UAMS Dedicates $4 Million Fred W. Smith Conference Center

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) today dedicated its new $4 million auditorium and conference center in honor of Fred W. Smith, chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Board of Trustees.


The Fred W. Smith Conference Center, on the 12th floor of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute at UAMS, encompasses the 335-seat Fred W. Smith Auditorium and James H. Hamlen II Boardroom. The new conference center will allow UAMS to host national seminars, conferences and educational symposiums. The state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment will allow UAMS to offer teleconferencing on a large-scale basis.


“We are proud to dedicate this conference center in honor of Fred W. Smith and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, who have been strong supporters of our four-fold mission to teach, to heal, to search and to serve,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. “This conference center is an expression of all that UAMS as an academic medical facility and Arkansas as a state have to offer. Both have many unique treasures waiting to be discovered by the rest of the world.”


Smith, who was born in Arkoma, Oklahoma, attended college in Fort Smith, and started his career in communications in 1951 as an advertising salesman for the Southwest Times-Record in Fort Smith, one of many newspapers owned by the late Donald W. Reynolds. He served in several managerial roles within Reynolds’ Donrey Media Group, and was named executive vice president in 1973, and president and chief operating officer in 1987.


In 1992, Smith became chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Board of Trustees, which is one of the largest private foundations in the nation. Under his leadership, the foundation has awarded more than $850 million in grants in less than 10 years, including more than $220 million in Arkansas and more than $50 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


The conference center includes the James H. Hamlen II Boardroom, featuring a large segmented table that can be reconfigured from a large oval as needed for meetings or presentations. The boardroom is named for the late James Hamlen, a Little Rock businessman who was a generous supporter of UAMS.


The 335-seat Fred W. Smith Auditorium is the UAMS campus’ largest auditorium and offers a comfortable and dignified venue appropriate for speeches, lectures and seminars. The stage includes room for a lectern or table and chairs for hosting lectures or panel discussions.


Adjoining the auditorium and boardroom is a spacious lobby, with its centerpiece, a brilliant, multi-colored chandelier of hand-blown glass. A west-facing, floor-to-ceiling window offers an impressive view of the UAMS campus.


The Fred W. Smith Conference Center was designed by a team of architects from Cromwell Architects and Engineers of Little Rock led by Hrand A. Duvalian. Construction was by CDI Contractors of Little Rock. The audiovisual systems were designed by Jay S. Stanley & Associates of North Little Rock.


The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for who it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.


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.