This unique medical and research center owes its existence to the vision, entrepreneurial genius, and philanthropic spirit of Jackson T. Stephens. Born on a farm near Prattsville, Stephens’ determination and drive took him from farm boy to bellhop, college student, Naval Academy graduate, small businessman, and eventually co-owner and CEO of a highly successful multinational corporation. Along the way, Jack Stephens never forgot his roots. His historic gift to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences enabled the creation of this Institute and inspired its ongoing commitment to excellence and to the people of Arkansas.
Stephens was the founder of the Little Rock-based Stephens Group, a diversified family of investment and media companies. Upon graduating he joined the Little Rock investment house Stephens Inc., which his brother W. R. “Witt” Stephens had started in 1933. Forged out of a bible, belt buckle, and bond business, by 1994 Stephens Inc. was listed as one of the biggest institutional shareholders in 30 large multinationals including the Arkansas based firms Tyson Food, Wal-Mart and Alltel. Mr. Stephens was chief executive in 1970 when the firm underwrote the initial public offering for Sam Walton’s discount store chain. Wal-Mart Stores is now the world’s largest retailer.