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Advances University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation, Inc.

The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation | December 2012 | Vol. 4 - No. 2


Broader Net THE UAFS FOUNDATION’S ANNUAL Scholarship Banquet has grown dramatically in recent years, filling the Stubblefield Center on a Tuesday evening this October with more than 350 scholars, donors, representatives, and other guests. Scholarship students thanked “their” donors, donors heard about students’ plans and ambitions, and both got to see firsthand that scholarships are much, much more than an impersonal transfer of resources—that they are, in fact, gifts in the truest sense of the word, from one person to another. Near the end of the evening, Foundation Executive Director Dr. Marta Loyd (left in photo) exhorted students

With $20 million given for scholarships during the Giving Opportunity campaign, UAFS donors are helping more students every year.

to capitalize on the opportunities they’d been given by persevering through to graduation, reminding them that donors, by giving, are in effect saying, “We believe in you. We’ll help you. Just keep going.” Along the way, Loyd noted that just 20 percent of adults in Arkansas hold bachelor’s degrees, well below the national average, and that finances are among the primary reasons they either don’t attend college in the first place, or enroll but then stop out before graduation. Private supporters of the University are doing more every year to change that. In the 2003-04 academic year, just before the start of the Giving Opportunity campaign, the

Foundation disbursed $619,000 in scholarships to help 355 students attend UAFS. Last year, $972,000 went to help 460 deserving students. That’s 26 percent more students helped and a 21 percent bigger average award—the result of an incredible $20.1 million given in support of endowed scholarships since the beginning of the campaign. As the number of jobs available with only a high school education keeps shrinking and the wage gap between high school and college-educated workers keeps growing, that kind of support is more important than ever—not just to the students themselves, but to our region, state, and nation.

ARVEST NAMES GALLERY AT SECOND STREET WHEN UAFS ACQUIRED THE 18,000-square-foot Second Street Live building in downtown Fort Smith in the summer of 2012, it got not just a new performance venue, but also a lovely gallery space for exhibiting student, faculty, and alumni art, as well as occasional traveling exhibits. Now Arvest Bank has made a generous gift to name that gallery. “Arvest is very focused on economic development in Fort Smith and the River Valley,” says regional CEO Craig Rivaldo, a UAFS alumnus. “By partnering with UAFS at Second Street, we can help bring art and entertainment to our area, which is vital for quality of place and economic growth.” The new Arvest Gallery showcases student art to a significantly wider audience than on-campus exhibit spaces, as well as providing students the hands-on opportunity to learn about running such a gallery. Located just inside the main entrance, it can be enjoyed not only during scheduled exhibits, but also before and after performances at the venue. Arvest has long been a valued partner to UAFS, giving to support not only the cultural arts as a major sponsor of the Season of Entertainment, but also economic development as the sponsor of the quarterly Fort Smith Regional Economic Outlook Report, published by the University’s College of Business. Several other naming opportunities remain available at the Second Street facility. Contact the Foundation at (479) 788-7020 for further information.

‘A FITTING TRIBUTE­’– John Lewellen, Sr., simply loved being outside. It didn’t matter what he was doing; as long as he was outdoors, he was a happy man. So when John Lewellen, Jr. (above)—who had wanted for years to do something to publicly honor his father—heard this spring about the opportunity to name the outdoor reading area being built along the northwest side of UAFS’s Boreham Library, he knew it was exactly the thing he’d been waiting for. “It’s a small way for me to honor him,” says Lewellen, Jr., who owns several successful pawn shops in the Fort Smith area. “If it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t be where I am. Period. He gave me the tools to grow to the point I’ve grown.” The John Lewellen, Sr., Outdoor Reading Area is scheduled for completion in spring 2013, along with a major renovation of Boreham Library.

5210 Grand Avenue • Fort Smith, AR 72903


FROM MARIMBAS TO MAYMESTER TRAVEL Foundation publishes departmental ‘wish lists’ for needs under $10,000.

