Hershel P. “Pat” Wall

UT Health Science Center, ’60

Dr. Pat Wall has held many important titles at the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC) during his career that has spanned more than 50 years, but the one he is most proud of is teacher.

“I’m committed to teaching, and that’s what I want to be known for,” says the man who has been everything from faculty member and associate dean for admissions and student affairs to chief of general pediatrics, interim College of Medicine dean and UTHSC chancellor.

Since 2012, he has been chancellor emeritus, a position that reflects his dedication to the institution he says changed his life. Still, six hours a month, he meets with third-year medical students for what he calls “marathon two-hour chats” and “the old-time way of teaching.”

It is not something he has to do in his current role that involves fundraising, capital development and alumni relations. It is what he loves to do.

“I think it’s what it’s all about,” he says.

Born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Wall graduated from the College of Medicine in 1960. With the exception of military service that included a stint in France in the early 1960s, where he met his wife, Jean, and a short time as a reservist in Germany during Desert Storm/Desert Shield, he has been in continuous service to the university.

“When I came back in ’65, I planned to stay long enough to find a job in some pediatric group,” he says. “I just never left.”

In 2008, UTHSC established the Hershel P. Wall, MD Legacy Society to honor distinguished alumni and special friends who have made a commitment to the university through a planned gift arrangement.

Now, service to the university has come full circle for the pediatrician-professor. As an ambassador for the university, he travels the country meeting and greeting alumni, many of whom he first met in the classroom.

He does not pressure them to give. He simply encourages them to invest in the future, something he’s done since he first set foot on campus five decades ago.

Part of the Tennessee Alumnus100 Distinguished Alumni feature.