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J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Dr. Charles C. Sprague, M.D.

Dr. Charles C. Sprague, M.D. (1916-2005) symbolized two aspects of the moral life not always drawn together in a single person. Publicly, he served the common good. Personally, he cared for others without stint. In both spheres, he never walked away from his duties.

A native of Dallas, graduate of SMU, and physician and educator of distinction, Dr. Sprague returned to Dallas in 1967 to build one of the enduring institutions for the good of this city and the nation – the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He would have been the first to say that he did not build this great medical center alone, but his own readiness to sacrifice self-interest for the common good inspired many others to join him in this uncommon task.

Numerous public honors came his way. They span, among others, a Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Award for an accomplished athlete, two distinguished alumnus awards, and six honorary degrees. But his pastor, colleagues, and friends have noted the myriad ways in which he also served others – at the downtown Stewpot, the Interfaith Housing Coalition, The Shelter Ministries, or in the reaches of personal life.