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UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System

Chapmans honored for leadership, philanthrophy at UC Davis

Photo of Dr. Chapman Chapman and his wife, Betty, have directly given or secured more than $9 million in donations to UC Davis.

By the time he retired in 2000, after serving two decades as chair of the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryMichael Chapman had compiled a record of scientific and philanthropic contributions that -- by anyone's standards -- represents an achievement of stellar proportions. A pioneer of modern orthopaedic trauma surgery and the author of a definitive text on orthopaedic surgery, Chapman and his wife, Betty, have directly given or secured more than $9 million in donations to UC Davis.

However, even in retirement, Chapman continues to play a leadership role in supporting UC Davis. In recognition of the Chapmans' efforts, the UC Davis Foundation has chosen them to receive this year's Charles J. Soderquist Award, established by the foundation to honor the late UC Davis alumnus and Sacramento-area entrepreneur, educator and philanthropist for his many contributions to UC Davis.

The Chapmans will receive the award Friday, May 11, at a UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees luncheon.

The award comes with a $5,000 prize that the recipient then awards to the UC Davis college, school or campus unit of his or her choice. The Chapmans plan to donate their prize to support research by the clinical faculty in the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

"The Chapmans have made invaluable contributions to the health of our community and the strength of our university. The time, energy and personal resources they have selflessly spent to establish and grow key relationships with ourPhoto of Dean Pomeroy  prospective donors is simply unmatched."
— Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences at UC Davis and dean of the School of Medicine

"The Chapmans have made invaluable contributions to the health of our community and the strength of our university," said Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences at UC Davis and dean of the School of Medicine. "The time, energy and personal resources they have selflessly spent to establish and grow key relationships with our prospective donors is simply unmatched."

The Chapmans have secured nearly $9 million in gifts for UC Davis, including $3.5 million that they personally have pledged, given or directed. That latter figure includes $1 million that the Chapmans have pledged for the Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion. The pavilion, expected to be completed in 2010, will provide UC Davis Health System's surgery, trauma, emergency and burn services with new operating rooms, patient rooms and state-of-the-art technology, allowing for the most advanced care. In recognition of Michael Chapman's role in co-founding the trauma service at UC Davis Medical Center, the new trauma facility will bear his name: the Michael Chapman Trauma Center.

More than 25 years ago, Michael Chapman left San Francisco General Hospital to become chair of the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. At UC Davis, he implemented a modern, aggressive approach to treating patients with multiple injuries. The new approach improved recovery times and outcomes for thousands of patients with severe fractures. Chapman's groundbreaking work earned UC Davis medical center's trauma service an international reputation and established Chapman as one of the founders of modern trauma surgery.

After Chapman and his colleagues launched the trauma program, the preventable death rate in Sacramento County plummeted. Today, the rate stands at less than 1 percent. During his career, Chapman conducted extensive research in joint biomechanics, bone-graft substitutes and the treatment of trauma. He co-developed a comprehensive bone-fixation system and holds eight U.S. patents.

Chapman also has been a leader in philanthropic efforts on behalf of UC Davis Health System. He played a pivotal role in establishing a relationship with one of the health system's strongest benefactors, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. In 1992, Chapman successfully reconstructed Ellison's shattered left elbow, injured in a bicycle accident. In gratitude, Ellison donated $5 million to help develop the Lawrence J. Ellison Center for Musculoskeletal Research and fund four endowed chairs. One of the chairs was named by Ellison as the Michael W. Chapman Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery.

The Chapmans and Ellison remain good friends, and the relationship has resulted in Ellison giving more than $6 million toward UC Davis orthopaedics as well as $1 million from the Ellison Medical Foundation for research in other fields at the health system. Betty Chapman has played a central role in the Chapmans' philanthropic contributions. She helped lead the fundraising campaign for the UC Davis Center for the Arts, which became the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. She also has cultivated dozens of donors and prospects through her strong support for the Mondavi Center, the health system and the university as a whole.

The Chapmans have persuaded other grateful patients to donate, including Michael Boskin, a director of the San Francisco-based Koret Foundation, which recently donated $500,000 for the Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion.

Michael Chapman has served on the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees since July 2001, and served as the board's chair from June 2004 through July 2006.

The Chapmans are members of the UC Davis California Aggie Alumni Association, the Davis Chancellor's Club and Emil Mrak Associates, and contributed to the development of the Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. They also are longtime supporters of the Mondavi Center's Producers Circle and made important contributions to the Center for the Arts campaign, including public outreach, targeted solicitations and their own generous donation.