/////UAMS Gives Honorary Degrees to Walker, Bradford and Huckabee
UAMS Gives Honorary Degrees to Walker, Bradford and Huckabee 2018-01-05T09:16:53+00:00

MAY 31, 2006 | Three longtime supporters of health care in Arkansas received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) during May 20 graduation ceremonies.


Springdale philanthropist Pat Walker, Gov. Mike Huckabee and State Rep. Jay Bradford of Pine Bluff received doctor of science degrees. Huckabee delivered the commencement address during the afternoon ceremony at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock.


UAMS graduated 773 students from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health and the College of Medicine Graduate School. The majority of medical professionals in Arkansas graduate from UAMS.


Walker and her late husband Willard, an early Wal-Mart executive, started the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation in 1986. Through the foundation, the Walkers’ generosity has touched the lives of tens of thousands of Arkansans with gifts for a multitude of medical, educational and humanitarian organizations.


The foundation has given more than $37 million to UAMS. Their most recent gift of $21.5 million included $15 million for the Pat Walker Tower at Jones Eye Institute, $5 million for Alzheimer’s disease research at the Institute on Aging and $1.5 million for the Psychiatry Research Institute.


Also, the Walkers gave $8 million in the mid 1990s to expand the Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC) at UAMS. The ACRC’s Pat and Willard Walker Tower is named in their honor.


The Walker’s support of UAMS has included gifts to the ACRC, the UAMS Endowment Fund, the Radiology Department, the Orthopaedic Surgery Department, the Harry P. Ward Chair and the Pat and Willard Walker Eye Research Center


Pat Walker is a charter member of the UAMS Chancellor’s Circle and an active member of the ACRC Board.

In his 23 years of public service in the Arkansas General Assembly, Jay Bradford has been an advocate for many health care issues. In 2000, he was recognized by the American Medical Association as the most effective state senator in the nation for health care.


As a state senator he led the fight to mandate the use of seat belts and for mental health parity. Throughout his legislative career, he has successfully led efforts to enact laws that focus on women’s and children’s health, safety and education issues.


His work includes creation of the domestic violence shelter program, distribution of HIV/AIDS medications and regulations that require the Department of Health to provide nursing homes with influenza and pneumonia vaccines as well as the staff to administer them.


Bradford assisted with passage of a Mixed Drink Tax in 1989 that funded the Biomedical Research Building at UAMS. He also was key in passage of an extension of the tax in 2005, providing ongoing funds to support growing education and research programs at UAMS.


Bradford was lead sponsor of the Breast Cancer Act in 1997, which has provided millions of dollars to UAMS to expand breast cancer research, screening and treatment programs. He also was the chief architect of the Tobacco Settlement Funding Bill legislation, which was ultimately enacted to focus all of the state’s tobacco settlement funds for health care. The funds allowed creation of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.


In 2005, Bradford was recognized by UAMS, the Arkansas Medical Society and the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for his accomplishments in that year’s legislative session. Earlier this year, Arkansas Business named him to the 2006 PowerList of Arkansas executives.


Among his health care related accomplishments, Gov. Mike Huckabee created the ARKids First program, a nationally recognized initiative that provides health care for tens of thousands of uninsured children. He also led the ballot initiative in 2000 that devotes all of the tobacco settlement money to improving the health of Arkansans.


Most recently, Huckabee worked to pass the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Bond Act of 2006 that designates the ACRC at UAMS as the state’s official cancer institute and authorizes issuance of bonds to support the center. He also created the Healthy Arkansas Initiative to encourage Arkansans to stop smoking, exercise more and eat healthier.