Alumnus Top in His Field, Championed Diversity
Anesthesiology Chairman’s Office
Will Bear His Name
Dr. William H. Hadnott Jr. had all but given up on his dream to become a physician.
The Beaumont native was certain a medical education was out of the question and he likely would become a teacher like his parents.
But once the University of Texas Medical Branch opened its doors to African American students, Dr. Hadnott plotted a different course for himself, one that ultimately led to his recognition as one of San Antonio’s most prominent anesthesiologists.
His younger brothers, James and Oneil, and later his son, William H. Hadnott III, also earned medical degrees from UTMB. But for Dr. Hadnott, it was not enough that he and his family benefitted from a UTMB education. Through tireless advocacy, Dr. Hadnott made sure greater numbers of African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities enrolled at the university.
Dr. Hadnott passed away at age 82 in 2010.
His influence, however, continues to thrive at UTMB through the Hadnott Family School of Medicine Scholarship, and his presence will also be felt in the new Jennie Sealy Hospital, where the Anesthesiology chairman’s office will bear his name.
“It was my husband’s dream to support UTMB in any way,” Dr. Hadnott’s widow, Janis Hadnott, said. “I thought this would be something fitting for him that we do this in his honor.”
The fifth-floor space will indeed serve as a fitting memorial to a man who devoted his professional life to the mastery of anesthesiology. It was a skill he taught others as a long-time professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Dr. Hadnott, who graduated from UTMB in 1957, was also an active member among the university’s alumni. He belonged to the university’s Development Board, President’s Cabinet and School of Medicine Alumni Association Board of Trustees. He was particularly driven to boost minority enrollment through his work on what is now known as the Diversity in Medical Education Committee.
“He was determined to change things,” Janis Hadnott said. “He wanted to make sure the university was aware there were capable students who would do well at UTMB if they had a chance.”
Dr. Tristan Castañeda, a former Diversity Committee chairman, recalled the group’s early days when members pressed university leaders to allow them to participate during interviews of minority applicants. The committee’s intent, he stressed, was not to achieve special privileges for the applicants.
University leaders credit the committee for the dramatic changes in student demographics: UTMB’s School of Medicine recorded the third highest number and percent of underrepresented minority graduates among United States medical schools over the 10-year period from 2000 to 2009.
Janis Hadnott said her husband was proud of the changes he saw take place at his alma mater, which honored him in 2005 with the prestigious Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award.
“I think people will remember him for his work to make sure that minorities had the chance to be interviewed at UTMB so they would have a good chance of getting into the university,” Janis Hadnott said. “Then he wanted them to do well.”
Dr. Hadnott was also chief of anesthesiology at San Antonio’s Baptist Memorial Hospital System, chief of the anesthesiology department at Nix Memorial Hospital and chief of staff at Nix Hospital. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.
In addition to his son, Dr. Hadnott and his wife also have three daughters: Wanna H. Hadnott; Wynette Hadnott; and Marjorie LaVerne Hadnott.