Longtime USF Family Pledges $1.25 Million Gift to Endow Faculty Chair

by Mary McInerney, Office of Development Communications

The Wall family has pledged $1.25 million to support the Rev. P. Carlo Rossi, S.J., Endowed Entrepreneurial Chair in the School of Management at the University of San Francisco.

“Our family has deep ties to USF, going back generations, and we are committed to being part of the future of the university,” says Elizabeth Wall Hanson ’82, a member of the USF Board of Trustees and trustee for the C. Allen Wall Family Foundation.

“Our family’s number one priority overall is education,” she says. “USF is my dad’s number one priority and the family foundation’s number one priority as well. Endowing this chair perfectly aligns with our giving priorities and the intent of the foundation.”

C. Allen Wall
Dr. C. Allen Wall

The gift supports the dream of the family patriarch, Dr. C. Allen Wall, 88, a retired cardiovascular surgeon who graduated from USF in 1947. He established the Rev. P. Carlo Rossi, S.J., Endowed Entrepreneurial Chair in 2006 to honor his uncle, a Jesuit priest and award-winning professor of languages at USF. Building upon his initial gift, the family’s goal now is to invest further in the endowment that funds a faculty member to teach entrepreneurship in the School of Management. Dr. Wall wants "this endowed chair to inspire visionaries who have an idea and want to find a way to fulfill their dream.”

This is a gift that spans two generations. Dr. Wall has pledged $1 million gift from the C. Allen Wall Family Foundation and is supported by his daughter, Elizabeth Wall Hanson, and her husband, Mark Hanson, who have pledged $250,000 to support the endowed chair.

Importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Wall has been an innovator and an entrepreneur in the field of vascular surgery for over 50 years. Most notably, he helped transform the field of vascular surgery by establishing and running St. Mary’s Medical Center non-invasive vascular lab — the first in a San Francisco community hospital and the first vascular lab accredited in Northern California.

He was most intimately involved in the development of the transluminal angioplasty (TAP), which was mostly pioneered at St. Mary’s in the late 1970s. The procedure — involving the introduction of a balloon catheter into a narrowed artery, and then inflating the balloon to maintain the opening — is now used worldwide, transforming the lives of countless people. He was instrumental in establishing national guidelines for the application of the procedure.

Dr. Wall’s passion was medicine. He owned and operated a multi-faceted medical practice, but his hobby was real estate and other businesses. Elizabeth Wall Hanson is a tax accountant and real estate business owner, and she sees her family as very entrepreneurial. “We’re in a number of healthcare and real estate businesses,” she says. “We think that entrepreneurialism is everywhere — health care, real estate, construction, technology. USF is located in the heart of San Francisco, a city that is extremely entrepreneurial.”

The family supports School of Management Dean Elizabeth Davis’ efforts to focus on entrepreneurial ideas. “USF graduates have many opportunities as entrepreneurs, and it makes sense to expand the entrepreneur and innovation programs,” says Elizabeth Wall Hanson. “The goal is for the chair to support a faculty member who will teach the type of insight and innovation needed to expand into many industries.”

With this gift, the School of Management can also diversify its offerings and collaborate with other programs, including the university’s hospitality program and the arts, she says.

“The gift for the Rossi Chair endowment from the Wall family will help to establish a core of entrepreneurial thinking in the School of Management,” says Dean Davis. “We're so grateful for this gift that will enable us to hire faculty to advance the level of thinking towards entrepreneurship at USF. The students are the ultimate beneficiaries of this generous donation.”

Family Ties

The Wall family is a longtime USF family — the Rossi wing on Lone Mountain is named for Esther Rossi, sister of Rev. P. Carlo Rossi, S.J., the namesake of the gift.

Dr. Wall is the eldest of five boys, all of whom also attended USF. He was Jesuit-educated, graduating from St. Ignatius high school before attending USF. The Jesuits have been very important to Dr. Wall, providing him a solid foundation for his life and his career.

He received his medical training at St. Louis University School of Medicine, graduating in 1951. The C. Allen Wall Family Foundation is also actively involved with the medical school.

Four of Elizabeth Wall Hanson’s siblings also attended USF, Charles A. Wall III, E. Duke Wall, David R. Wall, and Sr. Diana Wall, RSCJ.

USF has made a great impact on the lives of so many Wall family members. The family’s goal with the gift is to invest in the university to have an impact — on the current generation and the next.

This gift was made in support of Changing the World from Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco.