Jim and Pat Wallis Pledge $500,000 to Establish a Professorship in Radiation Oncology at UAMS

By Andrew Vogler

“I want to thank Jim and Pat Wallis for their continued support of UAMS — through their philanthropy, they have shown their belief in this institution and a commitment to the people of Arkansas,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “A professorship is a profoundly beneficial instrument at the disposal of a department, supporting activities that advance the mission of UAMS. I hope Jim and Pat know that this will help many people well into the future.”

The gift was made to support the Future of UAMS and was inspired by Jim Wallis’s tumor treatment using proton therapy at the Proton Center in Oklahoma City. The professorship holder will be a faculty member of the Department of Radiation Oncology, elected by the chair of the department with approval by the dean of the College of Medicine.

“In 2010 I was diagnosed with carotid paraganglioma, and I knew that surgery wouldn’t be an easy solution,” said Wallis. “I chose the opportunity to receive medical care at the Oklahoma Proton Center.  My experience was truly amazing. I was able to continue my normal daily routine throughout the time I spent in treatment at the hospital. Pat and I truly believe that Arkansans deserve this advanced form of medical application, and we are honored to be able to support the UAMS Radiation Oncology Center.”

An endowed professorship is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member. It is a $500,000 endowment established to support the educational, research and clinical activities of its holder, who will lead future innovations in medicine and health care. Those named to a professorship are among the most highly regarded scientists, physicians and professors in their fields of expertise.

“With the opening of the Radiation Oncology Center, many opportunities are being created to advance cancer treatment at UAMS, and the creation of endowed chairs and professorships are just a few tools in developing world-class, specialized cancer treatment,” said Fen Xia, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. “Philanthropists such as Jim and Pat Wallis are instrumental in raising the bar for cancer treatment at UAMS, and we are grateful that we can call them friends and partners in achieving our mission.”

Jim Wallis, an Arkansas native, attended the University of Tulsa and received a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and later a law degree. He worked for several oil companies in Oklahoma before establishing ExOK Inc., in 1979, serving as chairman, president and CEO. He was also a founding member of Western National Bank, where he served as director. He also served as a University of Tulsa Trustee from 2001-2017.

Wallis is a cousin of the late Joseph H. Bates III, M.D., M.S., a nationally recognized pioneer of public health who served at UAMS as a professor and the associate dean for Public Health Practice in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. In 2023, Jim and Pat Wallis contributed $102,948 towards the Joseph H. Bates III, M.D., M.S., Chair in Academic Public Health Practice, helping to elevate the professorship to a fully endowed chair.

“We have been very fortunate to be in the position that we are in, possessing an underlying feeling that we should be giving back,” said Jim Wallis. “As you go through life, some elements seem to command a great deal of your attention, but after a while, there are calls that reveal themselves to be just as important, and our philanthropy for UAMS has been a very rewarding experience for the both of us.”

Upon Jim Wallis’ retirement in 2017, the couple moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.