Outstanding Philanthropist: The Bodenhamer Family

Dr. Lee & Beverly Bodenhamer

Join the Association of Fundraising Professionals Arkansas Chapter on November 16 at the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon and celebrate the collective compassion and dedication of this year’s honorees – individuals, organizations and businesses that are transforming the lives of all Arkansans.

By Barrett Gay | Photography by Sara Reeves

For decades, Beverly and Dr. Lee Bodenhamer have put their values of supporting higher education and health care in Arkansas into practice. Though they shy away from recognition, their philanthropy has been invaluable for institutions such as the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

THE PRESTIGIOUS BODENHAMER FELLOWSHIP at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has complemented the collegiate experience for 138 students since its 1998 establishment. The fellowship provides $70,000 over four years and offers scholars extraordinary academic opportunities including studying abroad, conducting research and attending professional and educational conferences. Kendall Curlee, director of communications at the university, notes that the Bodenhamers remain truly invested in the fellows long after scholarships are awarded. “Dr. Bodenhamer takes a keen interest in each student, meeting them at receptions at the beginning and end of each school year. He reads the annual Bodenhamer Report, which includes updates from each student and many alumni fellows, cover to cover.”

“My greatest and first priority is the Bodenhamer Fellowship program at the U of A Fayetteville,” Lee explains. “Keeping the best and brightest students in Arkansas has always been a goal of mine. It’s a common pattern for students to settle near where they go to college, so to support higher education in Arkansas prevents a common brain drain where many students exodus the state for college. Supporting an in-state public university and keeping our kids in Arkansas illuminates the hopes for our future and buoys up the economic health of our state.”

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES is also a beneficiary of the Bodenhamers’ time, service and resources. “Lee Bodenhamer has been a generous supporter of UAMS for nearly three decades through the Bodenhamer Foundation, funding many major health care and education initiatives that furthered the missions of UAMS,” says UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm. D., Ed. D. “His support of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, our UAMS Northwest Regional Campus and more has improved health and health care in Arkansas. He has tremendous passion for patients and their families.” Stephanie adds, “He also gives his time through service on the UAMS advisory boards of the Jones Eye Institute, Reynolds Institute on Aging and the UAMS Foundation Fund Board — where we benefit from his knowledge, advocacy and commitment.”

The Bodehamers prefer the spotlight on others, but their legacy has dramatically shaped the health and education of the citizens in the state they care about most.

“I’ve climbed the Grand Teton, 13,776 ft. peak in Wyoming.” – Lee

“My mother said, ‘be helpful.’” – Lee

Inviting Arkansas

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on our latest news!