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The Alumni Magazine of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
WHAT IS OPPORTUNITY WORTH?
The Debate Over Developmental Education
9 Ultimate Lion / 14 Winter Reads / 18 Why We Love the Fort / 30 Alumni Council
FA L L / W I N T E R 2011-12
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Pop heroes The Fray (of “How to Save a Life” fame) rocked UAFS September 10 for Festival on the Border, a four-day musical extravaganza backed by the same folks who, until last year, put on the Fort Smith Classic and Celebrity Classic golf tournaments. The Festival also featured shows ranging from country boy Dierks Bentley at the riverfront to preeminent violinist Mark O’Connor with the Fort Smith Symphony. Boom Kinetic and Andy Grammer opened the Saturday night show at UAFS, with mashup DJ Girl Talk closing it out. The Alumni Association ran out of the 4,000 glow sticks they brought to give away to a crowd that ended up around 4,500 strong.
by Monalyn Gracia/Corbis
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IN THIS ISSUE FALL/WINTER 2011-12
volume 2, number 2
FROM THE CHANCELLOR What can you do to help?
@BELLTOWERMAG Alumni letters
GRAND + WALDRON re-branding | mother-daughter legacy | alumni center | Chaffee history | meeting the Carters | student art | community read | butterfly garden | ultimate lion | Japanese scholars
5Q Dr. Kermit Kuehn, economic surveyor
SENSE OF PLACE The wider world
KNOWLEDGE BASE What to read this winter
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY Dr. Cliff Scott, business professor/actor
LIONS LOWDOWN Crowder Field renovation | hall of fame | Division II status | Stojanovic brothers | athletic club golf tourney
fea t u re s 18
WHY WE LOVE THE FORT Why not, right? After all, this town literally willed us into being back in 1928. But there’s much more to it than mere gratitude. By Bell Tower staff
WHAT IS OPPORTUNITY WORTH? Should Arkansas be spending money on developmental education in universities, or is closing the doors to students who need remedial work the wrong way to save money? By Doug McInnis
28 ALUMNI + FRIENDS 2011=new | class notes | campaign | Jo Ellen Carson ’76 | young alumni council | Jordan Sallis ’01 | new website | Little Rock reception | Walter Levy ’41
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From the Chancellor
Bell Tower Fall/Winter 2011-12 Volume 2, Number 2
What Can You Do to Help?
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith
With First Lady Janice Beran and helpers, getting ready to crown the 2011 Homecoming King and Queen.
it doesn’t feel like we’re still just a fledgling organization. But the fact is that the Alumni Association is exactly that, and much remains to be done. A lot of that work will fall to us, but a lot of it—maybe even the majority—is yours to do. As much as we’d like to be able to simply will into being an active, engaged alumni community, the reality is that its existence depends at least as much on you as it does on us. So what can you do to help? To begin with, you can simply stay part of the University community. Come to alum-
BELL TOWER fall/winter 2011-12
ni events like Alumni Weekend. Join one of the great trips the Alumni Association is planning. Take one of the many courses we offer through our Center for Lifelong Learning. Attend one of our Season of Entertainment traveling shows, a student performance, or a volleyball, basketball, or baseball game. And if you can’t do that, then stay in touch with us by other means. Make sure we’ve got your correct email and mailing addresses so you’ll keep receiving Bell Tower and hearing about upcoming events. Help us keep in contact with other alumni, too. Ask them if they’re getting the magazine and receiving our emails. If not, have them update their information. Better yet, invite them to an event. Of course, you can offer financial support as well. You may not be aware of this, but we’re in the home stretch of a $50 million capital campaign. Alumni and friends of UAFS have already given almost $42 million, and we plan to raise the remaining $8 million by the end of the year. It sounds like a lot of money—and it is—but that doesn’t make every $20 or $50 gift we receive any less meaningful. I hope you’ll also think about ways you can help our students directly. Is there an opportunity for an internship at your workplace? Would you be willing to speak about your work in the classroom? How about mentoring students? We need you to recognize our graduates, talk about our graduates, hire our graduates. And finally, I hope you’ll feel free to give us your input. Just because you’re no longer a student doesn’t mean this isn’t still your university. It is your insights and memories that help us remember who we are and where we came from.
Paul B. Beran, Ph.D.
VICE CHANCELLOR FOR UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT Marta M. Loyd, Ed.D.
DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI AFFAIRS Elizabeth Underwood
EDITOR Zack Thomas
CONTRIBUTORS Bryce Albertson, Erica Buneo ’09, Evin Demirel, Kandace Floyd, Eric Francis, Doug McInnis
ART DIRECTOR John Sizing www.jspublicationdesign.com
ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Paul B. Beran, Chancellor; Dr. Ray Wallace, Provost; Dr. Marta M. Loyd, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement; Mark Horn, Vice Chancellor for University Relations; Dr. Lee Krehbiel, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Elizabeth Underwood, Director of Alumni Affairs; Jeff Harmon, Director of University Marketing and Communications
t’s sometimes hard to believe that the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Alumni Association was formed less than five years ago. Particularly during events like Alumni Weekend— which this year brought alumni of all generations back to campus for two great days of camaraderie, reminiscence, and fun—
BELL TOWER is published semi-annually by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Alumni
Association, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913, for alumni, friends, and faculty of the University. Tel: (800) 532-9094. Email: email@example.com. Web: www.uafs.com.
SEND ADDRESS CHANGES, requests to receive
Bell Tower, and requests to be removed from the mailing list to firstname.lastname@example.org or UAFS Alumni Association, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913.
LETTERS ARE WELCOME, but the Publisher reserves the right to edit letters for length and
content. Space constraints may prevent publication of all letters. Anonymous letters will not be published. Send letters to belltower@uafs. edu or
Bell Tower Magazine, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913.
Views and opinions expressed in Bell Tower do not
necessarily reflect those of the magazine staff or
advisory board nor of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
Contents ©2011 by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
PAUL B. BERAN, Ph.D. Chancellor
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newspaper clipping of a team photo (left) shot at the courthouse. Sass is at the left end of the second row; Cole is second from right in the front row. â€”Ed.
COURTHOUSE BASKETBALL We got several notes in response to the letter that ran in the last issue from Laura Garcia â€™77 asking for information about the Lions playing basketball in the Parker Courthouse when her father, Doyle Cole â€™42, was captain of the team. Most interestingly, though, we got a phone call from Alfred Sass â€™43, who not only confirmed that the Lions played in the courthouse but offered to loan us his beautiful, handmade scrapbook from 1940-43, which contained a
When I lived in Fort Smith from 1928 to 1947, the Parker Courthouse was called the Commissary Building, and it was home to the Fort Smith Boys Club and the basketball and boxing ring were on the main floor. I was a member. My newspaper route included the Commissary Building as well as the National Cemetery. Times were tough and collecting for weekly subscriptions taught me a valuable lesson lasting a lifetime. JACK STEWART â€™47 Enid, Okla.
in the Fall/Winter 2010 Bell Tower. After it was published I received a letter from another alumna from the â€™60s who I had lost track of through the years. Thanks to the magazine, we have been reunited. MARDELL MCCLURKIN â€™58 Alma
WHATâ€™S ON YOUR MIND? Weâ€™d love to hear from you! Tell us what you think of the magazine, respond to an article, suggest an idea for a future issue, or ask us whatever burning question comes to mind. Email your letter to email@example.com or mail it to Bell Tower Magazine, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913. If we run it, weâ€™ll enter you in a drawing for a UAFS sweatshirt.
Thanks for the photos and article about me
Exclusive travel experiences for alumni & friends of UAFS, Westark, and Fort Smith Junior College.
Cruising Alaskaâ€™s Glaciers and The Inside Passage
Village Life in Tuscany
July 26 - August 2, 2012
September 23 - October 1, 2012
Thomas P. Gohagan & Company
Aboard the Six-Star all-Suite m.v. Silver Shadow
For more information, contact Elizabeth Underwood at the UAFS Alumni Association. s ALUMNI UAFSEDU s UAFSALUMNICOMTRAVEL
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Grand+Waldron CAMPUS NEWS AND NOTES
University Re-brands with New Logo, URL, Website “WHAT WE’RE REALLY doing is just embracing what’s already out there,” says Director of Marketing and Communications Jeff Harmon of the decision to re-brand the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith as “UAFS” and phase out use of “UA Fort Smith.” “When Federal Express re-branded as FedEx in 1994, they were doing the same thing,” says Harmon. “They were simply acknowledging who they already were in the eyes of their customers—and it worked brilliantly.” Research showed that not only was the institution typically referred to as UAFS by
There is nothing more freedominducing for an educated person than visiting a library to graze on the thoughts of others.
—PROVOST DR. RAY WALLACE speaking June 28 at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Learning and Research Center at Boreham Library
BELL TOWER fall/winter 2011-12
KAT WILSON ’96
the media, but also that the top search term used to find the University’s website was “UAFS.” “UA Fort Smith” was third after “University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.” Perhaps more importantly, though, says Harmon, UAFS is simply more natural, easier to remember, and easier to use in print—all of which will improve brand recognition. In addition to a new logo, the re-branding effort includes a new URL, www.uafs.edu, and an entirely new website. But the university’s brand is far more than a name, a logo, and a URL. “Our true brand,” says Harmon, “is in how people think of us.”
MIA SMITH’S SHOES are big ones to fill, at least figuratively. On the way to her 2007 associate degree, she served as president of the Radiography Student Association and earned the Mallinckrodt Award, given each year to the top student in the program. Then she launched right into a bachelor’s degree in Imaging Sciences and spent the next few years as a perennial on the Dean’s List before graduating cum laude in 2010. Her oldest daughter, freshman Brookquel Smith, isn’t too worried about filling those shoes, though. In fact, she has her own unique pair—running shoes. Despite being born with a heart defect that required two open heart surgeries, she ran cross country and track at Van Buren High School and earned a cross country scholarship to UAFS. “It’s always been my dream to run in college,” she says. A dedicated student too, she plans to major in Biology and then attend medical school and practice sports medicine. Also, although there have been plenty of legacy students from Westark and FSJC, Brookquel is believed to be the first student with a parent who graduated from UAFS.
