About the Society of the Double Helix
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences gratefully acknowledges the outstanding philanthropy and exemplary leadership of individuals, foundations, corporations and organizations that have contributed $100,000 or more to the institution since its founding in 1879. To honor these generous contributors – past, present and future – the UAMS Foundation Fund Board established the Society of the Double Helix on March 10, 1998.
The double helix structure of the DNA molecule is an appropriate symbol for this distinguished group whose individual contributions have combined to advance the central mission of UAMS: to teach, to search, to serve. The history of this internationally recognized symbol began in 1953 with the discovery of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule by researchers James Watson and Francis Crick at Cambridge University. The discovery of this fundamental structure of life earned a Nobel Prize in 1963 and forever changed the universe of science and medicine.
The worldwide scientific community has adopted the double helix as a symbol of the quest for knowledge through scientific research. The vertically spiraling ribbons enveloping ladder-like horizontal crossbars are often compared to pathways to future discovery and staircases to success. The structure represents the continually unfolding relationship of science to all fields of human endeavor – including the conquest of disease.
The discovery by Watson and Crick revolutionized medical research, transformed biology, spawned the fields of biotechnology and genetic engineering, and enabled the creation of new pharmaceuticals. The discovery also united an entire medical community engaged in trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of genetically linked diseases.
Similarly, the members of the Society of the Double Helix have revolutionized the environment at UAMS through achievements realized with their support. They have helped to fund student scholarships, faculty and research endowments, state-of-the-art equipment purchases, construction of modern facilities and program centers of excellence.
Just as the winding ribbon staircase of the DNA molecule symbolizes the essence of life and constant search for knowledge, the membership of the Society of the Double Helix represents the pinnacle of excellence and commitment that moves the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences forward as a premier education, research and healthcare institution.