Thank you David Daniel President for that introduction and thank you all for being here today.
It's a great day to be in Dallas, Texas along with some of the leading names in brain research as we announce a major step forward in saving not only lives but saving life-times.
I'm talking about lifetimes of memories lifetimes of experience lifetimes of work and lifetimes of love.
Far too many people in Texas and around the world have suffered the pain of watching a family member slip away into the darkness losing their memories their pride their very essence to Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders associated with aging.
While it devastates families, this tragedy also poses a loss to society as the victims' wisdom, insight, and untapped potential are lost forever.
Like you, I anxiously look forward to the day when The Center for Vital Longevity helps reverse that trend forever.
It's fitting to see this all coming together in Texas where we've made biotechnology and medical research a key to our future.
Our state is blessed with a growing pool of intelligent, experienced and talented individuals actively pursuing the goal of better health and a better life for us all.
During the last legislative session, we took steps to improve the quality of research in our state as the legislature passed and I signed legislation giving our universities a clear path toward Tier 1 status building upon the solid traditions of research already in place at UT-Austin, Texas A&M and other fine Texas schools.
That initiative plays a complementary role to the progress we have made with our Emerging Technology Fund. Created by the Legislature in 2005, it helps accelerate great ideas on their path from the university laboratory to the marketplace while helping attract top researchers from around the world.
Through the ETF, we've invested $ 161 million in our universities helping create organizations like the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at A&M and the Alliance for NanoHealth in Houston.
These institutions, and others like them across the state, have already given us new treatments new products and new hope for patients around the world.
Here in Dallas, this center already knows a thing or two about attracting world class researchers including Dr. Michael Rugg who, like a growing number of Californians, now calls Texas home.
He joins Dr. Denise Park and the rest of her team on a mission to ensure life's later years are enjoyable and productive. As awareness of this effort grows, it will draw even more experts into our collaborative environment of exploration, discovery, and innovation exerting a magnetic pull on even more experts, more investment and, ultimately, more life-saving ideas.
Of course, we grow our own experts here in Texas as well.
Over the past several years, we've made our schools more accountable and rigorous so our high schoolers graduate ready for college or a career ready to compete in the global marketplace.
To accomplish this, we've put a renewed emphasis on the subjects most needed in a high-tech economy targeting science, technology, engineering and mathematics known as the STEM subjects.
The 51 STEM academies we've funded throughout the state catering largely to students considered "at risk" have been remarkably successful. So I've proposed doubling the number of STEM academies and proportionally expanding our pool of teachers qualified to teach the STEM subjects to ensure we have the brightest minds teaching young Texans these essential subjects.
All of these efforts combine to form a critical mass that is pushing Texas to the forefront of high tech industry and will keep us there well into the future.
Of course, that success contributes an essential secondary benefit: accelerated economic development.
We have already seen the power of the biotechnology sector in firms both large and small.
Last year, Medtronic announced a major expansion in San Antonio bringing 1,400 jobs and $23 million in capital investment to Texas.
Just a few weeks ago, I announced an ETF investment in ZS Pharma, which is developing promising new treatments for those afflicted with kidney and liver disease.
Overlay that with our centers-of-excellence in cancer research in Houston, San Antonio, and, of course, Dallas and it's clear we're building some serious momentum.
That momentum is leading us to the point where brilliant ideas will go from insight to design and testing to production all within the borders of our state.
The Center for Vital Longevity now is a part of that tradition.
This center also represents a model for the kind of resource-sharing that can produce world class research without costing a fortune.
By setting aside a certain amount of your innate competitiveness and sharing your resources researchers at UT-Dallas, UT-Southwestern and UT-Arlington will all enjoy the benefits of the cutting edge technology assembled here. This sort of selfless, generous teamwork is a genuine Texas value and the kind of spirit that will breed success and improve lives.
I see great things in the future for this center and for the Lone Star State.
I wish you unparalleled success, as you work to preserve the lives and lifetimes for all of us.
May God bless you, and, through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.