UAMS Holds Investiture for First Chancellor’s Chair Endowed at an Arkansas University

By todd

Dr. I. Dodd Wilson Named Inaugural Recipient of Ward Chair

LITTLE ROCK – Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences today became the first recipient of the Harry P. Ward Chancellor’s Chair, the first chancellor’s chair endowed at an Arkansas university. University of Arkansas System President B. Alan Sugg presided over the historic ceremony in which Wilson was invested into the Harry P. Ward Chancellor’s Chair.


The chair is named for Chancellor Emeritus Harry P. Ward, M.D., who served as UAMS chancellor from 1979 to 2000. He is credited with leading UAMS’ transformation from a small medical school with a charity hospital to an academic health center and research leader that today receives more than $100 million annually in national research grants and contracts and has an annual economic impact in Arkansas of more than $4.1 billion.


Wilson, who previously served as dean of the UAMS College of Medicine, succeeded Ward in October 2000. He has led UAMS to sustained growth in enrollment and funding that has positioned the campus for its largest planned expansion, a $200 million plan that will ensure it has facilities to meet its patient care, education and research needs in the future.


“Creating a chair in honor of Dr. Ward that will allow for continued growth and pursuit of excellence at UAMS and making Dr. Wilson the inaugural recipient is a fitting tribute to these two giants in the history of health care and higher education in Arkansas,” said Sugg in announcing the chair.


“Dr. Ward’s vision ushered in an era of unprecedented growth in clinical, education and research programs at UAMS, making it one of the outstanding academic health centers in the world,” Sugg said. “Dr. Wilson’s tireless efforts have bolstered the reputation of UAMS as a center for world-class patient care, education and research and he is now presiding over the largest planned expansion in the campus’ history.”


The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation provided the lead gift of $1 million for the chancellor’s chair, which drew support from other donors to meet the $2.5 million endowment. The chair will provide flexible funding for the UAMS chancellor to use in recruiting faculty and administrators of the greatest possible caliber and vision.


Sugg and UAMS officials joined state officials and UAMS supporters to honor Ward and Wilson during the investiture ceremony held in the Fred W. Smith Conference Center at the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute on the UAMS campus.


During 21 years as UAMS chancellor, Ward saw student enrollment nearly double as each college and the area health education centers expanded their education programs. Ward’s tenure as chancellor also saw new facilities and financial support that allowed UAMS to build on its ability to deliver patient care, provide health care education and support groundbreaking research.


Ward was named UAMS chancellor in 1979 after previously serving as professor and dean of the University of Colorado College of Medicine.


Wilson came to UAMS in 1986 as a professor and dean of the UAMS College of Medicine from the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he was a professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medicine. He was named executive vice chancellor at UAMS in July 1994.


As chancellor, Wilson has led UAMS to continued growth and increased enrollment. Federal grants and contracts have grown from about $6 million in 1984 to about $106 million today, while funding for the College of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health has doubled every five years for the last 20 years. Wilson’s leadership has positioned UAMS to begin the planned campus expansion.


An endowed chair is the highest academic honor that can be bestowed by a university on its faculty. A chair can honor the memory of a loved one or, as in this case, honor the accomplishments of the former UAMS chancellor. It is supported with designated gifts of $1 million or more.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,200 students and 660 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.1 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.