UT Hall of Honor swimmer, renowned cardiologist dies at 80

Horns Report

Photo: University of Texas Athletics

HOUSTON (KXAN) — A former University of Texas swimmer and member of the UT Athletics Hall of Honor died Wednesday at the age of 80.

Dr. Jim Willerson was a three-year letter winner (1959-61) for the Longhorns in the pool. Willerson was a renowned cardiologist and former president of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He also previously served as the president emeritus of the Texas Heart Institute.

In 2017, UT Austin named its top cardiovascular research center at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) in honor of Dr. Willerson. A swimming scholarship at UT is named in his honor.

Willerson was a member of the Texas Cowboys and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UT in 1961 with a degree in pre-med. He was born Nov. 16, 1939 in Lampasas.

In high school, Willerson was a state swimming champion, winning five titles in the private school ranks, according to UT Athletics. He was inducted into the UT Hall of Honor in 2009.

Photo: University of Texas Athletics

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