the Dallas Historical Society, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Award for Public Service from Texas Woman's University, the TACA Silver Cup Award for Volunteer Leadership in the Arts, the Spirit of Generations Award of Dallas' Senior Source, and the 2017 Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award. He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by Austin College and Southern Methodist University. In 2008, he was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the first leader of a nonprofit organization to be so recognized.

In 2014, the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System honored him by naming the newest research building on the UT Southwestern campus as the "C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building."

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