‘IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE’’ A FEW WEEKS AGO during a lunch meeting, a good friend of UAFS actually apologized to me for not being able to make a gift at the time larger than $5,000. Now, as someone who has been involved in development and fundraising for much of my professional life, I know fundamentally that the importance of any particular gift doesn’t necessarily correspond to its size. Major gifts might move us toward our goal in bigger steps, but the fact is that no fundraising effort can be successful without gifts of every size. It’s like trying to build a stone wall with nothing but boulders; without smaller pieces to fill in the gaps and stabilize the structure, it isn’t going to stand for long. That idea is so central to what we do in development that it’s easy sometimes to assume everyone else understands it too. But when that friend of the University apologized for the size the gift she was planning to make, it reminded me that not everyone realizes the importance of smaller gifts—that people might think six- and seven-figure gifts are the only ones that really matter to UAFS and its students. This just simply is not the case. We deeply appreciate every single gift made to UAFS regardless of its size. More importantly, every single one of them directly and positively impacts the lives of one or more of our students, often allowing them to benefit from extraordinary experiences otherwise out of reach—or even to stay in school when otherwise they couldn’t. In other words, while it might not seem like much to you, it matters a whole lot to the student who receives it. In this issue, you’ll find two articles about ways to create that kind of big impact with smaller gifts—first by giving to meet specific, tangible needs identified by our academic units, and second by giving to the newly established UAFS Annual Fund. I hope they lead you to think in new ways about giving smaller amounts and that you’ll feel free to contact me directly at (479) 788-7021 or to discuss other ideas you may have.

A new marimba—like this one played by a percussion student—is among the music department’s immediate needs.

WHEN BRENDA AND CARL DAVIS gave UAFS’s College of Health Sciences a new IV simulator in 2009, they were well aware that having the latest equipment and technology would not only allow UAFS to deliver a better education, but would also help the University attract top students and faculty to its programs. But there were also more personal reasons for the gift. Brenda remembered—not very fondly—how students had practiced starting IVs on each other back when she was in nursing school. “Trust me, that is not a good way to learn,” she said after making the gift. Gifts like the Davises’—which meet specific, immediate needs, often for tangible things like equipment and technology—offer a unique opportunity for donors to help UAFS in ways that clearly reflect their own interests, backgrounds, and personalities. This year, to make such opportunities easier to find, the Foundation asked deans and department heads across campus to compile “wish lists,” as it were, for their respective units. The things they identified—all of them under $10,000—range from marimbas to Maymester travel, from outdoor gear for student activities to an outright scholarship for the student newspaper editor, from stipends for visiting artists to supplies for a “chemistry carnival” for elementary school students. Of course, state funds and tuition revenue pay for much of the equipment and technology the University uses. But with a steady decline in state funding per student—and the imperative to keep tuition affordable— budgets are mostly dedicated to the essentials. Private gifts, though, allow the University to strive for real excellence. Things like the latest laparoscopy simulator, for instance, or the opportunity for students to enter a national business plan competition, may not be essential to the operation of the University, but they make a real difference in the quality of education it provides and in the kind of students and faculty it can attract. Visit to see the new lists of departmental and college needs or call the Foundation for more information at (479) 788-7020.


Thank you for your generous support of Our University! It DOES make a difference. I hope you and your family and friends have a blessed holiday and a happy and healthy 2013. Best regards,

Marta M. Loyd, Ed.D. Executive Director, UAFS Foundation Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

CROWDS OF UAFS STUDENTS kept themselves entertained singing choruses of songs with the word “blue” in them while they waited at the Fort Smith Convention Center on a Friday night in mid-September for free tickets to see the Blue Man Group. In the end, more than 1,000 students attended the show that evening, the most ever—by a huge margin—for a Season of Entertainment event. But that was just one aspect of the unprecedented success of this year’s 32nd Annual Season, which is on track to finish comfortably in the black with record sales of both individual and season tickets. The most important superlative, though, is the record private support for this year’s Season. It is only because of generous gifts made by individual and corporate sponsors that UAFS can bring first-tier traveling productions like the Blue Man Group and the Midtown Men to Greater Fort Smith, as well as showcase UAFS’s student performers to the community and—through a ticket sponsorship program—provide students with crucial exposure to the performing arts.

UAFS FOUNDATION, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rotating off the board at the end of 2012 are Carco Capital Chairman Carl D. Corley, after 30 years of service, Farrell-Cooper Mining President Hank Farrell (18 years), Arkansas Best Corporation Chairman Robert A. Young III (18 years), Farmers Bank CEO Stanhope Wilkinson (12 years), Norris Taylor and Company CPA Rick Beauchamp (10 years), and Hanna Oil and Gas President Bill Hanna (9 years). H. Lawson Hembree will also step down after 12 years of service. All have provided the UAFS Foundation with exemplary leadership, giving generously of their time, talents, and resources. Each year, directors who have served three or more consecutive three-year terms rotate off the board, and the Foundation invites a slate of new members to join. The slate of new directors for 2013 will be announced in January.

