Alum donates art, research money to UNC-CH

Posted April 13, 2012 3:53 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2012 4:02 p.m. EDT

— A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has made a $10 million pledge to UNC-Chapel Hill that includes a collection of nearly 50 works of art for the Ackland Art Museum and an endowment dedicated to heart disease research, officials said Thursday.

Dr. Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister Jr. of Houston earned his medical degree in 1966 and later served as the chair of cardiac pathology at the Armed Services Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., and the founding chairman of the department of cardiac pathology at the Texas Heart Institute.

“This gift will transform our teaching, research and public service in multiple ways,” Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement. “It provides a new educational experience for our students and the entire community through some of the best examples available of American art and contemporary sculpture. Equally important, the gift will support the groundbreaking and life-saving cardiovascular research conducted by our faculty in the School of Medicine.”

The donation to Ackland is the largest gift in the art museum's history, officials said. It includes contemporary sculpture, works by members of the Taos School and examples of Native American pottery and textiles.

“We’re very fortunate to receive such a wonderful gift,” Emily Kass, museum director, said in a statement. “This art will add important breadth to our American collection, particularly in the area of art depicting the west and southwestern United States.”

More than 100 works of art not going to the museum will be sold, with the proceeds going to expand an endowment supporting the UNC McAllister Heart Institute at the School of Medicine and early career cardiovascular medicine researchers, officials said. McAllister also plans to donate another $2 million to the heart institute.

“Chip is a great friend of the School of Medicine who deeply believes in and supports our faculty and students as they explore and discover treatments and cures for heart disease,” Dr. William Roper, dean of the School of Medicine and chief executive of UNC Health Care, said in a statement. “What is remarkable about this gift is that it will ensure the preservation of and accessibility to great American art, while also bettering the health of our citizens here in North Carolina and beyond.”

McAllister now has contributed more than $18 million to UNC-Chapel Hill over the past 15 years.