Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Gives $1.5 Million for Endowed Chair at UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging

By Ben Boulden

An endowed chair is the highest academic honor a university can bestow on its faculty. A chair can honor the memory of a loved one or may honor a person’s accomplishments. A distinguished chair is supported with donations of $1.5 million or more, with the chair holder using the interest proceeds for research, teaching or service activities.

“We are pleased to join UAMS in announcing the Wes Smith Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics for Longevity, Health Promotion and Frailty Prevention. Wes has conscientiously served as a trustee of the Foundation for 20 years, with the past nine years in the role of vice chairman,” said Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith. “This chair will honor his personal commitment to a healthy lifestyle and longevity resulting from wise lifestyle choices.”

UAMS will name a professor to the Smith Chair at a later time.

“This generous gift from the foundation ensures that the Reynolds Institute at UAMS will maintain a strong leadership position in improving care of Arkansas’ older adults through innovative translational research that brings new treatments to patients,” said Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., the institute’s director. “It also will ensure that our pre-seniors, seniors and very old will continue to benefit from the institute’s special expertise in delaying aging and complex age-related diseases as well as in caring for some of the most vulnerable seniors for many generations to come.”

As it has been long planned, in December of 2017, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will cease operation, marking the end of decades of visionary and transformative philanthropy to UAMS, other institutions and projects of benefit to the public.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed more than $99 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.