Mr. Robert E. Miller, Chair Mr. John Taylor, Vice Chair Ms. Judy McReynolds, Treasurer Mr. Mark Moll, Secretary Mr. Douglas Babb Mr. Rick Beauchamp Mr. Cliff Beckham Mr. Jimmy G. Bell Mr. Kent Blochberger Mrs. Gina Clark Mr. Carl D. Corley Mr. David Cravens Dr. Tony deMondesert Mr. Hank Farrell Mrs. Peggy Ann Hadley Mr. Bill Hanna Mr. H. Lawson Hembree

Mr. Clifford Lyon Mr. John A. McFarland Mr. Roger Meek, Jr. Mr. Neal Pendergraft Mrs. Sue Plattner-Smith Mr. Craig Rivaldo Mr. Mark Rumsey Mr. Tim Shields Mr. Samuel T. Sicard Mrs. Nancy Smith-Robinson Mrs. Susan McMahon Taylor Mr. James Walcott, Jr. Mr. William S. Walker Mr. Chris Whitt Mr. Stanhope Wilkinson Mr. James G. Williamson, Jr. Mr. Robert A. Young III

A D VA N CES - The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation | December 2012 | Vol. 4 - No. 2

At Peterson Chemicals, Jon Walker has gone from sweeping floors as an intern to designing machines used in production processes.

W O R K I N G H I S WAY U P Determined and gifted, a first-generation student parlays his scholarship into a promising engineering career. “ONE OF THE COOL THINGS ABOUT working in research and development,” says Jon Walker of his internship with Fort Smith’s Peterson Chemicals, “is that when you make a new product or technology, the machines you need to produce it often don’t exist, so you get to design and build your own prototypes for them.” And that’s exactly what Walker, an engineering major, spent the summer of 2012 doing—designing and building a proprietary machine to sift a granular material used in a new process at Peterson, where he has already been offered a full-time position. He also helped develop a new chemical technology that the company recently submitted for a patent—with Walker’s name among those of the inventors. It was a far cry, frankly, from the summer of 2010, when, as a new intern, he spent a good deal of his time with a broom in his hands. Working his way up, though, is nothing new for Walker. The son of a single mother in a family from which no one had ever been to college, Walker nonetheless set his sights on a degree long before graduating from Van Buren High School. With solid academic credentials and an outstanding record of community service—he worked for the Boys & Girls Club of Van Buren during his last two years of high school, even writing a successful $10,000 grant—he was promised scholarships by three different universities but ultimately chose UAFS when he was offered a prestigious and highly competitive Chancellor’s Leadership Council Scholarship. “That’s what brought me here, and that’s what has kept me here, too,” Walker says of the scholarship, recipients of which take a leadership course their first semester taught by Chancellor Paul B. Beran. CLC scholarships like Walker’s Chester Koprovic Scholarship—named by the Foundation to recognize Koprovic’s generous bequest to the University—provide support that allows top students to focus on their studies or on

“I think I’m starting a trend because all my younger cousins are planning on college now.” valuable internships, rather than working jobs in unrelated fields to pay the bills. It’s an opportunity Walker has certainly made the most of, not only working hard in the classroom and at Peterson, but also proving himself a gifted leader. In addition to serving as founding vice president of the UAFS chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and as a UAFS Ambassador, Walker was selected his freshman year to speak at the annual luncheon for the G.C. Hardin Society and, later, at a campus reception honoring University of Arkansas System President B. Alan Sugg on his retirement. During his remarks at that reception, he made an extraordinary commitment—to make a gift of at least $1,000 to UAFS within five years of graduation, “beating,” he says, the mark set by Rachel Solley ’06, another remarkable CLC alum who made a similar gift five years after graduating. The inclination toward philanthropy and community leadership indicated by that pledge—as well as by his work with the Boys & Girls Club, Pi Kappa Phi’s substantial philanthropic efforts, and a freshman-year fundraising project with the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency—shows no signs of abating. In fact, says Walker, he looks forward to committing himself more fully to his community after graduation. That leaves little question that the donors who invested in his education will see ample returns, but perhaps the greatest of them is the fact that Walker has already inspired others within his family. “I think I’m starting a trend,” he says, “because all my younger cousins are planning on college now.”

