Volunteer Spotlight

Jeffrey A. Chapman on his role leading the President’s Advisory Board

Top M&A lawyer shares how UT Southwestern impacted his life and why he gives back

Touted by his peers as the “crème de la crème” of the corporate legal world, Jeffrey A. Chapman is considered one of the nation’s leading mergers and acquisitions attorneys. Part of Gibson Dunn’s Executive Committee, his academic resume mirrors his career of distinction. He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Jeffrey A. Chapman
Jeffrey A. Chapman UT Southwestern Medical Center

Complementing a career of achievement, Mr. Chapman makes it a point to give back. He has been intensely involved with UT Southwestern Medical Center’s President’s Advisory Board since its founding four years ago and has led the organization as Chair for the past two years. Representing a diverse group of civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the President’s Advisory Board provides UT Southwestern’s President, Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, and the institution’s leadership with guidance on opportunities and challenges facing the Medical Center. Mr. Chapman is an Honorary Trustee of Southwestern Medical Foundation where he served on the Board of Trustees for more than a decade and was a member of the Nominating Committee.

Reflecting on his connection with the Medical Center, Mr. Chapman shared how UT Southwestern has impacted his family and why he supports the institution with his volunteer leadership and philanthropy.

How has UT Southwestern impacted you and your family?

UT Southwestern has profoundly affected my family. My late wife Sheila received extraordinary care there while battling pancreatic cancer during the last two years of her life. My wife Kim also lost her late husband to cancer. Five years ago, Kim and I founded the Patient Family Advisory Council at the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center.

Kim has been a devoted leader of Patient Family Advisory Council endeavors ever since. I have served on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board of Trustees and the President’s Advisory Board and have found those experiences to be rich in meaning. And Kim and I have made UT Southwestern one of our primary charitable beneficiaries.

Kim and Jeffrey A. Chapman with their family
Kim and Jeffrey A. Chapman with their family Provided by Jeffrey A. Chapman

What distinguishes UT Southwestern as a national leader in academic medicine?

It’s hard to believe that UT Southwestern originally taught medicine in a dilapidated shed in post-World War II America, but the pictures do not lie. UT Southwestern has undergone a rapid transformation from a tiny faculty and abysmal physical plant to one of the world’s preeminent centers of scientific research, medical education, and clinical excellence.

What do you find most engaging about the President’s Advisory Board?

Working with Dr. Podolsky is a great honor and pleasure. He arrived at UT Southwestern in the shadow of two legends – Dr. Donald Seldin and Dr. Kern Wildenthal – and quickly emerged as one of the most influential leaders in North Texas. It has been very gratifying to witness what he has built at UT Southwestern, particularly clinically, but certainly also scientifically and academically.

“… UT Southwestern has a bigger impact on our community than any other business or organization. It is that important.”

Jeffrey A. Chapman

What has been the most surprising thing you have learned during your time as a volunteer leader with UT Southwestern?

Becoming closer to the medical school has increased my respect and admiration for the professionals there. My experience has been that deeper involvement in a civic organization can reveal vulnerabilities and weaknesses that aren’t readily apparent to an outsider. With UT Southwestern, I’ve had the opposite experience. The more I witness and know, the more impressed I have become.

What has been your most memorable experience with the President’s Advisory Board?

Witnessing the construction, expansion, and operation of William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital has been incredible. Sheila was a patient at St. Paul Hospital, which operated in a very dated and ineffective physical plant. Clements University Hospital is a world-class facility.

Kim and Jeffrey A. Chapman speak with Dr. Carol Podolsky at a reception
Kim and Jeffrey A. Chapman, left, speak with Dr. Carol Podolsky at a reception at UT Southwestern on April 2, 2019. Roger Mallison/UT Southwestern Medical Center

As a donor, why do you continue to give to UT Southwestern?

It’s simple: because UT Southwestern has a bigger impact on our community than any other business or organization. It is that important. I also believe UT Southwestern is an excellent steward of our financial contributions.

Every day, UT Southwestern makes a difference through life-changing education, innovative research, and exemplary patient care. From your perspective, what is UT Southwestern’s biggest contribution to the community?

The biggest contribution is the improvement in our clinical operations, including in areas that desperately need medical excellence like South Dallas. It is very difficult for a medical school – in the modern era – to achieve world-class status without preeminence in three areas: research, academics, and clinical care. Thankfully, we now have clinical strengths that, together with our historically esteemed science and training excellence, make UT Southwestern among the world’s best medical schools.

  • Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.