/////Former Chancellor Harry P. Ward Passes Away
Former Chancellor Harry P. Ward Passes Away 2018-01-05T09:21:05+00:00

UAMS mourns the loss of a beloved friend and great leader with the death March 11 of former UAMS Chancellor Harry P. Ward, who passed away after a long illness. He is survived by his wonderful wife, Betty Jo, their children, Stewart, Leslie, Elizabeth, Mary Alice and Amy and their spouses and eight grandchildren. A celebration of his life is planned to be held at UAMS in the next few weeks.

Dr. Ward, who served as chancellor from 1979 to 2000, is remembered as a giant in the history of health care and higher education in Arkansas, as well as for his treatment of  employees as family. A man of determination, vitality, compassion and commitment, he led UAMS’ transformation from a small institution with a charity hospital to an academic health center and research leader that is recognized as one of the outstanding academic health centers in the region with many world-class programs.

Dr. Ward discusses the mission of UAMS.

We celebrate his amazing 21 years of leadership, which saw student enrollment nearly double as each college and the Area Health Education Centers expanded their education programs. His tenure as chancellor also saw new facilities and financial support that allowed UAMS to build on its ability to deliver patient care, provide health care education and support groundbreaking research, including the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and its Pat and Willard Walker Patient Tower, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Biomedical Research Building, the Harry P. Ward Patient Tower. Dr. Ward was a champion for UAMS’ statewide programs, committed to reaching out to all corners of the state.  During his leadership, our clinical programs grew, our research grew, the Graduate School was formed, and he was instrumental in ensuring that Arkansas’ portion of the national tobacco settlement was earmarked entirely for health care. 

Dr. Ward was born in Pueblo, Col., on June 6, 1933.  He graduated from Princeton University (magna cum laude 1955), the University of Colorado Medical School (gold headed cane awardee 1959), and trained in Internal Medicine and Hematology at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He returned to Colorado University Medical School in 1963 and served as Chief of Medicine at the Denver VA Hospital (1967-72) and then Dean of the College of Medicine and Associate Vice President for Health Affairs from 1972-78. In 1979 he was appointed Chancellor of UAMS and served until retirement in 2001. He received honorary degrees from Kaohsiung Medical College in Taiwan in 1991 and Lyon College in Batesville Arkansas in 2001. 


His career at the University of Colorado was very exciting.  He and his wife actively recruited new chairmen for virtually every department. Together, he and his staff expanded the College of Medicine and established family medicine training programs throughout the state. He also assisted in a dramatic expansion of the research base and the concept of centers of excellence with the Davis Institute for Gerontology, Kennedy Child Development Center, Colorado Regional Cancer Center, Groen Institute of Pathobiology (Aspen, Colorado), and the Organ Transplant Center.


In 1979 the Wards came to Arkansas. With the assistance of the newly elected Gov. Bill Clinton, vigorous legislative support, and state-wide community leadership, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences made dramatic changes in all areas.


Dr. Ward served on many regional and national boards. He served as chairman of the board of the Association of Academic Health Centers, a nonprofit organization of more than 100 Academic Health Centers in the U.S. and Canada. He was very active in a variety of community and state activities including the United Way of Pulaski County, the March of Dimes, Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled, and Future-Little Rock. He served on many governor’s committees including the Arkansas Health Resources Commission and the Health Care Access Council.


During his career, Dr. Ward received numerous honors including the Business and Professional Leadership of the Year Award from the Rotary Club or Little Rock, the Minority Education Award from the Student Medical Association, the Alumni Leader of the Year Award from the Class of ‘55 of Princeton University, the William F. Rector Memorial Award for distinguished civic achievement, the Tradition of Caring Award from the Visiting Nurse Association of Arkansas, the 1997 Citizen of the Year Award from the March of Dimes, the first Arkansan-of-the-Year Award by the Arkansas Times 1998, the 2000 Distinguished Service Award from the Arkansas Hospital Association, the Dale Bumpers AHEC Leadership Award 2000, and the Man of the Year by the Arkansas Kidney Foundation in 2000.


The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees adopted a special resolution to honor Dr. Ward for his leadership on the occasion of dedicating the new clinical tower of University Hospital on Oct. 21, 1997. The resolution cited his role in reshaping the campus through new academic, research, and clinical programs and for implementing a vigorous building campaign on campus, including the tower. To honor him, the trustees named the new facility the Harry P. Ward Patient Tower. He was appointed Chancellor Emeritus by the Board of Trustees in November 2000.


In accordance with his wishes, there will be no service.  Visitation will be at Pleasant Valley Country Club from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 14.


Memorials may be made to the Harry P. Ward Chancellor’s Chair at UAMS or Friends of KLRE-KUAR.


Dr. Ward left his mark on our campus and our state. It was a privilege and pleasure for all of us to know him and work with him. We owe him a great debt of gratitude and will miss him.