$10 million commitment to benefit art collection, heart disease research

Dr. Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister Jr. of Houston has made a $10 million commitment to UNC-Chapel Hill that will include a collection of nearly 50 works of art for the Ackland Art Museum and expand an endowment dedicated to heart disease research at the School of Medicine.

The gift was announced April 12. McAllister is a 1966 School of Medicine alumnus.

“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.”

The portion of the commitment benefiting the Ackland Art Museum — valued at $5.5 million — is the single largest gift of art in the museum’s history. Included in the gift will be signature works by 19th-century painters Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran; examples by members of the Taos School, such as Oscar Berninghaus, E. L. Blumenschein and Joseph Sharp; and contemporary sculpture by Willem de Kooning, Allan Houser, Jesus Moroles and Reuben Nakian. Several examples of American Indian pottery and textiles are also included.

In all, McAllister’s commitment will include more than 150 paintings, sculptures and artifacts. 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) at the School of Medicine and early career cardiovascular medicine researchers. McAllister also is committing $2 million to support the institute.

Recognized nationally and internationally as one of the most prominent cardiac pathologists in the U.S. before his retirement from the Texas Heart Institute in Houston in 2000, McAllister has contributed more than $18 million to the University during the past 15 years, primarily to the MHI. The UNC McAllister Heart Institute was named in his honor in 2009 to recognize his many contributions to cardiovascular medicine and to the University.

Published April 12, 2012.