UAFS LAUNCHES ANNUAL GIVING PROGRAM Long missing from the University’s fundraising efforts, a drive for alumni support is now underway. BACK AT THE BEGINNING OF 2011, UAFS made the local news for ranking near-last in alumni giving in the year’s U.S. News & World Report college rankings. To be fair, the low percentage of alumni donating to the University wasn’t a particularly meaningful statistic; UAFS and its predecessors claim roughly 40,000 living alumni, yet have made a concerted effort to remain in contact with them only since 2007, when the alumni association was launched. Compounding the issue was the fact that until about a decade ago, many students transferred elsewhere to earn four-year degrees and considered those institutions their alma maters—even though UAFS still counted them as alumni. Still, increasing the rate of alumni giving is a priority for Foundation leaders. Not only does a broad base of smaller, annual cash gifts form a strong foundation for the “giving pyramid,” but research shows that major donors frequently begin their relationship with an institution by making one or more smaller gifts. The late Janelle and H.L. Hembree, for example, who left UAFS $1 million when Mr. Hembree passed away last year, began their giving to the University with a $25 check in 1991. Enter Director of Annual Giving Kerri Hughes, who was hired in late 2011 to improve the rates of not only alumni giving, but also annual giving in general by launching the University’s first organized Annual Fund—a concerted yearly effort to gain the support of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends in the form of one-time, unrestricted gifts. Hughes’s plans include a series of appeals via direct mail, e-mail, and telephone, as well as a special effort in spring to boost membership in the Bell Tower Society—the association for faculty and staff members who give to UAFS. Another program, aimed primarily at recent graduates, offers a custom-engraved brick in Lion Pride Square on the Campus

Green with a gift of $125. Despite the relatively small size of the average annual gift, a good program makes from those gifts a whole greater than the sum of its parts, creating the kind of impact individual donors may have a hard time imagining. In fact, partly because gifts are unrestricted and available for immediate use, annual giving is among the most valuable kinds of support for most American universities. Even students are getting involved in giving at UAFS; with Hughes’s help, the Student Alumni Association has placed small plastic coin banks in every room in the Lion’s Den residence hall, where students deposit any change that’s just “lion” around. Of course, the forty or fifty dollars those coins add up to each semester won’t alter the course of the University. But then again, neither did that first $25 gift from the Hembrees...

A D VA NCES - The Newsletter of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation | December 2012 | Vol. 4 - No. 2

A D E C A D E O F T R A N S F O R M AT I O N : U A F S 2 0 0 2 - 2 0 1 2

In Memory of Jesse Wayne Anthony Mardell Christello McClurkin

Paul Flanagan Betty Carlile

Larry Bane Dr. Mary B. Lackie

Lyndell Foster Brenda and Carl Davis

Dorothy Grace Beck Mardell Christello McClurkin

Janice and Robert Powell

Edward Bedwell Eloise Bedwell Alexander James Builteman Glidewell Distributing Company Hoyle Carolan Mardell Christello McClurkin Martha Parker Copeland Janice and Robert Powell Charles K. Cormack, Sr. Glidewell Distributing Company Walter Davidson, Jr. Phyllis Davidson Roger Dew Bobbie Wohlford P.J. Douglas Janice and James Hail Erin Rhodes Rudda and Frank Ward Kelly and Mark Watson Diane and Dennis Wood Galina Fecher Sandy and Larry McGowan


22% 53%

+235% $20 Million $67 Million

+344% $50 Million $222 Million











Now, though—as evidenced by steady growth in full-time students and upperclassmen, decreasing average student age, full campus housing facilities, and improving test scores— UAFS is competing effectively for those students. And that—more than sheer growth— defines the University’s decade-long transformation. Still, getting students in the door is only the beginning. What ultimately matters is graduating them. And that’s where UAFS’s emergence as a full-fledged regional university is statistically most apparent. In the 2011-12 academic year, the University awarded a record 627 bachelor’s degrees—18 percent more than the previous year and fully 50 percent more than in 2009-10.









REMARKABLY, IT WAS JUST 10 years ago this fall when the institution that had until the previous year been known as Westark College admitted its first class as the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. The intervening decade has been, to say the least, a big one. More students are taking more classes in more disciplines, which are in turn taught by a larger, more diverse, and more distinguished faculty. Meanwhile, the physical campus has grown at a similar pace, along with the University’s endowment and economic impact on the region. That kind of growth and change, though, is hardly unprecedented. In fact, it’s only the most recent in a series of transformations—from a local junior college preparing students to transfer elsewhere, into a community college that also offered career training for the needs of local industry, into a so-called “hybrid institution” that added a few select four-year degrees to the community college curriculum. Still, this most recent transformation—from that hybrid institution into UAFS, a true regional university—may be the most dramatic. Certainly, things like student headcount and campus square-footage indicate tremendous growth, but other—and perhaps more important—aspects of the transformation show up in less conspicuous metrics. Take the growing number of full-time students, for example, which hit 66 percent this fall, along with the growing number of juniors and seniors (33 percent), the growing number of students 25 and under (72 percent), the growing occupancy rate of campus housing (over 90 percent), and the increasing average ACT score for incoming freshmen. Those numbers, along with many others, show a university adapting again, as it has during previous transformations, to the needs of its region—a region that now must increase the historically low education level of its workforce in order to keep competing as the percentage of jobs requiring a college degree continues to rise. Doing so requires an institution that can realistically compete for the area’s “traditional” students—those who enroll full-time in a four-year college the fall after they graduate from high school and typically live in campus housing. Until the last decade, those students—often among the best and brightest—had no choice but to go elsewhere for their education, frequently not returning after earning their degrees. +45% +45% +29% 5,673 117 776,000

+540% 5 32

Gifts made June 16, 2012 through Oct. 31, 2012

Ruth Gant Mardell Christello McClurkin Victor Glorioso Linda and Carl Giglione Dr. Fred Hander Drs. Marta and Greg Loyd Linda and Rusty Myers Catherine and Paul Sandahl Jane and Jim Walcott Bobbie Wohlford Tom Harmon Karen Harmon Bobbie Jean Hefley Dow and Jimmie Duke Sondra LaMar Sandy and John Mayhan Jim Shelby Harold Hile Mardell Christello McClurkin Betty Kay Horn Dr. Arleene and Mr. Randall Breaux Drs. Marta and Greg Loyd

Betty Jaber Reverend Herschel and Mardell McClurkin

Dr. Anna Nelson Becky Chancey Reba Nosoff

Joseph “Jody” Harrison Jones Genelle and Dave Newton

Professor Pat Porter Dr. Thomas and Jennifer Kelly

Dr. Thomas D. Kennedy Christine Kennedy

Gerald Price Glidewell Distributing Company Nadine Long

Paul Latture Margaret Latture Roy Gean Law Eleanor Williams Bill Leslie Glidewell Distributing Company Daniel C. Martinez, Jr. Arkansas Best Corporation Krystal and Dockey Brasher IV Burrito Brothers, LLC Goody’s Frozen Yogurt, Inc. Lorie and Eric Robertson Randy Swaim Shawn Swaim and Gills Gibson Wilma McDonald Betty Carlile Charles McSwain Bobbie Wohlford Christie Gilstrap Morgan Valarie Arnoldussen Bev McClendon Linda and Roger Parker Pam and Mike Phillips

Dr. Francis Ralston Dr. Brenda Yelvington and Mr. J. L. Morton Loretta Rogers Glidewell Distributing Company Robert “Bob” Runner Mardell Christello McClurkin Reame Sawyer Linda and Jim Harwood P.E.O. Chapter BD Bobbie Wohlford Mary Shipley Dr. Paul B. and Janice H. Beran Bobbie Wohlford Maurine Slates Brenda and Carl Davis Sandy and Larry McGowan Janice and Robert Powell John M. Smith Smith Chevrolet, Cadillac, Mitsubishi

Robert B. Thomas Carole and George Beattie III Sally Lick Vick June and Jim Alexander Antoinette Beland Ann and Mont Echols, Jr. Tracey and Jeff Geren Bonnie and James Harmon Dot Hosford Violet Howe Isaacks and Jim Howe Ellen and Robert Knight Kimberly and John McFarland Cille and Pat McGowan Dr. Douglas and Lynn Nancarrow Donnie Pendergraft Janice and Robert Powell Catherine and Paul Sandahl Dorothy Sullivan Jane and Jim Walcott Bill Steve Walker Weldon, Williams & Lick Claris and Harold Wallace Carol and Darrell Hill Larry Weigand Dr. Jill and Ignacio Guerra Dr. Myron Rigsby and Dr. Carolyn Holdsworth Albert Lee “Abb” Yates Genelle and Dave Newton

Joe Sutherlan Glidewell Distributing Company

In Honor of Joan and George Ballard Antoinette Beland and Dot Hosford

Evan and Jana Eggers Carole and George Beattie III

Nancy Moore Dr. Douglas and Lynn Nancarrow

Jorgette Smith Smith Chevrolet, Cadillac, Mitsubishi

Phyllis Davidson Inge Davidson

Pete Howard Mardell Christello McClurkin

Rodney Naucke Sally Naucke

Students and Faculty of the UAFS Dromnium Production Anne and Justin Thomas

Dr. Elizabeth Underwood Karla and Rusty Jacobs

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

Advances Winter 2012