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Spring 2015

Dr. T. Elon Dancy

My Brother's Keeper Changing national views on engaging african-american males


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UNSTOPPABLE

The Youth Motivation Task Force Program brought in Lana "MC Lyte" Moorer to encourage UAPB students, faculty and staff on being powerful in their purpose. After the assembly, she gave the audience a history lesson in Hip Hop when she showed her DJ skills. Photos by Brian T. Williams

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Contents 5 6 27 42 47

Chancellor’s Letter News & Events Recap Class Notes In Memoriam

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my brother's keeper

T. ELON DANCY

by Donna Mooney | Photography by Brian T. Williams. He experienced the ideal environment at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). He is using his experiences to share best practices to nurture the development of black males in college as well as other educational settings to see what kind of influence it has on their identity.

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THEN AND NOW

Story by Donna Mooney. Photos by Brian T. Williams. Historic images courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center. Although the Vesper has enjoyed almost 70 years of tradition and excellence in vocal music, the sound of progress is even sweeter.

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STAYING AFLOAT

Story by William Hehemann. Photos by David Stonner, staff photographer for the Missouri Department of Conservation Conserving an aquatic ecosystem isn't easy - reviving one on the brink of extinction is even more difficult.

Spring 2015 3


Volume 2 No. 1 Chancellor

Dr. Laurence B. Alexander Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Development

James B. Tyson, CFRE Editor-in-Chief

Tisha D. Arnold Copy Editor

Donna Mooney Creative Director

Brian T. Williams Contributing Writers

Tisha D. Arnold Staphea Campbell Donna Mooney William Hehemann Contributing Photographers

Brad Mayhugh Richard Redus David Stonner Brian T. Williams Correspondence and Address Changes

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ATTN: Pride Magazine 1200 N. University Drive, Mail Slot 4789 Pine Bluff, AR 71601 870.575.8946 Email

pridemag@uapb.edu Website

www.uapb.edu/pridemag Pride Magazine is published three times a year by the office of Institutional Advancement and Development at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a member of the University of Arkansas System.

GOING UP.

The passion Leon Jones, III has in helping others resulted in a world of opportunities to broaden his reach. Read more on page 30.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations. The university has pledged not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. This policy extends to all educational, service and employment programs of the university. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604. Let Us Know What You Think! We want to know what you think of this issue of PRIDE. To share your opinions, email us at pridemag@uapb.edu.

STAY CONNECTED facebook.com/uapinebluff twitter.com/uapbinfo youtube.com/uapbtelevision instagram.com/uapb uapbnews.wordpress.com

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


CHANCELLOR'S LETTER

It is with great “Golden Lion” enthusiasm that we greet you with the Spring 2015 issue of PRIDE Magazine. I am pleased to keep you informed of the many exciting programs, initiatives and activities in which our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are involved. We have had some interesting events since the last publication, and I am delighted to share some of the achievements with you via this edition. As you peruse the latest edition of PRIDE, you will notice some of the progress this university has made over the past few months. With the opening of our new state-of-the-art STEM Building and Conference Center and with the second Homeruns and Heroes fundraiser featuring AllStar Baseball player Torii Hunter, our university has made enormous strides. During this latter event, we raised more than $100,000 toward the completion of our Torii Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex, which you can read more about in this issue. Both of these were spectacular events that were well attended by alumni and other supporters of UAPB. We are striving to not only grow bigger as a university but also better for our students. We continue to focus on providing the best educational experience in a nurturing environment. Studying abroad is an opportunity for our students to enhance their cultural skills and educational experience. Beginning in the summer 2015 semester, our students will be able to study abroad in China as part of an agreement between the Chinese government and a number of HBCUs. The partnership with the Chinese government will enable us to provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students for enrollment at one of the participating Chinese universities. We have some extraordinary individuals who comprise our UAPB family and continue to demonstrate why they are among the best in the state of Arkansas and nation. This issue features several of them including: the John McLinn Ross Players, Dr. Husny Dahlan, and Dr. Mansour Mortazavi. You will read about alumni such as Mrs. Tammie Hall, President of the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association; Mr. Leon Jones, Director of Labor for the state of Arkansas; and our cover story on, Dr. Theodis Dancy, who is a tenured

associate professor of Adult & Higher Education, African & African American Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma. This magazine serves as an avenue to highlight all entities that we take “pride” in at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. I applaud and thank each of you for your continued support of the university. As we move forward with renewed enthusiasm and energy, let us pledge to continue to work together toward a better future for our students and our university. Enjoy reading this issue, all while taking pride in UAPB! Sincerely,

Laurence B. Alexander, J.D., Ph.D. Chancellor

Spring 2015 5


NEWS & EVENTS

Spirit Assembly Children from the UAPB Child Development show their pride during the Black and Gold Spirit Assembly. Above, the cheerleaders pep up the crowd to get ready for the rest of the week.

Coronation Miche'la Martin was crowned as the 85th Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and enjoys a dance with Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander.

HOMECOMING 2014 With the theme, “Fear the Roar,” Homecoming 2014 included the Gospel Extravaganza that featured former Sunday Best contestant Rome Washington, Jazz in the Café, Black and Gold Spirit Assembly, Coronation, Alumni Assembly, Step Show at the HPER and Parade. Homecoming 2015 will be held November 8-14. Photos by Richard Redus and Brian T. Williams.

Homecoming Parade UAPB First Lady Mrs. Veronica Alexander sits atop a Corvette as she waves to the crowd.

The Marching Musical Machine of the Midsouth has been featuring alumni members for the pas two years at the halftime show. Former drum majors, musicians, Golden Girls, Golden Silks and twirlers like Darian were able to relive their college memories and perform for the crowd.

At far left: one of the newly purchased UAPB Charter buses makes its debut at the parade. On opposite page: Chancellor Alexander shows his support for the campaign to benefit UAPB student scholarships during the Alumni Assembly.

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


PERSPECTIVE Below: Held in the newly opened STEM Building, attendees of the Annual Donor's Banquet mingle during the reception before the event.

Junior Miss, Little Mister and Little Miss UAPB were poised as they took their places during the Coronation ceremony.

The Marching Musical Machine of the Midsouth opens the Homecoming Parade with ear-catching rhythm, brass and woodwinds. More than 100 organizations were represented in the parade.

Dr. Dorothy Magett-Fiddmont unveils the cover of the coveted coffee table book, New Millennium Leaders, named in her honor at the Donor's Banquet.

At left: Dr. Dorothy MagettFiddmont and UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander are photographed with Patrick Sanders, one of the alumni featured in the publication.

...COMPARABLE EVENTS ARE HARD TO FIND... Homecoming Weeks At HBCUs

AN EXCERPT FROM AN ARTICLE BY DR. ROGER C. WILLIAMS, JR.

Few events can rival homecoming weeks at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). During these festive reunions, friendships born before careers took flight are oiled by old memories that were produced when youth was taken for granted and dreams were filled with hazy images of promise and possibility. Upon their return to the places where memories were made, graduates notice that the campuses appear different - their old stomping ground has been enhanced by the annexation of property where new state-of-the-art buildings stand. The curriculum offerings brag about new classes and programs that make their alma mater more appealing to a larger population of inquiring students of all ages. But wait, let's not get ahead of ourselves. We want to chronicle every precious moment of the rituals that make homecoming weeks at HBCUs cherished occasions that arouse immense pride in its returning graduates. The homecoming pep assembly---usually held the day before the big game---cranks up the graduate's excitement one more notch. Classes are seated together all around the gym according to the year they graduated. The homecoming parade has to be considered one of the reunion's highlights. While standing along the parade route on the day of the big game, the graduate's mind may drift back to the night before or contemplate the night's activities ahead. These occasions are filled with hugs, smiles, picturetaking, jokes, laughter, memorial observances, food and music that graduates danced to during their college years. After the parade that stirs up the graduate's pride again, the tailgating begins in stadium parking lots that are overflowing with friendly tailgaters--- many wearing their fraternity and sorority sweaters. When the football game nears the end of the first quarter, graduates are so overwhelmed with the immensity of homecoming week that the play-by-play details of the game take on the role of background music. The cheerleaders prance, jump and yell reminding old graduates, in particular, of the benefits of youth. AND THEN REALITY STRIKES. Those feelings of pride that visited the emotional banks of returning graduates---periodically throughout homecoming week---are the rewards of work and financial contributions donated to HBCUs by some whose names will never be known "as if they had never been." Those feelings of pride---sensed by HBCU graduates---must be felt again by students in future generations. HBCUs are still needed in the twenty-first century. HBCU graduates and supporters must be thankful that Historically Black Colleges and Universities accepted some of its graduates when other institutions of higher education kept their doors closed. Being thankful means that an HBCU will receive your financial contribution in the near future. Dr. Roger C. Williams, Jr. is a retired principal who has an interest in history and politics. Spring 2015 7


NEWS & EVENTS

EMBODY REVOLUTION

Jeff Johnson encourages graduates By Tisha D. Arnold | PHOTO BY RICHARD REDUS

169 students graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff during Fall 2014 commencement exercises at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Jeff Johnson, journalist, youth advocate and thought leader was present to deliver the commencement address. In the midst of the pomp and circumstance, Johnson admitted that this was also a time to celebrate their triumph in an informal way. He invited students and their families to have a moment in appreciation of the journey 8

they’ve experienced to get to this point. He brought attention to those that are first generation college graduates, those that may have had to surmount financial challenges, the families that invested in them and the faculty that worked hard to prepare them to start this new chapter in life. As Johnson reflected on the recent occurrences of police brutality against young black males, protests from multiple communities in reaction to legal decisions and his interview with United States President Barack Obama,

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

he talked about the need for revolution and the many ways it can be embodied. He noted that revolution is necessary and we need to decide if it will be peaceful or whether it will be violent. “[Whatever] field you’re going into, there is disruption that has to take place if the changes that are necessary and all that we have learned at this institution are ever to be meaningful,” Johnson said. “No one leads a field by being a coward [by] following the path that has been provided or doing what everyone tells them to do.” He also expressed his frustration with historically black universities and challenged them to not lose sight of building leaders that challenge authority and push the rules because the ones that make the most money don’t follow the rules. Johnson used his signature fiery, thought-provoking delivery style to challenge graduates to allow the revolution that is already in them to blossom and not be afraid to go against the grain to make change. “Can you do what is different to be able to change that which the status quo says is the only thing that can be successful?” asked Johnson. “The very work that you do in the next 5-10 years isn’t just about providing financial stability, opportunities and degrees and things for yourself,” said Johnson. “It is to inspire those that are watching that you don’t know are watching you.” As his speech came to a close, he stated that this generation is the greatest he’s ever seen and is able to process things in ways no one else has, possesses vision no one else has and should be able to go farther than anyone else ever dreamed. “What do your hands tell you can build, create, tear down and lift up?” asked Johnson. “If all you do is get the degree and go get a job that gives you the ability to get a check, you are wasting every talent that God gave you. If you step out into the world stating it’s not about the paper, it’s about the call on my life, the gifts within me and the hands I can use – you can change the world.”


Q&A UAPB Baseball Coach Carlos James quips with Torii Hunter on memories of Pine Bluff, lessons learned from Hunter's road to success and how to stay grounded.

HOMERUNS AND HEROES

Homeruns and Heroes has become the premiere fundraising event for the Torii J. Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex. Held again at the Governor's mansion, tickets were sold out and attendees were engaged in all things baseball. Hunter was joined by his colleague Clifton Lee to round out the evening. Photos by Brian T. Williams. Special Gift Torii Hunter presents special gifts to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and his wife in appreciation of their support of the institution. Below: Several members of the Baseball and Softball teams were present to greet guests and help with the flow of the evening.

Members of the John McLinn Ross Players from UAPB presented a customized version of Amos & Andy's Who's on First, What's on Second? Their performance was riveting and was a refreshing change to the format of the event. UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander extends a warm welcome to the crowd as the event began.

Members of Torii Hunter's mentoring program were in attendance to enjoy the festivities

Unexpected Honor Dr. Stephen Broughton represented the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees as he presented Torii Hunter with an Honorary Doctorate Degree at the event. He was astounded and was almost without words as he hugged Governor Hutchinson. Spring 2015 9


NEWS & EVENTS At right: Henri Linton, founder of the Chancellor's Benefit of the Arts discusses upcoming initiatives as he reflects on the importance of the Arts Below: Sissy Jones, one of the honorees of the evening extends her gratitude for recognition of their contributions

The UAPB Jazz Ensemble presented music for the evening and featured talented solo musicians and vocalists

CHANCELLOR'S BENEFIT FOR THE ARTS The annual Chancellor's Benefit for the Arts explored the kaleidoscope of facets that embody the Arts and its effect on the quality of life of those that are exposed to it. Photos by Richard Redus

UAPB student Clarence Stokes and his group the Showstoppers presented a number of dances throughout the evening

Angela Griffith-Newkirk served as the Mistress of Ceremonies

UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander extends greetings to attendees as the evening begins

Members of the Percussion Ensemble presented and African Drum performance during the event

The Honorees are photographed with Chancellor Alexander at the summit of the evening: (l-r)Henry Trotter; Gerald Alley; Troy Alley; Henri Linton and Sissy Jones 10

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Chancellor and Mrs. Laurence and Veronica Alexander stand with Interim Art Department Chair Danny Campbell as they accept their appreciation award


TEA TIME

Art professor displays ceramic teapots at International Exhibition

At right: Dow’annahar (Daylight) teapot by Dr. Husny Dahlan

Dr. Husny Dahlan, Associate Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is currently showing his ceramics at the Third Annual International Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art, which opened earlier this month at the LuminArte Fine Arts Gallery in Dallas, Texas. Two of Dahlan’s teapots entitled Nour (Light) and Dow’annahar (Daylight) are included in this exhibition. The series continues his exploration of the modern vessel, where a utilitarian ware is transformed into a sculptural object to reflect a whimsical interplay of form and light. The Pine Bluff artist, who prefers to remain at the forefront of contemporary art, has been successful at challenging our traditional notion of design and utility by reinterpreting classic Islamic patterns and shapes into a new visual expression. Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, Chair of the Department of Art History at Cornell University, previewed and selected the artworks for the show. He reminded viewers in his foreword to the catalog that for a long time “the academic conception of ‘Islamic art’ has been shackled with Orientalist assumptions: Islamic art was expressed only in specific materials (carpets, metalwork, architecture); addressed only a limited number of themes; and died out with the advent of modernity.”

This once prevailing view is now mostly a thing of the past. The styles, themes and modes of expression in the exhibition attest to the artists’ engagement with relevant issues of the day ranging from feminism and politics to culture and spirituality. The works presented are equally as diverse as the participants. From painting and sculpture to large-scale installation the work of 46 artists from 17 nations from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas are featured in the show. About half of the artists are non-Muslim, inspired by some aspects of Islamic art and culture. All are adding fresh insights to our appreciation of contemporary Islamic art by redefining their roles as global artists, storytellers, social critics, visual poets and visionaries. In Mr. Dahlan’s view the exhibition lends an important contribution to American culture. “The artworks are excellent and timely,” said Dahlan. “I wish members of our local community could see the show.”

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NEWS & EVENTS

BUS TOUR

LAKE VILLAGE

MARCH 13

The bus tour continues to travel to key parts of Arkansas to raise awareness for the institution and the great opportunities it has to offer. Since its inaugural trip in October 2014, the bus tour has visited Little Rock, El Dorado, Stuttgart, Helena, Texarkana and Memphis, Tennessee.

TEXARKANA

MEMPHIS

DECEMBER 10

STUTTGART

APRIL ��

OCTOBER �0

LITTLE ROCK

DECEMBER

�0

HELENA

OCTOBER

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EL DORADO

OCTOBER 12 12

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


OPEN FOR INNOVATION By David Hutter | OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF Photos by Richard Redus

Gov. Mike Beebe and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, UA System, state and local leaders joined in opening a new $10 million STEM Building and Conference Center at an open house ceremony Tuesday filled with students. UAPB Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development Mary E. Benjamin welcomed hundreds of people to the ceremony. The construction began in November 2012 to erect the 29,000-square-foot building. It features classrooms, a wet lab, a study lounge, a computer laboratory, a conference room, a conference center and a reflective pool. “We celebrate a bright and glorious day,” Benjamin said. “We pause to celebrate this university and our commitment to STEM research. Our program is a long and great story.” The STEM Academy enrolls 229 students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Benjamin said. These students have an average ACT score of 22 and a retention rate of 93.9 percent. Benjamin thanked all the stakeholders for advocating for the project and pointed to the students as the reason for its existence. UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander praised the stakeholders for believing in the students. The building will bring benefits to students, employers and taxpayers, he said.

Pictured (l-r): Senator Stephanie Flowers, Director of Development Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall, ADHE director Shane Broadway, Representative Henry "Hank" Wilkins, III; STEM Academy President Christopher Jones, Dr. Mary E. Benjamin, Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development; Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander

“This is a great day in the life of UAPB,” Alexander said. “We express our sincere gratitude for sharing this special day with us.” Many people worked in planning and securing money for this building, he said. “Today this building signifies the broadening of horizons and our making advancements in careers that contribute to economic prosperity,” Alexander said. Alexander became UAPB chancellor in summer 2013. On his second day on the job, Alexander said he visited Gov. Mike Beebe and asked for $750,000 toward the building. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

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NEWS & EVENTS

Above: Attendees of the STEM Building opening walk through the impressive two-story lobby of the structure as they tour the building. At right: UAPB STEM Scholars are on hand to greet visitors in the wet lab to discuss the purpose of the room and the impact the program has on their development as students and research professionals.

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Beebe smiled while listening to Alexander and later said that Alexander was not afraid to ask for money on behalf of the university. Beebe said he expects UAPB students to gain knowledge, be innovative and make a positive difference. Arkansas has a higher percentage of students entering college prepared to succeed than it did in 2005, Beebe said. Beebe is prevented by term limits from seeking another term. Tuesday’s election selected his successor. “I am going home to let the television watch me and sit in a comfortable chair,” Beebe said. “I am going to rest. The greatest number of higher paying jobs will be careers in science, technology, engineering and math.” Beebe said that people improve their lives through education. The new facility gives opportunities for Americans to earn an education and be successful, he said. “People are the sum of their work ethic and skill level,” Beebe said. “When I go home, I want to leave Arkansas in a better position than when I was elected. Is our next generation taking the torch? Education gave me a chance to achieve the American dream.” Beebe said that other nations are trying to surpass America in terms of innovation. He urged the students to work hard and look to the future. Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Shane Broadway said that the building will enable students to have opportunities for advancement. Turning his attention to Beebe, Broadway said: “You are leaving Arkansas better and students will have a better life because of you.”

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt said the idea for such a building came during an economic recession. But that did not doom the project, Bobbitt said, calling Benjamin a squeaky wheel in advocating for funding. “A project of this magnitude takes a long time,” Bobbitt said. “This building is an enabler for sharing innovations. The biggest winner is the state of Arkansas.” State Sen. Stephanie Flowers, D-25, recalled the groundbreaking ceremony from November 2012. “The golden hard hat is a symbol of hard work,” Flowers said. “With this academy, we are taking students to new heights.” State Rep. Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV, D-17, said that there are so many people who deserve credit in the creation of this building, yet their names are not listed in any publication. Turning his attention to Beebe, Wilkins said he knew Beebe “would help us if we were serious.” “I would not shut up until we got enough money to build this building,” Wilkins said. “The biggest issue was doing this project in one phase.” Wilkins said he suffered nightmares and his wife roused him because he was talking in his sleep about potential setbacks. UAPB STEM Scholars Academy President Christopher Jones thanked the stakeholders and challenged the students to pursue excellence. “We are excited to open and research the cure for cancer,” Jones said. Margaret Martin-Hall, UAPB director of Title III Program Administration and Office of Development, thanked the taxpayers. Without the taxpayers, ideas do not became realities, she said. “To all the people in the community who asked about our open house, it is today,” Martin-Hall said.


DE

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has been awarded the Innovation Award and the Alumni Engagement Award. The awards were presented by the Council of 1890 Universities of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities in Orlando, Florida. The Council presents 1890 teaching, research and innovation awards to honor achievements at the 18 land-grant universities created by the federal Morrill Act of 1890. All are historically black universities. Before the selection process, UAPB receives APLU awards for self-reported data from the 1890 Universities were submitted for innovation, alumni engagement retention rates, research revenue and expenditures and other measures of success. Each university then was evaluated among its peers with the winning institution demonstrating the most productivity in a given area. The Innovation Award was given for the largest increases in successfully transferring intellectual property into new products, processes, applications, materials or services that have been successfully taken to market from 2012-2013 through 2013-2014. UAPB shared the honor with North Carolina A&T State University. Among the innovations that UAPB researchers in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences have introduced recently involves a provisional patent. The invention, according to Dr. Trace Peterson, assistant professor of Regulatory Science at UAPB, will “revolutionize how vaccines, drugs and nutraceuticals are delivered to food fish (those fish in the aquaculture industry).” According to Dr. Peterson, the invention has the potential to “significantly reduce costs and waste associated with the current delivery methods, while improving efficacy.” “We are concurrently working on vaccine candidates, as a part of the patent, which addresses previously untreatable diseases of food fish in the aquaculture industry,” Peterson said. “The successful implementation of commercialized products resulting from this patentable research represents a major advancement in worldwide food security, as farmed fish are a dietary protein source in an ever increasing number of countries.” UAPB also received the Alumni Engagement Award for the largest increase in donations to the university by alumni from 2012-2013 through 2013-2014. “UAPB is committed to excellence in every facet of its endeavors,” said James B. Tyson, CFRE, vice chancellor for advancement and development. “I think our alumni see that occurring and are excited about being an integral part of the future of their alma mater.” UAPB experienced an increase of 33% in the number of alumni who donated and a 25% increase in the amount of alumni donations in the 2013-2014 Academic Year. “UAPB has invested years of segmented cultivation that is coming to fruition,” Director of Development Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall said. “Greater engagement of young alumni, implementation of student philanthropy and a renewed commitment from older alumni are all strategies we’re using to increase giving.” The Council of 1890 Universities is comprised of presidents and chancellors from the APLU’s historically black land-grant and public universities. It works to strengthen teaching, research and Extension programs, and it seeks to maintain, ensure and increase funding at these institutions. The awards are designed to bring exposure to these universities and add to the national dialogue regarding their significance. “I’m happy to see that our efforts in innovation and alumni engagement have been recognized by APLU,” said UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander. “The awards speak clearly of the dedicated research faculty, diligent staff and committed alumni we have at this institution.”

GENEROUS & INGENIOUS

RKANSAS AT PINE BLUFF, ACE WHERE A LEGACY

become a part of the pride

uapb.edu

Spring 2015 15


OPPORTUNITIES ABROAD

By William Hehemann | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Starting in the summer semester of the 2015-2016 academic year, students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will be able to study abroad in China as part of an agreement between the Chinese government and a list of other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). As a member of the HBCU-China Scholarship Network, UAPB will provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students for enrollment at any one of 25 universities participating in the program. Scholarships will cover periods ranging from four weeks to two years. “To our knowledge, this is the first time a major foreign government has extended scholarship opportunities to students at HBCU institutions,” Dr. Pamela Moore, associate director of the Office of International Programs at UAPB, said. The full scholarships will include tuition and room and board, while students are responsible for international airfare, visa fees, travel insurance and spending money while in China. A pilot group of thirteen UAPB students is tentatively scheduled to study in China for the summer 2015 semester. To be eligible for the scholarships, students must complete a humanities course entitled “Introduction to Chinese Culture.” “The inaugural course aims to provide students with a basic appreciation of Chinese language, history and culture,” Dr. Moore said. “In this regard, the course will play an important role in preparing students for the cross-cultural transition that will occur when they leave the U.S. and travel to China. A three-week online orientation administered by the HBCU-China Scholarship Network designed to teach students about the basics of living and studying abroad in China will be incorporated into the new course.

USAF GRANTS $725K Dr. Mansour Mortazavi, professor of Physics at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff received a $725,000 grant from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research to further develop new materials for advanced electronics devices. This cutting edge new material research will be done in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Arkansas. Photonics is the science of all things related to light, including generation, emission, transmission and sensing. Optoelectronics focuses on the development of electronic devices that source, detect and control light. The material – a combination of silicon, germanium and tin grown on silicon substrates – will create a so-called silicon optoelectronics “superchip” by improving processing speed, reliability and efficiency through combining photonic and silicon based devices. The technology will improve lasers, detectors in a wide range of applications such as lasers for medical use, infra-red detections, and in optical communications.

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Recruitment for the pilot group was conducted by a steering committee led by Dr. Moore, Dr. Madan Dey, professor of aquaculture economics and marketing, Dr. Yong Wui, professor of business administration and economics, Dr. Jessie Walker, interim chair of the Department of Computer Science, and Dr. Paul Lorenz, chair of the Department of English, Theatre and Mass Communication. The Introduction to Chinese Culture course, which is sponsored by the English department, will be offered yearly. Dr. Lorenz said he envisions the Chinese language program expanding in the coming years. “We anticipate developing a foreign language program in Mandarin Chinese so that students can continue to strengthen their language skills after they return from their first experience abroad in China,” Dr. Lorenz said. “As China is an emerging global economic power, mastering Mandarin Chinese can open doors to global opportunity for our students.” Dr. Moore said outreach efforts to recruit a second cohort of students to enroll in the introductory course and study in China commenced during UAPB’s International Education Week last semester and will continue this semester. “This is an awesome opportunity for our students,” UAPB Chancellor, Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, said. “The scholarship will enable our students to be prepared for a global society.” Many of the current lasers used for medical or communication applications are not the most efficient source for the task, but by developing these new photonics devices, more application-specific lasers tailored for specific task in medicine and optical communication can be developed. These new devices will also produce the desired photon energy to minimize the absorption in the medium absorption, and consequently less need for repeater with increased clarity, and speedy processing time. This increased processing time will tremendous help for ever increasing demand for larger storage capacity in computers and internet search engines. These researchers have already demonstrated the efficacy of silicon-germanium-tin as powerful semiconductor, one that addresses the problem of so-called “band gap indirectness,” which, in semiconductor physics, has to do with the momentum of electrons in various energy bands. This problem leads to inefficiencies because photons cannot be emitted in an indirect gap. The researchers will grow and characterize silicon-germanium-tin materials on silicon substrates through a process called ultra-highvacuum chemical vapor deposition, which is possible because of sophisticated equipment and machines in laboratories directed by Mortazavi, Yu Fisher and Hameed Naseem. Other primary tasks include development of germanium tin detectors and lasers and the establishment of a research consortium based on these new devices. The project includes funding for three positions, a postdoctoral researcher at UAPB and a doctoral and master’s student at the University of Arkansas. This team is also part of the currently funded solar cell research project funded by NSF-EPSCoR.


MC Lyte DJs after her YMTF speech in the H.O. Clemmons arena of the Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr. HPER Complex

MOTIVATED BY A MUSIC MOGUL The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff marked welcomed Lana "MC Lyte" Moorer as the keynote speaker for the annual Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) Program. During her speech, she urged students to force themselves to go beyond what's comfortable and always be in a state of wanting to learn and not limit themselves. After her speech, she entertained and educated attendees on the history of Hip Hop.

MC Lyte is presented with a plaque from Shirley Cherry, director of Career Services and Elbert Bennett, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

"If you're too afraid to say it, you're too afraid to be it. If you're too afraid to be it, you'll stay small." - MC Lyte PHOTOS BY BRIAN T. WILLIAMS

MC Lyte played selections that spanned the breadth of the beginning of the Hip Hop movement to popular songs. Students enjoyed every minute.

MC Lyte got her musical start as a radio personality and DJ. MC Lyte first appeared on the scene in 1988 with her debut album Lyte As A Rock. Since that time she has proven that greatness always prevails with a total of ten albums (9 plus a “GREATEST HITS”) to her credit. Lyte is the FIRST rap artist ever to perform at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall and the FIRST female rapper to ever receive a gold single.

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


IN PURSUIT OF A DREAM

Magazine editor urges UAPB students to pursue dreams By David Hutter | OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF PHOTOS BY RICHARD REDUS

Ebony magazine Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller encouraged University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students at a Black History Month celebration Tuesday to pursue their dreams each day. Miller shared her path to success. She recalled being a student at Florida A&M University and feeling sick during her senior year. Her friend prompted her to see a doctor, who conducted blood tests, charged $300 and asked her to return promptly. Miller called the doctor’s office back and told the receptionist that she would not return because of the monetary cost. The doctor waived the fee and urged her to return.

“I had the liver of a 60-year-old male alcoholic,” Miller told the students. “I objected to a liver transplant because I had reserved a hotel room for Mardi Gras. I am hard-headed. … The doctor told me I had three months [unless I got a new liver].”

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Spring 2015 19


Miller said she was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. Undaunted, Miller said she waited 18 months and received a new liver. She encouraged UAPB students to pursue their dreams and tailor them to something that intersects with a career path. Miller laughed while discussing her mindset as a freshman at Florida A&M University, intending to study biology. “The biology professor said we had to prick our finger and look at blood,” Miller said. “I switched classes and switched majors.” She chose English as a major, with plans of teaching. After being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, she realized that each day is an opportunity to achieve one’s dreams. “I survived a liver transplant. Great,” Miller said, “but I cannot be in a room with kids with germs because I am immune-compromised.” Uncertain about a career path, she took a sales and marketing job, hated it yet kept at it for nine months. She quit this job even though she did not have another offer because she was not happy. She instructed the UAPB students not to follow this particular example. One night Miller was hanging out with friends and heading out to a nightclub. She spotted an editor of Honey magazine, introduced herself and landed an internship. Miller said there is no secret to succeeding as she networks, hones her craft and works seven days a week. “To achieve greatness, you have to step out in faith,” Miller said. “You can never know too many people. If you are not getting a letter of recommendation, you are not getting hired.” She urged the students to advocate for oneself by asking for an interview, internship or job opportunity. She urged the students to connect with people, because people hire people they know. “Earning a college degree does not entitle you to anything,” Miller said. “I know I can do anything and you should know it too. “I went from playing softball at FAMU to lying in a hospital bed,” she said. “Now is the time to try, to fail and to try again. You made the right choice. … You wake up with options: to be complacent or to be excited.” A native of New York, Miller is a co- author of “The Vow: A Novel,” “The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life” and the Hotlanta young adult series. UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander lauded Miller as a “great leader of our nation.” As a Historically Black University, UAPB recognizes Americans who broke barriers to further equality, he said. Black History Month is an opportunity for all Americans to be united and learn from African-American pioneers, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he said. 20

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

NEW LEADERSHIP

UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association announces new President Tammie E. Hall, a 1993 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), has been elected President of the UAPB/ AM&N National Alumni Association. An Arkadelphia, Arkansas native, President Hall indicated that she is honored wholeheartedly to serve in this role. “This is a grand opportunity to continue to support the mission and vision of UAPB with a focus on growing the alumni membership,” said Ms. Hall. Her passion and love for her alma mater began as a student in 1988 working during the day and going to school at night. She later joined the Administration as an assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Finance. After relocating to North Carolina, Hall worked with Alumni Affairs to develop an alumni chapter in the area. They connected with over seventy (70) alum willing to work on behalf of UAPB. She was later asked to serve on the National Alumni Board by immediate past President Calvin Booker. Hall is the Sr. Regional Supplier Diversity Manager at Lend Lease in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. She is responsible for interpreting the needs and expectations of clients while strengthening company relationships with M/W/S/LBE firms and organizations to enhance small business contracting opportunities. Creating an innovative and unique Supplier Diversity Program, Hall has regional responsibility for California, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, DC and Maryland. Hall’s professional background includes serving as a finance specialist with Arthur Anderson/Anderson Consulting in Las Colinas, Texas. She also served for over 12 years as an administrator in higher education and worked as a congressional staffer for former U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson. In particular, Hall worked with Senator Hutchinson and the Secretary of Commerce staff to garner support for a $1.3 million grant for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff that was awarded to the Economic Research and Development Center for the establishment of the Business Support Incubator. Hall is a business graduate of UAPB and has received a number of awards for her leadership abilities and maintains memberships in several local and national organizations.


RAYE JEAN MONTAGUE INSPIRES By David Hutter | OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF PHOTO BY RICHARD REDUS

Retired engineer Raye Jean Montague discussed her life story Thursday at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff of overcoming racial and gender discrimination on the way to achieving her dream. When she was a 7-year-old girl, America captured a German submarine off the coast of South Carolina. She visited the submarine and became fascinated with the vessel and asked what kind of profession a person needed to have to work in maritime vessels. “I grew up in an era of segregation and I was told by many people I could not do a lot of things,” Montague said. “I had three strikes against me. I was female, black and growing up in the segregated South. Undaunted,

Montague enrolled at Arkansas AM&N (present-day University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) and graduated in 1956 with a degree in business. As a new college graduate, Montague said she moved to Washington, D.C., and began a career during which she broke through many glass ceilings. She worked harder than many male colleagues but was denied the same opportunities for advancement. Conversely, she said that her name was an asset in the sense that employers assumed that she was a male and hired her based on her resume. “The first person to call me in for an interview was the Navy,” Montague said. “They looked at my transcript and they said ‘you’ll know all about computers.’ I had never seen a

computer because Arkansas did not have computers in 1956.” But she taught herself to use a computer, learned programming codes and from there used those skills to design ships. Montague said some managers were blatantly sexist and others were racist. “One manager said, ‘you have the right name but the wrong sex,’” Montague said. “’I wish the guys worked as hard as you do. But I cannot stand women in management positions but I hope you stay here.’ I told him, ‘you bet I am leaving.’” Montague became a computer systems analyst at the Naval Ship Engineering Center and served as the program director for the Naval Sea Systems Command. She earned the U.S. Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1972, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Achievement Award in 1978. She retired in 1990 and was elected into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2013. Montague said she revised the first automated system for selecting and printing ship specifications and produced the first draft for the FFG-7 frigate in 18 hours. After being nominated for an award by the secretary of the Navy, Montague said someone threatened to kill her. “My life was threatened. Death threats were real,” Montague said. “A white man asked me not to accept the award because a white woman had not received the award. I told him I am accepting this award.” “God sends you what you need,” she said. “People put obstacles in your way. You find a way to achieve despite the system not because of the system.” Spring 2015 21


Samille Palm, a senior theatre performs as the title character of Hecuba by Euripedes

SCREAM VICTORY

UAPB Theatre department garners most wins at NADSA conference By Tisha D. Arnold | PHOTOS BY BRIAN T. WILLIAMS

The John McLinn Ross Players at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) returned to campus with several trophies and certificates from their award-winning performance at the annual National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts, Incorporated (NADSA, Inc.) competition. Held at Jackson State University, the group received awards in 10 out of 11 categories, giving them the most wins in the entire competition. 22

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

UAPB Director of Theatre Cheryl Collins is really proud of how hard the students worked. They were accompanied by Dr. Paul Lorenz, interim chair of the Department of English, Theatre and Mass Communication who was able to witness firsthand the level of talent present at UAPB.


Scenes from the production tout the quality of every facet of the UAPB theatre department from costumes, and set layout to lighting design and production.

“We have one of the best programs among the HBCUs that were [at the competition],” Lorenz said. “I was impressed with the fact that Cheryl [Collins] was asked by other [theatre] professors to come to their school and do workshops with their students because they were so impressed with what she did our students.” Collins said the other HBCUs were in awe of the Theatre Department at UAPB as they witnessed the work and dedication put in by its students. Following the awards ceremony at NADSA, Collins related that the other HBCUs were asking them about their secret to success. The answer is simple according to Collins – hard work – and it really paid off. The categories awarded to the group were: Persuasive Speaking (first); Best Actor (Samille Palm and Ebonee Workcuff); Reader’s Theatre (second); Excellence in production of their play, Hecuba; Dual Acting (second); Interpretation of Prose and Poetry (third); and Costume Design (third). Samille Palm, a senior theatre major said this was the NADSA conference she’d been to during her time at UAPB. She’s attended the conference annually since her freshman year and felt they worked their hardest this time around and received everything they deserved.

“I think the coming years are going to get better and better,” Palm said. “I’m also glad the underclassmen were able to attend so they can understand how hard they have to work to keep it going.” UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander was elated about their honors. He shares a background in Drama and Communications and can appreciate what it takes to receive accolades. “It makes me proud personally and it really does reflect well on the University and that all of the hard work gets this kind of recognition,” Alexander said.

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(L-R) Clarence Stokes, Ebonee Workcuff, Carey Stokes, QuaVonte Morgan, UAPB Director of Theatre Cheryl Collins, UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander, Maranda Barris, Samille Palm, and Travis Thomas are pictured with the litany of awards garnered during the NADSA competition. Not pictured: Daniel Farmer, Andrew Spencer, Sedrick Shavers, Tangela Thomas, Justice Henton, Arecia Knight, and Crystal Roberts.

About NADSA NADSA, Inc. was founded in 1936 and is a professional affiliation of performers, administrators, educators, students, technicians, and craftsmen of the theatre, communicative and performing arts. NADSA serves a two-fold purpose: to encourage member institutions to establish and conduct programs in the theatre, communicative and performing arts; and provide pre-professional as well as professional experience for students, faculty, and practitioners. The NADSA festival is a time to fellowship and celebrates the art of performance

Spring 2015 23


THEN AND NOW

Professor Shelton McGee became the Vesper Choir Director in 1959 and served dutifully until his death in January 1999, maintaining the high standards of Lovelace. Dr. Bates took over the helm of the Vesper Choir in 1999; however, Bates had been STORY BY DONNA MOONEY assisting at the University since Photos by Richard Redus and Brian T. Williams 1977. Bates said he was hired Historic images provided courtesy of the University Museum fresh out of graduate school to and Cultural Center teach music theory and piano. “I first met Professor McGee in Champaign, Illinois, when the choir was on tour and needed The UAPB Vesper Choir has sustained an accompanist, ” Bates said. “Some time both routine and challenging changes over later, Dr. Grace Wiley (another former the last 69 years to persevere and retain Music Department Chairperson) called its bravo reputation. Music Department and offered me a teaching position, and I Interim Chair and Choir Director Dr. accepted. ” Michael Bates discussed the changes and “The Vesper Choir has gone through how necessary adaptations have kept many changes over the years, but we have the UAPB Vesper Choir performing at still maintained excellence in the area of optimum levels. recitals and concerts, ” Dr. Bates said. “Over Organized in 1946 under the direction the years, the Vesper Choir’s travels and of Mr. Ariel M. “Pops” Lovelace, the Vesper performance invitations have increased Choir was so named because of the once because of its popularity among alumni.” mandatory Sunday evening services at the Many changes are not noticeable to the University. Vespers is defined as the sunset average person, but are important to the evening prayer service in the Orthodox, average Vesper Choir member. Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Students enjoy the changes without Anglican, and Lutheran churches. The word having to bear the brunt of unnecessary comes from the Latin vesper, meaning debate. For example, few students knew "evening." 24

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

that Vesper used to have a prohibition against choir members singing gospel music. “Mr. McGee used to say that he felt it destroyed student’s voices if they sang too hard and too loud,” Bates said. “Professor McGee wanted the choir to do it all, be proficient in all genre of music, but gospel was left out.” Today that ban has been lifted. Bates said many members of the local campus gospel group - Yard Voices of Praisealso are members of Vesper – with the understanding that each student has to have clearance from the voice teacher prior to committing to an outside choir. Today, Vesper has added gospel music to its selections - a change that has been welcomed by Vesper students and audiences alike. However, not all change has been so easily adapted. Addressing the shifting music knowledge level of the Vesper Choir takes more effort. Bates said that in the 1970’s and 1980’s students were more serious about choir. Then, many of the students came from high schools where they received proper musical training and were exposed to classical music.


The Vesper Choir photo circa 1948 was taken when Ariel "Pops" Lovelace directed the choir. The choir wears gowns and tuxedos for formal events as shown in this photo. Above: The 2014-2015 UAPB Vesper Choir is photographed in front of the W.E. O'Bryant Bell Tower

When they are not wearing their formal wear, they will be seen wearing their newly acquired robes shown below. The detailing on the robes (shown in the photo below) proudly exhibits the heritage and tradition of the choir paired with the university color scheme.

“Today’s recent high school choral participant has graduated with no exposure to classical music,” Bates said. “In many cases, they’ve only sang gospel music.” Even without the exposure, Bates said students must adjust to tradition and by graduation, students once foreign to classical music, can be heard walking down the halls singing excerpts of Handel’s Messiah and other classical pieces. The inclusion of classical music is one constant in the Vesper Choir but voice consistency has changed. Bates explained that student’s voices today are lighter, and they have not received music classes to read music, so the students have to work harder to learn a new type of music and music training. “Years ago, students received this type of training in high school when they participated in regional and state competitions,” Dr. Bates said. “These days, many schools don’t have the finances to participate in choir competitions, so they focus on gospel music. With that, the students have to work harder to conform.” Years ago, Vesper was a large choir of at least 100 voices. Now the choir is smaller with 60-65 students. “Most of our students depend on scholarships to attend UAPB, and we can only offer what we have,” Dr. Bates said. “This year we have 84 students, more than we’ve had in a long time. We have recruited more Arkansas and Pine Bluff students.” CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE Spring 2015 25


THEN AND NOW

Clockwise from left: The photo of the Vesper Choir circa the 1970s taken in the J.M. Ross auditorium shows the size of the group while under Professor Shelton J. McGee's tutelage. The ensemble did a spring tour in Italy and had the opportunity to sing at the Vatican and many notable cathedrals in Rome and Venice. The Vesper Choir is a permanent fixture at annual University events including convocations, assemblies and commencement exercises.

In the past, the choir has heavily recruited students from Chicago, Memphis, Detroit and Atlanta, more urban areas with performing arts programs. Now, they have a lot of in-state students, but not many of them were previously in choir. In-state students make scholarships go further. The endowment scholarship has increased by 300% over the years, Bates said. Currently, Vesper has $300,000 in scholarships. “We are grateful to former Chancellor Lawrence A. Davis Jr. who realized that if students have choir scholarships that’s another student recruited for the University,” Bates said. “We recruit students for the University regardless of their major; our choir students have majors in biology, human sciences, business management, education and music. We provide majors across the campus.”

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Very few students receive full tuition scholarships, so choir members are advised to apply for other on-campus funding. Finally, the Vesper Choir has more opportunities available to them now than were in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Recently, Vesper was invited to sing with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Pine Bluff Symphony. Also, Bates is quick to mention the choir’s constant financial support from Friends of the Choir and the generosity of alumni. He said that without public supporters over the years, the choir could not have traveled to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Arizona, Chicago, Atlanta and Italy. “Years ago, students would have to stay at alumni’s homes when we traveled,” he said. “Today, because of donations, we can afford lodging and meals.”


RECAP

RURAL SUSTAINABILITY By William Hehemann | PHOTOS BY BRAD MAYHUGH

“Innovations and Opportunity: Sustaining Farmers, Families and Communities” was the theme at the 59th annual Rural Life Conference, held in February at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. An audience of around 300 attendees, comprised of farmers, ranchers, homemakers and retirees, attended workshops and presentations that demonstrated the continued community relevance of 1890 land-grant institutions. During the luncheon, Dr. Ann M. Bartuska, deputy under secretary for research, education and economics at the U. S.

Department of Agriculture, spoke of how 1890 institutions strengthen rural America by providing foundations for education, research and Extension. James E. Tillman Sr., regional conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and UAPB alumnus, shared personal insight into how UAPB instilled in him, as well as several of his colleagues, the knowledge and drive to affect positive change in their communities through their careers.

Clockwise from right: Dr. Jacquelyn W. McCray, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at UAPB, offered greetings at the conference’s opening session. Dr. Anita Kelly, associate director of the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence at UAPB, spoke about caring for fish in aquaponics systems. Kay Dutram, director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program at UAPB, spoke about healthy diets and chronic disease prevention, as well as programs that aim to improve nutrition education in the Delta.

Professor Simon Alexander Haley, Director of Agriculture at AM&N College, initiated the idea of a Rural Life Conference in 1950. Short courses were planned for farmers, women, youth and ministers. Topics included economics, animal husbandry, nutrition, health, recreation and social life. Under the leadership of the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, the Rural Life Conference continues to address relevant themes that empower rural Arkansas.

Spring 2015 27


IMPACTING THEIR INDUSTRY OUTREACH

STAYING AFLOAT written by william hehemann PHOTOS BY DAVID STONNER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION

O

ver the course of his 20-year career, alumni Christopher J. Kennedy, a fisheries regional supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), has managed sport fish in public reservoirs and streams, assisted private landowners and taught Missouri citizens about their state’s aquatic resources. In addition to standard industry duties, he also 28

accomplished a feat not many biologists have the opportunity to do – restore an endangered native fish species to his home state. Kennedy, originally from St. Louis, said when he was young, alligator gars – some of the largest freshwater fish in North America – were perceived negatively and anglers tried to get rid of them. By the time he graduated with a

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

degree in fisheries biology at UAPB, the fish were almost nonexistent in Missouri due to habitat change and overfishing. In 2000, Kennedy, then a fisheries management biologist for the MDC, initiated restoration efforts for the species as he gathered the limited research available on alligator gar, sought internal and external support and designed research projects on the species.


Kennedy then began the task of assessing fish species biodiversity within the 30,000 acres of swampland that included a variety of wetlands habitats, an essential preliminary step in the reintroduction of the species. “Mingo National Wildlife Refuge is located on the edge of the Ozark escarpment and the lowlands of the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain,” Kennedy said. “The fact that these major habitats converge on each other causes tremendous species biodiversity.” To monitor such an expansive and diverse ecosystem, Kennedy understood he would need an army of manpower, and realized an opportunity to train local youth in conservation. He hired college students to lead six-person teams of high school students who were paid to assist biologists by monitoring fish communities, movement and food habits. The students also built trails and birdhouses, picked up trash, painted bridges and signs and propagated aquatic plants to enhance public lake fish habitat. “We even utilized some of our more advanced students to educate local youth groups such as the YMCA, 4-H club and Boy Scouts about Missouri’s fish, streams and fishing opportunities,” Kennedy said. The program, which became known as the Southeast Youth Conservation Corps, was a success and at its height contained as many as 60 students. Kennedy said team diversity was one of the program’s greatest strengths. Teams made up of youth from varying races, genders and socio-economic backgrounds worked together to complete conservation related activities. “This was an opportunity not only to teach youth about fisheries and conservation, but also about professionalism, work ethic, teamwork, dispute resolution and how to work together in culturally diverse groups,” he said. “It was amazing to see them develop and grow. This has truly been the highlight of my career.”

“As a result of our efforts, a once hated rare fish species continues to reside in Missouri waters, valuable research has dispelled myths regarding the species, more people are aware of our conservation activities and many students are prepared to become productive citizens and employees,” Kennedy said. Kennedy credits Dr. William G. Layher, former professor of aquaculture at UAPB, with helping guide his career while a student at UAPB. “Dr. Layher was not only an excellent professor and mentor who opened my eyes to the world of fisheries, he also provided internships and work study opportunities that afforded opportunities to hone my fisheries skills.” Kennedy currently supervises seven permanent MDC fisheries personnel and protects and manages the aquatic resources within a 16-county region of southeast Missouri. He said every day at the job is gratifying and advises UAPB students “to put God first and seek a career they are passionate about.” “My father and mother influenced my education and career path the most,” Kennedy said. “My father exposed me to the world and prepared me by instilling work ethic, professionalism and the art of making good business decisions. Mother insured that I had opportunities to acquire advanced learning long before I was personally thinking about college.” Kennedy is married to Nekea Kennedy, who is also a UAPB Aquaculture and Fisheries graduate. Kennedy said he and his wife are “committed to enabling the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and finer spirit of hope and achievement.”

Spring 2015 29


IMPACTING THEIR INDUSTRY GOVERNMENT

Leon Jones, III sits with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in the Governor's office at the State Capitol to discuss important matters. Hutchinson appointed Jones as the Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor.


AN ELEVATED

SENSE OF

SERVICE By Tisha D. Arnold | PHOTOS BY BRIAN T. WILLIAMS

If you look at the certificate on any elevator in the State of Arkansas, you’ll see the name Leon Jones, the first Black Director of the Department of Labor. While his appointment is a historic one for the Natural State, his climb to that position is just as intriguing. When Leon Jones, III graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1995 with a Bachelor’s of Art in English, he began teaching English at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center in Dallas, Texas. After teaching there for four years, Jones decided to change course and sell insurance for New York Life Insurance Company. In 2003, the first step in obtaining his lifelong goal to become a lawyer began when he started law school at the University of Arkansas. “I majored in English [at UAPB] because I knew I wanted to go to law school,” Jones said. “I’ve wanted to be an attorney since the sixth or eighth grade.” Jones was inspired by others in the law profession. He recalled his time as a member of Barraque Street Baptist Church when Circuit Court Judge Berlin Jones came to visit and talk to the youth about what the legal system can do and how the law can help. Attorney Eugene Hunt was another strong influence in his life. He is a prominent lawyer in Pine Bluff Jones had the opportunity to work for while in high school. “I thought it was absolutely fascinating. I made the decision then that I wanted to be a lawyer.” At the time, Jones’ fascination with the law was fueled by social justice. As a young African-American male in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he was keenly aware of some of the struggles his parents and grandparents had gone through. The third-generation college graduate (both parents graduated from AM&N College), also had the privilege of being around doctors and other lawyers and noticed their struggle as well. This motivated him to want to be a change agent. Jones realized that creating change meant having opportunities. He saw that in the legal industry. Jones spent a lot of time at UAPB which made the decision to ultimately attend there an easy one. His four best friends also attended there – Dr. Sederick Rice, Kevin Stanfield, Keith Horton, and Greg Cooley. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Spring 2015 31


IMPACTING THEIR INDUSTRY GOVERNMENT

“UAPB taught me that it doesn’t matter what the obstacle is - you can handle it.”

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Faculty and staff like Patricia Meadows, Frederick Ambler, Juanita Torrence, Florence Caine, and Dr. Freddie Hartfield were names Jones recalled as key players in his development as a professional. His fondest memories of UAPB was his initiation into Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Prior to his initiation into the fraternity, Jones recalled becoming involved in the Student Government Association as Freshman Class President and being impacted by great students like the late Marcus Rust who was one of the first people that embraced me as a freshman when I came to campus. His involvement with Kappa Alpha Psi exposed him to the value of youth mentorship in the community. Jones also met his wife Shaundra at UAPB with whom he has two children. The lessons he learned at UAPB helped develop his confidence knowing there wasn’t anything he couldn’t go up against since he was well prepared. “UAPB taught me that it doesn’t matter what the obstacle is - you can handle it,” Jones said. “UAPB helped me to grow up.” Once Jones received his law degree from the University of Arkansas, he practiced general law in the State for small to medium sized businesses. It seemed he was destined to end up working in politics in one way or another since it was a large part of his law school career. He was President of the Black Law Students Association and other entities that pertained to internal politics and operations. The political bug seemed to cultivate itself and ultimately led to Jones working as a campaign manager in Northwest Arkansas in 2007. In 2012, he knew the gubernatorial election was approaching and wanted to find a candidate he could get behind. He did research and discovered Asa Hutchinson was going to run. He held a meeting with him and told him he wanted to help.

Jones speaking with Governor Asa Hutchinson

Every elevator in the State of Arkansas will bear Jones' name

Jones sacrificed his time and used his own resources to travel across Arkansas as Minority Outreach Coordinator for Hutchinson’s campaign. During the campaign, Jones noted that he didn’t expect a job offer as a result of his service to help Hutchinson. Although Hutchinson asked if Jones would be interested in working for him if he got into office, Jones said he would give it some thought. “There were no promises made or given on either side,” Jones said. “I did it because it was what I wanted to do – I just wanted to help.” 18 months later, Hutchinson was elected Governor of the State of Arkansas.

As Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor, Jones’ job to set the vision and tone for the agency. The organization is regulatory in nature and has several divisions such as OSHA, federal programs, licensing of electricians, and inspection of recreational materials, boilers and elevators. Armed with desire to make things efficient, his goal is to not be a burden on businesses. Jones followed his passion of politics, made good on his word to help a campaign he believed in, gained a wealth a knowledge from it, and is settling into his new role. “…I’m not a manager, I’m a leader,” Jones said. “As long as I play my role, the agency will flourish.”

Spring 2015 33


To help deserving students like Joshua, contact the Office of Development at (870) 575-8701. 34

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Spring 2015 35


COVER STORY


MY BROTHER'S KEEPER by donna mooney

| photos by brian t. williams

Dr. T. Elon Dancy, II has experienced the ideal environment for personal and professional cultivation while attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He is using his UAPB experience as fuel for his research that shares best practices on how to nurture the development of black males in diverse educational settings.

Spring 2015 37


COVER STORY

The Brother Code: Manhood and Masculinity among African American Men in College situates itself at the intersection of higher education and cultural studies to address these questions and more. Primarily, this book offers colleges and universities a penetrative gaze into a complex web of identities-the manhood of African American males in college.

CAREER

C T. Elon Dancy II, Ph.D. is a man who has decided to dedicate his life to the plight of the young black male college student through substantial written research and published works. Dancy currently works at the University of Oklahoma as a tenured Associate Professor of Adult & Higher Education, African & African American Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Social Justice. Dancy said that he is only the second black person to get tenure in his department, and only one of a few black tenured professors on campus. During the upcoming months, he will be a provost fellow for the summer, and will work as an administrator for one year with a focus on community engagement.

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

urrently, Dancy is conducting a study on Black male college students, and he says that he is one of the most visible researchers of the Black male college student experience who holds a national reputation in that area. He has both authored and edited five books and monographs on the Black male educational experience and campus diversity. The sixth book is coming out this year about diversity and inclusion of historically black colleges and universities. The written works are as follows: (a) The Brother Code: Manhood and Masculinity among African American Males in College, (b) Educating African American Males: The Challenges of Context and the Possibilities for Practice, (c) Black Male Collegians: Increasing Access, Retention and Persistence in Higher Education, (d) African American Males and Education: Examining the Convergence of Race and Identity, and (e) Managing Diversity: (Re)visioning Equity on College Campuses. His forthcoming book is The Culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Examining Race, Class, and Gender.

UNDERGRAD YEARS

A

ccording to Dancy, UAPB was fundamental in his growth and education. “This University exposed me to a more inclusive culture,” Dancy said. “My experience as an engaged student was priceless, and I was less likely to have experienced this same level of activity at a PWI (predominantly white institution). I would have been less likely to hold a student government role or experience the range of campus leadership activities. "This university was first to give me mentors like Dr. Carolyn Blakely and Dr. Bobbie Irvins.”


Spring 2015 39


COVER STORY Dr. Dancy headlines a panel discussion about the police shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson, Missouri protests.

D

ancy added that he came to understand how to think about society and that a career in higher education was possible at UAPB. During his senior year, Dancy served as the UAPB SGA Treasurer, Senior Class President, President of the Honors Student Association, and Co-Captain of the Golden Ambassadors. He also pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, while working on the Lion Yearbook and the Arkansawyer staffs. “To exist as a black male college student at an HBCU is rewarding,” he said. “I can’t separate that from the success I experience now. It was the training ground for leadership and teaching in higher education settings.” Calling himself a “cool nerd,” Dancy said his fondest memories as a college student were of him hanging out every Wednesday at noon in front of the Student Union, dressed sharply, of course. “I loved to learn from the faculty, from books and my student peers. I loved music and I loved to dress nicely…I just enjoyed being,” he said. After three short years (1997-2000), and an active student lifestyle, Dancy graduated magna cum laude. “This book will show how HBCUs matter in the higher education landscape although these institutions are both misunderstood and overlooked. People ask about the relevance of the HBCU which is fundamentally a racist question. HBCUs exist to educate a wider populace and increase life possibilities of underrepresented students in every way.” Dancy added that ironically, HBCUs produce 40% of the black scientists and represent only 6 % of colleges nationwide. Following his undergraduate “When an HBCU refers to degree, Dancy received a master’s degree from the University of ‘students’ you know they are Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), talking to you, but when a PWI and then completed a doctoral refers to students, they are not degree in Educational Leadership Research at Louisiana State talking about Black students. and University in Baton Rouge. I know what it feels like to be “I entered graduate school wholly supported as a college with the intent of returning to student.” administration at UAPB, but while at LSU I became interested in research and committed to taking a faculty position at a large research institution,” he said. At LSU, he began his research about the black male college experience and wrote a dissertation which won university and national dissertation awards. He accepted a position at the University of Oklahoma following a brief faculty appointment at UALR.

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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“My engagement at UAPB was an important part of developing a strong education foundation and my upcoming book shows how HBCUs are vital to this generation.”

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BACKGROUND

ancy is a fourth generation HBCU graduate and said his HBCU experience has been valuable, impressive and meaningful to him. Most of his family became teachers, and he learned that one of his ancestors – Rev. Lewis Brown, sent all of his children to college in the late 1800s, and Brown had seven or eight children. His children were some of the first to attend Selma Theological Seminary in Selma, Alabama. All of his daughters became teachers, and one son became a doctor. His Great Aunt graduated from Alabama A&M University and later became a teacher and school principal. His mother attended Miles University in Birmingham. “Most black students in college are firstgeneration students,” Dancy said. “Students with parents who’ve graduated from college are more likely to be successful. In particular, we must pay close attention to first-generation students’ feelings of belonging. We know through research that students who feel they belong are more likely to persist and graduate.” Much of Dancy’s scholarship is about the black male experience in college. He has found in his research that young black males are taught misguided theories about asking for help which affects their decisionmaking in college. “Boys are frequently taught not to ask for help,” he said. “They believe that to ask for help is being weak. We must find a way to reverse ‘poor helpseeking-behaviors,’ and encourage young men to think broadly about what it means to be a man and own that they too need help.”


Why research now? “I have been devoted my teaching, research and services to dismantling institutional inequalities,” Dancy said. “I’ve was always been interested in injustices as a child. I even thought about being a lawyer.” An incident of injustice as a Pine Bluff High School student remains with him today. When Dancy was a student at Pine Bluff High School, he had a chemistry class and had to conduct a titration experiment that was important to his grade. He asked the teacher for and received an extension to execute the experiment. “I got to school at 7:15 a.m. every morning and still did not get it right,” Dancy said. “It was the only time in my life that I felt like giving up. What bothers me in hind sight is that the teacher never offered to help me, even though I asked for help. I think now ‘what kind of a teacher watches a student struggle with an assignment every day and not lift a finger to help him?’

Because of that incident, Dancy says he is an advocate for caring and nurturing teaching.

H

HIS MOTIVATORS

"True teaching is not about telling students what they need to know, it’s about co-constructing knowledge with your students. Sadly, good teaching is understood as training people to memorize and give the right answers, but good teaching trains students to think critically.”

is mother was his greatest influence. Gwendolyn Eskridge Dancy is a retired teacher and a principal. Dancy said that because of her teaching, he was reading at two years old and was narrating school plays at fiveyears-old. “I never thought I would be a teacher, and now I’m a fourth generation teacher,” Dancy said. “I spent most of my time avoiding being a teacher, and now I think I’ll teach for the rest of my life. "

“My work matters because social justice matters. This work argues for the restructuring of power, and my research is evidence based and data driven,” Dancy said. “I dare to say ‘Black lives matter’ even in very conservative audiences.”

“Working in predominantly white universities, I have had to explain why my work matters – which is disappointing,” Dancy said.

Focused and driven, Dancy said he will continue his work regardless of what people think. He quotes writer Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

Spring 2015 41


Class Notes Award-Winning W.R. "Smokie" Norful, Jr.'95, won Best Gospel Performance/Song for 'No Greater Love' during the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. He also won Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year during the 30th Annual Stellar Awards. Norful is an internationally renowned musician, music composer, and recording artist. His debut compact discs entitled I Need You Now and Smokie Norful Limited Edition have garnered favorable accolades and awards across the world. Norful has contributed as a writer to five platinum selling compilations, and has written for numerous major label gospel recordings. Billboard magazine named him the number one selling gospel music artist for 2003 and 2004. His notable performances include such events as the Trumpet Awards, Save Africa’s Children Event in Soweto, the BET Awards, the Stellar Awards, Soul Train, hosting and performing on the Dove Awards, the Parade of Stars, the Essence Music Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Festival and numerous other notable festivals, events, concert halls, and tours. He has also had the honor of performing for President George W. Bush in the White House in celebration of Black Music Month.

Musician Smokie Norful, poses in the press room during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Top Influential Woman in Corporate America Lynn Bergman | COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, CHRISTUS HEALTH

VeLois Bowers'81, senior system director for diversity and inclusion at CHRISTUS Health, was listed as one of the “Top Influential Women in Corporate America” by Savoy Magazine. The listing is comprised of top African American women achievers impacting corporate America who embody talent, leadership and grace while executing critical roles for some of the largest corporations in the world.

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As System Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Bowers is responsible for driving diversity and inclusion objectives and initiatives for best practices, education, talent development, recruitment and retention while meeting the needs of the ministry in developing a culturally competent staff and a diverse workforce. All of these efforts help CHRISTUS Health become a more diverse organization, and better serve a diverse patient population. The changing demographics and economics of a growing multicultural world and the long-standing disparities in the health status of people from culturally diverse backgrounds have challenged health care providers and organizations to consider cultural diversity as a priority. “We are inspired by VeLois’ leadership and the many contributions she has made to CHRISTUS Health,” said Ernie Sadau, Chief Executive Officer of CHRISTUS Health, “this recognition is well-deserved and reinforces a commitment of diversity and inclusion which was instilled in

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

us by the Sisters of our Sponsoring Congregations, who remind us that every person is a creation of God, and all have value and deserve respect. VeLois has been an essential leader for CHRISTUS Health going beyond knowing values, beliefs, practices and customs of all of the populations we serve, while extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.” The selection for the “Top Influential Women in Corporate America” was made by the Savoy editorial board and community leaders from various business sectors, who reviewed executive candidates from various business arenas including communications, pharmaceutical, real estate, finance, investment banking, airlines, retail, major league sports, health care, manufacturing and legal. After reviewing all executive profiles, the field of candidates was narrowed to the 2014 Top Influential Women listing based upon their exemplary record of accomplishments and influence while working to better their community and inspire others.


superintendent of the smokies Cassius Cash,'91 a native of Memphis, Tenn., was chosen as the new superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Previously, Cash was superintendent for Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site. Cash has served as superintendent at the Boston parks since 2010. While there, he worked with the City of Boston to open a new visitor center in historic Faneuil Hall. That facility now welcomes more than 5 million visitors a year. Cash also worked with several park partners to secure $4 million to reopen the African Meeting House, the oldest black church still in its original location in the country. Cash began his federal career in 1991 with the U.S. Forest Service as a wildlife biologist at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. He went on to work with that agency for 18 years in various leadership positions. He served as an administrative officer in Nebraska, district ranger in Georgia, and a civil rights officer in Mississippi. Cash was the deputy forest supervisor at the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon before transferring to Boston. Earlier this year, Cash served as the deputy regional director and chief of staff in the Northeast Regional Office. Cash holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and later attended Oregon State University to study wildlife management. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected land areas east of the Rocky Mountains, with more than 500,000 acres of forests and more than 2,000 miles of streams. It spans eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina along the high peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. It is the nation's most visited national park, with more than nine million visitors a year.

Spring 2015 43


CLASS NOTES

Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow Emmanuel Frimpong'02, associate professor of fisheries science in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, has been named a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow. The scholar program, which supports 100 short-term faculty fellowships for African-born academics, is offered by the Institute of International Education and funded by a two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Frimpong, who joined the faculty of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in 2007, focuses on the ecology, life history, and distribution of freshwater fish with an emphasis on applications in aquaculture and the conservation of fish and fisheries. He collaborates with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s AquaFish Innovation Lab on research and development projects in Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania. His research in the United States is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Aquatic Gap Analysis Program. In outreach and service to his profession, Frimpong created a comprehensive database of more than 100 biological traits of 809 U.S. freshwater fish species and worked with University Libraries at Virginia Tech to make the database available online to scientists across the country. The prestigious Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow program is limited to African-born individuals currently living in the United States or Canada and working in higher education. Fellows engage in educational projects proposed and hosted by faculty of higher education institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The fellowship is “validation of what I have worked very hard to accomplish — to be a significant contributor to research and development in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa,” Frimpong said. It will give him the opportunity to spend an extended period of time in his home country of Ghana, collaborating with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to develop aquaculture, fisheries, and water resources management curricula and to conduct research on

aquaculture development for food security and the conservation of fish and fisheries. “With three months in Ghana, I hope to have more time to see problems up close and contribute my expertise substantively to the solutions,” he said. “Finding ways to solve immediate problems of humanity with the scientific knowledge and tools we have now motivates me. If the people of sub-Saharan Africa can be taught to manage their natural resources well, they will have the resources they need now and for future generations.” Frimpong received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Science and Technology in Ghana, master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Virginia Tech, and a doctorate from Purdue University.

Woman of the Year Jacquelyn L. Flowers'85, was named Woman of the Year for 2015 for the Federal Women’s Program at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. Flowers, chief of the Arsenal’s Internal Review and Audit Compliance Office, was honored during a ceremony in March. “I was shocked and humbled to receive this award,” said Flowers, who joined the Arsenal in 1987 as an Army auditor intern. “It was totally unexpected and a wow moment.” A Cotton Plant/Brinkley, native, Flowers is a graduate of Brinkley High School, and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She is a Pine Bluff resident. One of the criteria of the nomination is how the nominee’s efforts improve the status of women. “Ms. Flowers willingly takes time to share her knowledge and assist women in whatever capacity needed to encourage them to reach their maximum career potential,” the nomination information said. “Many women here at PBA and the community are recipients of job promotions because of her motivation and assistance. She freely shares her life history as inspiration that if she could make it (starting as a GS5,) others can as well.” She is also supportive of PBA’s Equal Employment Opportunity office’s special emphasis programs. “It is good to know that I have touched other people’s lives and to be recognized for that,” Flowers said. 44

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


PHOTO BY JAKE MAY/MLIVE.COM

top choice Natasha Henderson'00, former city manager of Muskegon Heights, was chosen as the new city administrator for Flint, Michigan. "Natasha Henderson brings an experienced, trained city management professional to Flint," emergency manager Darnell Earley said in a news release. Earley, who made the final selection of Henderson from 27 applicants, said she "arrives at an important point as the city prepares to move into a transition period from state-appointed emergency management to home rule order. "Ms. Henderson's professional colleagues have described her as a woman who leads with strength, is firm but with kindness, has personal

courage and an ethical core," Earley's statement said. "She has managed to correct the budget deficiencies in Muskegon Heights, keeping them out of receivership and ending their deficit two years ahead of schedule ..." Henderson has been Muskegon Heights city manager and chief administrative officer since 2008, reporting directly to the mayor and city council. She also worked in Texarkana, Texas, as the director of quality assurance and public relations from June 2006 until July 2008 and as assistant to the city manager from May 2001 until June 2006. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said in the city's news release that Henderson brings "a new perspective" to the city, "and I expect she will develop

very good relationships with the City Council and the rest of the Flint community." A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Texas A&M University, Henderson has been a member of several boards and professional organizations, including the Michigan Local Government Managers Association. During her Flint interview, Henderson said she strives to make decisions that are "data driven" and said employees will only perform better if managers do too. "I must show I'm in it to win it," she said at the time. "That culture change starts at the top."

Mandara Savage'91, was named provost faculty fellow at Southern Illinois UniversityCarbondale. The position offers part-time academic leadership experience to university faculty with an interest in academic administration. Dr. Savage is an associate professor and chair of the department of technology at the university. He joined the university’s faculty in 1999. A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Savage holds a master’s degree from the University of Memphis and a Ph.D. in industrial education and technology from Iowa State University. Spring 2015 45


Miron P. Billingsley'92, was named Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Billingsley earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication from UAPB, a master’s degree in telecommunications from Texas Southern University, and Doctor of Education degree from Oklahoma State University. Prior to his NCCU appointment, Billingsley served as associate vice president for student affairs at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, a post he held since 2008. Previously, Billingsley was vice president for student affairs at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University in Houston, director of training and development for PeopleSoft at the University of Houston and director of public relations and marketing at Langston University. Billingsley served four years in the U.S. Navy as a radio man on the USS Bunker Hill. “Education has always been a gateway,” said Billingsley, who credits his mother Queen Esther Billingsley and grandmother Leona Lockridge with his success. “They both believed that education was the key to open all doors.” Billingsley is married to an author, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, and is the father of four children.

Keeping Union Pacific on Track Sherrye Hutcherson'93, has been named vice president of Human Resources of Union Pacific Railroad. Hutcherson will be responsible for leading the company's human resources function, which includes talent management, training and development, strategic workforce planning, recruiting, compensation and benefits, and diversity initiatives. Hutcherson has more than 20 years of experience in corporate and non-profit settings, with responsibilities ranging from human resources and finance to business development and customer satisfaction. "Sherrye brings expertise in human resources, plus immense knowledge in employee engagement and strategic planning to Union Pacific," said Diane Duren, Union Pacific executive vice president and corporate secretary. "Her leadership experience will be invaluable as Union Pacific continues to focus on recruiting, supporting and developing a talented and engaged workforce." In her most recent role as vice president of Corporate Services and chief administrative officer for Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), Hutcherson was responsible for human resources and labor relations, as well as corporate services, information technology and sustainability efforts. She previously served division manager roles for the utility's human resources, customer solutions, and market research and product development teams. Prior to joining OPPD, Hutcherson was executive director of the Omaha Small Business Network, Inc. She started her career in Union Pacific's Corporate Audit Department. Hutcherson holds a master's of business administration from Creighton University and a bachelor's of science in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She is passionate about volunteerism, voting advocacy, and civil and women's rights, having served on the boards of 75 North Revitalization, Children's Hospital and Medical Center, the Urban League of Nebraska, and Women's Center for Advancement (WCA).

WE WANT TO KNOW

Send your accomplishments, milestones and publications to pridemag@uapb.edu *Photos and book covers must be 300 DPI in resolution and in pdf or jpeg format 46

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


IN MEMORIAM Deceased alumni since October 2014, arranged by graduation year. Alfreda O. Vaughn-Robinson'71 January 16, 2015 Olympia Fields, IL

Anthony Harrison'89 February 6, 2013 Raymore, MO Dontae Williams'10 December 21, 2014 Kansas City, MO

Rick Porter'75 January 2, 2015 Olathe, KS

Kevin J. Yeargin (Attended UAPB) October 30, 2014 Atlanta, GA Sandra Dupree Campbell'78 February 2, 2015 Monticello, AR Margie Jackson (Unspecified) November 6, 2014 Pine Bluff, AR

Balton Coleman'17 November 15, 2014 Memphis, TN

Kay Ficklin-Adway'86 January 21, 2015 Pine Bluff, AR

Special Addition Clark Terry | February 22, 2015 | Former Adjunct Professor, Department of Music Clark Terry, one of the most popular and influential jazz trumpeters of his generation and an enthusiastic advocate of jazz education, died on Saturday in Pine Bluff, Ark. He was 94. His death was announced by his wife, Gwen. Mr. Terry was acclaimed for his impeccable musicianship, loved for his playful spirit and respected for his adaptability. Although his sound on both trumpet and the rounder-toned fluegelhorn (which he helped popularize as a jazz instrument) was highly personal and easily identifiable, he managed to fit it snugly into a wide range of musical contexts. He was one of the few musicians to have worked with the orchestras of both Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He was for many years a constant presence in New York’s recording studios — accompanying singers, sitting in big-band trumpet sections, providing music for radio and television commercials. He recorded with Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and other leading jazz artists as well as his own groups. He was also one of the first black musicians to hold a staff position at a television network and was for many years a mainstay of the “Tonight Show” band, as well as one of the most high-profile proponents of teaching jazz at the college level. His fellow musicians respected him as an inventive improviser with a graceful and ebullient style, traces of which can be heard in the playing of Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and others. The seventh of 11 children, Clark Terry was born into a poor St. Louis family on Dec. 14, 1920. His mother, the former Mary Scott, died when he was 6, and within a few years he was working odd jobs to help support his family. He became interested in music when he heard the husband of one of his sisters play tuba, and when he was 10 he built himself a makeshift trumpet by attaching a funnel to a garden hose. Neighbors later pitched in to buy him a trumpet from a pawnshop.


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PRIDE Magazine | Spring 2015  

This Spring issue details the success of alumni that have been given prestigious awards, given themselves tirelessly to service, and kept th...

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