Debbie Hanna

Wortham House 1988
Debbie Hanna, pictured above, 3rd from bottom left (1988)

Debbie Hanna is president of the Darrell K Royal Research Fund, the Texas Healthy Brain Initiative, and serves as a nonprofit financial consultant for Alzheimer’s Texas and other charitable organizations primarily involved in funding neurological research at Texas medical schools using private and public sources.

Hanna has the unique honor of having served four Governors; Briscoe, White, Perry and Abbott as a Senate confirmed appointee.

As a member of the University of Houston System Board of Regents from 1983-1989 and its first female chair, Debbie helped propel the university’s transition into its current status as a Tier One Research Institution. Mrs. Hanna’s insights, drive and relationships helped reshape the university’s competitive presence with the Texas Legislature to bolster state financial support. Throughout her tenure Mrs. Hanna assumed integral responsibility for the success of the university’s first $100 million capital campaign. This infusion of new capital transformed the University of Houston’s capabilities and its relationships with the city’s business and philanthropic leadership. Today, a new generation of young Houstonians, primed and prepared at the University of Houston, is flourishing within the city’s professional workforce.

Her volunteer work and state appointments span leadership positions with The Texas Real Estate Research Center at TAMU (member and chair), the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders (member and chair) and numerous local appointments and offices in Austin, AISD, and Travis County. Her efforts on behalf of neurological research have resulted in the institutional expansion of the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium and the award of almost $70 million in grant funding for 10 Texas medical schools.

She is married for 44 years to Austin attorney Mark J. Hanna. They have 1 son Mark J. Hanna, Jr. of Houston, a 2010 graduate of UH Law Center. Her inspiration in life is granddaughter, Catherine Quail Hanna a beautiful and happy -1st grader at St. Francis Episcopal School.

Her contributions have been recognized with honors and awards, including the John Ben Sheppard Leadership Award joining esteemed honorees and Houston Mayor's Award.

A St. Louis native and Houston transplant, Hanna attended the University of Houston in the mid-sixties and holds fond memories of The Big "E," Del Mar Fieldhouse games, real-live Shasta, and The Cougar Den.