Dr. Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister brings art and science
By Hope Baptiste
Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister donated this statue, “Next
Generation II,” to the Ackland Art Museum in honor of his
father. Installed at the entrance to UNC Hospitals, the
piece was unveiled at an April 12 celebration of
McAllister’s $10 million commitment to the museum and the
School of Medicine.
A flawless Carolina blue sky and enthusiastic applause
greeted UNC School of Medicine alumnus Hugh A. “Chip”
McAllister Jr. (M.D. ’66) of Houston, Texas, as he stepped to
the podium in front of the N.C. Cancer Hospital on April 12.
Video monitors displayed a slideshow of remarkable art works,
and signature blue and white balloons festooned the dais,
nearby tables and a platform in front of the UNC Children’s
Hospital entrance where a large object was waiting to be
The event announced McAllister’s commitment of $10 million to
the University that includes a collection of nearly 50 works
of art for the Ackland Art Museum’s permanent collection as
well as funds to expand an endowment dedicated to heart
disease research at the School of Medicine.
As one of the most prominent cardiac pathologists in the
United States during his career (he is retired), McAllister
is accustomed to accomplishments, but is not one for public
accolades. For him, it is all about the work and the
difference he can make.
His brief remarks to those assembled revealed a deep and
abiding affinity for his school and his home state, though
he’d spent most of his professional life elsewhere.
“It’s great to come back home. I deeply admire and respect
Carolina, and I’m happy to be able to support its
extraordinary mission to serve the people of North Carolina,”
McAllister said. “Being able to share my love of American art
while simultaneously helping to eradicate the most deadly
disease in the U.S. fulfills a dream for me.”
For the University, his generosity will enrich the cultural
landscape and advance the frontiers of science. “This gift
will transform our teaching, research and public service in
multiple ways,” said Chancellor Holden Thorp. “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.”
In all, McAllister’s commitment will include more than 150
paintings, sculptures and artifacts. The portion benefitting
the Ackland Art Museum—valued at $5.5 million—is the single
largest gift of art in the museum’s history. Pieces not going
to the Ackland will be sold, with the proceeds—$2.5
million—going to expand an existing endowment supporting the
UNC McAllister Heart Institute (MHI) and early career
cardiovascular medicine researchers.
McAllister also is committing $2 million to support the
institute. He has now contributed more than $18 million to
the University over the past 15 years, primarily to the MHI.
“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,”
said Dr. William L. Roper, dean of the School of Medicine and
CEO of UNC Health Care. “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.”
“Next Generation II” stands at the entrance to UNC
Hospitals and is one of a select number of pieces to be
installed on the UNC campus.
The Ackland will add signature works by 19th-century
painters, examples by members of the Taos School and
contemporary sculpture as well as several examples of
American Indian pottery and textiles to its collection.
“This art will add important breadth to our American
collection, particularly in the area of art depicting the
west and southwestern United States,” said Emily Kass, museum
director. “These works offer students, alumni, faculty,
researchers and visitors a new and profound experience of
American art at the Ackland.”
It was fitting, then, to unveil and dedicate a signature
piece that had been installed on the hospital grounds.
McAllister and the group gathered at the covered platform,
and he stepped to the microphone.
“I’m told—” he began as the tarp was removed to reveal the
large bronze statue, then added, “but with abstract art you
never know—the larger figure is the father, and the smaller
is the child. Information is being passed from one to the
The description was fitting as well. McAllister donated the
piece, “Next Generation II” by Allan Houser, in honor of his
father, Dr. Hugh McAllister Sr., who graduated from UNC’s
School of Medicine in 1935 and practiced obstetrics and
gynecology in Lumberton, N.C., for decades.
Both father and son made significant contributions to and
advances in their respective specialties, and lent their
talents and leadership to fostering the next generation of
practitioners and scientists.
Their distinguished service earned them the distinction of
being the only father and son to serve as presidents of the
UNC Medical Alumni Association and to receive the School of
Medicine’s Distinguished Medical Alumni Award.
About Chip McAllister
After graduating from Davidson College, McAllister completed
medical school at UNC in 1966 and then began an illustrious
military career as an intern at Walter Reed Army Medical
Center in Washington, D.C. After training at the Armed
Services Institute of Pathology, he served as the institute’s
chair of cardiac pathology until his retirement at the rank
of colonel in 1984.
McAllister then joined the Texas Heart Institute in Houston
as the founding chair of the Department of Cardiac Pathology
and served until his retirement in 2000. To recognize his
many contributions to cardiovascular medicine and to the
University, the UNC McAllister Heart Institute was named in
his honor in 2009.
About the McAllister Heart Institute
The MHI provides a world-class environment for basic,
preclinical and applied cardiovascular research that attracts
more than $15 million annually in research funding. Executive
Director Dr. Cam Patterson has led the institute since 2000
and has more than 120 publications to his credit. Patterson
is a member of several editorial boards, including
“Circulation” and the “Journal of Clinical Investigation.” He
received the 2012 Judah Folkman Award for outstanding
contributions from vascular biologists. In addition to his
role at the McAllister institute, Patterson is chief of the
division of cardiology, physician-in-chief of the Center for
Heart and Vascular Care and associate dean for health care
entrepreneurship. He received his M.B.A. from the
Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2008.
Researchers in more than 45 labs at the MHI work in areas
such as blood vessel formation, cardiac stem cells, genetics,
blood clotting and metabolism to advance the care of patients
with diseases of the heart, blood and circulation. The MHI
has grown by 17 labs in the past year. Investigators include
Dr. Arjun Deb, the first UNC winner of the prestigious Katz
Basic Science Research Award of the American Heart
Association; Dr. Nigel Mackman, director, the recipient of
the highest honor from the American Heart Association for
research in arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular
biology; and Dr. Marschall Runge, executive dean of the
School of Medicine and medicine department chair who won the
2010 Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the American
College of Cardiology.
About the Ackland Art Museum
The Ackland Art Museum, an academic unit, serves broad local,
state and national constituencies. The museum’s permanent
collection consists of more than 16,000 works of art,
featuring North Carolina’s premier collections of Asian art
and works of art on paper (drawings, prints and photographs),
as well as significant collections of European masterworks,
20th-century and contemporary art, African art and North
Carolina pottery. The Ackland organizes more than a dozen
special exhibitions a year.