Hershel “Pat” Wall, MD, held many important roles at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center during his career that spanned more than 50 years, including interim chancellor. However, he was most proud of his role as a teacher to those who would carry on the profession that was his passion.
“I’m committed to teaching, and that’s what I want to be known for,” Dr. Wall said in a 2017 interview, when he was honored by Our Tennessee magazine, as it saluted 100 Distinguished Alumni.
Dr. Wall, who passed away last week, had been everything from a student and pediatric resident in what was then UT College of Medicine, to a faculty member and associate dean for Admissions and Student Affairs in the College of Medicine, to the division chief of General Pediatrics, to the interim College of Medicine dean, and ultimately, interim chancellor of the university from 2007-2009.
After stepping down in 2009, when former chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, was appointed interim chancellor, Dr. Wall continued to teach in the College of Medicine and served as a special assistant to the UT President supporting Alumni Affairs and Development.
Since 2012, he had served as Chancellor Emeritus, reflecting his continued dedication to the institution that changed his life.
Raised on a family farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Dr. Wall graduated from the College of Medicine in 1960. After that, he was in continuous service to the university, except for 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. The couple have two sons.
“When I came back in ’65, I planned to stay long enough to find a job in some pediatric group,” Dr. Wall said in 2017. “I just never left.”
UTHSC established the Hershel P. Wall, MD, Legacy Society in 2008 to honor distinguished alumni and special friends who have made a commitment to the university through a planned gift arrangement. As an ambassador for the university, Dr. Wall traveled the country meeting and greeting alumni, many of whom he first met in the classroom. In this role, he was a fixture on the Memphis campus, continuing to hold an office in the Hyman Building.
Long into his service to the university, the respected pediatrician-professor loved to meet with students and participate in the activities of the College of Medicine. “Dr. Wall hired me in 1985 to direct the admissions office of the UTHSC College of Medicine,” said Nelson Strother, who retired in 2020 after more than 30 years of service to UTHSC in multiple roles in the College of Medicine, including coordinator for Admissions, director of Admissions, and assistant dean for 27 years. “This turned out to be my life’s work as I spent 35 years there. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. Dr. Wall was my mentor, but most important, he was my friend. He was a shining example of service, commitment, and integrity. There will never be another like him.”
Share your memories of Dr. Wall and make a memorial gift at alumni.uthsc.edu/WallTribute.