APRIL 23, 2004 | In an April 20 ceremony, David A. Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D., and Pham H. Liem, M.D., became the first recipients of two endowed chairs in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine. Both chairs are named in honor of Jackson T. Stephens, the Little Rock businessman and philanthropist who endowed them.
During the investiture in the Jo Ellen Ford Auditorium in the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging at UAMS, Lipschitz was presented with the Stephens Chair in Geriatrics and Liem was presented with the Stephens Chair in Geriatric Clinical Affairs. Lipschitz is a professor and chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics and director of the Reynolds Center on Aging. Liem is a professor and vice chairman for clinical affairs in the Reynolds Department of Geriatrics.
UAMS Chancellor Emeritus Harry P. Ward, M.D., paid tribute to Stephens during the ceremony. In many ways, “Jack Stephens gave birth to the current UAMS campus,” Ward said. “He set up research labs. He helped fund the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, the Reynolds Center on Aging and special programs in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. He presented UAMS with the transforming gift of $48 million for the construction of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute. The UAMS campus as we know it would not exist without the support of Jack Stephens and his family.”
In introducing the first recipient, UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., spoke of how Liem attended medical school in Saigon during the Vietnam War – graduating at the top of his class in 1973 before coming to UAMS for postgraduate training in family and community medicine and geriatrics. Wilson also fondly recalled the exemplary treatment that this “wise and caring physician” gave his mother and his father-in-law in their senior years.
Taking the podium, Liem said, “I am blessed to know Mr. Stephens and am deeply honored to be the recipient of the Stephens Chair in Geriatric Clinical Affairs. This chair will facilitate the Geriatrics Department’s clinical mission of preserving and optimizing the functional status of the elderly, while putting special emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.”
Martha W. Murphy, a member of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board and the Reynolds Center on Aging Advisory Board, introduced Lipschitz. She applauded his many accomplishments – including creating a geriatrics center that reached national prominence in six years and is currently ranked No. 8 in the country, establishing seven satellite geriatrics centers throughout the state so that no senior citizen in Arkansas has to travel more than 50 miles for medical care, and connecting with and empowering his patients so that they feel good about themselves and can take control of their lives.
Lipschitz, a native of South Africa, began his acceptance by saying, “Thank you, Arkansas! Of all the blessings I have been given, there is nothing I am more grateful for than the way this state has adopted me as if I were a native son. I continue to dig deep roots into Arkansas, which is indeed a land of opportunity. Arkansas is a truly beautiful state, but what makes it so special are its people, who are committed to giving back to their state.”
Lipschitz specifically praised Stephens for giving him the unique opportunity to play a role in his life; Reynolds for creating a foundation for the Center on Aging; the leaders of UAMS, including Ward and Wilson, for their tireless efforts in advancing the geriatrics programs; the late Samuel Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., and the late Eugene Towbin, M.D., two leaders in geriatrics at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System who were mentors to Lipschitz; and, perhaps most importantly, his patients, whom he said have molded his life and taught him humility.
UAMS College of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., noted that the addition of these two chairs brings the total number of endowed chairs in the college to 36. Included among these are two other chairs that Stephens endowed – the Jackson T. Stephens Chair in Spine Surgery, held by T. Glenn Pait, M.D., of the UAMS Neurosurgery Department, and the Jackson T. Stephens Chair in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, held by John L. Vander Schilden, M.D., of the UAMS Orthopaedic Surgery Department. “Endowed chairs enrich and support the work we do at UAMS,” Reece said. “They are the ultimate symbol of excellence.”
Others in attendance at the investiture ceremony were Jackson T. “Steve” Stephens Jr., Jack Stephens’ son; Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Ray Thornton; and University of Arkansas System President B. Alan Sugg, Ph.D.
Links on This Page
Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics: http://www.geriatrics.uams.edu/
Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute: http://www.uams.edu/stephensinstitute/default.html
Jackson T. Stephens Chairs in Spine Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: http://www.uams.edu/update/absolutenm/templates/news2003v2.asp?articleid=1094&zoneid=18