UAMS Raises $385 Million to Surpass Campaign Goal

By David Robinson

Declaring the first UAMS Philanthropy Day to honor the support of all friends and donors to UAMS, including the gifts of more than 32,000 campaign donors, UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., announced the total raised in the largest campaign in the institution’s 131-year history. The $385,133,218 raised surpassed the $325 million campaign goal.

Donations to Campaign Imagine provided funds for numerous construction projects both on the Little Rock campus and at the regional UAMS Northwest campus in Fayetteville. The campaign funded endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships, research programs and medical equipment.

For Philanthropy Day, more than 800 gift tags adorned UAMS buildings, research areas, pieces of equipment, education opportunities and programs made possible by philanthropy. Scholarship recipients and endowed chair or professorship holders also participated by wearing tags to illustrate the impact of giving to UAMS.

“Philanthropic support has been an integral part of the success and transformation of this great institution,” Rahn said, thanking all who have given to UAMS. “Philanthropy has helped create and expand our institutes and the programs that provide expert care for patients.”

“Philanthropy has strengthened the professional education provided by our colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Related Professions, as well as our Graduate School, our Area Health Education Centers and our Centers on Aging around the state, our regional campus in northwest Arkansas and our new hospital and also supported cutting-edge research that can lead to new medical treatments,” he said. 

The 32,529 campaign donors came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 15 foreign countries. Nearly 70 percent of those donors (21,842) were new UAMS supporters. Those new donors gave $49.1 million of the total.

Campaign Imagine helped fund $153.4 million in construction of new or expanded facilities. These included the Pat and Willard Walker Eye Research Center, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging expansion, a new state-of-the-art hospital, the expansion of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Leland and Betty Tollett Retinal and Ocular Genetics Center in the Jones Eye Institute, and a regional campus in northwest Arkansas for the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Related Professions.

The campaign also:
• Endowed 35 chairs and professorships
• Provided $49.7 million for faculty and student support
• Funded $68.2 million in research
• Provided $89.1 million for statewide program support

“The unparalleled success of this campaign is proof of the value that supporters place on UAMS and its mission,” Rahn said. “Since UAMS receives only 9 percent of its funding from the state, private support from philanthropists continues to be vital to our ability to fulfill our mission.”

In addition to the gift tags around campus to symbolize the power of philanthropy, the event featured remarks from a pharmacy student who received a scholarship, an orthopaedics researcher who received an endowed chair, and a young mother whose family’s fundraising efforts allowed the purchase of advanced medical equipment for specialized treatment that was not available in Arkansas.

Scholarship recipient Marlene Battle of Eudora, a first-year student in the UAMS College of Pharmacy, said that growing up she saw the important role a pharmacist plays in the health of a community. “As a married mother of three children and living on a single income, this scholarship will aid in my school expenses,” she said.

Larry Suva, Ph.D., inaugural recipient of the Carl L. Nelson Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Creativity and director of the UAMS Center for Orthopaedic Research, pointed to the discoveries of a new marker for breast cancer and the cause for the increased broken bones in patients with Down’s syndrome. That work was funded through proceeds from the endowment.

“When chairs are endowed, the funds raised are invested to generate income dedicated for use by the chairholder, leaving the endowed fund as a source of income in perpetuity,” he said. “The endowment has allowed the blossoming of the academic research and education efforts in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Center for Orthopaedic Research at UAMS.”

Rahn credited the work of longtime UAMS supporters Hugh McDonald, E. Lee Ronnel, Judith Snowden and Debbie Walker, who served on the Campaign Imagine Steering Committee. He also thanked the many UAMS board members and other volunteers who helped the institution reach this goal.

The chancellor emphasized that the campaign’s successes do not end UAMS’ need for private philanthropic support. He said future fundraising goals will be based on the vision of conducting activities that result in better health.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,836 students and 761 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or