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points of pride Awarded the gold medal in the secondary Medical Math competition at the National SkillsUSA Championships, Lidiana Quezada, a student at both Northside High and the Western Arkansas Technical Center, a division of UAFS that provides area high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to earn college credit in a variety of areas. UAFS student Sebastian Bossarte scored a bronze in the post-secondary Computer Programming competition, the eighth national medal for UAFS since 2002. Almost 6,000 students attended the championship. A total of eight WATC and UAFS students won awards. Received by members of the UAFS chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, a national organization for business students, six awards at PBL’s National Leadership Conference in Orlando, in categories like Small Business Management Plan, Computer Applications, and Sales Presentation. Lead chapter adviser Dr. Latisha Settlage was recognized as Outstanding Local Adviser. NATHANIEL BENOIT
The new UAFS Alumni Center at the corner of Waldron Road and Kinkead Avenue is open to visitors from 8 to 5 on weekdays.
New Alumni Center Opens on Campus
Printed in a variety of regional and national publications, the creative writing of several UAFS students and young alumni, including Jordan A. Savage’s “The Brush Fire” in the September issue of Art Amiss; Bryce Albertson’s stories “Exploring” and “Last Waltz in Texas” forthcoming in Space Squid and The Best of Necrotic Tissue anthology, respectively; “An Unlikely Muse” by Ashley Ann Eubanks ’10 in The Natural Tale; and three poems by Angel Pulliam ’11 forthcoming in Milk Sugar.
FOR AN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION as young as UAFS’s, there are plenty of milestones to be gained—hosting the first alumni weekend, launching the magazine, forming the advisory council, and so on—but few are as gratifying as moving into a new campus home. As big a deal as it is, though, for the alumni staff to have their own suite of offices, it’s an even bigger deal for alumni themselves to have a place of their own on the UAFS campus. “The Alumni Center is going to be a home away from home for our alumni and a front door to the university,” says Alumni Director Elizabeth Underwood of the spacious suite located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Kinkead Avenue and Waldron Road, across from the Stubblefield Center. “We want this to be the first stop when alumni visit campus.” In addition to offices, the Alumni Center, formerly occupied by the UA Cooperative Extension office, has a conference room for use by the Young Alumni Council, the Alumni Advisory Board, and the Student Alumni Association; a large workroom for the SAA; a reception area; and, most importantly, a comfortable hospitality room with campus history exhibits, the yearbook library, and plenty of casual seating. The door is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, so please, stop by and visit anytime.
Named the 2012 Rhinehart Memorial Lecturer by the Arkansas Society of Radiologic Technologists, Dr. Nancy Hawking, Executive Director of Imaging Sciences Programs. The lectureship, established in 1954 as a tribute to Dr. Darmon A. Rhinehart’s untiring efforts in the field of x-ray technology, is the highest honor bestowed by the ArSRT. Hawking, who has headed UAFS’s imaging sciences programs since 1998, will present a lecture on a topic of her choosing at the 2012 ArSRT annual meeting. Appointed to a five-year term on the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust, biology professor Dr. Ragupathy Kannan, who will meet twice a year with four other trustees to evaluate funding requests from Arkansas students and professors for studies of bird ecology and conservation.
Decorated with more awards than students from any of the eight other universi-
(continued on page 7)
UAFS BELL TOWER
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Out of the Ashes A UAFS student salvages history from the fires at Fort Chaffee
TO JOEY CHASTEEN, a senior History major who also serves as Museum Coordinator for the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, the devastation that remained after fire destroyed the historic Fort Chaffee medical complex in August looked sadly familiar. A year before Chasteen first came to Chaffee as an intern in early 2009, another fire had destroyed more than 150 vacant barracks at the old Army base, and it fell to him to search the burned-out shells for items of historical significance. Working two jobs and going to school at the time, Chasteen spent months, mostly by himself, combing the charred barracks. “We knew there was a lot of history in those buildings,” he says, “and nobody else really had the time to focus on that.” Much of what Chasteen found is now on display in the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, including a revealing collection of items he
UAFS senior Joey Chasteen runs the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, where Elvis Presley got his famous military buzz-cut in 1958.
discovered in the barracks’ air ducts, many of them hidden there since the 1940s—love letters, photos, drawings, liquor bottles, whittled wood, mess hall cups, cigarette packs, pinup magazines. “Going through those air ducts,” he says, “you’d find a letter from 1947 and then right next to it a Pepsi can from 1980 when the Cuban refugees were here. It was amazing.” But Chasteen never got the chance to scour the creaking, labyrinthine old hospital; he had only made a quick sweep of every building, picking up whatever he could carry.
Searching for the bright side, though, he says at least he can now devote the time he would have spent in the hospital to restoring the barracks building Elvis stayed in after getting his famous haircut at the barbershop. That barracks will eventually become a more extensive museum. “We’ve run out of space here,” says Chasteen, looking around the single, long room that now holds his entire collection. “There’s so much I don’t have on display. But all this and more will go over in the barracks.”
IT WAS A COMPLETE SURPRISE TO ASSISTANT ENGLISH professor Dr. Kevin Jones when former First Lady Rosalynn Carter called him and his family into a church office after
BELL TOWER fall/winter 2011-12
Sunday school in July. “I thought I was in trouble,” says Jones. He had recently defended his doctoral dissertation on presidential memoirs, which examined President Carter’s 1982 memoir, Keeping Faith, along with two other presidential autobiographies, and, by way of congratulations, Carter’s staff had invited him to Plains, Georgia to sit in on the Sunday school class taught by the former president. But he certainly wasn’t expecting to be led to that back office, where the former First Lady said to Jones, his wife Maggie Janes Jones ’86-’88, and their son Patrick, “Come on in. This is Jimmy, and I’m Rosalynn.” For about 10 minutes, the Joneses and the Carters talked about Jones’s dissertation—a copy of which will be housed in the Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta—and about the Carters’ writings. “I think the Carters are both the same people they were before they left Plains,” Jones says. “They just travel with eight Secret Service people now.”
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(continued from page 5)
Light in Translation HANGING IN THE SMITH-PENDERGRAFT CAMPUS CENTER THIS SUMMER, an extensive student show called Light in Translation exhibited the depth of talent within the UAFS Art Department. Among the works were photographs, drawings, paintings, and sculptures produced by students in classes ranging from Color Theory to Digital Photography to 3D Design. “This exhibit is a testament to the students’ commitment to making art,” says instructor Bryan Alexis. “Their work really displays the strength of the department.”
Still Life, gouache, Raechel Martin
ties in attendance, UAFS graphic designers at the six-state AIGA Southern Student Graphic Design Competition, held at Arkansas State University. Ten UAFS students brought home 19 awards in categories like Package Design, Publication Design, and Logo, including a pair of golds for sophomore Jeremy Teff. Honored as the Clinical Educator of the Year by the Association of Surgical Technologists, Deborah Goad, clinical coordinator of the Surgical Technology program, who was chosen from educators at some 450 accredited programs across the nation. Goad acts as a liaison between the UAFS program and local hospitals, promoting goodwill and learning opportunities for students. Ranked in the top 10 percent on the Major Field Test during the 2010-11 academic year, nine UAFS senior business students, whose names will now be displayed in the College of Business Student Hall of Fame. Approximately 16,000 graduating business students from across the nation took the exam, designed to measure their mastery of key business concepts and principles. Awarded second place in the Journalist of the Year category of an annual competition sponsored by the West Texas Press Association, UAFS Public Relations Technician Candise Montemayor, who prior to joining the university in November 2010 worked for the Burleson Star in Burleson, Texas. Montemayor was also recognized during the spring in a competition sponsored by the North and East Texas Press Association.
Arrangement in White, digital photograph, Marsha Martin
Self Portrait, gouache, June Pham
Increased by 42% since 2002 and by 6.5% in the last year alone, total enrollment at UAFS by Crawford County students, who now make up roughly one quarter of the student body. Of Crawford County high school graduates who attend college in Arkansas, nearly three quarters choose UAFS. Recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Distinguished Achievement in Fight Choreography and Distinguished Achievement in Actor Trapeze Training, the UAFS production of Imogen, an original play by Theatre Director Bob Stevenson.
Family Portrait, digital photograph, Jeremy Teff
Selected by the Council for Opportunity in Education to receive the 2011 National TRIO Achiever Award, Dr. Carolyn Mosley, Dean of the College of Health Sciences. The award honors former participants in the Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and/or Student Support Services programs.
Lurid, oil on canvas, Virginia Fujibayashi
UAFS BELL TOWER
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The Limits of Forgiveness Community reading of Holocaust memoir addresses challenging questions
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a symposium containing responses to Wiesenthal’s memoir from 53 prominent writers, Holocaust survivors, human rights activists, and religious and political leaders, including Albert Speer, Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama. This year, the UAFS College of Languages and Communications is seeking still more responses by promoting The Sunflower for Read This!, a program encouraging students and community members to
read and discuss the book, as well as attend various events related to the topic. Tentative events include lectures from UAFS faculty, guest speakers, group discussions, and film studies. For more information about The Sunflower or the community reading program, contact Read This! chair Dr. Keith Fudge at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Bryce Albertson
Butterfly Welcome Mat This October, the UAFS campus got a little greener, thanks to urban forester Alison Litchy. With help from Dr. Amy Skypala and the UAFS Biology Club, Litchy planned and planted a butterfly garden outside of the greenhouse on the west side of campus. The new growth includes trees such as serviceberry, perennials such as New England aster, and shrubs such as butterfly bush, all of which were selected for their ability to attract butterflies, particularly monarchs. Other plants, such as a mulberry tree, were chosen to attract birds. “This way, I get to make my butterfly people, my bird people, and my tree people happy,” Litchy says. The new garden also ensures that UAFS keeps its Tree Campus USA status, a title bestowed by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize universities that help maintain urban forests. UAFS, incidentally, was the first Tree Campus in Arkansas to receive the award. —Bryce Albertson
Gabriel Carroll and other members of the UAFS Biology Club helped plant the new butterfly garden in October.
IMAGINE YOU LIVE in a world of gray. The sky hangs over the camp like a shroud, dull and lifeless as the eyes of the three living skeletons you share a cot with. You’ve eaten nothing but thin, gray broth for months, and you’re as emaciated as they are. As you’re marched to work in the mornings, a gray snow falls— ashes from the ovens where the dead, and sometimes the living, are incinerated. There is no question you will share this fate; the only question is when. But today is different. Today, instead of scavenging the ruins for salvage, you sit in a hospital, summoned to the bedside of a Nazi soldier burned beyond recognition in an explosion. His head is bandaged with openings only for his nose, mouth, and sightless eyes. He is too weak to wave away the impatient flies. It takes all his strength just to speak. When he does, his words are horror. He was part of a squad that once packed dozens of Jews into a house filled with fuel and tossed grenades through the windows. The burden of his guilt causes him more suffering than his wounds. He doesn’t blame anyone but himself, though had he refused his orders he would’ve been shot. He knows he is dying. He has no time left to atone for his sins. Those whose forgiveness he needs most are dead. You are the only one who can forgive him. Or can you? In The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, Simon Wiesenthal, who lived this scenario, recounts his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp and poses the question of whether some acts are simply unforgivable. Originally published as a memoir in 1969, The Sunflower now has a second part—
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TELL US ABOUT IT
The Ultimate Lion It’s going to be tough to beat the Alumni Association’s own Katie Schluterman Kratzberg ’07 (below), who is about as steeped in all things UAFS as you can get. But maybe somebody out there can at least come close. So how connected to UAFS are you? Tell us about it, and we’ll share your story in a future issue. Send stories and pictures to email@example.com or Bell Tower Magazine, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913.
CAMP BOSS: A founding member, head counselor, cochair, and ultimately director of Cub Camp, the annual freshman welcome program, Katie still hangs on to her decorated name badges. She also helped found the Student Senate and served as president of the University Ambassadors.
OLD HOME PLACE: Katie’s father literally grew up on campus, in a house that stood just east of where the Sebastian Commons office is today. The tree in the backyard, seen in the snowy snapshot, still stands on campus.
ACADEMIC HONORS: As a student, Katie, a Marketing major, was a four-year member of the Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor society and of the prestigious Chancellor’s Leadership Council, membership in which comes with a full scholarship—and even a university nametag.
TEAM OF ONE: The university’s first woman golfer, Katie went to the NJCAA National Tournament twice. Today, the golf program is thriving, and the award given annually to the most outstanding female golfer is called the Katie Schluterman Kratzberg Award.
TAG CLOUD: Katie’s collection of employee nametags is approaching double digits. She’s currently serving as Student and Young Alumni Coordinator, a position in which she started the Student Alumni Association and the Young Alumni Council. Previously, she worked in admissions and, while still a student, in the box office, housing, and career services.
LEADING LION: At the 2011 NUMAS—UAFS’s answer to the Oscars—Katie took home a bronze lion after being named Advisor of the Year for her work with the Student Alumni Association. At the 2005 NUMAS, she earned the Chancellor’s Spirit Award for academic excellence and campus leadership.
RESIDENCE LIFE: As a member of the first class to move into Sebastian Commons, Katie lived on campus for all four of her years at UAFS. Along the way, she served as a Residential Life Assistant her sophomore year and as Head RLA her junior year.
FAMILY TRADITION: Katie’s parents, Mark Schluterman ’76 and Susan Erman Schluterman ’75, were pictured just a few pages apart in the 1975 Numa yearbook, and her grandmother, Holly Schluterman, worked for the university for 28 years.
UAFS BELL TOWER
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In the Midst of Tragedy Two students from Japan’s tsunami disaster zone continue their studies at UAFS
When the deadly March 11 tsunami struck Japan, Misato Abe was at Miyagi University, miles from her seaside hometown of Minami Sanriku. Her apartment building was damaged by the earthquake that triggered the tsunami, but she was unhurt. She was terrified, though, about what might have happened to her family in Minami Sanriku, and it would be five agonizing days before she discovered they were safe. Now, the better part of a year after the quake and tsunami, Abe’s father, a city building official, and her mother, a nurse, still live in a cramped temporary apartment while they work to salvage something of the devastated Mana Miura (left) and Misato Abe are attending town they have called home their UAFS this year thanks to a pair of special scholarentire lives. ships for Japanese students from the area devasThanks to one of two Japanese tated by March’s earthquake and tsunami. Student Disaster Relief Scholarships ing their English language skills and an awarded this summer, though, Abe herself essay about their reasons for wanting to is spending the year as a junior Business study in the U.S. In order to apply, Japanese Administration major at UAFS. students had to be currently enrolled in a The scholarships were awarded to Abe university within the disaster zone. and to Mana Miura, a junior Marketing “We wanted to offer a tangible way to not major, based on a variety of criteria, includ-
only meet the immediate needs of two individuals who have lost everything,” said Chancellor Paul B. Beran of the decision to create the two full-tuition scholarships, “but we wanted to help them in the midst of this terrible tragedy to focus on the future and building lives beyond this time.” Miura had just arrived in Australia for a study abroad program when the earthquake and tsunami hit. Like Abe, she didn’t know at first whether her family were among the thousands of victims. Ultimately, she learned that they, too, were safe, although their home, where Miura also lived while attending Miyagi University, was badly damaged. In addition to tuition, Abe and Miura receive a living-expenses stipend given by Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc., which is building a plant in Fort Smith, and also benefit from nearly $10,000 in private gifts made by members of the Fort Smith community to support their studies. Both are taking full course-loads, including Freshmen English and American National Government, and both are excited to further improve their language skills, which they believe will make them even more valuable when they return to the disaster zone to lend their hands to the reconstruction effort. So how do they like the U.S. on this first visit? “It’s very exciting to be here,” says Miura. “Yes,” says Misato, “People are so kind.”
When the waters receded after the tsunami, the little fishing and resort town of Minami Sanriku on Japan’s northeastern coast was simply gone— or at least its buildings were. So were roughly half of its residents, an estimated 9,500 people. Left to right: The spot where Abe’s house stood, destroyed train station, temporary apartments. No other town was so and who chose to stay on and rebuild instead of moving away. completely devastated. In May, Abe visited her parents in their tiny, temporary But Minami Sanriku lives on in the hearts and hands of survivors like Misato Abe’s family, who climbed to safety up one apartment and drove around the remains of the town of the steep, pine-clad mountainsides that surround the town— taking pictures.
BELL TOWER fall/winter 2011-12
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KAT WILSON ’96
Q 5 ECONOMIC SURVEYOR:
Dr. Kermit Kuehn “Our role is to generate regionally specific economic data to help decision makers in the community make the best choices,” says Dr. Kermit Kuehn, director of UAFS’s Center for Business Research and Economic Development. To that end, he compiles and analyzes data gleaned from his own surveys of local consumers as well as existing sources,
Do economic conditions drive consumer sentiment, or vice-versa?
Up to a point, consumer sentiment can become self-fulfilling prophecy. If I feel pessimistic, I tend to behave that way, which affects the economy negatively. But which one comes first? Does a bad situation give me a bad attitude, or does my bad attitude create a bad situation? It’s not purely resolvable statistically. And that phenomenon can be dangerous. The stock market just tanked 500 points because everybody climbed on the same wagon and took it flying out the exit. It’s the herd mentality, where people base decisions on what others are doing, not on data.
How accurate are typical consumers’ perceptions of the economy?
They get their information from the same place everybody else does—the news media—so their expectations are always shifting with these various inputs. Yesterday’s news said the stock market was tanking. Today’s says hiring was significantly better than we expected. There’s this whipsawing all the time, so no wonder everybody is bewildered. They’re just worn out; their nerves are frayed. But there is a correlation. Personal experience solidifies or discounts what the news says, so it’s rare that consumers are optimistic and the economy is tanking. Now they’re just uncertain,
producing the Monthly Economic Indicators Index report and the quarterly Fort Smith Regional Economic Outlook Report. “It’s just a finer-grained way of looking at ourselves, trying to say here’s what we’re about, here’s what’s happening now, here’s what the prospects are going forward.”
which is a fairly accurate reflection of the economy. It isn’t just the average person on the street that’s confused right now.
How is the Greater Fort Smith economy doing?
It’s interesting—I come in here as a college professor with a certain standard of living, and at first glance this seems like a pretty welloff town. Well, you start working through the data and you find, well, yes and, in the same breath, a big no. Every economy and population is diverse, but wow, there are some big differences going on here. The fact is that the income level of a large portion of our population is very marginal, and they live on economic thin ice. That group gets hit hard during these downturns. What makes it look not so dramatic is that our social safety net comes in then and sustains that group. Broadly speaking, they’re doing about the same as they were before, just on federal or state dollars instead of employment dollars. So you don’t really notice a huge sucking sound in our economy mainly because we were fairly low on the economic ladder to start with.
What can we do to improve our economic future?
We have to develop a realistic sense of who we are, what our strengths and weaknesses are. Then we have to look at what kinds of
companies or industries we can attract and go after two or three sectors. Maybe one is healthcare. We have a health sciences college, AHEC [the Area Health Education Center], two large health systems, and builders of long-term care facilities. So we have this little partial map of organizations that service a sector. And it’s a growth sector; it has huge potential. So we say, okay, what’s missing here? What’s the catalyst that makes this a mini Silicon Valley of healthcare? And we get up every day and go after one or two companies that are in whatever sectors we’ve identified. We say, I won’t turn down any employer that wants to come here, but boy I’m going after these two or three.
Is the recession over?
You ask someone who says we’re in a recovery to show it to you, and they always point to the gross domestic product. Two months in a row of declining GDP is a recession. If you don’t have that, you’re in a recovery. Well, that’s technically very amusing, but I don’t see it in my neighborhood. In fact, it looks worse. The quarterly report I’m working on now shows the lowest consumer sentiment in the year and a half I’ve been doing them. Unfortunately, I’ve reported more bad news than good news, and it looks to continue, for at least the intermediate term.
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Sense of Place
5 THE WIDER WORLD: 2011 Maymester Locations THIS MAY, 125 UAFS STUDENTS SPREAD OUT ACROSS THE NATION AND the globe for a variety of Maymester programs—intensive, one- to two-week courses in subjects ranging from literary history to accounting practices. They searched for Inca remains with ground-penetrating radar in Peru, got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of business in China, explored Portuguese culture and language in Brazil, provided medical care in Belizean clinics, walked in Hemingway’s footsteps in Key West, met with big-time CFOs in Dallas, immersed themselves in culture and history in Italy, studied tropical flora and fauna in Belize, observed the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education in Oklahoma, and visited literature’s hallowed halls in England.
1. Edinburgh, Scotland: “Edinburgh was my favorite side trip,” wrote junior English Education major Melanie Stout. “So much history, so much beauty that I was sad to leave. Greyfriars Kirkyard [a graveyard in use since the late 1500s] was one of the lovely
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old haunts. There was so much beauty in a place I would never have thought of as beautiful. Maybe it was the time of day with the sun peeking through the trees that created an ethereal atmosphere and a tranquility that surrounded us. Edinburgh captured
me like no other place we visited.” PHOTO BY MELANIE STOUT
2. Hangzhou, China: Of the Lingyin Temple, founded in 328 A.D. and today one of China’s largest Buddhist temples, junior Accounting-Business Administration double major Andrea Martin wrote, “People come here to pray and break free from the stresses of their busy lives. (I am sure from the continuous honking on the streets they must be very stressful.) The monks are out and about but are camera-shy. The statues are some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I watch as a few people pray and burn incense. As you approach the temple there are wonderful carvings in the limestone.” PHOTO BY MATHEUS SILVA
3. Key West, Florida: “Even with the radical changes the island has undergone,” wrote senior English major Shawna Mason, “even having to wade through the rampant com-
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a Maymester course examining approaches to early childhood education. “The thing that got me the most was the daycare center. There’s a display of all the little shoes that were found. It’s hard to imagine what an evil person would harm such innocent lives.” 7. Caye Caulker, Belize: “From this delight-
ful island,” wrote professor Ragupathy Kannan, “we had quick access by boat to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where we snorkeled in waters teeming with nurse sharks, stingrays, and green sea turtles. The wildlife here has been unmolested for decades and thus the organisms have no fear of humans. They swam around apparently oblivious to our presence. We could reach out and touch the sharks. We had to frequently side step to avoid the rays swimming by like flying saucers or the sea turtles languidly swimming around in apparent slow motion.” PHOTO BY PHIL ROBISON
7 mercialization of everything, there is still a seductive mystique that pulls at the senses.” Ironically, Ernest Hemingway, who would have detested such commercialization, has himself fallen victim to it. “[His] face is stamped on the back of bar towels, keychains, and t-shirts,” wrote senior English major Leslie Hassel, “and the front wall of Sloppy Joe’s is covered with photographs of winners of the annual Hemingway Lookalike Contest.” PHOTO BY LESLIE HASSEL 4. São Paulo, Brazil: After visiting the municipal stadium, which houses the National Soccer Museum, Norma Gómez wrote, “No matter if you are at home, walking down the street, on the bus riding somewhere, or even shopping, the fact that soccer (futebol) is a huge deal to Brazil is obvious. You hear people yelling, the radio talking about the game, you turn the television on, and that is the only thing on. You can’t go shopping anywhere without seeing jerseys
for sale, and children are on the streets everywhere playing soccer.”PHOTO BY GREG ARMSTRONG
5. Machu Picchu, Peru: From the town of Aquas Calientes at the edge of the tumbling Rio Urubamba, students rode a bus up zigzagging mountain roads to the 15th century Inca city. Before exploring it, though, they climbed Wayna Picchu, the dramatic peak that stands guard over the city. When the morning clouds finally parted to reveal the ancient walls and terraces below, wrote 2011 Business Administration graduate Tyler Lamon, “It felt like discovering it for the first time.” PHOTO BY TYLER LAMON 6. Oklahoma City: “It was disturbing to hear about the bombing on the news when it happened, but to actually be there just altered my whole mindset,” said senior Wendy Crawford of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, a side trip on
8. San Ignacio, Belize: “We knew going in about the poverty, but I guess we didn’t really grasp it until we actually saw it,” said junior nursing student Ashley Mayfield of San Ignacio, a town of 10,000 near the Belize-Guatemala border. “And yet the people were so happy and so welcoming in spite of how little they had. They’ve got their priorities straight. They’re motivated by their families and their religion, and not by materialistic things. When we came back to our phones and computers and cars, it was almost a shock. We felt like, ‘We don’t even need all of this junk; it does nothing but clutter our lives.’” PHOTO BY ASHLEY MAYFIELD 9. Florence, Italy: In Florence, junior Early Childhood Education major Madeline Smith marveled at the scale of the dome of the Duomo Santa Maria Del Fiore, engineered in the 15th century by Filippo Brunelleschi, writing, “I knew it was awesome, but I had no idea how huge until seeing it in person.” Inside the cathedral, students did their best to take in the incredible, 39,000-square-foot mural on the dome’s ceiling, then climbed the 463 steps to its top, where they ate lunch. “You could see the entire city,” wrote Smith. “It was so calming and peaceful we all said we could spend the whole day just sitting up there and looking at the view.” PHOTO BY GUILLAUME PIOLLE
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What to Read this Winter Five UAFS English, Rhetoric, and Writing professors offer their recommendations It’s almost as certain as the season itself—the appearance, come May, of the obligatory list of “summer reads” in just about every magazine and newspaper that shows up in your mailbox. But you have to wonder, what exactly makes summer so great for reading? After all, wouldn’t you rather be swimming or hiking or cooking out or golfing or taking the kids to the park or watching a ballgame or any of a hundred other things? Now winter, on the other hand—with those short, gray days and long, chilly evenings—that’s a season for really settling in with a good book. So we asked five members of our English faculty to buck the trend and recommend some great winter reads. Perfect for those bleak afternoons and bone-chilling nights, The Occasional Margareader: Food for thought served Buffett style is an eclectic collection containing stories, essays, and excerpts connected to many of the literary references found in the songs and writings of Jimmy Buffett—everyone’s favorite poet, pirate, and philosopher. From stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Eudora Welty, to an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Richard III, to articles by Hunter S. Thompson, to poetry by Pablo Neruda, there’s something here for everyone who may be searching for that “lost shaker of salt” while looking forward to warmer weather. —Dr. Keith Fudge Stephen King’s 1,472page novel The Stand is split into three parts. The first section describes a superflu outbreak, which decimates the majority of the human population. The second intro-
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duces readers to the survivors who come together in three camps, each with differing forms of government and opposing ideologies. In the concluding section, two camps join forces to battle the third. Thirty-three years after it was written, The Stand remains a classic of post-apocalyptic fiction. The dynamic characters, engaging story, and moral conflict will conspire to hold most readers’ attention.—Dr. Ann-Gee Lee George Eliot’s Middlemarch is the story of Dorothea Brooks, who marries a man for terrible reasons, and Tertius Lydgate, who marries a (different) woman for equally awful reasons, and the dismal consequences that follow. In the 1830s, England was undergoing rapid changes—the Reform Act, railways, scientific advances. These provide the events for Eliot’s novel; her characters— from the tough and cheerful Mary Garth, to the charming, hapless Will Ladislaw, to Mr. Camden Farebrother, who ought to be an entomologist but is instead a vicar of the
Church of England—provide the brilliance. (And yes, George Eliot was really a woman named Mary Anne Evans.) A walloping doorstopper of a text, Middlemarch is 904 pages. Both panoramic and expertly focused, it is the perfect book for winter afternoons. —Dr. Kelly Jennings The 651-page Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is a great book that traces the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII. Mantel creates a realistic impression of the daily life of one of history’s unknown but tragic figures. Starting as the son of an abusive rat catcher, Cromwell, through his talents, rises to be an advisor to Henry VIII, orchestrating not only Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, but also the Protestant Reformation in England. Wonderfully written, sharply observed, Wolf Hall won the prestigious Man Booker Prize and is well worth any reader’s time. —Dr. Mark Burgh “I learned to believe in freedom, to glow when the word democracy was used, and to practice slavery from morning to night,” writes Lillian Smith. Combining memoir, history, autobiography, and commentary, Killers of the Dream, Smith’s beautifully written book about life in the South in the early half of last century, challenges Southern culture’s assumptions about gender and race and provides a passionate and compelling understanding of the conflicts and discrepancies that confused and sometimes hardened Southern children. —Mike Cooper
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Dr. Cliff Scott, Business Professor/Actor
was a huge stepping stone for me, and those skills are key to my career.” Helpful skills aside, there’s another aspect of the theater that fascinates Scott. As an actor, he’s intoxicated by being part of a piece of art that lives, breathes, and ultimately, dies. The nature of a play is fleeting; no matter how many hours go into rehearsing, each performance is unique. Once the final curtain drops, it can’t be recreated. “It’s here, and then it’s gone,” says Scott, quoting the Rolling Stones. Though he’s played several lead roles, nowadays he subscribes to the “La Huerta” theory of acting. “If there are more lines than I can learn over dinner and a drink at La Huerta,” he says, “then it’s too big of a role for me.” Though he may prefer smaller roles, he enjoys performing each of them and intends to continue doing every show possible, ensuring that he’ll continue to be recognized as a “stubborn, drunken reprobate,” a “mean German officer,” or something else just as colorful. —Kandace Floyd
f you’re not a student in the College of Business and you pass by marketing professor Cliff Scott somewhere out and about, there’s a good chance you’ll catch yourself saying, “Hey, it’s that guy.” For Scott, those questioning glances are becoming more and more familiar since he jumped into the Fort Smith theater community with both feet after moving here from Colorado a few years ago. Though his first few auditions didn’t net him any roles, his persistence paid off. Performing in projects like Fort Smith Little Theater’s sold-out production of The Sound of Music and UAFS’s Hamlet (among many) has made Scott’s face familiar to far more folks than those in his classes, many of whom he now considers good friends. The stage, however, is an old friend to Scott, who started performing in high school and credits much of his professional success to the skills he learned then. “As a sophomore in high school,” he says, “I was terrified of being on stage. Couldn’t do it. But I was in an amazing program that eventually taught me how to stand up in front of people. It
“I was terrified of being on stage. Couldn’t do it.”
Dr. Cliff Scott as a bus ticket agent in the Fort Smith Little Theatre production of Trip to Bountiful.
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UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS - FORT SMITH ATHLETICS
Crowder Field Renovation Underway WITH HELP FROM the Dugout Club , the booster organization for UAFS baseball, the university’s athletic department is renovating Crowder Field. It is the first major renovation of the facility, named in honor of former Lions baseball coach Bill Crowder, since it was first opened in 1994. The chain-link fence backstop will be replaced with a modern net backstop—like those
KAT WILSON ’96
KAT WILSON ’96
Thanks in part to a gift from the Dugout Club, Crowder Field’s old chain-link backstop will be replaced with a pro-style net backstop, and the fences running from the end of the dugouts
Last season’s volleyball Lady Lions were one of four UAFS teams that would have qualified for post-season play. This season, all UAFS teams are eligible.
Finally, Active D-II Status
to the outfield fence will be replaced by low brick walls.
used at most professional ballparks—affixed to a three-foot brick wall that will extend from dugout to dugout. A four-foot high brick wall will replace the chain-link fence that extends from the end of each dugout to the outfield fence. Athletic Director Dustin Smith said he was very appreciative of the Dugout Club gift. He also emphasized that more improvements were on the horizon. “As we continue to get more donations, whether from the Dugout Club or other individuals, we are going to continue to make more renovations to the park,” he said. “There are a few more things we would like to get done, like a covered batting cage and a covered seating area.”
The Highest Accolade IT’S NOT A TROPHY TO BE WON, NOT A BANNER TO BE RAISED, NOT A championship ring, but it may just be the highest accolade awarded away from the limelight of the playing field. And it generally comes as a surprise to those who gave their all for the glory of sport when, even after the applause has faded, they are called upon once again to represent the best and brightest as inductees into the Lions Athletic Hall of Fame. Past inductees include athletes, administrators, and friends of the program who were instrumental in uplifting Lions athletics. The nominating committee has established criteria for selection and finalized the list of 2012 nominees in midOctober. For information on past inductees, to submit a nomination, or to order tickets for the induction banquet February 3, visit www.uafortsmithlions.com and click “Hall of Fame.” —Liz Synder
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“THIS IS A GREAT DAY for UAFS and the Lions athletic family,” said Athletic Director Dustin Smith during a July 8 news conference announcing that UAFS had been granted active member status in NCAA Division II. UAFS announced its intentions to pursue Division II membership prior to the start of the 2007-08 season. The institution, which had competed as a junior college since its founding in 1928, continued to compete as a member of the NJCAA during the two-year exploratory period required for Division II membership (2007-09) and then competed as a provisional member of Division II the past two seasons. As an active member, UAFS is now eligible to compete for regular-season conference championships and participate in postseason play—a welcome development since both the men’s and women’s basketball teams finished last season with the best records in the eight-team Heartland Conference. Last year’s volleyball and baseball teams would also have qualified for their conference tournaments.
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Speaking a Global Language Already fluent in basketball, the Stojanovics are acclimating quickly to life in Fort Smith “My first three months, everybody just laughed at me and that’s cool. I understand that. I passed that, I went through that.” No kidding. By summer 2011, Djordje was taking 18 hours, working at the campus box office, and had become one of the team’s most recognized players from frequent multi-mile walks to restaurants around town. “He’s changed in a lot of ways,” Coach Newman says. “He’s actually become an ambassador on our campus.” Dusan’s first weeks in Fort Smith have been easier than his brother’s. In a freshmen dorm, he rooms with teammate Miha Glavas, a Slovenian who also speaks Serbian. He has a small group of international student friends which includes a Serb tennis player. Because he speaks Serbian so often, he knows he won’t master English as quickly as Djordje. But as this season starts, he’s eager to take to the court to speak a global language he’s long been fluent in. —Evin Demirel JOEL RAFKIN
Six-foot, eight-inch center Djordje (left) and 6’6” wingman Dusan Stojanovic grew up playing basketball together in Serbia.
ON A GORGEOUS AFTERNOON in mid-September, Athletic Director Dustin Smith, right, tended the pin on the 9th hole for all 31 teams that entered the 2011 UAFS Athletic Club Golf Tournament at Hardscrabble Country Club. Student-athletes, coaches, and Chancellor Beran were stationed at other greens to greet players. The fourperson scramble— won by Buddy Wilkins, Greg Wilson, Travis Warner, and Will Fogelman with a 51— raised about $20,000 for the Athletic Department’s scholarship fund.
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WHEN IT COMES to playing Americanstyle basketball, the Stojanovic brothers have acclimated well. In his first season playing for the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Djordje Stojanovic averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds as the Lions finished the 2010-11 season with a 19-10 record. The 6’8”, 230-pound junior center also became a fan favorite, hitting 49 of 110 3-point attempts from distances up to 30 feet. His younger brother, Dusan, joined the team August 16 after a 34-hour trip from their family’s home outside Belgrade, Serbia. A 6’6” wingman, Dusan has a game the near opposite of his brother’s. He specializes in defending, dribbling and driving to the hoop—skills sharpened by battling the bigger Djordje on Serbian playgrounds. “When we were kids, I used to throw the stones at him when I was losing,” Dusan, 19, recalls. Djordje, 21, chimes in: “He would really try to hurt me.” Apparently, not many projectiles found their target. “I would just laugh. It was so much fun for me.” Although long-distance accuracy hasn’t been Dusan’s forte, he showed enough ability in his first weeks stateside to convince Lions head coach Josh Newman he should play this season. Dusan certainly brings more experience than most American freshmen. From ages 15 to 17, he played for BC Torlak, a Serbian club demanding twicedaily practices with older teammates yearround. “You’re working like a professional,” he says. For these brothers, it’s one thing to adapt to new rules and teammates in a game they have played for so long. Adjusting to new lives off the court has been another challenge, though for different reasons. When Djordje came to Fort Smith in the summer of 2009, he didn’t speak English well. No other Serbs lived nearby, and other students constantly misunderstood him as he started his redshirt year.
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GREAT COMMUNITY EVENTS Start with the largest free air show in the country, the biannual Fort Smith Regional Airshow, which drew a record crowd of some 255,000 people in 2011. Then add one of the nation’s largest bi-state fairs, the 10-day ArkansasOklahoma State Fair; one of its most exciting rodeos, the Old Fort Days Rodeo, now in its 78th year; a nationally known music festival, the Riverfront Blues Festival; and another new music event, the Festival on the Border, which in its first year brought national artists like The Fray and Dierks Bentley to the UAFS campus and the riverfront. Then fill in the gaps between the big stuff with seemingly innumerable other concerts, plays, shows, parades, fairs, festivals, expos, exhibits, open houses, bazaars, games, contests, tournaments, runs, and hikes, and what you’ve got is far more than a year’s worth of great stuff to do and see.
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Why We Love The
FO RT story
B E L L
TOW E R
STA F F
Why not, right? After all, this town literally willed us into being back in 1928 as Fort Smith Junior College and has stood by us unwaveringly for the intervening 83 years, even voting itself the quarter-cent sales tax in 2001 that would make it possible for us to become a four-year university. But thereâ€™s much more to it than mere gratitude. Here are just a few of the many things we love about Greater Fort Smith.
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A TOUCH OF GRIT This is a town where real people do real things. We don’t tend to work in abstractions or intangibles, manipulating numbers or concepts. Instead, we make things—electric motors and food and air conditioners and steel and more—and we grow things, and mine things, and ship things. It’s an integral part of the culture of Greater Fort Smith. There’s an important difference between pride and pretension, and one thing you won’t find around here is the latter. Although our local economy has diversified a great deal, we come from distinctly blue-collar roots—and still remember them. It may be the secondbiggest city in Arkansas, but Fort Smith, at its core, will always be a working-class town—a manufacturing, trucking, railroad, farming town—and always be proud of it.
OUTSTANDING ETHNIC FOOD You might
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blustery Arkansas winter’s night and available at seemingly dozens of Vietnamese restaurants dotting the streets. Spicy Indian curries and savory samosas (fried dumplings filled with cumin and turmericspiced meats or vegetables) also knock the chill off a frosty night. Ecuadorian, Honduran, and Guatemalan fare, roasted Cuban pork, Middle Eastern kabobs and sauces, Greek delicacies, spicy Thai rice dishes—all typically served in a welcoming, momand-pop style atmosphere—complete the irresistible buffet awaiting anyone with an adventurous palate and a taste for something out of the ordinary. —Kandace Floyd
think that Fort Smith’s geographical location would imply a city mired in the traditional comfort foods of the south, but you’d be in for a big surprise. It’s not like it’s hard to find barbecue or a good chicken-fried steak, but Greater Fort Smith has more to offer than that—a surprising range of ethnic eateries for a town its size. The “world tour” of Fort Smith dining begins with the kinds of food you’d imagine: quality Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and sushi are all easy to find up and down Rogers and Garrison avenues. But don’t stop there. Vietnamese pho, a pungent noodle soup, is an excellent antidote for a
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A SPIRIT OF CARING It’s no coincidence that the year before Westark became UAFS, it had the biggest per-student endowment of all two-year colleges in the country reporting to the Voluntary Support of Education survey. Nor was it out of character for Fort Smith to vote itself a quarter-cent sales tax to support UAFS. This is a community that, despite its tough exterior, has an extraordinary sense of duty, unity, and charity. We
take care of our own. Look at the way we support the Reynolds Cancer Support House, Hannah House, Harbor House, Bost, The Arc, Fountain of Youth, the Community Rescue Mission, the Next Step Day Room, RSVP, First Tee of Fort Smith, the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, and so many other organizations that help improve people’s lives and futures. And look at the way we volunteer our
time and talents, helping decorate all 12,000 markers in our National Cemetery every holiday season, for example. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 53,000 people in Greater Fort Smith volunteer every year, or about 29%. That’s well above the national average—and well above Northwest Arkansas or Little Rock, for that matter.
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ABUNDANT OUTDOOR ADVENTURE With the
STEVEN JONES, TOM BURROUGHS (INSET)
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Ozark Plateau to the north, the Ouachita Mountains to the south, and dozens of creeks, rivers, and lakes within a couple hours’ drive, Fort Smith is the perfect base camp for all kinds of outdoor adventure. Set up camp with the family at peaceful little Shores Lake, paddle the E-ticket whitewater of the Mulberry River, climb the gorgeous sandstone bluffs of Fern Gully, ride the technical single-track of the Big Brushy Trail, throw crankbaits for largemouth on the Arkansas River, hunt the sprawling deer woods of the Ozark National Forest, or get off the grid for a few days of backpacking on the Ozark Highlands Trail—and that’s just scratching the surface. Plus, with locally owned outfitters like The Woodsman and The Tackle Box along with big names like Academy Outdoors and, now, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Greater Fort Smith has everything you need for whatever adventure you can dream up.
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Then there’s the Fort Smith Chorale, a group who’s performed at both the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and, for jazz aficionados, UAFS’s own Jazz Band, which has jammed with some of the biggest names in the business, such as legendary trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Or you can just stroll down Garrison Avenue on any Saturday night and treat your ears to a smorgasbord of local heroes like alt-metal band 3 Cent Genius, bluesy classic rockers Wingnuts, or The Crumbs, who bill themselves as “Arkansas’s bluegrass answer to Frank Zappa.”
A THRIVING MUSIC SCENE It was a little thing called the Riverfront Blues Festival— recently named one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association—that really put Fort Smith on today’s live music map. But the Fort’s music scene has been rocking for a lot longer than the 21 years the Blues Festival has been around. In fact, the Fort Smith Symphony—now conducted by American Symphony Orchestra League Helen M. Thompson Award-winner John Jeter—has been around since 1923, making it the oldest orchestra in the state.
AN ABIDING SENSE OF HISTORY
COREY S. KRASKO
“The past is never dead,” wrote William Faulkner. “It’s not even past.” And that’s certainly the case in Fort Smith, where the most famous era of our past—the violent, lurid, heroic saga of Judge Parker and the early U.S. Marshals and the hell-raising frontier town that was once home to Miss Laura’s and plenty of other houses of ill repute—remains very much present today. But that particular bit of history is only one part of our fascinating past. There’s also Fort Smith’s key role in the Civil War, during which it was used by both Confederate and Union forces; our rich aviation history, studded with pioneers, aces, and heroes; the legacy of Fort Smithian William O. Darby, who led Darby’s Rangers in World War II; the long and colorful story of Fort Chaffee, where Elvis got his famous haircut and more than 50,000 refugees from the Vietnam war were processed; and of course the complex pre-European and Native American history of the area. All of that history is easily accessible in our many historical buildings and museums, but in Fort Smith, our past lives just as much in our collective consciousness as in buildings and artifacts. You’d be hard-pressed, in fact, to find a town more acutely aware—or prouder—of its own history.
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As Arkansas tightens its belt, some legislators are asking whether universities should still be spending money to remediate incoming students who aren’t college-ready and whom statistics show are less likely to graduate. But proponents of developmental education say closing the doors to the three out of four high school graduates who are behind in at least one subject is the wrong way to save money. At the center of the debate is a question of value:
WHAT IS OPPORTUNITY WORTH
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by D O U G M C I N N I S
In its early days, the United States had few colleges, and most people didn’t have the money to attend. Eight of our early presidents—including Washington and Lincoln—lacked a college education, as did inventors Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and the Wright brothers. Today, the U.S. has more than 4,000 colleges and universities and nearly 20 million students. But the boom in enrollment has come at a price. Across the nation, millions of incoming students require remedial work, or developmental education as it’s now called, to prepare them for college-level courses. Prior to the 1960s, few students went to college, and those who did were generally well prepared. Of course, students have always needed help in some areas, such as grammar. The famed writing course at Cornell University, which became the basis for a best-selling grammar guide, drilled students in basics they should have learned in grade or middle school, such as when and where to use a comma. But many of today’s students need far more help than that. A recent report by the ACT college admission testing service said only about one in four high school students who took its tests was ready in all four principle areas needed for college—reading, writing, math, and science. The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith is a prime example of the trend. The former junior college has made education both available and affordable to thousands of students who otherwise might have had little chance at college. But about half of those have needed one or more developmental courses, and, even with the extra help, many haven’t graduated. Critics of the new order, some of them Arkansas legislators, contend the door to higher education has opened too widely and that universities shouldn’t be in the business of developmental education. The struggling economy has pinched state budgets and added fuel to the debate. In the remarks that follow, university Chancellor Paul B. Beran, who has spent much of his career in developmental education, outlines the debate— and the case for keeping the doors open.
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? UA Fort Smith BELL TOWER
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You Don’t Say While working on this story, we asked our Facebook fans for their take on developmental education. Here’s some of what they had to say:
“The real expansion of universities and two-year colleges happened in the 1960s,” says Beran. “The nation needed more college graduates because industry was becoming more technologically sophisticated. “We did a great job, as a comTechnology as we know it today munity college, bringing people was beginning to emerge. No up to speed for college community wanted to be left entrance. We are no longer a behind for lack of an educated community college. I think UAFS will never completely workforce, or for the lack of the abandon some college prep social and economic impact that work, but it’s time to focus an institution has on an area.” more on university-level educaBut as enrollment surged, so tion and let others work on did the number of students who prep.” —Robert Morgan needed help to succeed. “As a student who went to colDevelopmental programs in lege 17 years after graduating subjects such as math, reading, high school I found prep classes and writing became a standard in math essential. What I find part of course offerings at many disturbing is the amount of students who have just graduated institutions. Nationally, 42 perfrom high school needing these cent of all community college classes. I feel we are not pushstudents take at least one develing our public schools to make opmental course, the U.S. sure that our students are at Department of Education the level they are suppose to be at when they move on to colreports. At public four-year unilege.” —Bobby Shackleford versities, the figure is 39 percent. And many students have trouble “Many kids don’t get what they in more than one subject; at need in high school. If the stufour-year universities, for dent is paying to get help in a certain area, by all means, offer instance, one in seven students that help.” —Kim Jones needs developmental courses in two or more areas. This trend “Developmental courses has turned the traditional view allowed me a foot in the door. of what a college student should The program is very important for African Americans.” be on its head. “When I was in —Robert L. Gilyard college, there was no such thing as developmental education,” says Beran. “Only the people who were prepared went to college back then.” In time, critics began to question the cost of developmental programs. “The U.S. has the greatest opportunity for higher education of any country in the world,” Beran observes. “But at what cost? What kind of money are we going to spend on remediation, and what kind of results will we get for that money?” (A study done five years ago by the Alliance for Excellent Education, an organization working to improve U.S. high schools, conservatively put the national cost of developmental courses at $1.4 billion.) “I [took developmental courses] and it made me a better student. In fact, while taking remedial classes I received an outstanding student award.” —Kris Boerner-Ragan
Balancing Value and Opportunity The debate centers in part over the proper balance between oppor-
BELL TOWER fall/winter 2011-12
tunity and value, Beran says. “Opportunity means helping students with deficiencies. Value means getting the most bang for the buck— that is, supporting the students most likely to be successful. This is really about finding a balance between value and opportunity. “What the U.S. has been willing to do up to this point is accept the fact that if you provide the opportunity, there is going to be some failure. But because of the economic situation we are currently in, all of those things we took for granted up to this point are being questioned. Now critics want value and opportunity to be the same thing. They want us to take all those who need developmental work and make them all successful in terms of graduating and getting a degree. I think what the critics want is unattainable. The wider you open the doors, the more you are likely to fail. Some schools are raising their standards in terms of raising their graduation rates. They are doing this by closing their doors. This is the only way to get relatively fast increases in the graduation rate. If you depend on teaching only the best students, yes, you will have a greater success ratio. But you will also limit opportunity.” On the other hand, some students are so far behind that failure is almost a certainty. “Most students need help in just one area,” says Beran. “When you look at statistics, you find a huge drop in the graduation rate if you need remediation in two areas. If you need help in three areas, almost no one gets a degree. “My commitment is to look at that balance of value and opportunity. We’re never going to stop doing developmental work at the university unless we are mandated legislatively to stop. But we will have to look at what level of developmental work we will continue to sustain. We may at some point have to say that some students will have to do developmental work elsewhere before they enter UAFS. But if we decide not to provide opportunity to a certain group of students, it’s our responsibility to find outlets for them to raise their skills to where they can be admitted to the university.” Some states have dealt with developmental education by blocking four-year public institutions from offering it, thus shifting the burden heavily to community colleges. But the nearest community college to Fort Smith is 80 miles away.
Does Graduation Equal Success? Beran believes a university education helps to train students to think critically—and that the ability to think critically will give them an edge in the U.S. job market and against foreign competition. “The U.S. is highly regarded internationally,” says Beran. ”Our critical thinking and analytical skills have created the entrepreneurship that makes the U.S. what it is. It’s very difficult to be successful in business without it.” Students begin to develop those thinking skills even if they do not graduate, Beran says. “I’ve worked with many students who did not get degrees. But when they left, they were able to do things they could not do before and they knew things they did not know before. How do you measure the positive outcome of someone who in a traditional way was not successful? Did they get value? Absolutely! Are they of more value to society? Absolutely! Are they better able
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“If you depend on teaching only the best students, yes, you will have a greater success ratio. But you will also limit opportunity.” —CHANCELLOR PAUL B. BERAN
to participate in our democracy? Absolutely! When they dropped out, all the work they had done did not suddenly vacate their brains.” Beran cites as an example students that did not graduate from a developmental writing course he taught in Houston, Texas. “When I taught writing, I taught it as a thinking process. If you think well, you will write better. One of my assignments was to have the students write a letter to the editor of the Houston Post (then one of the city’s two major dailies).” At the time, the Post only printed about 20 percent of the 400 letters it got each week, Beran says. “My developmental writing class had a 40 percent publication rate because they were explaining things better than writers whose letters weren’t published. “The ones who got published were not necessarily the ones who graduated,” Beran recalls. “But even though they hadn’t graduated, they had learned real communications skills—skills which would benefit society.”
As time passed, mounting evidence suggested that having a university did make a difference. “UAFS has a direct impact of $200$250 million on the area,” Beran says, “but its real impact is much broader.” For one thing, the university is a major attraction to lure industry to the area. And each new industry adds another boost to the economy. Fort Smith is now the manufacturing center of Arkansas. Firms such as Planters Peanuts, Gerber, and electricmotor manufacturer Baldor Electric Company have factories in the area. “There was a study done on rural Oklahoma that found there was Colleges as Difference-Makers only one variable that determined whether an area was economically a success,” says Beran. “That was whether the area had an institution The great surge in college enrollment was born of economic necessity. of higher education. That was the one variable that existed between The nation needed a better educated workforce to run a high-tech communities that were moving up and those that were unsuccessful society. And communities felt they needed institutions of higher and were losing people. The jobs won’t come to areas where there education to compete economically. Small universities became big aren’t educated people. ones. New universities were created, UAFS among them. “Mitsubishi is building a wind-turbine plant here,” Beran says. “Its chairman said that everything being equal, UAFS was the value added that brought Mitsubishi here. DOLLARS At UAFS, we listen to industry. We say, $80,000 Education attainment ‘What do you need?’ and then we do it.” Male But the university does it with all Female kinds of students—some who are well 60,000 prepared for college, and some who need help. “We’re an urban-suburban institu40,000 tion serving a variety of needs for our region. If we close our doors on certain groups, we’re not servicing the region, 20,000 so we must weigh carefully the balance between providing value by supporting 0 those likely to be successful and providing Less than High school Some Associate’s Total Bachelor’s Masters degree opportunity for those who might not be high school diploma or college degree degree or higher completion equivalent Bachelor’s degree or higher successful. To advance economically, the region needs educated people, and a university like UAFS has the responsibility to Even those who don’t graduate benefit from college education. According to the maximize the number of educated people Department of Commerce figures, in 2009 the median income for men with some in the region by balancing value and college education was $6,100 more than for those with only a high school diploma. opportunity.” Women with some college made $4,300 more than high school graduates.
Median Annual Income for Workers Ages 25-34, by Education Level
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Alumni+Friends SO, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
2011=New! or the Alumni Association, 2011 has been the year of the new—a new campus home, a new brand, a new website, new alumni councils, and new ideas about Alumni Weekend. Until October, the alumni offices were housed in the Fullerton Administration Building, and the directions for guests to come visit us were esoteric at best. But we are now conveniently located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Waldron Road and Kinkead Avenue. We also have a new logo and name, based on the university’s decision to rebrand as “UAFS” and phase out use of “UA Fort Smith.” But keep in mind that even though we’re now the “UAFS Alumni Association,” we still proudly serve alumni of Fort Smith Junior College and Westark too. Along with our new brand came a completely new website and a new URL: www.uafsalumni.com. I encourage you to visit the site to stay updated with university news. Another new initiative for 2011 was the launch of our Alumni Advisory Council and our Young Alumni Council. These councils, combined with the Student Alumni Association, form what we call a “leadership pipeline.” Finally, I’m happy to report that we have just produced our 2nd Annual Alumni Weekend, which for the first time was held in conjunction with UAFS Homecoming, allowing alumni more opportunities to mingle with students. Attendance was up by nearly 50% from our inaugural Alumni Weekend. Hopefully our 3rd Alumni Weekend will bring even more alumni back to campus. We hope that you also join us online at our new website. Or, if you are looking for a leadership opportunity, please contact me or Katie Kratzberg at (800) 532-9094 to serve on our Alumni Advisory Council or Young Alumni Council.
ELIZABETH S. UNDERWOOD Director of Alumni Affairs
BELL TOWER fall/winter 2011-12
KAT WILSON ’96
Let us—and the people you went to school with—know what you’ve been up to! Please take five minutes to sit down and tell us what you’ve been up to since your time at UAFS, Westark, or FSJC. Tell us about your job, your family, your hobbies, your adventures, your plans—whatever you want to share with other alumni. We love to get photos too, and we’ll happily run them in this section. Be sure to include your name (and your name while you were in school if it has changed since then) and the year you graduated or the years you attended. Email your class note to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Alumni Office, UAFS, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913.
1950s In April, Harry ’58 and JoAnn Herring Foster ’58 welcomed a great grandson, Jax, in Phoenix, Ariz.
Delbert, have two children. When she retires at the end of this year, they plan to travel and spend time with their three grandchildren.
1970s Bruce Vick ’70 graduated from Arkansas Tech with a B.A. in History and Education in 1972 and, until retiring this year, taught for the Fort Smith School District, including 28 years at Kimmons Junior High and 10 years at Chaffin Junior High.
1960s Laura Rodgers ’64 moved to Tulsa shortly after leaving UAFS and worked seven years for the Amoco Research Center. She became a licensed realtor in 1969 and a real estate broker in 1977, moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. in 1989, and retired from Maricopa County Superior Court in 1998. She now works as a companion caregiver. Becky Brewer Lee ’69 is Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager for National Bank of Sallisaw in Sallisaw, Okla. She and her husband of 39 years,
Jerry Harris Moore ’70 earned his BSEd. in 1972, taught at Northside High for eight years, and, after earning a Master’s in Sociology, served as Academic Counselor for Student Support Services and Continuing Education Instructor from 1981 to 2007. He’s now starting his eighth year as Director of the Upward Bound program at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Doris A. Christopher ’74 was in August named Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs/Director of Academic Programs at the University of Georgia, Griffin Campus.
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Rev. Doug Beasley ’79 has been Minister of Music and Education at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Van Buren since 2003.
1990s James Mills ’92 is a tenured professor of history at the University of Texas at Brownsville. “Thanks to all the wonderful and important Westark professors who got the ball rolling for me,” he wrote.
2000s Dameon Rogers ’02 lives in Arlington, Mass., where he works for Aptec LLC, a company that provides third-party support for Oracle’s identity management suite. Brad Lewis ’03 has a partnership in United Financial Advisors in Van Buren. His wife owns Shining Stars Dance School. Within the past year, they’ve gone on mission trips to Malawi, Africa and a reservation in Wyoming through the Gideons International and Grand Avenue Baptist Church.
his fifth year of teaching music at Spradling Elementary in Fort Smith.
Lacey McAdoo ’08 is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Merchandising and working as Sales Manager for Siri Boutique, a San Francisco-based company that designs, manufactures, and sells wedding and special occasion dresses. Mitch ’08 and Brockette White Minnick ’08, welcomed a daughter, Luci Ava, in May 2009. Mitch serves as Development Officer for the Fort Smith Housing Authority while working toward a master’s in Community and Economic Development. Zane Hight ’09 is Resident Hall Director at the University of Tulsa, overseeing the daily operations of a hall of 250 residents.
Amanda Gray ’09 married Chris Bynum on March 26, 2011, in Siloam Springs. Kaley McKinley ’09 and Clinton Johnson ’11 were married August 6, 2011, in Fort Smith. Christy Chapman Thompson ’07 and Jason Thompson welcomed a baby girl, Blair McKenzie, on May 6, 2011. Chris Jones ’07 and his wife, Kathy, welcomed a daughter, Emily Mae, in May 2011. Jones is in
2010s Kent Bray ’10 is an electrical engineer with the U.S. Government. He says he’s traveling the U.S. training, working, and learning the ins and outs of being an EE and loving life along the way.
Brooke Davis Fruits ’10 teaches kindergarten for the Van Buren School District. She was married in April 2011. Cassandra Arnhart Satterfield ’10 is working on a master’s degree in Political Science at UA Fayetteville, where she also attends law school. Tyler Lamon ’11 works at First National Bank in the Bank Associate/Management Trainee Program and says he’s proud to be part of a team that sees the value in supporting both the Greater Fort Smith community and UAFS.
Community College’s Office of Adult Education in West Memphis, Ark.
Elizabeth McElderry Johnson ’11 teaches Spanish at Lisa Academy, a public charter school in Little Rock. Jonathan Tinnin ’11 is studying Victorian literature as a graduate student at the University of Tulsa. Melissa Hoehne ’11 and Donald Sanders ’09 were married July 29, 2011, in Fort Smith.
Edwin Washington ’11 was recently hired as a Program Assistant for Mid-South
Giving Opportunity Campaign Enters Final Phase
As of mid-October, alumni and friends of UAFS had given an incredible 9,719 separate gifts totaling nearly $41.5 million in support of the UAFS Foundation’s $50 million Giving Opportunity campaign, the public phase of which was announced just three years ago. Although more than 80% of the goal has been raised, campaign leaders said that much remained to be done if they were to finish by December 31, 2011, as planned. Leaders also emphasized that in this final push toward the $50 million goal, gifts of every size are vitally important to the campaign’s ultimate success. Six- and seven-figure gifts are obviously critical too, but without two- and threefigure gifts, the campaign simply won’t reach its goal. Please consider making a gift of your own to support the campaign. We firmly believe there is no better investment you can make in the shared future of the Greater Fort Smith region. We invite you to use our secure system to make an online gift at www.uafs.edu/foundation/give-online or contact us at (479) 788-7020 to learn about other giving options.
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12 Named to Young Alumni Council Inaugural Public Speaker
While she was at Westark Community College from 1974 to 1976, Jo Ellen Carson was on the inaugural public speaking team and served as student body president. After leaving Westark she became a lawyer and served as a state representative. But none of that might have happened if it wasn’t for one thing.“I could not have gone [to Westark] if it hadn’t been for the daycare at night,” says Carson, who adds with a chuckle, “Daycare sounds funny, so night care, I guess.” She and her husband, Doug, had married young and had a daughter right away, so the availability of care while she took classes was crucial. “It stayed open until almost 10 o’clock in the evening,” Carson recalls. “The kids who took care of my daughter were wonderful. One in particular, Doug Cotton, became a friend of ours; he came to our daughter’s wedding.” While at Westark, Carson was recruited for the school’s first debate team by instructor John Preas, whom she calls her mentor. Jo Ellen Carson ’76 at “He had been active as a high the Smith-Pendergraft school instructor in competitive Campus Center, Sept. 2011. speech events and he decided to start competitive speaking on campus,” she says. “He just selected people out of classes, and I was one of them and so was my husband.” Carson credits Preas for helping her develop the public speaking and debate skills that served her well as an attorney and in the legislature when she represented the old District 13 in Fort Smith. Preas, who developed multiple sclerosis, died in 2001. Carson’s semester as student body president coincided with a plan to do away with finals week, in light of the number of associate’s and technical degree students who didn’t require finals. But those planning to transfer to a four-year school needed that experience, Carson argued. “We actually managed to hold on to finals week,” she says. “There were some adjustments made about who would have to take it.” Carson now works as an ad litem attorney for the 12th Judicial District and is also an adjunct instructor of speech and communications at UAFS. “It was a wonderful place,” she says of the school. “I enjoy teaching there now.” —Eric Francis
The brand new UAFS Young Alumni Council, which met for the first time during Alumni Weekend in October, has a five-fold purpose: to actively engage young alumni, maintain a relationship between young alumni and the University, foster interaction between young alumni and the University, increase awareness and involvement in the Alumni Association, and promote the social, professional, and philanthropic interests of young alumni. The inaugural class of 12 members was selected through a competitive application process by a committee of UAFS faculty and staff. “These former students represent a variety of academic areas on our campus,” says Student and Young Alumni Coordinator Katie Kratzberg, “and come to us as Council members with a great deal to contribute to the University. Each one has shown excitement to be a part of the first Young Alumni Council.” Beginning in 2012, additional members—up to a total of 20—will be selected by the Council’s membership committee. Members serve three-year terms and meet three times per year—once during Alumni Weekend, once near spring commencement, and once in the winter. Applications will be available online in spring 2012. For more information about serving, call Kratzberg at (479) 788-7241 or email
Inaugural members of the Young Alumni Council include (left to right and top to bottom) Laura Beltran ’06, early childhood education; Ashley Buster ’09, marketing; Emily Daugherity ’10, psychology; Jaye Gasaway ’09, marketing; Dillon Jarrett ’10, nursing; Ray Malouf ’05, business administration; Jeremy May ’07, marketing; Casey McKinley ’08, business administration; Jenna Pierce ’07, early childhood education; Michael Pierce ’05, business administration; and Eric Smithson ’09, business administration. Not pictured: Britton Riddle ’07, marketing.
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Second Time’s a Charm The chrysanthemums in Lion Pride Square bloomed right on cue for the Alumni Association’s 2nd Annual Alumni Weekend in mid-October, which brought some 75 alumni— a nearly 50% increase over last year— to campus. It’s hard to say what the highlight of the weekend was, but the buffet-style barbecue dinner at the foot of the Bell Tower on a splendid, warm Friday evening (left) was cerKEVIN LEDFORD
tainly a contender. MORE ONLINE: See the rest of the Alumni Weekend photos at www.uafsalumni.com.
From Nerd to Navy It’s not every day you go to work and meet the cast of the highest-rated drama on television, but for Jordan Sallis ’01, it’s just another day at the office. “I’ve met Abby, Duckie, Vance, and Eric,” Sallis says, referring to characters from the popular NCIS franchise on CBS. “In fact, the Eric character was modeled after a colleague of mine in our West Coast office.” The West Coast office of the real NCIS, that is. Sallis is a computer scientist in the cybercrimes division for the agency in Washington, D.C. The job is a dream come true for a selfdescribed nerd like Sallis. “I have to stay on top of new developments in technology, hacking, nerd culture,” he says. “Every crime nowadays has a vector that intersects with technology.” For example, if a bullet hits a cell phone, Sallis might be responsible for extracting data from the damaged device. Unlike his counterparts on TV, he doesn’t see any field action, but that doesn’t make his job any less exciting. “Guns, bombs, bullets are outside my area of expertise, but give me a computer and I can tear it up!” he says. Sallis credits UAFS professor Dr. Ken Pappas for pointing him in the right career direction. It was Pappas who introduced Sallis to the federally-funded program CyberCorps, which pays tuition at select graduate schools for students pursuing degrees in computer security. In exchange, students agree to work two years with the federal government after graduating. It was a perfect fit for Sallis, who had always hoped to serve his country but who is ineligible for the military because he has asthma.
“Working with NCIS has all the benefits of being in the Navy, like getting to travel, but without the possibility of being deployed,” Sallis says. He adds that the foundation he laid in the Honors Program while attending UAFS has prepared him well for the more human aspect of his career. “Although the applied science and technical training is how I get paid,” he says, “humanities is what trained me to be an adult and to learn how to sit with people from different cultures and backgrounds. It is what enabled me to grow as a human being.” —Erica Buneo ’09
Jordan Sallis ’01 with actress Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Sciuto on NCIS, at NCIS HQ in Washington, May 2010.
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New Website Launch If you haven’t already visited www.uafsalumni.com, stop by the brand-new site and have a look around. It features online registration for events like Alumni Weekend, extensive photo albums, an interactive events calendar, an alumni directory, and much more.
Walter Levy ’41 at September 2011, and as a first-year FSJC student in 1940.
Little Rock Reception Set for April 13 The Alumni Association’s Regional Receptions will look a little bit different this year. Instead of visiting Tulsa, Dallas, and Northwest Arkansas, as we have the last two years, we’ve already hosted an evening in Washington, D.C., and, in April, we’ll host another in Little Rock. The Little Rock reception, scheduled for the evening of Friday, April 13, coincides with the Spring Leadership Conference of Arkansas Phi Beta Lambda, and the large UAFS delegation to the conference will also be invited to the reception to mingle and network. For more information, stay tuned to www.uafsalumni.com or contact Elizabeth Underwood at (479) 788-7026 or elizabeth. email@example.com.
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‘Our Adopted Hometown’ It was 1938, and Walter Levy’s family knew they had to get out of Germany. “It was the Hitler period,” says Levy, who was a teenager then. “It was just a very bad time, a very difficult, dangerous time for Jews to stay in Germany, as we all now know.” There were two options: His father had brothers living in what was then Palestine, the site of present-day Israel; and his mother had cousins living in Fort Smith. “When things became more and more dangerous in Germany, we contacted [the Fort Smith cousins] and asked if they could help us get out of Germany, and they were most willing to do that,” recalls Levy, who is now 89. “[They] were most willing not only to help, but also to have us settle in Fort Smith. So that became our adopted hometown.” A year later Levy enrolled in Fort Smith Junior College. He said the school gave him a good general education—and more. “It also helped me to get acclimatized to the United States, and so all around it was a good experience,” he says. After finishing at FSJC in 1941, Levy received his bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College and became a teacher in Forrest City. But after two years there he decided to follow another career path, eventually earning a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and spending more than 50 years as a social worker. Though Levy only lived in Fort Smith for a few years, he still thinks of it as his hometown. In his retirement community in Dallas are several other Arkansans, and two have Fort Smith roots. They formed an Arkansas Club that meets several times a year over lunch. Levy and his wife, Hilma, also a retired social worker, have been married for 62 years and had four daughters. They have seven grandchildren and just welcomed their first great-grandchild. “She was born four weeks ago, and she already has more hair than I do,” Levy says with a laugh. —Eric Francis
his home in Dallas,
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WESTARK BLEND— Until the early 1990s, all the brick used on the UAFS campus came from Acme Brick’s Fort Smith plant, where clay from the pit on the other side of Old Greenwood Road was fired in round “beehive” kilns. Because heat rises, the bricks near the bottom of the kiln came out lightest and those near the top darkest, yielding a natural blend of colors. Then Acme built a stateof-the-art new tunnel-type kiln in Tulsa, capable of making smoother, more precisely shaped bricks—and doing it more efficiently than the Fort Smith plant, to boot. But the bricks, which rolled through the kiln on railcars, came out uniformly colored, without the subtle variation produced by the old beehive kilns. Acme did lots of experimentation to match the naturally occurring blend from the Fort Smith plant by combining various colors from the Tulsa plant, finally settling on an 80-20 mix of two existing colors—Garnet and Crimson—that was first used on the Math-Science building in 1991. Dubbed “Westark Blend,” it has been used for every campus building since, as well as other local buildings like the pavilion and event center on the riverfront. Close as Westark Blend is to the old Fort Smith brick, though, it’s not indistinguishable side-by-side. Not only is the color slightly different, but the Fort Smith brick is a little rougher, softer-edged, more “rustic.” So, for the new addition to Boreham Library—the last building on campus to be built with Fort Smith brick, shown here—the bricks will again come from Fort Smith’s beehive kilns.
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Bell Tower UAFS Alumni Association P.O. Box 3649 Fort Smith, AR 72913
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A Look Back
Just before midnight on December 31, 2001, despite the bitter cold, a crowd of some 300 gathered at the flagpoles across from the Baldor Technology Center to sip hot chocolate and help lower the Westark flag and, for the first time, raise the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith flag over campus. Earlier that year, the Westark Board of Trustees had officially agreed to merge with the University of Arkansas System, effective January 1, 2002. As the bells sounded the stroke of midnight, J. Michael Shaw, chair of the brand-new UAFS Board of Visitors, raised the flag while the crowd cheered through chattering teeth. January 1, 2012 marks the 10-year anniversary of the transformation of Westark College into the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. Let’s hope for a warmer night…
The Alumni Magazine of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith