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The Alumni Magazine of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

A Day in the Life on Campus

UAFS 11 Garrett Lewis ’01 / 17 Hall of Fame / 24 ‘A Project in Humanity’ / 28 Class Notes

spring/summer 2012

Bell Tower


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The idea behind our “A Day in the Life” feature (p. 18) was to capture the life of the campus in candid photos—as opposed to photos in which the subjects were aware of the camera. By and large, we managed that, either taking truly candid shots, or at least getting people to more or less ignore us while we worked. So this shot of Art & Theatre Chair Don Lee taking it easy for a minute in front of a wall of student paintings in the Ballman-Speer building didn’t quite fit in. But we knew we had to run it somewhere…


by Zack Thomas & Steven Jones (lower right)

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volume 3, number 1


FROM THE CHANCELLOR ‘It’s still like that today’


GRAND + WALDRON degrees up | gold medal | Drennen-Scott honor | earthquakes | class of 2024 | Otto Lang | alumni actress | finding mummies | iPads in education | dental hygiene


5Q Garret Lewis ’01, weather man


SENSE OF PLACE Breedlove 121


KNOWLEDGE BASE Tuning up your own PC


EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY Champ Williams, multimedia specialist/filmmaker


LIONS LOWDOWN volleyball championship | 100 wins for Newman | Lions live online | Danielle David | DeWayne Shepard ’82


fea t u re s 18

A DAY IN THE LIFE UAFS through the lenses of photographers Steven Jones and Zack Thomas


‘A PROJECT IN HUMANITY’ How Westark helped welcome 50,000 Vietnam War refugees to America over the course of six tumultuous months in 1975. By Eric Francis and Bell Tower staff

28 ALUMNI + FRIENDS get involved! | class notes | Joe ’54 and Wilma Hopkins Reed ’55 | alumni advisory council | egg-stravaganza | alumni weekend 2012 | Lap Bui ’93





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From the Chancellor

Bell Tower Spring/Summer 2012 Volume 3, Number 1

‘It’s Still Like That Today’

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith



With University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt (left) at a December 2011 commencement ceremony on the UAFS campus.

and, although many Westark buildings are still in use, we’ve done a significant amount of building and renovation since joining the University of Arkansas system back in 2002. Right now, for instance, we’re getting close to finishing the Learning and Research Center at Boreham Library—a major addition that will more than double the square footage of the existing Boreham Library. Scheduled to open in time for the fall 2012 semester, the center will serve as the linchpin in our decade-long transformation into a premier regional university. But it’s not only our physical campus that might look unfamiliar to those of you who attended more than five or ten years ago. Our student body has also changed dramatically—growing to nearly 8,000 and


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

getting younger and more diverse, both ethnically and geographically—and our faculty has grown at a similar pace. Likewise, our academic offerings—including more than 30 bachelor’s degree programs—have expanded tremendously. Additionally, our connections to local business and industry have deepened as we’ve become more and more involved in the economic development of our region. But I’m here to assure you that despite the growth and change, UAFS is fundamentally the same institution you remember, no matter what it was called when you attended. A few years back, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Randy Wewers ’58 and a number of students. Randy, who is now chair of the new Alumni Advisory Council (see p. 30), spoke passionately to the students that day about the teachers he’d had at Fort Smith Junior College—about how much they cared about him, how much they taught him, how hard they pushed him. He said they had made a profound difference in his life that still affected who he was today. Back then, FSJC was an institution dedicated entirely to teaching and learning that prided itself on its deep connection with the community and counted as one of its greatest strengths the individuals who taught and learned and worked there. It was a special place that produced thousands of graduates like Randy (who would go on to serve as Chief Technology Officer of the credit reporting company Equifax) and helped the community and the region. What I remember best from that day, though, is that when Randy stopped talking, one of the students spoke up and said, simply, “It’s still like that today.”

Paul B. Beran, Ph.D.



EDITOR Zack Thomas

CONTRIBUTORS Bryce Albertson, Eric Francis



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, Executive Director of Alumni Affairs; Jeff Harmon, Director of University Marketing and Communications



s the introduction to this issue’s cover story says, those of you who attended Fort Smith Junior College—or even Westark—might barely recognize today’s University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus. After all, literally not a single building remains from the FSJC days,

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: (877) 303-8237. Email: Web:

SEND ADDRESS CHANGES, requests to receive

Bell Tower, and requests to be removed from the mailing list to 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 ©2012 by the University of Arkansas –

PAUL B. BERAN, Ph.D. Chancellor

Fort Smith.

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The UAFS Annual Fund is here! Since 1928, our students have had big dreams. Alumni and friends can help make those dreams a reality through annual giving at UAFS.

To learn more about the Annual Fund: 479-788-7920 •

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Investment in Gold


UAFS expects to award some 650 bachelor’s degrees in the 2011-12 academic year, up more than 20 percent from the year before.

Bachelor’s Degrees Up Sharply Over Last Year DESPITE A SMALL DECREASE in total students for the 2012 spring semester—the result mainly of stricter financial aid rules—the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by UAFS is trending sharply upward. The trend began in the 2010-11 academic year, when the university awarded 531 bachelor’s degrees, a 27 percent increase over the 419 awarded in 2009-10. This academic year saw another marked increase, with 373 bachelor’s degree candidates for May 2012. Combined with the degrees already awarded, that makes a projected total of around 650 bachelor’s degrees for 2011-12, an increase of about 24 percent. Additionally, the number of credits taken by juniors and seniors in 2010-11 was up nearly seven percent over the previous year, while the number of students returning after the previous semester was up three percent. “These increases continue to demonstrate the importance of the university’s retention efforts,” said Provost Dr. Ray Wallace, “with advising and academic early alert programs playing an important role.”

—SOCIOBIOLOGIST REBECCA COSTA , author of The Watchman’s

Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, speaking Feb. 20 at UAFS to an audience of students, faculty, staff, and community members


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012


Any drive toward singularity is a drive toward extinction; the absence of diversity is vulnerability.

QUICK—YOU’VE GOT a doctor’s order to give your patient one 125-milligram tablet per 25 kilograms of patient weight, and the patient weighs 165 pounds. How many tablets do you give him? You could sit down and work out how many kilograms are in 165 pounds and then divide that by 25. Or you could just ask Lidiana Quezada, who can come up with the answer a lot faster than you can. In 2011, as a senior at Fort Smith’s Northside High, Quezada won gold in the Medical Math competition at the SkillsUSA National Championships, soundly beating not only the 14 other high school students she was competing against, but also the seven college students taking the same exam. At the time, Quezada was also a student at the Western Arkansas Technical Center— a program at UAFS that allows area high school students to earn college credit—and her gold was the first national medal for the WATC chapter of SkillsUSA, a national organization for high school and college students enrolled in technical, skilled, and service programs. Now about to start her sophomore year as a nursing major at UAFS, Quezada, who has her education paid for with a variety of scholarships, including one from WATC and one from SkillsUSA, says math and measurements just come naturally to her. Must be nice...

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points of pride Honored with the Committee’s Choice Award at the Arkansas State Festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the UAFS production of Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters. Several students also won individual awards for acting, honor crew, publicity design, and lighting design. “Chekhov is considered by many theatre professionals to be some of the hardest material in the business,” says UAFS Theatre Director Bob Stevenson.


The Excellence in Preservation through Restoration Award, accepted in January by DrennenScott site director Tom Wing (middle), recognizes an intensive six-year restoration effort by UAFS and its project partners.

“I CAN HONESTLY SAY say this was one of the most special events I have had the honor to attend,” says Tom Wing, director of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site, of the January ceremony at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion where he accepted the Excellence in Preservation through Restoration Award from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas. The award recognized the university’s work on the Drennen-Scott House in Van Buren, which dates to the early 1830s. In May 2011, after an intensive six-year restoration effort, the university opened the historic house and grounds as not only a public museum but also a working lab for history and archeology students. In its first seven months of operation, it had already seen more than 5,000 visitors from across the country. The restoration was helped by more than $5 million in grants and by numerous stakeholders—the City of Van Buren, the Arkansas Department of Heritage, Historic Arkansas Museum, Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Council, Crawford Construction, the Arkansas Archeological Survey, the architectural firm of John Milner Associates Inc., and, perhaps most importantly, Caroline Bercher of Lavaca, Scott Bulloch of Van Buren, and Drennen Bulloch of Little Rock, fifth-generation descendants of original owner John Drennen. “The Drennen-Scott project provided UAFS with an incredible opportunity to save a local historical treasure while gaining a laboratory for UAFS students,” says Wing. MORE ONLINE: Learn more about the Drennen-Scott Historic Site or plan a visit at

Displayed at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver as part of a juried exhibit, Alphabook: A Celebration of Letters, a book with a handcrafted cover designed by senior Graphic Design major Kristin Catlett. Catlett designed and bound the book in a course taught by Katie Harper. The Denver exhibit, titled “Hand Lettered,” featured artists from California to New York and Florida to Minnesota, as well as two international artists. Catlett was the only Arkansas artist represented.


UAFS Honored for DrennenScott Restoration

Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Parley Pratt and the Making of Mormonism, a 351-page book co-edited by UAFS Spanish professor Greg Armstrong and associate English professor Dennis Siler, who also co-wrote the book’s introduction. Pratt, who Armstrong calls “arguably the third most important individual in early Mormon history” after Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, was murdered near Van Buren in 1857 by the estranged, legal husband of one of his plural wives.

Awarded first place in the Video Promo category at the South Central Broadcasting Society Annual Regional Undergraduate Student Electronic Media Competition in Austin, UAFS Media Communication majors Aaron Hodges and Nick Kyrouac, for “UAFS Media Communication Promo,” a video made for a course taught by Dr. Susan Simkowski. Another student, Josiah Gorham, took second place in the Video PSA category for his public service video, “Islamophobia.” This academic year is the first for the Media Communication major at UAFS. Named Student of the Year for 2011 by the Arkansas Nursing Students’ Association, UAFS senior Jake Malone, for outstanding academic and clinical work as well as for his community activities and his efforts on behalf of the UAFS Student Nurses Association. The UAFS Student Nurses Association also won the Community Health Award from the state organization for the students’ work collecting suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks, and

(continued on page 7)



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The New Madrid Seismic Zone appears near Arkansas’s northeast corner on a USGS map showing ground acceleration in g force with a two percent probability of exceedance (PE) in the next 50 years.


The Next Big One What a New Madrid quake means for Fort Smith IT WAS 10 TIMES stronger than the one that leveled San Francisco in 1906—strong enough to topple chimneys in St. Louis, ring church bells in Boston, and awaken sleepers as far away as New York City. Great sprays of sand and water shot dozens of feet into the air. The Mississippi River ran backwards. And you thought the tornados here were bad. This is what happened back in 1811 and

1812 when the New Madrid Seismic Zone had its last big shakeup. Located in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri, the New Madrid is the most active series of faults in North America west of the Rockies, experiencing an average of 200 quakes per year, most too small to be felt, but about once every 200 years, there’s a big one. Now, after a series of small quakes centered in Oklahoma rattled windows in

SNAPSHOT The kids in the Oaklawn Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School in Hot Springs, where Kristin Bath-Rodgers Gordon ’09 teaches fourth grade, aren’t short of brains or talent. Far from it, in fact. But, because many of them come from low-income families and have parents who didn’t go to college, relatively few of the students go to college either. In response, the school came up with Early College Awareness Days. One day a month, the kids wear college T-shirts and talk about college and careers. So Gordon called the UAFS Alumni Association, and we sent her a little care package with shirts for all her kids. “They like UAFS because it’s different,” she says. “Most of them have hog shirts or National Park Community College shirts, but they want to wear UAFS because I went there. And they think the lion mascot is pretty cool.”


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

Greater Fort Smith in 2011, the New Madrid in particular and earthquakes in general are getting more attention in the region. “We know why earthquakes happen, but we currently have no way to predict when,” says physical sciences instructor Chris Knubley, resident earthquake guru at UAFS. Last time, quakes as strong as 8.6 on the Richter scale leveled the town of New Madrid, Arkansas, for which the fault system is named. Back then there wasn’t much else around. Today there’s much more at stake, and many scientists believe we’re overdue. In November of 2008, FEMA proposed that a New Madrid quake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale would cause “widespread and catastrophic devastation” across 11 states including Arkansas. In 2009, researchers from the University of Illinois and Virginia Tech ran a similar study, and the results weren’t pretty: 86,000 casualties, including 3,500 fatalities; 715,000 damaged buildings; 7.2 million people displaced; and direct economic losses exceeding $300 billion—all from a quake 12 times weaker than the 1812 big one. There’s no reason to prepare for Armageddon, though. “If a big one occurred, we would feel it, but we wouldn’t get a lot of damage,” says Knubley. According to the FEMA study, what we should prepare for is a vast influx of refugees. Anyone remember Hurricane Katrina? Magnify that by several orders of magnitude. Though Fort Smith won’t be destroyed, some damage would likely occur. People could still be hurt, so if an earthquake hits, Knubley recommends getting outside as quickly as possible, or if you can’t get outside, get under a door frame, and avoid glass at all costs. Just because we won’t get much damage from a New Madrid quake doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. After all, says Knubley, there are “ancient faults below the Earth’s surface that we can’t see that can still be active.” Sleep tight. —Bryce Albertson ’12

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(continued from page 5) personal hygiene products for foster children. Accepted to graduate or professional school, over 90 percent of UAFS biology majors who applied. Students were accepted into medical schools in Arkansas and Oklahoma, pharmacy school, chiropractic school, and numerous other graduate schools. In addition, all three of last year’s Biology with Teaching Licensure graduates secured teaching positions—two in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma. Ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation, nine UAFS business students who took the Major Field Test last academic year as seniors. The test is administered at business schools nationally to measure student mastery of key concepts and principles as well as knowledge expected of students at the conclusion of their majors. The nine students’ names are now displayed in the College of Business Student Hall of Fame.

Discussion between Two New York Businessmen, 1920, pen and ink on paper

Drawing from Life Figure Study, early 1900s, charcoal on paper

Decorated with numerous medals at the Fort Smith ADDY Awards, 14 UAFS students, who brought home a total of 18 awards, including nine golds. Most of the awards were in the student category, but several students actually won awards in the professional category for work done while completing internships. The ADDYs are the advertising industry’s annual awards ceremony to recognize excellence in advertising.


AMONG THE MOST REMARKABLE THINGS ABOUT the work of Otto Lang is the simple fact that until “Drawing from Life” opened in February at UAFS, it had never before been exhibited publicly. Given to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock by his son’s wife, Lang’s drawings and watercolors recall an era before the use of photography in magazines and newspapers outmoded professional illustrators. But “Drawing from Life” included much more than Lang’s sharply observed illustrations; the exhibit also encompassed masterful academic figure studies, evocative sketches of land- and cityscapes, and direct-observation drawings of a universe of characters. Born in Ohio in 1866, Lang died in Little Rock in 1940.

Selected to participate in the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, biology professor Ragupathy Kannan, who, as a part of the project, observed dozens of high school and junior high biology lessons and scored each using a rubric developed by Stanford University’s Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity. The MET project’s goal is to determine ways in which effective teaching can be measured fairly and consistently.

Named to the principal clarinet position with the Tulsa Symphony, assistant music professor David Carter, who was selected after a blind audition followed by a main stage concert. Carter, who came to UAFS in 2009 and has played with the Tulsa Symphony since 2006, has also been principal clarinetist of the Dearborn, Michigan, Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra.

Pau-Ko-Tuk, Wisconsin, 1895, pencil on board

Willow Creek Trout, early 1900s, watercolor on paper

Reprinted as part of Missouri’s observance of the Civil War sesquicentennial, “Killed by Rebels: A Civil War Massacre and Its Aftermath,” a scholarly article by Bob Frizzell, director of library services at UAFS. The article, originally published in 1977 in the Missouri Historical Review, appears this year in A Rough Business: Fighting the Civil War in Missouri, a book of selected articles on the Civil War from that publication. UAFS BELL TOWER


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Miss Congeniality ACTRESS Miranda Martinez ’92 has died on camera before, but never quite so gruesomely as in The Ouija Experiment, released this spring. “It’s like, let’s watch and see how long it takes,” she laughs. And that agonizing,

With groundpenetrating radar, a UAFS team searched in May 2011 for possible burial sites atop

Dig This UAFS students map probable locations of buried mummies

bloody death isn’t the half of it; she then comes back as a corpse possessed by an evil spirit. But even covered in fake blood, Martinez—who went by Susan Miranda when she was at Westark—hasn’t lost the zest for life that helped her win the Miss Congeniality title in the 1991 Miss Westark Scholarship Pageant. “The blood comes out,” she says, “and you know you’re making a mess, but it’s so much fun!” She and producer Josey Wells—a Northside High graduate like Martinez— were in town in April for a local screening of the independent horror film, which was shot in just over a week with a “no-string” budget of around $1,000. Still, the film— being distributed according to an old model called “four-walling,” in which the producers rent theaters to screen the movie and then receive all box-office revenue—has packed houses across Texas and Arkansas and is still gaining momentum. —Bryce Albertson ’12 MORE ONLINE: See a trailer for The Ouija

Experiment and more photos of Martinez on set at 8

BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

IT WAS ON THEIR third day at Huaca Pucllana—a massive, pre-Inca adobe pyramid rising right in the middle of the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru—that the UAFS team got a good idea of what the anomalies detected by their ground-penetrating radar actually were. That morning, one of the local archeologists showed them a number of spots where wind and time had cleared away enough dirt to reveal parts of mummies buried in the top of the structure. Those spots, they realized, formed a rough semi-circle. And that semi-circle was completed by the spots they were identifying with their radar. Because it can take a year or more to obtain permits for archeological digs in Peru, the UAFS team still doesn’t know for certain if the dozens of “hotspots” they identified in May 2011 at Huaca Pucllana hold mummies or something else. What they do know is exactly where those hotspots are. Using a combination of radar to find underground anomalies and sophisticated GPS and GIS technologies to map the site and create a grid system, the 20 students, faculty, and professionals on the team provided the Huaca Pucllana staff with something they’ve never had before—incredibly precise maps of the site with transparent overlays showing hotspots likely to hold remains or artifacts. MORE ONLINE: Learn more about the project at

TELL US ABOUT IT Over the winter, we decided to launch Blog Tower (www.belltowermag.blogspot .com) as a handy place to publish everything we can’t fit in the print edition or that comes up between issues. Which got us wondering how many of you all are bloggers yourselves. It didn’t take long, for instance, to find Christen Moon Krumm ’07, who runs her own site at and also frequently contributes to the popular blog Blissfully Domestic. So, do you blog? Email us a link at and we’ll share your site in a future issue. And, while you’re online, take a minute to check Blog Tower for more stories and web-only extras.


the pyramid at Huaca Pucllana.

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Education? There’s an App for That! How iPads can improve classes and save students money at the same time


Thanks to a corporate sponsorship from Beall Barclay and an anonymous gift to the UAFS Foundation, every student in Dr. George Schmidt’s Accounting Information Systems course received a new iPad to use for this spring semester.

IMAGINE OPENING YOUR biology textbook to find an illustration of a singlecelled organism, like a paramecium. Now imagine zooming in to take a closer look at the cilia—tiny, hair-like structures surrounding the paramecium. Now, zoom out, tap your forefinger on “animate” and watch the little guy flail and rotate in an attempt to avoid another little critter that wants to have it for breakfast. With one picture, you learned not just what a paramecium’s cilia are, but how they work and what they’re for. And after seeing it in motion and scintillating color, you’re more likely to remember it. But you’re a tactile learner, so you copy a few frames from the video and draw in a speech balloon that makes the paramecium say “Ahh! A didinium! Spin for your lives!” You laugh, but more importantly, you learn. If your textbook can do that for biology, just imagine what it can do for music theory, graphic design, or even automotive repair classes. But wait. A textbook can’t do all of

that stuff. That’s where the iPad comes in— or at least where it will come in, according to Dr. George Schmidt, whose Accounting Information Systems (AIS) class is pioneering the use of iPads in UAFS classrooms. Due to the “do it this way every time” nature of their jobs, accountants aren’t known for breaking the mold. “Cutting edge accounting” sounds like either an oxymoron or something that could lead to a prison sentence. But for Schmidt and his students, this isn’t about being cutting edge. With many real world accountants already using iPads every day to bring their clients up to speed, this is about getting students ready for the workforce. In Schmidt’s class, those familiar with the iPhone’s similar interface caught on quickly. Those who weren’t took about three weeks to catch up, and in today’s fast-paced business world, that’s time a prospective employer just doesn’t have. “This is where accounting is right now. Imagine where it’ll be in five years,” says Schmidt. “Students who don’t know this technology won’t get those jobs.”

The iPad is not only an incredibly powerful teaching tool, but it could turn out to be cost effective for students, too. The hardcover textbook for the AIS class costs a whopping $321. The electronic version? Only $92. With that kind of savings over traditional textbooks, an iPad, currently selling for around $500, could pay for itself before the end of freshman year. But since AIS is the only class at UAFS currently using iPads and electronic textbooks, that’s not the case now. The students in Schmidt’s class, however, didn’t have to spend a dime, thanks to a corporate sponsorship from Beall Barclay and an anonymous gift to the UAFS Foundation that was designated to purchase the iPads. The only catch? At the end of the semester, the students had to give them back. With over 400,000 apps now available for the iPad—everything from accounting to Angry Birds—it was a good thing for UAFS that there’s not an app that teaches Kung Fu. They might have a fight on their hands. —Bryce Albertson ’12



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Everybody Wins (Except the Cavity Bugs) Dental hygiene students learn by doing, sealing kids’ teeth in a Mena clinic


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

Working in teams of two, UAFS dental hygiene students apply decay-preventing sealants to more than 100 Polk County elementary schoolers every February.

make your teeth smoother.” The painless procedure—basically painting a clear resin onto the chewing surfaces of newly erupted six-year and twelve-year molars—protects teeth from decay for about five years, helping get kids through the time when we’re most prone to tooth decay.

That added protection is an especially big deal in rural, lower-income areas like Polk County, where kids may have little or no access to dental care. In fact, the first question the students ask each little patient is, “Have you ever been to the dentist before?” The answer isn’t always yes. Working in teams of two, the hygiene students run four rooms at a time while two dentists from the clinic circulate among them, screening each kid for decay, abscesses, and other problems that require immediate attention. It’s no substitute for regular, complete exams, but for the kids who don’t get those exams, it can make all the difference in the world. Each of them leaves with not only new sealants and a screening, but also a new toothbrush, an instructional pep-talk about hygiene, and, Davidson hopes, the idea that going to the dentist isn’t so bad after all. It’s an idea that does seem to have taken hold as the kids recount their adventures excitedly to one another while waiting for the bus back to school. But the Polk County kids and the UAFS students aren’t the only ones excited about the annual trip. So is Davidson, who sees it as a chance to show her students a side of dentistry few of them may ever see again. “I know that most of my students will leave and go into private practice,” she says, “but there’s a world of people out there who just can’t afford private-practice dentistry. Getting students out there and getting them excited about community dentistry is tremendous.”


“OUR STUDENTS LOVE to see those kids, and those kids love to see our students,” says dental hygiene instructor Pam Davidson of the annual trip she makes with her Community Dentistry class to Mena, Arkansas, to apply preventive sealants to the teeth of second and sixth graders from the Acorn, Mena, Wickes, and Van-Cove school districts in Polk County. Sure, kids love going to the dentist, right? Well, in this case, they actually do, dozens of them tumbling off the bus in their February coats and into a community dental clinic, all smiles and enthusiasm. They are, after all, getting out of school for the better part of a day. But it’s more than that. It’s also the infectious excitement of the UAFS students, who love the chance to work with children. They start out doing sealants on each other— which of course isn’t very much fun— before graduating to the patients who come into the on-campus clinic. The vast majority of those patients are adults, though, so the opportunity to work with kids is special. For having had little practice, the students are incredibly good with them, joshing and teasing here, coaxing and comforting there, but always managing in the end to make it fun. “Your molars have lots of grooves where cavity bugs can hide,” explains one hygiene student to a rapt seven-year-old in a pair of neon-framed sunglasses she’s given him to shield his eyes from the bright light, “so what we’re going to do is fill up those grooves and

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Q 5 WEATHER MAN: By the time Garrett Lewis ’01 moved to Alma with his family as a sixth-grader, he was already, he says, “a full-blown weather nerd.” Fascinated not only with the weather itself but also with telling its story, he spent hours watching overnight broadcasts from The Weather Channel that he’d recorded on old VHS tapes. That fascination never waned. While at Westark College, he scored an internship with KFSM-TV, Fort Smith’s channel 5, and was placed with one of the station’s meteorologists, who remained a mentor even after Lewis graduated from Westark and went on to pursue a degree in geosciences at Mississippi State. By 2002, he was doing part-time weekend weather at KFSM


Do TV meteorologists do their own forecasts, or do you just get them from the National Weather Service?

As far as the day-to-day forecast goes, we build all that ourselves. I can access all the computer models I need. Around here, it’s always different. The models go out 15 or 16 days, but they’re only really accurate for about seven. Yesterday it looked like there was going to be a big outbreak of cold air next weekend. It may or may not happen. But I know that my job is going to be completely different from this week. There’s not many places in the world that have this kind of weather.


Can a meteorologist forecast anywhere, or does it take time to learn a region’s weather?

I can forecast the weather really well— although some people might disagree—in the mid-South, the plains, and the southeast. As far as regional forecasting, it’s not something you learn in school; it’s more skills that develop on the job. There’s a lot of nuances and weird stuff that really just take experi-


Garrett Lewis ’01

while still finishing his MSU degree. In 2003, he was promoted to full-time morning weather and then, in 2004, at the ripe old age of 23, to Chief Meteorologist, a position he has held ever since.

ence to learn. For instance, around here, there’s a River Valley east wind that only develops when the south wind is at about 2,000 feet or so, and when that happens the River Valley stays colder than Northwest Arkansas.


Power Doppler, Super Doppler, Mega Doppler, and so on—do different stations really have different weather technology?

It’s just a marketing and branding thing. Back in the ’90s, Doppler was huge. National Weather Service Doppler came out in 1988. Then TV stations started to get it; it started with Gary England in Oklahoma City at KWTV. After that, if you didn’t have Doppler, you were nothing. But everybody has their own Doppler now. We’re all running it, and it’s essentially the same at each station.


Climate change has gotten so politicized it’s hard to know what’s science and what’s spin. What do you think about it?

I do think there’s climate change taking

place, and I tend to believe some of what’s occurring is likely man-made. I don’t know if it’s all CO2 emissions, though. Some of the studies show that, and some of them don’t. At the same time, I think the earth goes through natural cycles and that climate is affected by things like solar cycles. There’s a heated debate going on right now within the American Meteorological Society over an official statement about climate change, and a recent study by George Mason University— that I participated in—found that the majority of television meteorologists don’t believe in man-made global warming.


How do you decide who has to stand out there in the wind and the rain?

It’s the new guy! No, seriously, the decision comes from our news director. But typically the chief meteorologist will be on the air anchoring, and either the morning guy or the weekend guy will be out in it. But I prefer actually to be out in it. I love storm chasing. I got to cover Hurricane Lili back in 2002, and it was a blast. Being underneath severe weather is really what I love to do.



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Sense of Place


3 4

4 5

8 7 BREEDLOVE 121: The Scene Shop ADJOINING THE BREEDLOVE AUDITORIUM, WHERE UAFS’S THEATRE PROGRAM— nicknamed Theatre@UAFS—produces its plays, the scene shop is one of the liveliest spaces on campus. “Theatre,” says Assistant Professor Pablo Guerra-Monje, “is the most collaborative of the arts,” a fact that becomes readily apparent after just a few minutes in the shop, which bustles with students—some of them from other programs—working on dozens of different jobs, both inside and, on nice days, outside its roll-up door in the shadow of the Bell Tower.


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

1. Production designer: Half of UAFS’s

dynamic duo of theatre instructors, Pablo Guerra-Monje serves as production designer on all Theatre@UAFS plays and teaches courses in the design/technology track, while Bob Stevenson directs the plays and teaches courses in the acting/directing track. GuerraMonje came to UAFS four years ago, when an extraordinarily good drama club led by Stevenson morphed into a brand-new major. Originally from Spain, Guerra-Monje has earned master’s degrees both there and in the U.S., where he studied at the University of Memphis.

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6 focusing on specific areas like lighting design. 3. Production board:

It’s remarkable how many individual jobs are involved in producing a play. The production team on Imogen, for instance, a recent original play by Stevenson that won numerous awards, takes up an entire page in the program. Just for starters, there are lighting designers, electricians, costume and makeup designers, a costume crew, riggers, sound designers, a scene artist, a shop foreman, a publicity designer— virtually all of them students. The production board shows who’s doing what on the next play.

1 2

4. Power tools: Before


they start working on anything, students learn about power tools—chop saws, table saws, band saws, circular saws, reciprocating saws, heat guns, staple guns, and a host of other fun stuff. “We go tool by tool,” says Guerra-Monje. “Some of the guys have used power tools before, but a lot of others haven’t.” It sounds like a perfect recipe for severed fingers or worse—a bunch of inexperienced 18-year-olds operating dangerous power tools in close quarters. But GuerraMonje says safety comes first, and he obviously means it; there’s never been more than a dinged knuckle or two in the shop.

2. THEA 1503: Theatre students typically take Stagecraft, a required course for the major, during the second semester of their freshman year, getting a quick glimpse of the basics of producing plays—“a little bit of scenic construction, a little bit of scenic painting, a little bit of sound, a little bit of lighting, a little bit of costumes, a little bit of makeup, a little bit of props,” as Guerra-Monje puts it. After Stagecraft comes Fundamentals of Design. “In order to be successful in design,” says Guerra-Monje, “you have to know the materials and the techniques.” Later, as upperclassmen, students in the design/ technology track take entire courses

5. Platform: In the early stages of its construction, a platform doesn’t exactly look like something you’d want to stand on eight or ten feet above the stage. But that will change; platform legs are braced at least every four feet, and the whole thing is assembled with

nuts and bolts as opposed to screws, which aren’t as strong. And anyway, standing on a platform is relatively tame for actors in UAFS productions, which frequently include lots of trapeze work and even actors “flying” with climbing ropes and harnesses. It sounds about as safe as the power tools, but again, there hasn’t been a single glitch. “We check all our rigging over and over,” says GuerraMonje. 6. Flats: A staple of stagecraft for more than

300 years now, canvas panels stretched over wooden frames are lightweight, easy to store, and can be repainted or “re-skinned” for the next play. Painted by students to represent walls, doors, signs, skies—just about anything, really—today’s flats are typically made of one-by-four lumber. Flats are unique in their simplicity and reusability. In fact, most of what’s built in the shop is specific to a particular play. “Every project is a completely new thing,” says Guerra-Monje. For instance, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, produced this spring, some of the trees on stage needed to move around, so the production team had to design and make special backpacks to serve as limbs and foliage for actors on stilts. 7. Light plot: Stage lighting and scenery

are as carefully choreographed as the actors’ movements, and light plots—detailed drawings of the theatre space—show students exactly where to hang and focus the lights and where to put the scenery. The plots— drawn by the student in charge of lighting design using a computer program that calculates exactly what effect a light will produce, given its angle, height, and distance from stage—also specify the intensity and color of each light for each scene. 8. Shop floor: The shop floor changes color with virtually every play the theatre students produce. The weird yellow and green patterns are left over from South Pacific, produced last winter. The crew made 16-foot palm trees out of PVC pipe bent to shape with a heat gun, then cut thin plastic sheeting for the fronds, and finally painted the plastic fronds yellow and green, leaving their image on the floor. “It will get covered pretty soon with the next show,” says Guerra-Monje.



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Knowledge Base

Time for a Tune-up? Why PCs slow down and how to get them back up to speed


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

drive, and zapping spyware. Windows comes with built-in utilities to do all but get rid of spyware, and several reliable anti-spyware programs, like Microsoft’s Security Essentials, are available as free downloads. Run the Check Disk utility to find and repair “bad sectors,” the Disk Cleanup utility to free up space on your hard drive by

“The fuller your hard drive gets, the more your computer has to go back and forth. It’s kind of like filling a gallon bucket one cup at a time.” purging unneeded stuff, and the Disk Defragmenter utility to rearrange information for quicker access. Massengale says defragmenting is particularly important, and he “defrags” once a month. Disk Cleanup and Check Disk utilities should be run weekly. Specific steps differ slightly between Windows versions, but step-by-step instructions can be found in the Help section. All three utilities can also be automated—sort of like setting your car to change its own oil at regular intervals. For casual do-it-yourselfers,

built-in Windows utilities are generally safer than third-party tune-up software, although in many cases not as effective. If you’re considering downloading third-party tune-up software from one of the dozens of sites pushing it, investigate carefully; some sites are legitimate, while others are scams. If you run into complications, or if you’d just rather let someone else do the work, Massengale says services offered by office supply chains are likely safe enough, although they offer little or nothing more than you can do yourself. So when do you really need a professional? When your computer gets a virus, says Massengale. “That’s not something you want to try to take care of yourself.” He also warns against attempting to repair issues with your computer’s registry. Although registry-cleaning software is popular, he says, “you start tinkering in a registry, you can very quickly give your computer a lobotomy.” MORE ONLINE: Ready to tune up your Windows XP, Vista, or 7 machine? Follow Massengale’s step-by-step instructions for running the Check Disk, Disk Cleanup, and Disk Defragmenter utilities at SHUTTERSTOCK

IT’S TOUGH TO GO online these days— or, for that matter, listen to the radio or visit an office or electronics store—without hearing the pitch: All your clunky old PC needs is a tune-up to purr like a kitten again! And it’ll only cost you $25. Or $50. Or more. Like that $150 “fuel injection and induction service” the mechanic says you need, it’s one of those things you wish you could ask an unbiased expert about. Fortunately, we’ve got one: IT Chair Dr. Rick Massengale. For starters, says Massengale, the adjustments and fixes that are part of most PC tune-up services can indeed speed up your computer considerably by, in the simplest terms, removing unneeded stuff and arranging the important stuff in a way that makes it easier for your computer to find. “A lot of people don’t realize,” says Massengale, “that every time you hit the internet you collect residual files, and those things build up on your hard drive. The fuller your hard drive gets, the more your computer has to go back and forth to get the pieces it needs. It’s kind of like filling a gallon bucket one cup at a time.” Additionally, saved information, over time, gets “fragmented,” so that the information needed to perform a given task might be scattered in lots of different locations. But, says Massengale, anybody who can follow directions and click a mouse can handle the necessary cleanup and rearranging. The main steps are repairing disk errors, getting rid of residual and junk files, defragmenting your hard

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Champ Williams, Video Guy/Filmmaker



Because it’s nearly impossible to film certain critters in the wild—especially underwater and up close—filmmakers like Williams collect specimens and painstakingly recreate their habitats. Busy as he’s been over the winter, though, Williams, like his subjects, shifts into high gear come spring—still maintaining the studio and taking care of its residents, but also collecting specimens, filming in both the studio and the field, scouting locations, editing late into the night. He’s determined to finish the film before the year is out. Frankly, though, it all sounds a little farfetched—a 28-year-old guy converts an old barn into a custom film studio, captures an incredible collection of rarely seen aquatic animals, and then makes a compelling documentary, all working single-handedly on a shoestring budget. Or it would sound far-fetched if you didn’t know that Williams had simultaneously earned a degree in film at the Brooks Institute and another in marine biology at Cal State Northridge. Or that he was a certified scuba instructor. Or that he’d already won an Emmy in 2008 for a short about a struggle between a limpet and a starfish. But in light of those things, it’s a safe bet that Ozarks Underwater will be making the rounds at festivals next year—and that Williams will finally be enjoying some downtime.

“Busy as he’s been over the winter, Williams, like his subjects, shifts into high gear come spring.”


It’s the end of February, and Champ Williams can feel spring coming—something he regards with a mix of anticipation and just a bit of dread. “I can already hear the frogs croaking at night,” he says, and then lets out a long sigh. “Guess it’s time to gear up again.” This will be his third season working on Ozarks Underwater, a one-hour documentary about the lesser known aquatic life in our region. But it’s not as if Williams, a multimedia specialist at UAFS, has been doing nothing over the winter. He puts in at least a half-hour a day maintaining the rather improbable film studio he spent 14 months building inside an old metal horse barn on the outskirts of Fort Smith just over the Oklahoma line. Or, more accurately, he spends that time maintaining the studio’s tenants—a cast of dozens of strange aquatic characters living in 28 tanks up to 1,200 gallons, from tiny but predaceous pondhawk larvae to massive, prehistoric alligator snapping turtles, as big as 150 pounds. Water has to be changed, pumps fixed, filters cleaned, chemicals balanced, animals fed. And their food, of course, has to be collected. The newts, for instance, like pieces of earthworm. The snapping turtles favor freshly caught carp. This is the less glamorous side of wildlife filmmaking, which, surprisingly, isn’t all done outdoors.

Champ Williams nose to nose with an alligator snapping turtle in the White River.



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Lions Lowdown


100 Wins for Newman


Junior Heidi Luks (right) was named MVP of the Heartland Conference Tournament.

Tournament Champs!


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012


AFTER LOSING TO St. Edward’s University twice in the regular season, the Lady Lions claimed their first Heartland Conference Tournament championship in November by stunning the No. 1 seed Hilltoppers on their home court in four hard-fought sets. How did coach Jane Sargent’s Lady Lions stun the favored Hilltoppers, who had only been beaten once in the regular season by a conference opponent? Defense. UAFS collected 16 total team blocks and held St. Edward’s to a paltry 0.096 hitting percentage. The Hilltoppers had been averaging a 0.218 hitting percentage. Five Lady Lions had double-digit digs, too. Junior middle hitter Heidi Luks was named MVP of the tournament and Heartland Conference Player of the Year. She was joined on the All-Heartland Conference Team by senior right-side hitter Fabiane Nass, senior outside hitter Morgan Banner, and junior setter Whitney Hale. Although the Lady Lions went on to lose in the first round of the Region Tournament, they had already made history as the first UAFS team to win a conference tournament at the Division II level. And next season looks, if anything, even more promising.

ON HIS WAY TO transforming the Lions from a premier junior college program into an up-and-coming NCAA Division II power, men’s basketball coach Josh Newman has racked up quite a few W’s—115 to be exact. Number 100 came on November 16, 2011, as the Lions shot a sizzling 58 percent from the field—including 9 of 17 from 3-point range—to beat Southeastern Oklahoma State 83-71 at the Stubblefield Center. Sophomore guard Jake Toupal finished with 25 points and shot 5 of 10 from 3-point range. “It’s remarkable to think back on all of those wins, but more importantly all those kids who were a part of that,” Newman said after the game. “All those kids have been instrumental in this experience I have had here at UAFS. I would like to thank them personally because without them none of this would have ever happened.” Newman, who finished his sixth season as the Lions’ head coach with a 115-67 overall record, coached the team during their final three seasons of NJCAA membership, compiling a 70-25 record, with one Bi-State Conference East Division championship and consecutive appearances in the semifinals of the Region II Tournament, along with consecutive Top 5 rankings in the national polls. He has coached and helped develop nine players who have been drafted or played in the NBA, including first-round draft picks Kirk Snyder and Javale McGee, and has coached 41 players who have pursued careers overseas. He has also coached and recruited 47 former junior college players who have gone on to play at Division I programs. Men’s basketball coach Josh Newman, who broke the 100-win mark last November, finished his sixth season at UAFS with a record of 115-67.

CATCH THE LIONS LIVE ONLINE Until not too long ago, if you wanted to watch a Lions game, you had to be there to see it. Now all you need is an internet connection. Starting in fall 2011, UAFS livestreamed all its volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball games, complete with commentary provided by the Fort Smith Radio Group. Watch for baseball coming soon. Catch the action at university/athletics-live-stream.

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On the Run Catching up with cross country standout Danielle David LAST SEASON, AS A FRESHMAN, Danielle David emerged as a star of UAFS’s fledgling women’s cross country program, leading the team at every meet and turning in a school-record time of 24:57 in the Heartland Conference Championship 6k, where she finished 13th. We slowed her down long enough to ask her a little bit about the sport she loves—including why anyone would willingly participate in it. weekends we’ll run anywhere from 13 to 16 miles. And then we also do track workouts and a lot of cross-training—swimming, weights, core. It’s a lot of work. Individual accomplishment: Not only is it a team sport, but really it’s an individual sport too. You have to kind of selfmotivate, especially in a race, and that’s something I love about it. Your coach can’t tell you to run a certain play or do a certain thing. Mentally, it’s very tough—I think tougher than physically. You do have different positions that you run in a race, but ultimately it’s you, the clock, and 200 other girls. I like the rush you get at the end of the race, too, looking back and saying, “Wow, I did that, I accomplished that.” Pigeon toes: I’m actually very pigeontoed. I don’t know if that helps me or not, but when people look at me, they automatically go, you’re a runner aren’t you? Yep. When you run you naturally have to pronate


Off-track: In cross country, unlike track, you run anywhere and everywhere, surface-wise. It can be grass, gravel, maybe a little mud. At our conference meet in Laredo, the course was actually in the desert. There are lots of hills, and you might have a few hay bales or logs thrown in, too. Also, cross country is one race, so you might have 200 other girls that you’re competing against. Especially for the first half-mile, you’ve kind of got to fight to get a spot sometimes. It can get pretty rough. Work ethic: I’ve never really felt like I’ve had natural, pure-out talent. I know God has blessed me with some talent, but I think my success is because of my work ethic. There’s a lot of talent out there, but the commitment it takes, especially at the collegiate level, is rare. Not many people want to get up at five o’clock in the morning and go bust out 10 miles. This summer our training mileage was 60 or 65 miles a week. On the

a little bit, and so it takes less energy for me. When I run, my stride is perfectly straight. Big plans: We’re a new program, but last year our guys got third in conference. We’re still working on developing our girls’ program. We have about 10 committed girls right now. Some of our freshmen from this past year, myself included, are having to kind of build the team from the ground up. But both teams are definitely headed in the right direction, and our goal this year is conference wins for both men and women.

Welcome Back, Shep! LIONS ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME BASKETBALL COACH GAYLE KAUNDART HAD A knack for discovering talented players in unlikely places, and DeWayne Shepard ’82 was proof of that. Shepard played for Helena-West Helena Central High School, an eastern Arkansas Class AAAA school not often frequented by college coaches in the late 1970s. The Cougars weren’t among the state’s elite teams during Shepard’s senior season, either, which further limited his exposure. But Kaundart’s instincts in signing Shepard were dead-on. As a freshman, “Shep,” as he was known by his coaches and teammates, was a key factor in the Lions’ magical 1980-81 season, during which they won the Bi-State Conference, the NJCAA Region II Tournament, and the NJCAA National Tournament. In the tournament final, he scored 19 points, collected 10 rebounds, and was named MVP as the Lions beat Lincoln College 67-50 to win their firstever NJCAA National Championship. This winter, Shepard—along with former teammate Brian Kelleybrew, volleyball star Paula Castro Abbott, and Fort Smith Junior College basketball players Jim Jay and Bob Blaylock—joined his coach in the Lions Athletic Hall of Fame, which now includes 17 former players, coaches, and friends. Meet them all at



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It probably goes without saying


that there’s a lot happening on a university campus like this one, but we never realized quite how much until photographer Steven Jones and Bell Tower editor Zack Thomas set out one Tuesday in April to document all of it in photos. Starting at 7 a.m. and working until 10 p.m., they traversed campus from Sebastian Commons to Crowder Field and the Fitness Center to the Gardner Building, shooting more than 1,000 images in a vain attempt to somehow capture it all—the teaching and the learning, the work and the play, the bustle and the quiet, the living and striving and dreaming. So, did they succeed? Of course not—not even close. But they did find plenty of telling little bits, the kinds of moments and scenes that, taken together, might offer at least a revealing little glimpse into the life of this place and the people—students, faculty, and staff—that make it what it is. For those of you who were here recently, who know that life so well already, we hope these images trigger a bit of nostalgia for your days at UAFS. And for those of you who attended Westark or Fort Smith Junior College and might barely recognize today’s university, we hope they make you feel like you know just a little bit more about this place that is, in its own way, a part of all of us.



UAFS through the lenses of photographers Steven Jones & Zack Thomas 18

BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

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7:30 a.m., Reynolds Bell Tower

10:53 a.m., Pendergraft Health Sciences Center

12:12 p.m., Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center

4:14 p.m., Campus Green

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11:00 10:21 a.m., Gardner

8:11 a.m., Baldor Technology Center

9:39 a.m., Reynolds Bell Tower

9:26 a.m., Pendergraft Health Sciences Center

10:14 a.m.,

10:32 a.m., Lion Plaza

Baldor Technology Center

10:35 a.m., Boreham Library

10:45 a.m., Math-Science


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012


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10:46 a.m., Math-Science 12:10 p.m., Lion’s Den dining hall

12:40 p.m., Lion’s Den dining hall

1:14 p.m., Reynolds Bell Tower

12:18 p.m., Campus Green

11:00 a.m., Fitness Center

1:29 p.m., Campus Green

11:10 a.m., Gardner

12:31 p.m., Smith-Pendergraft

1:46 p.m., advisement offices



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2:20 p.m., Crowder Field

3:38 p.m., Learning and Research Center at Boreham Library COREY S. KRASKO

4:01 p.m., Lion’s Den courtyard

2:43 p.m., Pendergraft 3:15 p.m., Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center

2:31 p.m., 5

Lion’s Den South lounge

4:37 p.m., Lion’s Den courtyard

3:20 p.m., Ballman-Speer 22

BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

4:33 p.m., Breedlove

4:49 p.m., Lion’s Den courtyard

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M O R E O N L I N E : Editing those 1,000+ frames down to the 38 that appear on these pages was one big job. See some that didn’t quite make the cut at

5:40 p.m., Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center

4:53 p.m., Campus Green

9:19 p.m., intramural field

5:03 p.m., Boreham Library

8:09 p.m., Lion’s Den North lounge

5:27 p.m., Sebastian Commons

9:59 p.m., Lion’s Den North



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How Westark welcomed 50,000 Vietnam War refugees to America over

’A Project in Humanity’ WHEN WESTARK DEAN OF STUDENTS HAROLD CAMERON got to the Fort Chaffee Relocation Center to start a refugee education program in the late spring of 1975, there weren’t even chairs for the students to sit on. In fact, even though refugees from the Vietnam War had been flooding in since April, there wasn’t much of anything in the way of a program to teach them the basic English and life skills they’d need to survive in America. Initially, a church-affiliated group of volunteers had undertaken the project, but soon the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the federal agency responsible for the refugees, realized it was going to take a great deal more than local volunteers. In the meantime, Westark had offered to help. “As a community

college,” Cameron says, “we sort of had the philosophy that we were obligated to offer assistance to any educational thing that needed to be done and that wasn’t being done by another institution or agency.” When the Westark offer came in, HEW was already negotiating with the Virginia-based Center for Applied Linguistics, but ultimately Westark was willing to undertake the project for substantially less money and HEW awarded the college the contract. No one, at the time, seems to have understood the sheer enormity of the task, including Cameron, who would lead the project more or less single-handedly. Initially, he said, he and other college leaders had thought he would spend his mornings at Chaffee and his afternoons on campus. Soon, though, he was working 10- and 12-hour days at Chaffee and still not keeping up. “If I had known what we were getting into,” he says now, “I of course wouldn’t have done it. It was just too much for one person. It was a very difficult, difficult thing.”

‘Able to start teaching school’

, he planned to When Harold Cameron (in white shirt) started the program , but soon divide his time between the Westark campus and Fort Chaffee

Among the first things to be done, obviously, was building benches for students to sit on. But all the benches in the world would do no good without teachers, and the number of eager volunteers was quickly dwindling as summer bore down on the un-air conditioned buildings at

he was working 10- and 12-hour days at Chaffee. UAFS FILE PHOTOGRAPHS


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

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the course of six tumultuous months in 1975

by E R I C F R A N C I S & B E L L T O W E R S TA F F

With materials in short supply, teachers in Westark’s refugee education program frequently employed whatever books, magazines, or newspapers they had on han d.



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“I knew the significance of what we had to do out there. It was

(Left to right): Initially, there weren’t even chairs for the students. By the end of the program, the instructors had wellequipped language labs with multiple headsets. During the latter part of the program, Cameron was able to hire refugees as aides. A closed-circuit TV system was used to show educational programming.

Chaffee. “It got hotter and hotter and hotter,” Cameron says. “And the enthusiasm began to wane. And it became more and more difficult to get volunteers.” So Cameron recruited whoever he could find—schoolteachers who were off for summer break, college students, local housewives with time to spare—and put them on the Westark payroll. Later, under a second contract with HEW, he was able to hire refugees as teaching assistants. He also had to figure out what to teach and how to do it with essentially no teaching materials. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” Cameron says, “but we knew to teach them survival English.” Some of his instructors would bring in whatever books, magazines, and newspapers they had on hand, and photos Cameron has from those days show copies of the Arkansas Gazette spread out on classroom tables. Eventually, Cameron traveled to Camp Pendleton in California, site of another refugee relocation program, and discovered they had an entire curriculum for their instructors. While he was there, he made copies of the material to bring home to Fort Smith, then copied it for his own teachers. “I rented a big Xerox machine and ran that stuff off by the hundreds and thousands,” he says. “That’s really when we were able to start teaching school.” Another hurdle was acquiring the equipment needed for the program, especially televisions and cassette players. After one time-consuming attempt to navigate the proper channels, Cameron was left with little option but to circumvent them. “We just didn’t have the time,” he says. “I sent people downtown and got TVs and recorders. We used so many cassette tapes we ran out of them—we copied those tapes by the hundreds.” Ultimately, Cameron managed to get actual labs made with numerous listening stations. He also arranged for the local cable television provider to wire the camp with a two-channel closed circuit TV system to show children’s programs like Sesame Street and The Electric Company. The Electric Company was the favorite among the refugees, because it was difficult to figure out how words were formed when they were spoken by Sesame Street’s Muppets.


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012

‘People wanted it to be over’ Looking back across almost 40 years at the success of the effort at Fort Chaffee, in an era when computers were still unknown to the vast majority of people and the concept of English as a second language was known but not necessarily widespread, the accomplishments of Westark at the relocation center become all the more remarkable. Over the course of about 26 weeks that year, more than 50,000 refugees passed through Fort Chaffee—where they stayed anywhere from a few days to a few months while waiting to be placed with sponsor families around the country—and the majority of them learned at least the rudiments of English, driving, shopping, and jobhunting from Cameron’s team. At the peak of the program, Cameron and his teachers were running some 30 classrooms for 12 hours a day. “I knew the significance of what we had to do out there,” says Cameron. “It was an enormous program and an enormous undertaking. I knew we had to do a good job to help the people, to prepare them as best we could, even though we had people moving in and out.” And a good job is exactly what Cameron and Westark did, despite the challenges. That good work did not go unnoticed at the time, either; both the Associated Press and The New York Times published articles about the project while it was in operation. Remarkably, too, Westark’s program at Fort Chaffee—one of four operating at that time—was the only one run by an agency outside the Department of Education. But the success of the program was forgotten quickly. “I had stacks of books, a lot of material, when the program was over,” Cameron says. “I thought there would be a number of agencies or organizations that would want to hear what went on at Chaffee. Not a one.” But Cameron says he understands why so little attention was paid to the program outside the local area: Vietnam fatigue. “We hear now how people are war-weary with Afghanistan,” he says. “That’s exactly what went on in 1975. People wanted it to be over. I gave a

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an enormous program and an enormous undertaking.”—————— over here and can’t speak any English.” Every day, Thao attended classes and studied. There were interpreters around to help translate, as well as some refugees who already spoke English. “The first things they taught us? House, things in the house, bowl, chopstick, spoon, fork,” he recalls. “Later on, outside things—car, clothing, school, job, factory. Then they taught about government, mayor, city, governor, state.” Thao only stayed at Fort Chaffee for a month before being placed with a sponsor family in Tennessee. But six months later he moved back to Fort Smith where he had a cousin, and he’s lived in the city ever since. “I worked for North American Foundry for about a year for $2.20 an hour,” he says. “After that, luckily, I applied for GE. They paid me $4.10 an hour. I worked there four years, and it was sold to American Standard, and I worked 27 years there.” Thao also attended Westark Community College in the evenings after work, studying English and math. He’s been retired for nine years now, and every Saturday he gets together at the Vietnamese Community Association with several other former refugees who came through Fort Chaffee. And then there’s Ngoc-Thuy Thi Tran, one of the early arrivals at Fort Chaffee, who, when she boarded an airplane to leave Vietnam, was venturing outside a war zone for the first time in her life. Once she got to Arkansas, she never left. She met Cameron while in the program, and the two fell in love. They’ve been married now for 33 years. little 10-minute presentation to the board of directors of the college, and that was it. That even surprises me today.”

‘An unforgettable … exchange’

’Somebody came in … every day’

As the number of refugees entering America began to dwindle, the federal government shut down its Indochinese Relocation Centers at the other sites and routed all refugees through Fort Chaffee, which was finally closed just before Christmas of 1975. In the less than seven months that it was in operation, though, the program substantially changed both Westark and Fort Smith itself. Although refugees were “sponsored out” to families across the U.S., many, like Le and Nguyen, returned to Fort Smith. Others, like Tran, never left, and today, more than 5 percent of the city’s population of 82,000—approximately 4,500 people—are of Asian descent, while Asian-Americans constitute only 1.2 percent of the overall population in Arkansas. At Westark, much of the equipment from the program went into service on campus with the college’s A/V Department and its English as a Second Language program. Ultimately, though, the outcome of the program was greater than any of that, as expressed nearly 40 years ago in the conclusion of a report on the project:

Of course, the program wasn’t forgotten so quickly by the people who benefitted from it—people like Long Nguyen, who was in his mid-twenties when he left everything he knew behind. “I got on a ship when Saigon fell, all by myself,” says Nguyen. “I came through the Philippines, shipped by the Navy.” From the Philippines he was flown to Guam and then sent to America—along with hundreds of thousands of other fleeing South Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians who had been allies of the Americans during the conflict. Once on these shores, Nguyen was assigned to the relocation center at Fort Chaffee (others were at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Camp Pendleton in California, and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania) and flown to Fort Smith. “I learned English and tried to learn something about how to look for a job,” he says. “Somebody came in and talked about it every day.” Like most of the refugees, Nguyen’s stay at Fort Chaffee was brief, only two or three months. He was placed with a sponsor family in El Dorado after that, but in 1976 he moved back to Fort Smith. “I went out and found a job and worked and worked until about four years ago,” says Long, who is now 65. He worked at Trane for most of his career, then owned a gas station for 10 years, and is still living in Fort Smith.

‘The first things they taught us’ Another was Thao Le, who was 32 and had been living in a relocation camp in Thailand for more than four months when he learned he was being relocated to America. On Sept. 15, 1975, he set foot for the first time in Arkansas. “It was very different,” he says. “We came

The contractual objectives and obligations of the second contract have been met, but there is no way to sum up all involved in this six-month project in humanity … Ours was an unforgettable people-to-people exchange. From the over 100-degree heat in summer classrooms to the first snowfall just before Thanksgiving, the Americans and Indochinese suffered and learned together ... The human contact between Indochinese and Americans has allowed thousands not only to acquire basic English skills but to establish relationships which restored confidence in the ability of human beings to transcend cultural barriers and appreciate in each other those qualities which make for universal brotherhood.



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Alumni+Friends DROP US A LINE!

Get Involved! ith the spring semester now over, I must say your Alumni Association has kept a very busy calendar for the last several months, recapped below. If you missed out on our events this spring, though, it’s not too late! Most of our activities will become annual traditions. As you read through our spring recap, I encourage you to think about how you would like to become a part of this in the future. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please contact me or visit • Former athletes returned to campus to celebrate the women’s basketball program with Coach Whorton. • Our alumni office brought breakfast to alumni employees at Arkansas Best Freight and USA Truck. • Our Student Alumni Association produced many events, including a clothes drive for Fort Smith’s Golden Rule Clothes Closet. • The Easter Bunny and our Numa mascot were joined by nearly 200 alumni and their children at our Alumni Easter Egg Hunt. • Little Rock-area alumni mingled with current students at a reception at the Manees House in North Little Rock. • The 1972 baseball team reunited with Coach Crowder and Coach Harpenau at a pre-game reception. • The UAFS community celebrated Numa’s Birthday with cheer performances, hot dogs, and cookie cake. • The Alumni Advisory Council and Young Alumni Council held meetings at the Alumni Center. This fall, we’ll continue to provide opportunities for you to connect with UAFS at events like Freshman Convocation, Career Week, Alumni Weekend, and, of course, Alumni Reunions! If volunteering at any of these sounds like fun, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (479) 788-7026 or


ELIZABETH S. UNDERWOOD Executive Director of Alumni Affairs


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012



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 or mail it to Alumni Office, UAFS, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913.

as a missionary doctor to the Dominican Republic for 20 years before returning to the U.S. to fly for Northwest Airlines.



Charles R. Preston ’72 was recently named to the adjunct graduate faculty in the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming and was invited to convene a plenary session at the Fourth International Wildlife Management Congress in Durban, South Africa, in July 2012.

Warren E. McLellan ’41, a noted World War II pilot who flew in the Pacific Theatre, passed away August 24, 2011. He is survived by Wanda Stewart McLellan ’42, whom he married in 1944, and by their two sons, six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

1960s Ramon Elkins ’61 is a semiretired accountant who does compassion ministry in Ecuador. He is also involved, through Central Christian Church, with a number of international students from UAFS, who, he writes, have “broadened his vision of the world.” Gary C. Hicks, M.D. ’68, now retired in Oklahoma City, served

Robert ’74 and Rhonda Bishop Yarberry ’78 retired at the end of the 2011-12 academic year after 37 and 28 years, respectively, in education. Allyson Dalley ’79 earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington

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and then her master’s from Tarleton State University. She works at a Christian counseling office and runs the website After graduating, Claire Flynn ’79 moved to Denver, then Houston, then back to Arkansas. Along the way, she has been an ESL teacher, a writer, a director, an administrator, a tutor, a nanny, and part-owner of a quilt shop.

1980s After spending 20 years teaching English at Alma High School, Cheryl Mickle Watson Higginbotham ’80 moved to Ramsey Junior High in 2004 to teach oral communications. She is now in her 29th year of teaching. One of her two sons will be a freshman at UAFS this fall. Jack James ’81 earned his bachelor’s in secondary education from UCA and married Shelley DePierne James ’86, who holds a bachelor’s in business from UCA. Shelley works at Golden Living; James teaches at Lavaca Schools. The couple have four children, two of whom are students at UAFS. George McGill ’81 recently announced his candidacy for the Arkansas House of Representatives in District 78, which includes downtown Fort Smith and the north side. He is a 1990 graduate of Leadership Fort Smith. Angela M. Perkins ’82 worked for 24 years as an RN before transitioning to the oil and gas business, in which she has worked for 10 years. “What I learned in the nursing program gave me more than just a career,” she wrote. “It gave me hope to live in the now.”

Brett Peters ’87 was recently promoted to the position of president and CEO of Hawkins-Weir Engineers, Inc. Peters also serves as president of the Mountainburg School Board and is a member of the Citizens Bank & Trust board of directors.

1990s Jim Mills ’92, who teaches history at the University of Texas at Brownsville, recently published Memories of Fort Brown and Other Select Interviews: An Oral History Project. After playing basketball at Westark, Neil Rice ’92 went on to play at Idaho State and then, for a short time, played professionally in Japan. He lives in Fort Smith with his wife and four children and works at Georgia-Pacific. Dr. Ken Jones ’94, who recently defended his dissertation, is an assistant professor of information systems and supply chain management at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University. Dr. Vance Johnson Lewis ’97 has completed his doctoral studies in business management and higher education at Oklahoma State University and has joined the faculty in the Department of Management at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Little Rock. He currently serves as senior pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Alma. Roneka Jackson Grooms ’05 married Brian Grooms ’09’11 in 2009, and in 2011 they welcomed a son, Brian Grooms, Jr. James Perry ’06 and Jodi Weaver Perry ’07 welcomed a daughter, Cadence Joy, in 2011. Jeremy May ’07 has just purchased his first business, Carnival Party, in Greenwood.

Carrie Anne Craig Feero ’08—who holds a master’s from John Brown University and works at Perspectives Behavioral Health Management—married Ryan Feero on December 11, 2010 in Fort Smith. She starts her doctorate in counselor education and supervision this year. Samantha Dooley ’08 completed her master’s in curriculum and instruction at Arkansas State in December 2011. She teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math at Alma Middle School.

2000s Susan Mastin DeWoody ’00 was recently promoted to dean of degree completion and director of non-traditional programs at John Brown University. After graduation, Aaron Matthews ’04 earned a master’s in divinity from the Missionary Baptist Seminary in

Sweepstakes, in which the odds of winning were 1 in 10.9 billion. Among the 10 friends he chose to take to the game were Charity Bilyeu ’11 (pictured with Zane) and his sister, current UAFS student Ashley Hight.

2010s This January, Jason ’10 and Mandy Lasiter Keyes ’03 welcomed a son, Lawson Jace, weighing 7 lbs., 14 oz. and measuring 20 inches long.

Alicia Wieburg ’10 married Mike Parker ’11 on May 14, 2011. Alicia, who is currently in graduate school, has secured a position with Rich Products Corporation; Mike has accepted a position at Walmart’s home office in Bentonville. John Shane Griffin ’11 has finished his first year of law school at the University of Arkansas and will do an externship this summer with the Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office. Trae Norton ’11 will be attending the William H. Bowen School of Law at UALR this fall. “I look forward to applying the work ethic that was shaped at UAFS to law school and representing my alma mater proudly,” he writes. Mary Moore Manus ’10 works as a licensed practical nurse at Cooper Clinic. She and her husband, Joshua, are expecting their first child this year.

In 2011, Zane Hight ’09 won Visa’s “You + 10” Super Bowl



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Alumni Advisory Council Named

55 Years and Counting Back in 1953, Joe Reed ’54 was fresh out of the Army and a star on coach Ted Skokos’s Fort Smith Junior College basketball team. Wilma Hopkins Reed ’55 was homecoming queen. She thought Joe was cute, he clearly knew a good thing when he saw one, and they married in 1957. “The wedding was set for April,” says Joe. “Anyway, I got the flu. I never been so sick in all my life.” “The cake was already baked, so the bakery had to put it in the freezer,” says Wilma, who doesn’t seem to mind this story at all. “Everybody who knew him thought he was just trying to get out of it.” “Boy, I was sick!” Joe says. “But a week later, they dressed me up and took me to church and I got married. It was April 12, and there was snow all over the ground.” Today, 55 years later, the Reeds are both retired and living in Little Rock. So, any advice for newlyweds from the couple that’s made it work for so long? “It isn’t easy!” Wilma says, laughing brightly. Then, turning to her husband, she adds, “I guess it was good you were out of town a lot.” “You know, that makes a lot of difference,” agrees Joe, who traveled often as a federal credit union examiner. “I retired eight years before she did, and I did most of the cooking for those eight years. And she didn’t complain one time about supper.” “Nope,” Wilma says. “I thought I was pretty good, but I don’t know,” says Joe, in that sly way experienced husbands have of fishing for a compliment. “He did pretty well,” says Wilma, in that sly way experienced wives have of giving one when it’s well-deserved. — Eric Francis


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012


Joe ’54 and Wilma Hopkins Reed ’55 with Numa during Alumni Weekend, October 2011.

“The purpose of the Alumni Advisory Council,” says Executive Director of Alumni Affairs Elizabeth Underwood, “is to create a network of committed alumni leaders for the Alumni Association. The Council will offer insight and direction for future alumni programming and will also contribute leadership and support. All members have a passion for UAFS, whether their history was with Westark or Fort Smith Junior College.” The new, eight-member council met on April 28 in Fort Smith, where they elected officers and discussed the mission and vision of the Alumni Association. The council will meet twice a year on the UAFS campus and twice more by teleconference. Additional members will be added annually, with applications accepted in the spring. Contact Underwood at (479) 788-7026 or for further details. The inaugural class includes: Terrence S. Carter of Arkadelphia, Upward Bound director at Ouachita Baptist University.

Rebecca Hurst of Fayetteville, co-founder and managing partner of Smith-Hurst, PLC, a regional law firm in Fayetteville. Karla Jacobs of Fort Smith, a community volunteer who has served as president of the Fort Smith Museum of History, the Volunteer Connection, and the Children’s Service League. Chester Koprovic of Fort Smith, chair of Boyd Metals, SVC, KOPCO-NWC, and Butler and Cook, Inc. Warren L. Rapert of Coppell, Texas, vice president for finance and CFO with the transportation and logistics company Trans-Trade. Pamela Tolliver Rice of Arlington, Texas, administrative coordinator for a six-doctor specialist medical practice in Dallas. Rick Rice of Arlington, Texas, manager of campus services at Dallas Theological Seminary. Randy Wewers of Atlanta, retired senior vice president and chief technology officer of the credit reporting agency Equifax. MORE ONLINE: For more complete bios of council members, visit






Tolliver Rice



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Wanted: Photos from Your Time at UAFS! You can also send prints to Alumni Assocation, UAFS, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913, and we’ll scan them and get them right back to you.


Here at the alumni office, we’ve got a complete library of yearbooks, from FSJC’s first year all the way through 2003, when yearbook publication stopped. We refer to them all the time, and alumni love flipping through them at events. But it seemed like a shame that we have no similar record of what went on here from 2003 until now, so we decided to do something about it. The Alumni Association is leading an effort to create a “decade book”—a yearbook-style publication covering UAFS’s first 10 years as a university, from 2002 to 2012. So where do you come in? We need your photos from those years! Please email pictures of student activities, events, athletics, campus, etc., along with caption information like names, dates, and locations to

ALUMNI EGG-STRAVAGANZA— With brilliant sunshine and the temperature hovering just below 90, it was almost too warm for the first UAFS Alumni Easter Egg Hunt, held April 1 on the UAFS campus. Around 70 adults and 120 kids showed up for face painting, pictures with Numa and the Easter Bunny, and a joyful scramble after the 1,500 goody-filled eggs scattered across the Campus Green and under the big oaks on either side of it.



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Alumni Weekend Set for Oct. 19-20 We’ve set the date for Alumni Weekend 2012: Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20. Please save those dates for a great weekend of camaraderie, reminiscence, and fun, with receptions, meals, tailgating, and entertainment. Alumni weekend will again coincide with Homecoming, so we anticipate the whole campus coming together to celebrate! Watch the mail for your invitation coming soon, and stay tuned to for developing details. Remember too that Alumni Weekend is for all alumni and friends of UAFS, Westark, and KEVIN LEDFORD

FSJC. If you don’t receive an invitation but would like to join us, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (877) 303-8237. If you’d like to help out as a volunteer, call the same number or email Alumni Executive Director Elizabeth Underwood at


‘Determination to Better Oneself’


BELL TOWER spring/summer 2012


At four, Lap Bui ’93 was drifting, along with a dozen or more family members, in his aunt’s fishing boat miles off the Vietnamese coast, slowly starving while the family waited and hoped an American ship would rescue them. After perhaps two weeks at sea, one did, and dropped Bui and the others in Guam. Three months later, they were at Fort Chaffee, just outside Fort Smith, along with thousands of other refugees from the Vietnam War, waiting to be “sponsored out.” At 14, after spending his childhood in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where a Catholic church had sponsored the family, Bui was back in Fort Smith, attending Northside High. The family had returned because one of Bui’s sisters lived in town and they had an opportunity to buy a gas station and Vietnamese grocery. They still weren’t well-off, though, and Bui worked throughout high school. At 19, he was a sophomore at Westark Community College, still working full-time but also holding down an internship at Baldor Electric Company, where he worked with the applications team, studying electric motors and motor failures. Now, at 41, Bui, who lives in Fort Smith with his wife and young daughter, is back on campus, dressed comfortably in a white polo shirt, jeans, and a new pair of cowboy boots. He never left Baldor (a member of the ABB Group), and he’s now one of the company’s international directors of business development, traveling the globe to oversee its technical and commercial support centers. On the terrace outside the Lion’s Den dining hall, he and his younger brother Bao, a successful IBM executive, are reflecting on leading lives they couldn’t possibly have dreamed of 37 years

Lap Bui ’93 at the Lion Den dining hall, April 2012.

ago on that boat in the South China Sea—and on the relentless hard work that got them where they are. “It’s quite humbling,” says Bui, whose parents speak little English and whose mother doesn’t read or write in any language, “but we’re proud of our achievements, too. It was just work ethics and the determination to better oneself—I think that was probably the key.”


C3_UAFS_SPSU12:alum news 5/19/12 4:38 AM Page C3

‘I COULD JUST HEAR IT’— Fort Smith Symphony Director John Jeter didn’t know exactly what he was getting himself into last spring when he asked Don Bailey (right), director of jazz studies at UAFS, to compose a musical history of rock and roll for the symphony. Neither did Bailey, it turns out, who started writing over the summer, took a sabbatical to write through the fall, and finished the piece just in time for the April 25 premiere. The conductor’s score for the resulting symphony is 419 pages long, with 39 songs—all of them original—evoking the work of 33 artists ranging from Robert Johnson to Lady Gaga. The concert itself featured elaborate staging and lighting and a cast of nearly 200, including not only the symphony, but also UAFS students, faculty, and staff; several local musicians like guitarist Gary Hutchison; and even Mayor Sandy Sanders as narrator. So how do you write an original song that sounds unmistakably like a particular artist—Little Richard, say, or Hendrix, or Chicago? Well, says Bailey, first you pick a few of their signature hits and analyze them musically and lyrically to form an idea of what it was that made them sound like they did (or do). “I’d make a bullet list of what they were about,” Bailey says. “Chord progression, kinds of chords, kinds of lyrics, kinds of time stuff they did. If they liked to write in minor keys, for example, or they liked syncopations, or they really liked guitar solos. Then I’d make a chord chart, and then I’d start sketching out the melodies and counter-melodies.” The result was a song that was unmistakably Nirvana, or Kiss, or Metallica—but wasn’t. Bailey wrote by hand with a sharp pencil, working from eight to 14 hours a day, mostly at a back table in the local Panera. “It had to be a restaurant,” Bailey says. “There had to be noise. But I couldn’t listen to rock. Panera plays a lot of classical and easy listening, and I could write like an animal under that stuff. The weird thing was I hardly ever used any instruments. It was just all in my head. Most people have to sit at a piano with a pencil in their mouth. I could just hear it.”

C4_UAFS_SPSU12:covers 1&4 5/18/12 2:42 AM Page C4

Bell Tower UAFS Alumni Association P.O. Box 3649 Fort Smith, AR 72913


A Look Back IN 1969, REGISTRATION TOOK PLACE IN THE OLD gym (today’s Fitness Center, which was, at the time, the new gym), where students stood in line with their paperwork at a series of stations while faculty members manually tracked enrollment in each class section. One of those faculty members was Carolyn McKelvey Moore (seated), who had come to Westark the year before to start, from scratch, the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program and was admitting her very first class that year. Moore would go on to lead not only the highly successful nursing program but the entire Division of Health Occupations until 1984, earning her doctorate along the way. Then, in 1987, after a stint as Dean of Instruction at a community college in Texas, Moore returned to Fort Smith as Executive Director of the fledgling Westark Foundation, where she grew the institution’s endowment from less than $100,000 to more than $20 million over the course of her 15-year tenure. In 2002, when she left UAFS to serve as Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Sparks Health System after more than 30 years of service to the university, the Carolyn McKelvey Moore School of Nursing at UAFS was named in her honor. Today, she remains a treasured friend of the university, still active in fundraising and still charming everyone she meets with her light-up-the-room smile.

Bell Tower, Spring/Summer 2012  

The Alumni Magazine of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

Bell Tower, Spring/Summer 2012  

The Alumni Magazine of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith