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UA Fort Smith Foundation, Inc.


The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation | February 2011 | Vol. 3 - No. 1



Although UA Fort Smith’s current library was completed in 1987, it wasn’t named until several years later, when Sally and Rollie Boreham gave $1 million to create an endowment for purchasing books and equipment. Now more than 20 years, that gift still serves to keep the Boreham Library’s collections and technology relevant and modern. But UA Fort Smith—now primarily a four-year institution with twice the number of students it had when Boreham was dedicated—has outgrown its library. Raising funds for a major expansion and re-fit is one of five designated priorities of the Giving Opportunity campaign, and renderings of the new Learning and Resource Center were recently unveiled. They show a roughly 40,000-square-foot addition along the south side of the existing 30,000-square-foot library,

with a huge expanse of south-facing glass to flood the stacks and reading areas with natural light. Red brick and precast concrete accents echoing Boreham’s exterior blend with contemporary elements that suggest this is truly a library of tomorrow. A new entry at the southwestern corner faces the Campus Green, while large sections of glass facing Waldron Road will radiate warm light in the evenings and reveal the activity inside, creating a strong sense of connection with the community. Impressive as the renderings are, the plans are equally so. They call for increasing total seating from 384 to 920, including 214 computer stations, and creating space for roughly 52,000 new volumes. A 24-hour study area and computer lab welcome night-owls, and a patio area offers pleasant outdoor seating.

The addition will also house the Business and Entrepreneurship Research Center, a complex of hightech teleconferencing spaces, online research facilities, mentoring and instructional rooms, and interactive presentation venues available for university and community use and devoted to advancing economic development in the region—a key part of UA Fort Smith’s mission. The Foundation worked with project architects to identify prime naming opportunities at many different giving levels, including reading and study rooms, presentation spaces, computer labs, reserves rooms, and larger spaces. Contact Foundation Executive Director Marta Loyd at (479) 7887021 or visit to learn more about these opportunities.

A F T E R 3 6 Y E A R S , F L A N D E R S R O TAT E S O F F B O A R D Flanders’ unprecedented gift—by far the largest the institution had ever received—did exactly that, not only energizing the campaign, but forever changing the community’s attitude toward the college. By the early 2000s, Westark had the largest per-student endowment of any two-year college participating in the national Voluntary Support of Education survey. At the end of 2010, having served on the UA Fort Smith/Westark Foundation board since the day it came into being 36 years ago, Don Flanders rotated off. “I’m proud of the University,” he said recently. “If someone comes to visit from out of town, the first thing I do is drive them out there. It’s a beautiful campus, and it’s a unifying force across the community, too. I feel like we’ve played a part in that, and I think we’ve just begun to see what can happen in the future.” To say simply that Flanders “played a part” in making UA Fort Smith the University it is today feels like a dramatic understatement, as does saying the University and the Foundation deeply appreciate his nearly four decades of service, generosity, and friendship.

5210 Grand Avenue • Fort Smith, AR 72903

One day in the fall of 1988, as the fledgling Westark Foundation was embarking on its first-ever major gifts campaign, Jim Alexander and William R. Walker, who were leading the campaign, paid a visit to Don Flanders and named an amount they said they’d like to see him give. Flanders considered for a moment and then asked Walker and Alexander what their goal was for the campaign. Three million dollars, they told him. “Well,” said Flanders, “the level of giving around here is going to have to change in order to do that. So I’ll tell you what—I’m going to give you 10 times what you just asked me for and maybe that will cause some other people to do something that’s really going to help the college.”

“With the completion of the Lion’s Den, we believe that a steadily increasing number of this area’s brightest and most energetic high school graduates will choose UA Fort Smith,” said Board of Visitors member Peggy Weidman (above) at a November ribbon cutting ceremony for the new residential complex. “And when those students attend college here—instead of in central Arkansas, or Fayetteville, or out of state—they’re more likely to live and work here after graduation.” To see photos of the state-of-the-art facility and learn more about how it’s making UA Fort Smith more attractive to high-achieving students seeking the “traditional” college experience, visit



It’s hard to believe it was less than two years ago that we announced the beginning of the public phase of the Giving Opportunity campaign. On that evening in March 2009, campaign co-chair Robert Young III said, “Right now, our university is on the precipice of becoming a first-tier regional university.”

Brenda Yelvington and Lavon Morton honor a friend’s memory with a unique scholarship.

In the 22 months since, the University and the Foundation have made amazing progress in that direction. A record-breaking 7,700 students enrolled for fall 2010, up 5.4% from last year’s record enrollment. Retention numbers are also up, as are transfers from other institutions, out-of-state enrollment, and percentage of full-time students.

Brenda Yelvington and Lavon Morton, on the UA Fort Smith campus in June 2010, created the Frances B. Ralston

In April 2010, we unveiled Numa, the striking bronze statue that embodies this University’s spirit, and in August we opened the state-of-the-art Lion’s Den residential complex. Plans for a major refit and expansion of Boreham Library are nearly finalized.

Scholarship to honor a beloved friend and professor who passed away unexpectedly.

Our academic programs are gaining national recognition for quality and innovation, our students are winning top-level competitions in their major fields, and our graduates are distinguishing themselves as executives and artists, teachers and officers, doctors and journalists. Finally, this summer, the University rolled out a comprehensive five-year strategic plan that formalizes its priorities and direction and sets forth a bold new vision statement: UA Fort Smith will be a premier regional university connecting education with careers.

“She needed someone to honor what she had done for this community and for her students,” says Brenda Yelvington of her friend Frances Ralston, who taught accounting at Your generous support of the Giving Opportunity campaign remains critical to realizing that vision. So far, we’ve raised an amazing $36.4 Westark’s University Center and briefly at UA million, and we’re already doing incredible things with it—funding Fort Smith. “The university and those students hundreds of scholarships, hiring top teacher-scholars as endowed were her life.” chairs and professors, and overhauling the University’s technology. Yelvington, who taught alongside Ralston, was certainly in a position to know. “Frances and I Still, there’s a long way to go. We hope to reach our campaign goal were the entire accounting faculty,” she says. The of $50 million by the end of 2011. Specifically, we’re just starting to two also happened to both be working on their raise the $5 million we seek to help with the library expansion, and dissertations for doctorates from the University we hope to raise another $5.8 million for campus technology. of Mississippi, and they quickly became friends. Ultimately, they would accept their degrees at the We also hope to create seven more endowed professorships and same ceremony. to further expand endowed scholarships, which are more crucial More than anything else about Ralston, it was her now than ever. determination that Yelvington admired. “Frances had a What we have accomplished together in less than two years medical condition that kept her from driving,” she says. is truly inspiring, and the University and its students are “She came to work on the bus, carting all those books tremendously grateful for your generosity, as am I. Let’s take and all those papers. Then one of the students or I would a moment to reflect on that before we embark on the final take her home in the evening. She had a hard life, but push toward our goal of Giving Opportunity. nothing got Frances down.” A single mother, Ralston had one son who didn’t live in the area. “She loved him dearly and talked about him all the

time,” says Yelvington, “but the students were her family too. She loved to bake for them—brownies and cinnamon rolls. She thought everybody was special, and she had a heart for the students that struggled.” Then, on the first day of the 2004 summer session, Ralston wasn’t there to meet her class; she had passed away unexpectedly in her home the night before. When Yelvington, now co-owner of Omega Sound in Fort Smith, and her husband, Lavon Morton, an Arkansas Best Corporation executive, decided to make a gift honoring Ralston, they knew exactly how to do it. “I wanted to honor Frances with money going to someone that’s trying to live the life that she not only lived but excelled in,” says Yelvington. The Frances B. Ralston Scholarship is awarded to accounting majors who are single parents with financial need and a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Of course, the purpose of the gift is twofold—first to honor Ralston, but also to benefit the community. “UA Fort Smith is a great asset to this region,” says Morton. “It’s always been an opportunity for young people that live here to get a good education close to home, and now it’s starting to get a reputation and really attract people for the quality of the programs. And we want to support that any way we can.”

Best regards,

Marta M. Loyd, Ed.D. Executive Director, UA Fort Smith Foundation Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

G I V I N G O P P O RT U N I T Y C A M PA I G N P Y R A M I D (December 2010) $5,000,000

Campaign goal: Dollars raised: Still needed: Total gifts:

$50,000,000 - $36,444,415 $13,555,585 8,299

Colored boxes represent total giving to date. Gray boxes represent gifts still needed at each giving level.

$2,500,000 $1,000,000 $500,000

The “gift pyramid,” is a tool used by fundraisers to estimate the number of gifts needed at various giving levels to achieve a campaign goal. With a year to go, the Giving Opportunity pyramid offers an interesting view of the campaign, showing more detail than a simple bar graph of dollars raised. What it reflects, specifically, is that in this final push toward our $50 million goal, gifts of every size are vitally important to the campaign’s ultimate success. If you have not already, please consider joining us in Giving Opportunity. To learn how, call the Foundation at (479) 788-7020 or visit

$250,000 $100,000 $50,000 $25,000

$10,000 $5,000 Gifts under $5,000 ($4,750,000 needed and $2,129,482.40 raised to date)

A D VA NCES - The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation | February 2011 | Vol. 3 - No. 1

A P E R F E C T M AT C H At UA Fort Smith, a first-generation college student finds a place to grow as a leader and a scholar. For Dana Broad of Springdale, UA Fort Smith wasn’t the obvious choice, but it proved to be the right one. “Most of my friends went to Fayetteville,” says Broad, “but after touring UA Fort Smith, going to Den Day [an annual event for high school seniors], and meeting the faculty, I was set on coming here. It was the only place I applied.” Of course, the prospect of earning an outstanding scholarship made the decision even easier. She already knew she’d study business, which made her eligible for one of several First Bank Corp Scholarships of Distinction, amounting to essentially a “full ride” for four years. Broad indeed was chosen for the scholarship, and has shown herself more than worthy of the honor. With less than a semester to go, the Accounting/Business Administration double-major carries a 3.82 GPA while also serving as president of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, and interning in the credit department at Rheem Manufacturing. Not surprisingly, the first-generation college student has no second thoughts about UA Fort Smith. The business program, she says, incorporates an unusual amount of hands-on, experience-based learning, and the faculty bring valuable professional experience as well as academic insight to the classroom. Broad specifically cites Dr. Jim Beard’s “Fundamentals of Managerial Effectiveness” and Doug Babb’s “Leadership.” Babb, CEO of Cooper Clinic and a member of the UA Fort Smith Foundation Board of Directors, gives his students the rare opportunity to learn directly from a top-level executive, who also happens to be, in Broad’s words, “a wonderful teacher.” Broad has also enjoyed the unique opportunities presented by a smaller, younger, more personable University. “Here you can come in

and get involved in whatever you want,” she says. “I’ve really developed as a leader because of the chances I’ve had.” She even participated in the process of interviewing and evaluating candidates for the Neal Pendergraft Endowed Professorship of Accounting, now held by Dr. Amelia Baldwin. With credentials like hers, Broad wasn’t going to last long on the job market. In fact, she already has a position waiting for her with the international firm Ernst & Young. As part of the company’s Fort Smith team, Broad will work with the likes of Golden Living, Baldor, and Arkansas Best. “It’s been perfect for me,” says Broad of UA Fort Smith, and the converse is true as well. She has been an invaluable leader on campus, and all indications are that she’ll continue that role within the larger Fort Smith community. That’s the kind of far-reaching impact scholarship support can have, not just helping an individual student, but also profoundly changing her family’s story as well as benefitting the community as a whole.

Accounting/Business Administration double-major Dana Broad already has a job waiting for her with Ernst & Young in Fort Smith.

A L U M N U S / B O A R D M E M B E R S E E K S T O P E R P E T U AT E S P E A K M A N ’ S L E G A C Y When Randy Wewers, a 1958 graduate of Fort Smith Junior College, began trying to reconnect with his alma mater 20 years ago, he had one simple reason: he wanted to do something to recognize a professor he’d had by the name of Miss Lucille Speakman. He wasn’t sure exactly how to honor her, though; she wouldn’t have cared much, he knew, about having a building or a fountain named after her. But, as he became more deeply involved with the University—eventually joining the Foundation’s Board of Directors—an idea started to percolate. What if he could do something to perpetuate Speakman’s legacy of great classroom teaching—the vivid, evocative lectures; the devotion to her students’ success; the clear-eyed fascination with her world that generations of alumni still talk about? With time, that idea evolved into the Lucille Speakman Legacy Endowment—a fund to help current UA Fort Smith faculty members do the same kinds of things that made Randy Wewers Speakman so admired. Current faculty will be able to apply for grants for self-guided travel, international study, curricula development, and research—all with the specific goal of improving their classroom teaching. Wewers is leading an effort to raise $100,000 to establish the endowment, which, he emphasizes, is intended to honor not just Speakman, but all of the Tom Fullerton Luella Krehbiel Claud Yancey Isabella Smith Sidney Blakely Margaret Montague Pete Howard Lucille Speakman Hattie Mae Butterfield Delmer Ashworth professors who have similarly distinguished themselves in the eyes of those whose opinions matter most—their students. Alumni can make gifts in the name of any faculty member, past or present. A plaque placed on campus—a sort of “faculty hall of fame”—will bear their names. In November, Wewers and the Foundation reached out to approximately 20,000 alumni with a personal letter and a card celebrating the achievements of Speakman and other revered UA Fort Smith, Westark, and Fort Smith Junior In November Randy Wewers and the UA Fort Smith Foundation College faculty members. reached out to approximately 20,000 alumni with cards celebrating Certainly, though, the effort to honor and perpetuate the tradition of the achievements of Speakman and other revered UA Fort Smith, Westark, and Fort Smith Junior College faculty members. teaching excellence at UA Fort Smith need not be limited to alumni. To learn more about the campaign or to find out how you can help, call Development Officer Anne Thomas at (479) 788-7033.

UA FORT SMITH FOUNDATION, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS New to the Foundation Board of Directors in 2011 are Cooper Clinic CEO Doug Babb; Arkansas Best Corporation CEO and President Judy McReynolds; and Jones, Jackson & Moll attorney Mark Moll. Rotating off the board after serving at least three consecutive three-year terms are Don Flanders, Board Chairman of Flanders Industries (36 years of service); Dr. Annette Landrum, President and Owner of Peachtree Retirement Village (17 years); Roger S. Meek, Jr., partner in the Coca Cola Bottling Co. of Fort Smith (17 years); James D. Walcott, Jr., President of Weldon, Williams & Lick (17 years); Jane Williams, Community Volunteer (16 years); and Jim Williamson, Board Chairman of Citizens Bank & Trust Company of Van Buren (16 years).

Mr. Douglas Babb Mrs. Cindy Bagby Mr. Richard Beauchamp Mr. Jimmy G. Bell Mr. Kent Blochberger Mr. Carl D. Corley Mr. Hank Farrell Mrs. JoAnn Gedosh Mrs. Peggy Ann Hadley Mr. Bill Hanna

Mr. H. Lawson Hembree Mrs. Marianne Lane-Thompson Mr. John A. McFarland Mrs. Judy McReynolds Mr. Robert E. Miller Mr. Mark Moll Mr. Neal Pendergraft Mrs. Janice Hobbs Powell Mr. Mark Rumsey Mr. Sam M. Sicard

Mr. Douglas O. Smith, Jr. Mr. Steven Spradlin Mr. John R. Taylor Mrs. Susan McMahon Taylor Mr. William S. Walker Mr. Bennie Westphal Mr. Randy Wewers Mr. Chris Whitt Mr. Stanhope Wilkinson Mr. Robert A. Young III

A D VANCES - The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation | February 2011 | Vol. 3 - No. 1

A G R E AT F R I E N D O F T H E I N S T I T U T I O N Just part of a life of philanthropy, William R. Walker’s service to UA Fort Smith shaped today’s Foundation. By the time he passed away in late November, William R. Walker had done so much for so many that the obituaries and memorials in the papers could only briefly summarize his philanthropy and volunteer service. He played important roles in recruiting industry to Fort Smith and in the development of St. Edward Mercy Medical Center; served in leadership positions for the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce, the Boys Club, Harbor House and many other organizations; and was a member of numerous other boards. His service to the UA Fort Smith Foundation may have been just one item in that long list of achievements, but within the University community it was both deeply admired and deeply appreciated. To Carolyn McKelvey Moore, who launched Westark’s development program in 1987 and grew the endowment to $20 million, Walker was more than a member of the board; he was a mentor and a friend. He joined the board the same year Moore became Executive Director and, she says, taught her most of what she knows about fundraising. “He was warm, gentle, approachable,” Moore says. “I don’t think that he would ever say it, but he really cared for people. I could pick up the phone and talk to him anytime. He was a great friend of the institution and pivotal in getting the Foundation going.” Walker served on the board until 2007, chairing it in 1991 and 1992. In the ’90s, when Westark remained William R. Walker, consummate a two-year school, he almost singlehandedly raised the businessman, dedicated philanthropist, approximately $250,000 a year required to support the and lifelong outdoorsman, on an elkScholar-Preceptor Program, an innovative community hunting trip in Idaho. college version of paid internships. “He personally went around to his peers and made the case for supporting that program,” says Foundation Executive Director Marta Loyd. “He helped get it off the ground.” Throughout his relationship with UA Fort Smith and Westark—as in the rest of his life—Walker worked quietly. “He was a guy who worked behind the scenes,” says Loyd. “He never asked for glory. But people had a tremendous amount of respect for him, so when he came to them, they wanted to help him accomplish whatever was important to him. He saw ways to connect people that others didn’t. That’s how he got things done.” For Walker, philanthropy wasn’t matter-of-fact; instead, it was deeply personal. In fall 2009, shortly before the Foundation’s annual scholarship banquet, he called Loyd to apologize personally for missing the banquet, where donors share dinner with the students supported by their scholarships. It would be the first one he’d missed in nearly 20 years. The only thing that could keep him from it? His wife’s birthday happened to fall on the same day as the banquet. The following week, at Walker’s request, the Foundation arranged a lunch for him to meet “his” students. “That says a lot about W.R.,” says Loyd. “He was just so dedicated to the things he believed in.”

In Memory of Edward E. Bedwell Eloise Bedwell Edgar Bethell Don Flanders Caroline Buergler Brenda and Carl Davis Roy Cannon Nadine Long Norma Jean Daniels Genelle and Dave Newton Walter Davidson, Jr. Inge and James R. Davidson Phyllis Davidson J.D. Edwards Don Flanders Michael Paul Felterman Linda and Buddy Spradlin Gayla Gregory Jo Alice and Steve Dobbs Genelle and Dave Newton Dillon Patrick Gulley Glidewell Distributing Company Jim Hanna Dr. Paul B. and Janice H. Beran Dr. Arleene and Mr. Randy Breaux William England Glidewell Distributing Company Peggy and Jim Hadley Lauri and Tim Mason Dr. Carolyn McKelvey Moore

May 16, 2010 through November 1, 2010

Donnie Pendergraft Gina and Neal Pendergraft Rosemary and Gene Rapley Rachel and Don A. Smith Linda and Buddy Spradlin Peggy and Bill Weidman Tom Harmon Karen M. Harmon Dr. Alfred Hathcock Don Flanders Bob Hough Rhonda and Anthony A. Caton Bobbye J. Hudson Ann and E.C. Goins Danny Inman Genelle and Dave Newton Harper S. Jackson Adele Jackson Luella Krehbiel Chloe J. and Robert Tedder Mary A. Lunney Glidewell Distributing Company Dr. Rick Martin Evelyn “Teddy” and Earl D. Martin Vincent Martini Dr. Paul B. and Janice H. Beran Dr. Amy C. Jordan Millie McGill Dr. Paul B. and Janice H. Beran

Margaret Montague Chloe J. Tedder

Travis Sinclair Glidewell Distributing Company

Christie Gilstrap Morgan Beverly and Dickie Gilstrap Linda and Roger Parker Pam and Mike Phillips

Lucille Speakman Marilyn and Bernard Edison

Stephen Nosoff Reba Nosoff Mable O’Neal Linda and Buddy Spradlin Bill Pendleton Don Flanders Annette Putnam Zonta Club of Fort Smith Katie Putnam Clarisse L. and Bill B. Eldridge Everett Reed Peggy and Bill Weidman Elise Bedwell Ross Don Flanders Joseph Francke Rumsey III Janice and Bob Powell Edward Schneider Pat and Cosby Hodges, Jr. Glidewell Distributing Company Jerry I. Schwartz Glidewell Distributing Company Jeffrey E. Shipley Morrison Shipley Engineers, Inc. (Greg Shipley)

Glen Stamback Linda and Buddy Spradlin Davey “Speedy” Sumners Glidewell Distributing Company Mildred Sutherland Dr. Paul B. and Janice H. Beran Judith Thomas Glidewell Distributing Company Clois Walker Drs. Rosilee and Phillip Russell Claris and Harold Wallace Carol and Darrell Hill Eveleen Wallace Dr. Arleene and Mr. Randy Breaux Yolanda R. Carr Anita and Terry Collier Susan and Ed Devero Carolyn and Charles Hankins Deborah and Jasper Lewis Cindy and Paul Rainwater UAFS Student Success and College Preparatory Dr. L VanOsdol Larry Weigand Dr. Jill and Ignacio Guerra Dr. Gabriel and Tami Matney Drs. Katherine R. and Daniel F. Pinzon Dr. Myron Rigsby and Dr. Carolyn Holdsworth

In Honor of Pam Blesch Jo Alice and Steve Dobbs

Mark Horn Jo Alice and Steve Dobbs

Genelle Newton Tammy L. Tally

Anne Turner Evelyn and Finley Turner

Lynn Coleman Peggy Weidman

Felicitas Ladage Evelyn and Finley Turner

Donnie Pendergraft Jo Alice and Steve Dobbs

Dr. Edward C. White, Jr. Karen K. White and Edward C. White, Sr.

Dr. T.A. Feild III Katherine B. Feild

Robert E. Miller Jo Alice and Steve Dobbs

Physical Plant Staff Jo Alice and Steve Dobbs

Finance & Procurement Services Staff Genelle and Dave Newton

Lynn Nancarrow Evelyn and Finley Turner

Frances Raynor Peggy and Bill Weidman

University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation, Inc. • 5210 Grand Avenue • Fort Smith, AR 72903 • 479-788-7020

Advances, February 2011  

The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation

Advances, February 2011  

The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation