Driscoll Children’s Hospital was built in 1953, born from the love and compassion of our founder, Clara Driscoll, the granddaughter of a Texas patriot.
We’re able to serve the needs of children today because of a generous gift from Clara Driscoll over 70 years ago. As part of her will, she requested a fund be created to maintain a charitable hospital for indigent children—along with the creation of the Robert Driscoll and Julia Driscoll and Robert Driscoll Jr. Foundation to handle the assets and hospital financials.
With the help of Clara Driscoll’s physician, McIver Furman, MD, the hospital on Alameda Street in Corpus Christi, Texas opened in 1953. In 1970, Driscoll Children’s Hospital had its status changed from “charity only” to “not-for-profit,” making it possible to provide care to all children in South Texas and beyond.
The hospital has grown from a 25-bed facility to one with expert pediatric specialists in more than 32 medical and 13 surgical specialties. Driscoll was the first hospital in South Texas to provide emergency services exclusively for children, and today we provide emergency care to approximately 40,000 children a year. Driscoll was also the first hospital in South Texas to perform an organ transplant.
Clara Driscoll was an author, a politician, an activist, a cattlewoman and is referred to as the “Savior of the Alamo.”
Born in 1881, Clara was the granddaughter of Daniel O’Driscoll, a soldier in Sam Houston’s army. Clara spent her early years on Palo Alto Ranch. Although she would go on to boarding school in New York, life in Paris and eventually embark on a round-the-world trip with her mother and brother—her love of Texas stayed as strong as ever.
When she was in her early twenties, Clara heard that the Alamo was going to be demolished in order to build a hotel. Her fierce will and Texan pride led her to organize a fundraising campaign to save the Alamo. As the deadline for payment neared, Clara knew she would not be able to raise the money in time, so she wrote a personal check to cover the rest of the payment. She gave the Alamo back to the State, and they eventually reimbursed her, but Clara would always be known as “The Savior of the Alamo.”
Clara’s book Girl of La Gloria was published in 1904, followed by In the Shadow of the Alamo. She also wrote a musical, Mexicalla, that opened in the Schubert brothers’ Lyric Theater. In 1928, Clara was elected to the Democratic National Committee where she served for 16 years and became a confidant of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Following her brother’s death, she took over managing her family’s land and cattle. Despite advice to lease the land and sell the cattle, Clara kept everything—thus preserving the Driscoll empire. As the Corpus Christi area began to grow, Clara supported the building of the naval base, and she built the Driscoll Hotel.
Clara died on July 17, 1945, leaving the family’s fortune to a fund that would create Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Clara’s stubborn will, business sense and leadership skills made her powerful; however, it was her compassion, spirit and generosity that made her great. Even today, her gift is an extraordinary blessing for pediatric care in Texas and beyond.
The foundation of the Driscoll logo is the ‘Y’ component, which pays homage to our roots through a stylized version of the original Driscoll cattle brand. It exemplifies the Texas patriotism ingrained in our institution through our founder, Clara Driscoll. The logo ensures that the Driscoll name is always prominent, while the sun icon conveys a message of optimism, light, hope and healing.
Devoted to expert care, education, outreach and advocacy.
Until all children are well.
Compassion, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence, Stewardship