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Summer 2014




witnessing history

DR. LAURENCE B. ALEXANDER On April 25, 2014 the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff celebrated the Investiture of its 18th leader Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, as chancellor. The hallowed occasion was especially significant because the ceremony took place on the 141st anniversary of the founding of the institution.

Photos by William Harvey and Richard Redus.


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Contents 5 6 36 38 42 48 58 59

Chancellor’s Letter News & Events Recap Research Athletics Class Notes The Bookshelf In Memoriam 46

engineered for greatness


Story by Donna Mooney. Photos by Brian T. Williams. Although Coming from two generations of college graduates, the expectation to excel was obvious. What she didn't expect to do was break through cultural barriers and blaze new trails in an area where women are in the minority.



then and now


Story by Donna Mooney. Photos provided courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center. Whether you were relaxing on the roof or attending an event hosted by L.A. "Prexy" Davis, Sr., the student union was the place to be.

impacting their industry


Story by Bobbie Handcock He looks at his career as a ministry saving the environment by educating and designing effective programs that may interest young people in becoming better stewards of the natural world.

Summer 2014


Volume 1 No. 3 Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement James Tyson, CFRE Program Director for Public Information/Senior Editor

Tisha D. Arnold Copy Editor

Donna Mooney Creative Director

Brian T. Williams Contributing Writers

Tisha D. Arnold Staphea Campbell Bobbie Handcock Rick Joslin Michael Lee Donna Mooney Contributing Photographers

William Harvey Brad Mayhugh Richard Redus 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 Website Pride Magazine is published three times a year by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a member of the University of Arkansas System.


Stephanie Weathers poses with her clay bust done by Basil Watson during his visit to UAPB. Read more about the event on page 16.

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



PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff



s we complete another year at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, I would like to thank you for the kindness and support you have shown during my first year as Chancellor. On April 25, 2014 as we celebrated 141 years of excellence, I had the distinct honor of being installed as the 18th leader of this great institution during our Investiture ceremony. As stated before, I am proud, humbled, honored, and blessed to be a part of the rich history of this university, and I consider it a privilege to carry on the torch and uphold the legacy of those before me. During the Investiture, we were delighted to unveil a new trademark for branding our university that represents our past, present, and future in a fresh, contemporary design that incorporates the William E. O’Bryant Bell Tower. This brand is symbolic of our new beginnings and generates an exhilarating emblem that appeals to all of our stakeholders. We are well on track with our endeavor to grow our enrollment past 4,000, and we are thrilled to announce the opening of the Memphis Area Recruitment Office at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, AR. Within the last several months, we also have participated in a national recruitment tour, where we have visited several high schools in numerous states. We have enjoyed working with our alumni chapters in our quest to build a larger and more diverse cadre of students who will in turn become distinguished alumni. A great example of our most distinguished alumni is featured in this issue. The person I am referring to is internationally registered engineer Ms. Raye J. Montague, a 1956 graduate who helped revolutionize the U.S. naval ship design using a computer. From the depths of the seas to the boardrooms of major cities, we have a strong history of molding our students to greatness and continue to do so today. This past year, we have celebrated numerous successes, including our School of Business and Management achieving accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and receiving the Walton Family Foundation grant to further enhance our LIONS Enrichment Program, which has increased from 30 students to currently serving more than 150 students. Through the creation of a new division, the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, we are also able to ensure sustainability

and development through growth in opportunities in research that will further enhance our institution. We are also delighted and excited about the STEM Academy and Conference Center, which is slated for completion later this summer. In addition, the creation of the Office of Institutional Advancement will enable us to integrate all of our advancement efforts under one division. Needless to say, it has been a very eventful, momentous and sensational year for our university. Our programs, partnerships, and initiatives are soaring to higher heights. With the assistance of our faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders we are well on our way to achieving the gold standard throughout the university. Once again, thank you for your steadfast support, and we look forward to future collaborations for the continued success and enrichment of our students and university. Sincerely,

Laurence B. Alexander, Ph.D. Chancellor

Summer 2014



PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Homecoming 2013 began October 13 with the theme, "Feel the Roar." Alumni, employees and students of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff enjoyed a multitude of events that continue to bring the campus and community together. Clockwise from bottom right on opposite page: The gospel extravaganza showcased the abundance of talent on UAPB's campus. BET Sunday Best速 Season 2 Winner Y'Anna Crawley headlined at the event and performed to a capacity crowd in the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Building. UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander experienced his first homecoming as he waves to the crowd during the Homecoming Parade. Alexis T. Cole was crowned by Chancellor Alexander as the 84th Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff during the Coronation Ceremony. The annual Greek Show drew a large crowd to the Pine Bluff Convention Center where the Delta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated won the competition with an exciting and progressive step routine.

HOME COMING 2013 Photos by Richard Redus, Lion Yearbook staff

Chancellor Alexander greets participants of the Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament at Harbor Oaks Golf course before they begin. Chancellor Alexander and his wife Veronica enjoy the Homecoming Parade festivities before heading to the game at Golden Lion Stadium.

Summer 2014




Dr. Mansour Mortazavi (far left), professor of Physics at UAPB and Dr. Jessie Walker (second from right), coordinator of the Computer Science Unit at UAPB stand with John Gannon and Justin Penney of Advanced Clustering after delivery and installation of the Apollo supercomputer.


It’s not as fast as a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, but the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ’s Apollo Cluster is most certainly a supercomputer. “It’s pretty amazing,” UAPB Coordinator of Computer Sciences Dr. Jessie Walker said. “If you took all the regular computers in Pine Bluff and put them together, they would have probably only half the power of this one machine. “It’s actually beyond basic imagination,” Walker added. The cluster is — just as the word implies — a merged network. UAPB recently became Arkansas’ first historically black university and one of just 10 historically black institutions nationally to be able to boast of a supercomputer on campus. Supercomputers can also be found within the state at the University of Arkansas’ Fayetteville and Little Rock campuses and Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The cluster and accompanying visualization instrumentation that can quickly magnify images to the power of thousands literally stretch previously accepted bounds of research, education and training. The UAPB Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences’ Data Analytics Research/CyberSecurity group-managed $250,000 supercomputer — funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s University Research Instrumentation Program — can store and process greatly expanded data applicable to various sciences and disciplines. UAPB’s departments of Agriculture, Biology, 8

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

and Chemistry and Physics are collaborators in the supercomputer applications. Naturally, the contraption’s analysis can produce enhanced modeling, which can lead to new discoveries in unlimited fields. Not surprisingly, the supercomputer functions at a rapid pace. Walker said the device is so “high-performance” that challenges that might require “days of work” on a typical computer can be satisfied “in a couple of minutes to an hour.” The supercomputer is projected to be “state-of-theart” for up to five years. The supercomputer’s value, Walker said, is augmented by its sharing with the City of Pine Bluff. City Information Technology Director Wes O’Donohue is utilizing the program for devising a mapping effort. “Computer science certainly isn’t within my realm of expertise,” Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said, “but I know that we live in a world where computerization grows even more critical on a daily basis. From what I understand, UAPB’s supercomputer gives the institution and city unique potential for positive development, influence and leadership. “I don’t think it’s possible to evaluate the true worth of the supercomputer and what it can mean to the future of our university and city,” the mayor said. “I’ll defer to Mr. Walker’s assessment — it’s pretty amazing.”

School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences Dean Dr. John Garner, Jr. in Senegal with Ibrahima Thiam, Regional Director Wetlands International at a rice market discussing how rice is grown in their country

GLOBALIZATION By Bobbie Handcock | SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND HUMAN SCIENCES Photographs courtesy of the Office of International Programs

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander recently announced that the university must go beyond its walls to better empower students, faculty and staff. “It is imperative that our institution of higher learning be globally engaged,” he said. “We must prepare students for their place as world citizens.” According to Alexander, UAPB students should be actively encouraged to study abroad and he urged faculty and staff to engage in research and development projects

in other countries. The Chancellor made the remarks during a university-wide symposium entitled, “UAPB Preparing Our Students to Succeed in a Global Society.” A three-year capacity building grant enables UAPB’s Office of International Programs and Studies (OIPS) to respond to the Chancellor’s charge by engaging with faculty, staff and students to diversify and globalize academic programs, said Dr. Pamela D. Moore, Associate Director for Global Engagement. The office, which is Summer 2014



Clockwise from left: Dr. Pamela Moore, director of the Office of International Programs is in a slave holding area on Goree Island where slave trade was done.

within the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS), received a $600,000 grant from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “OIPS is working with SAFHS and the broader university community to create a niche in international programming,” Dr. Moore said. “Such a strategy takes into account UAPB’s land-grant designation, its commitment to historically disadvantaged communities and its geographical location in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.” The grant project is entitled, “From the Mississippi Delta to the Niger Delta: Strengthening Teaching and Extension Capacity at UAPB to Enhance International Programming in a Changing and Dynamic Local, Regional and Global Context.” “OIPS wants to complement ongoing recruitment and retention initiatives, and position students and faculty to make important and useful contributions in the global arena,” Dr. Moore said.  As part of the capacity building project, a crossdisciplinary working group has been formed to explore international trends, provide peer support for internationalization projects and develop a white paper outlining internationalization recommendations. The project also involves strengthening student participation in study abroad programs. The OIPS will announce projected study abroad programs for 2015-2017 10

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

and will offer workshops on faculty-led study abroad in 2014. UAPB recently received the 1890 International Student Development Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. It was presented to the university that had the largest increase in undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs from 2011-2012 through 2012-2013. The university had a 133 percent increase in students studying abroad between 2012 and 2013. UAPB has also joined the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. The university has committed to increasing the number of undergraduate students who study abroad by 75 over the next five years. The goal is to increase the number of U.S. students who can gain international experience through study abroad programs, internships,

Drs. Moore and Buckner are in Rivers State, Nigeria at Port Harcourt in the Governor's residence giving UAPB paraphernalia to the Honorable (Mrs.) Joeba West, Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs, Rivers State Government Drs. Pamela Moore and Edmund Buckner compare how rice is marketed at a rice market in Senegal Below: The Honorable Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Nigeria is presented with a stuffed Golden Lion by Drs. Moore, Buckner and Gardner


WE WON! Lion yearbook wins at state media contest

The Arkansas College Media Association (ACMA) recently announced the winners for their 2014 media contest. This year, The Lion Yearbook won in the following categories: first place – Yearbook Cover; second place – Introduction Theme Page/Opening, Organization/Greek Layout, Yearbook of the Year, Academic Photo; third place: Divider, Typographic Presentations, Featured Photo, Student Life Photo, Organization/Greek Layout; Honorable Mentions: Closing, Feature Layout, Yearbook Sports Layout, and Special Features Writing. “It’s amazing to witness the creativity and overall growth in my staff. It indicates that I know what I’m talking about and they’re listening,” said Ms. Stephanie Sims, advisor of The Lion Yearbook staff. With the current issued themed, “Traditions in Transition,” the annual yearbook documents the school’s history not only with words, but also with historic pictures intertwined with a modern twist. Compiled with pictures of the past and filled with sepia tones and collages, this yearbook captured the school’s past and its future. This is the second yearbook publication under Ms. Sims’ leadership. “It is my hope that competing in the ACMA competition would showcase the creativity and talents of our student body, while at the same time create positive PR for the institution,” says Frank Dorsey, 2013-2014 Lion Yearbook editor-in-chief. The annual competition gives Arkansas colleges and universities the opportunity to showcase their publications. Usually hosted at an Arkansas institution, this year’s competition was held at Central Baptist College in Conway. The Arkansas College Media Association encourages student staff members of any Arkansas college and university to enter any or all of the categories as appropriate.  Each college or university is allowed the maximum of three entries per category. Among the Lion Yearbook’s competitors were University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas, Ouachita Baptist University and more.

service learning and non-credit educational experiences. The initiative is being launched because the number of students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low, according to IIE. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad during their academic career. Although 2.6 million students graduate with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, not enough are getting the international experience they need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work across borders to address global issues, according to IIE. UAPB’s capacity building project also aims to strengthen the international extension capacity within SAFHS. “This aspect of the project is exciting because it provides the lens through which we can connect with other countries that are grappling with issues similar to those here in the Mississippi Delta,” Dr. Moore said. “Our focus is on the Niger River basin with particular emphasis on the Niger Delta in Rivers State, Nigeria. We are also engaging with partners in the Senegal River Basin which is connected to the western side of the Niger River basin.” As part of the grant, a comprehensive needs assessment has been completed in Senegal and Nigeria. The purpose was to assess agriculture and rural development programs serving disadvantaged youth, women and subsistence farmers in rural areas.  OIPS is preparing for an exchange visit by West Africa partners in the summer of 2014. Delegation members include the head of the Rivers State Ministry of Youth Development, the head of the Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, the President and a faculty member from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Permanent Secretaries and staff of state ministries and agencies, youth participants in the Ministry of Youth Development’s Youth Leadership Initiative, the heads of regional nongovernment organizations working in the Niger Delta and the liaison/regional director for Wetlands International Africa. 

Summer 2014



A singer with something to say Kirk Franklin, multi-platinum-selling gospel recording artist was the featured speaker for this year's Youth Motivational Task Force (YMTF) program. Scan the code with a QR reader on your device to view the event


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


UAPB Awarded Accreditation of its Business Programs The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners has awarded the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff initial accreditation of its business programs. Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the School of Business and Management at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff meet the rigorous educational standards established by ACBSP. “The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process,” said ACBSP Director of Accreditation Steve Parscale, who will present the Certificate of Initial Accreditation at the ACBSP Annual Conference in Chicago, Ill., June 29. “This accreditation is evidence that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is committed to providing the highest

quality business education for their students.” “I am excited about the School of Business and Management’s recent accreditation by the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP),” said Attorney Carla Martin, dean of the School of Business and Management. “ I am also very appreciative to all those – Dr. Alexander, Dr. Benjamin, Mrs. Thomas, Dr. L.A. Davis, Jr., University administrators and staff, SBM faculty and staff, SBM students and alumni, and our community partners – who put in many hours of their time in addition to their other responsibilities to help us achieve this goal. Dr. Mirza Shahjahan is especially acknowledged for his role in this achievement.  Because of his dedication and leadership, we achieved the best possible outcome. “ According to Dean Martin, achieving accreditation by the ACBSP is critical in their efforts to further enhance the reputation of the School of Business and Management both internally and externally, to attract high-achieving undergraduate students, to garner research dollars, to attract and retain an engaged faculty who will continue to

facilitate learning both inside and outside the classroom, and to increase the School of Business and Management profile on UAPB’s campus as well as on state, regional, and national levels. “Congratulations to the faculty, staff, and students of the School of Business and Management! Again, thank you to all those who supported our efforts in meeting the standard of this nationally recognized accreditation association.” About ACBSP ACBSP’s mission is to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world. ACBSP,, is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. ACBSP currently has 1,227 member campuses, 186 of which are located outside of the U.S. Of those campuses, 800 have achieved accreditation and more than 345 are in candidacy for accreditation. Individual members on these campuses now exceed 10,000. Summer 2014




LIONS program receives Walton Family Foundation funding to help prepare students for college life The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has received a two-year matching grant for $200,000 from the Walton Family Foundation to aid in funding the Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) program. The fiveweek program assists students admitted to UAPB for the fall semester who want to get a jump-start on their college career at UAPB. Participants receive academic tutoring and attend college orientation, academic and professional workshops, and personal and social success seminars for making a successful transition to college life. The grant funds will make it possible for successful applicants to receive a LIONS scholarship for tuition, fees and housing. A book award of up to $500 is also available to enrolled students. “The Walton Family Foundation funds will allow UAPB to provide a summer enrichment opportunity to many Arkansas Delta students who would not have had that opportunity because of their economic circumstances,” said Dr. Linda L. Okiror, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management. “Students attending the LIONS program get a jump start on their college careers and gain from the social, personal and professions support of the LIONS staff.” Since 2008, 139 students have participated in the LIONS Program with a fall semester enrollment rate of 97.1%. LIONS participants complete their foundation courses during the summer program and benefit from a set of experiences that contribute greatly to a more academically prepared, socially mature and knowledgeable first-year student. As a result of this intense college preparatory program, participants are retained at greater rate and graduate in fewer semesters than nonparticipating UAPB students. ”We are extremely pleased that the Walton Family Foundation supports the program,” said UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander. “The investment will aid the LIONS program in transitioning new students to UAPB. We want to be able to help assure the success of the next cohort of promising students.” While the main goal of the LIONS Program is to assist academically promising students with their transition to collegiate coursework, a secondary focus is to establish a cohesive and bonded cohort of first-year students who identify with and seek support from each other, the Program staff and the University. These goals have long-term impacts for the advancement of education at UAPB and the broader community by increasing the enrollment of fall semester freshmen who are ready for the university-level experience, increasing the student retention and persistence, developing a cohort of college students with the necessary skills to tutor and mentor junior and senior high school students, shortening the time it takes students to complete the bachelor’s degree, increasing the number of students from the Arkansas Delta who earn a bachelor’s degree. 14

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

40 Under 40 Attorney Carla Martin, interim vice chancellor for Finance and Administration was listed on the 40 Under 40 list by Arkansas Business magazine. Born and raised in Pine Bluff, she knew that her hometown was where she was meant to be when she returned in 2009. Since then, she has achieved records for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff business program. Martin became dean of the UAPB School of Business in 2009, a job she held until this year. In May, she was chosen as interim vice chancellor for finance and administration at UAPB. During her time as dean, Martin secured first-time accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs as well as a grant for UAPB’s business program. “I wanted to see a change and to be the change we wanted to see,” she said. Martin has planted roots in her hometown after working for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Bentonville as one of four real estate transactions managers and later senior manager of supplier diversity. She practiced law at Brown & McKissic (now McKissic & Associates) in Pine Bluff. Martin graduated from UAPB in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, concentrating in marketing. She then attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law and received a Juris Doctor in 2004. Martin was appointed to the UAPB Board of Visitors by Gov. Mike Huckabee and reappointed by Gov. Mike Beebe.

Summer 2014



MASTERING CLAY UAPB Art Department hosts workshop with Basil Watson The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Art Department held a sculpture workshop led by internationally renowned sculptor, Basil Watson. Several art students and local artists participated in the two-day workshop to learn the techniques of sculpting busts in clay from a live model.  The sculpture students were very engaged in the process and observed Basil Watson complete two full busts.  Watson demonstrated his mastery of clay by sculpting a bust of Stephanie Weathers, an art student and Henri Linton, chairman of the art department.  On the

second day, while Watson put the finishing touches on his work, the students were involved in making their own busts from the model. During the workshop, he stressed the importance of drawing and how drawing is the beginning stage in learning how to see form. “I want to capture the mood of the figure and what he or she brings to the table,” said Watson. “It is very important to capture the emotion and spirit of the image.”

Clockwise from right: Basil Watson shows his skillful talent as he works on a clay bust of Stephanie Weathers; A detailed shot of the intricate work done on the mask for Mr. Linton; UAPB art students use their skills to sculpt a bust from the live model, Stephanie Weathers. Below: Mr. Henri Linton, chairperson of the art department poses with the bust made for him by Watson. Opposite page: Watson gives tips to the class as he works on one of the busts.

Photos by Brian T. Williams

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Watson studied under the tutelage of his mentors Alexander Cooper and Christopher Gonzalez. His Father, Barry Watson is also an international acclaimed artist and first introduced him to drawing and to the works of French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, who completed the 16

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

work, “The Thinker” in 1902. Watson has explored the figure and found sculpting to be a fascinating way to capture the human form.  He uses a variety of media and techniques that include welding metals, carving wood and stone, modeling clay and drawing with charcoal.

Summer 2014


Elizabeth Perez-Rodriguez Biology San Juan Del Rio, Mexico Senior


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

I am very grateful for my award. International students like me have many other expenses that most students do not. I sincerely appreciate being the recipient of an award that assists with the cost of my tuition.

u o y k n a Th

To help deserving students like Elizabeth, contact the Development Office at 870.575.8701

Summer 2014




UAPB archeologists uncover glimpses of Pine Bluff’s early history

Archaeologists stationed at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) are monitoring preliminary earthmoving in conjunction with construction of a splash park at Lake Saracen Park in downtown Pine Bluff. The location is on the bank of Lake Saracen which occupies a former channel of the Arkansas River abandoned in 1908.  This is the earliest part of Pine Bluff, a few blocks from the Jefferson County courthouse and not far from where Joseph Bonne, a fur trapper and trader of French and Quapaw ancestry, settled in 1819. Preliminary archaeological study of the site two years ago revealed artifacts, including ceramic and glass fragments and hand-forged nails dating from the pre-Civil War era. Artifacts representing the late 1800s and the 1900s up to the creation of the city park in the 1970s were also found. The first day of earthmoving at the splash park site uncovered a line of brick piers representing a structure, probably a residence, that appears to have been demolished in the 1920s or 30s.  Lime and sand mortar between the bricks suggests that the structure had been built before 1900. The archaeologists have been watching for traces of a house indicated in the immediate vicinity on an 1864 U.S. Army Engineers map of Pine Bluff.  Archaeological features expected at the location of an early to mid-1800s urban residence might include foundations of the house and outbuilding as well as 20

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Archaeologist Robert Scott uncovers brick piers from a late 1880s house at the site of the future splash park in Lake Saracen Park. Photo courtesy of Dr. John House

remains of wells, cisterns, or privies. To date, however, artifacts from that era have only been found scattered in disturbed soil. John H. House and Robert J. Scott of the Arkansas Archeological Survey, a unit of the University of Arkansas System, are directing the work.  House directs the Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Station at UAPB and also teaches in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Scott has been Research Assistant at the station since October.  Hydco, Inc. of North Little Rock, General Contractor, is constructing the splash park. The Arkansas Archaeological Survey is carrying out the current work at Lake Saracen Park to assist the City of Pine Bluff in complying with federal laws pertaining to the conservation of cultural resources on projects that receive federal funding.

Dr. James O. Garner (right), dean/director, 1890 research and Extension programs at UAPB, presented one of the dedication awards to Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., retired UAPB chancellor.


58th Annual Rural Life Conference touts healthy lifestyles and sustainable communities By Carol Sanders | UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Land-grant universities have a unique mission which includes teaching, research and outreach or Extension. For more than 50 years, one of the ways the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences is fulfilling its mission is through its annual Rural Life Conference. Dr. Sellers J. Parker, who chaired the conference for more than 30 years,

established the conference as a means for interaction among agricultural research and Extension workers, farmers and the public. The 2014 conference, the 58th annual one, was no different. It featured 11 workshops, 24 exhibits and numerous poster displays. The theme was “Facing Change: Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Sustainable Communities.”

Audrey Rowe, administrator, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, delivered the Simon A. Haley lecture. Her presentation included data on the status of Arkansas children and also the extent of USDA’s investment in Arkansas through its StrikeForce program. As of October 2013, 62 percent of Arkansas school children qualified for free or reduced meals with an average daily lunch participation of 308,034, Rowe said. USDA investment in Arkansas through its StrikeForce program totaled $146.6 million, 804 loans and grants and 719 contracts, she said. Luncheon speaker Dr. Idonia L. Trotter, executive director, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, shared an update on the number of uninsured adults in Arkansas who are newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Her breakdown by race, share and number showed white, 67.7 percent or 148,000; black, 24.1 percent or 53,000; Hispanic, 4.5 percent or 10,000; and other 3.7 percent or 8,000. The conference was dedicated to Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., retired UAPB chancellor, for his direct and indirect support of the conference, and to Dr. Lina R. Godfrey (posthumously) for her more than 30-year support of the conference. She chaired the 1992 conference and served on many committees as a member, co-chair or chairperson, and as a workshop facilitator. Summer 2014


Alumni, friends and supporters of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletics program converged in Little Rock, Arkansas for a high profile event. The first of its kind for the institution, Homeruns and Heroes was held to aid in raising funds towards the completion of phases two and three of the Torii J. Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex. Hunter, along with the help of Benton native and Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee, hosted the sold out event at the Governor's Mansion courtesy of Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. The final phases of construction will allow the baseball stadium to seat more than 500 fans, including comfortable box seats, a press box, VIP suites and a concession stand.


HEROES Photos by Brian T. Williams

Above: UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander (center) is pictured with Cliff Lee and Torii J. Hunter Below: A silent auction featuring memorabilia from Torii Hunter, Cliff Lee and Sissy's Log Cabin were one of the features of the evening. At right: Torii J. Hunter shares his reflection of life in Pine Bluff and passion for helping youth.

Above: Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe expresses his support of UAPB and encourages attendees to join him in ensuring the success of the institution.

At right: Newly appointed Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement James Tyson talks with one of the members of the UAPB Baseball team Below: Members of the UAPB Baseball team are photographed with (1st row): Cliff Lee, Chancellor Alexander, Torii J. Hunter; (2nd row): Bill Jones of Sissy's Log Cabin, UAPB Athletics Director Lonza Hardy and Head Baseball Coach Carlos James

At left: Aerial view of the ballroom at the Governor's Mansion as attendees arrive Below: Philadelphia pitcher Chris Lee posed with several attendees during the event

Summer 2014


DEVELOPING GLOBAL STUDENTS UAPB receives 1890 International Student Development Award


The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has received the 1890 International Student Development Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. As a part of ongoing efforts to highlight exemplary achievements at 1890 land-grant institutions, the association recently honored 15 recipients of the inaugural 1890 Land-grant Universities Teaching, Research and Innovation Awards during a ceremony at the 126th APLU Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The 1890 International Student Development Award is presented to the university that has the largest increase in undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs from 2011-2012 through 2012-2013. UAPB had a 133 percent increase in the number of undergraduate students participating in study abroad between 2012 and 2013.


“The recognition validates our strategy of integrating education abroad into the core academic mission through the increased engagement of faculty,” said Dr. Pamela D. Moore, associate director for global engagement, Office of International Programs and Studies. A UAPB capacity building grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which calls for developing a study abroad protocol to assist with financial aid, orientation workshops for faculty and staff, and small incentive grants to faculty and students will help to reinforce this trend, she said. Sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, the 1890 Awards recognize advances in teaching, research and innovation on 1890 university campuses and encourages advancement and development in these areas of national importance.

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Pictured above: Dr. John Michael Lee Jr., left, of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities presents UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander the 1890 International Student Development Award during the 126h APLU Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Photo courtesy of APLU

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Biology professor listed among top 25 for HBCUs University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Biology professor Dr. Joseph Onyilagha was recognized and listed among the top 25 Professors at Affordable Historically Black Colleges at for his research on the origins of the genetic code using the standard amino acid alphabet to track early and late components in code evolution. “I am excited about the recognition,” said Onyilagha. “This is for my department (Biology) and UAPB – it shows the high quality research coming out of [the institution]. Through this research, NASA has recognized our University as an institution with serious scientific thinkers and doers”. Dr. Onyilagha was one of five recipients of the 2013 NASA award to conduct research in Astrobiology. His research goal is to update scientific knowledge on the emergence of a standard alphabet of 20 genetically encoded amino acids. The research will explore the idea that the standard amino acid alphabet comprises a mixture of “early” versus “late” members; that is, some amino acids were available prebiotically and were therefore present from the start of genetic coding; others evolved later, as “inventions” of early metabolism. Dr. Onyilagha will analyze

the metabolic pathways at work in living organisms (and the molecules responsible for producing them) so as to provide evidence-based information into ancient molecular evolution, such as the steps by which life’s biochemical framework first emerged. Dr. Onyilagha has presently received additional funding from NASA to present his findings at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference at Woodlands, Texas in March. He will be attending this conference with one undergraduate student. About Affordable Colleges Online

Affordable Colleges Online takes a four-pronged approach to managing college costs. They aim to educate so that potential students are aware of their options for obtaining a degree and, most importantly, for paying for one. They look for the most affordable options in online study, two-year, four-year, public and private colleges and the financial aid options are available. They also serve as a repository for college-related issues, the latest research, how the government is responding, and helps prospective college students analyze their options. Summer 2014



By Tisha D. Arnold | Photos by Brian T. Williams

“They feel regal,” said one of the members when trying on the new robes. “We are a 21st Century choir now.” Thanks to University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander, the Vesper Choir will be magnificently robed in splendid finery in the fall. They worked with limited numbers of robes and performed this past year with the ladies wearing different styles during performances while the men wore black suits. The robe project was initiated by National Alumni Board member Mrs. Eunice Williamson and taken on as a project by the Class of 1965, however, the project could not be completed.  In recognizing the importance of the Choir’s visual representation as ambassadors of the university, Chancellor Alexander desired that the appearance of the Vesper Choir match the excellence in singing the ensemble is noted for. “I wanted them to look as good as they sound,” said Dr. Alexander. Chancellor Alexander approved the new design and colors and funded the purchase of 85 new robes.  Dr. Michael J. Bates, Vesper Choir director and interim chair of the Music Department, expressed his gratitude 26

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

to Dr. Alexander for recognizing the importance of the Choir’s artistic, educational and cultural mission and its importance not only as ambassadors of the university,  but as conveyors of the history and traditions of the University. “The students are excited and are looking forward to the opportunity to perform in the new robes,” said Dr. Bates. Manufactured by Murphy Robes, a committee of choir members led by President Steven Howard, Vicepresident Jadette Reed and advisor Ms. Joyce Bracy Vaughan selected the robe style, design and colors upon Dr. Bates’ approval.  After the Chancellor’s enthusiastic endorsement, the Vesper Choir is now in possession of beautiful new robes. Organized in 1945 by Ariel M. Lovelace, the Vesper Choir is a service organization that has performed for significant campus and community events, schools, churches, and community organizations around the state of Arkansas and internationally. With a mission that is cultural, artistic and educational, the group has produced a long line of distinguished singers, performers and professionals in other work fields and academics including Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, prominent theologian, pastor and author; Smokie Norful, Grammy award-winning contemporary gospel artist and pastor; and the late James McKissic, internationally renowned concert pianist. For more information about the Vesper Choir or to book for performances, call (870)575-8907 or (870)5757001.

BROADENING OUR REACH UAPB opens recruitment office at Mid-South Community College By Tisha D. Arnold

Faculty, staff, students and alumni filled the University Center at Mid-South Community College (MSCC) to welcome the newest addition to their campus. One of them was Nettie Parr, a current student at MSCC who planned to go to another institution to study fisheries until she saw the display for the Aquaculture/Fisheries program at UAPB. As part of their access to education model, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) became the newest institution to open a recruitment office at the two- year college’s University Center, giving the university a physical presence among a host of other colleges that are there that include Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, Bethel University, University of Arkansas, and University of Central Arkansas. When the center was developed, it was based on the fact that there is an unbelievable amount of human potential in the Delta that often doesn’t have the opportunity to leave the region to connect to higher education according to MSCC President Dr. Glenn Fenter. “The intent was to bring the opportunity to our campus and not expect our students to always have the financial resources to leave and explore,” said Dr. Fenter. “Over the past years, we’ve been able to prove the efficacy of that model – we have teachers in classrooms [among other professions] that would not have been there had it not been for this kind of partnership.” Dr. Fenter expressed at the event his desire to partner with UAPB because of its heritage, legacy and stature in the State of Arkansas. “You only have to look around the state and the list of graduates from UAPB to understand how important that institution has been to all in Arkansas,” said Fenter. “For us to be able to develop a partnership with UAPB …I can’t imagine one more powerful and appropriate than what we have begun with [this institution]. They understand who we are, the needs of our people and the needs of our students.” UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander echoed Dr. Fenter’s sentiments and looks forward to the opportunities the partnership offers to both institutions in helping each to achieve the goal of affording a high-class education. “This signifies a day of broadened horizons between two institutions that allows a place of connection,” said Dr. Alexander. “In the true spirit of collaboration, this alliance serves as a testament that UAPB is on its way to achieving the gold standard.” Chancellor remarked that he desired to partner with schools that wanted to collaborate and tie their students in to the things that are available at UAPB.

(L-R) Dr. Glenn Fenter, president of Mid-South Community College stands with University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander to officially mark the partnership between the two institutions.

Photo courtesy of Mid-South Community College

“This college is well poised given its location, history and leadership by Dr. Fenter to get [MSCC] students into institutions like UAPB where they can be successful.” O­riginally established as a vocational-technical school, MidSouth Community College became a comprehensive community college in 1992. To help fund the conversion, MSCC asked Crittenden County voters to pass a property millage issue, and the citizens overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure in February 1993. The college has enjoyed phenomenal enrollment growth since beginning the fall 1993 semester with 139 students. With a fall 2009 on-campus headcount of over 2,100, MSCC officially became the largest two-year institution in the Arkansas Delta. Major physical plant additions include the $12 million Donald W. Reynolds Center for Educational Excellence, the $7 million University Center, and the $6.5 million Workforce Technology Center. Summer 2014



Professor Cheryl Collins, director of theatre at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has been selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Fellow in Grambling State University’s Institute on Greek Drama. The competitive program received more than 45 applications out of which they could only choose fifteen making Collins part of a distinguished Theatre Director selected for group chosen from historically black colleges and universities across the NEH fellowship country. Actress, Director, Theatre Founder, By Tisha D. Arnold Storyteller, Voice-over artist, Playwright, Professor, Scholar, Puppeteer and professional Clown are just some of the professions within the profession UAPB’s Cheryl Collins has held over the years. As an actress she starred in productions of Hecuba and Waiting To Be Invited (African Continuum Theatre), Flyin’ West, Do Lord Remember Me, The Trial…, Home, Musical Level of Pain, Fences, The Colored Museum (The Metropolitan Ebony Theatre) She was featured as Louise in the Studio Theatre’s production of Seven Guitars (nominated for seven Helen Hayes Awards) and starred in Arena Stage’s production of The Undiscovered Genius of the Concrete Jungle.  She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Ebony Theatre (The MET) which most recently was the professional resident theatre at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. The Metropolitan Ebony Theatre (The MET) focuses on all aspects of Black life in America and beyond, and provides professional opportunities for artists and theatre technicians of color. Professional storyteller Cheryl Collins has entertained audiences of all ages for over fifteen years. A featured artist with Young Audiences Inc., Cheryl’s program Can You



PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

See What I’m Saying is consistently one of the most requested programs in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Trained by the Harambee Storytellers of Mid-America, Cheryl’s mix of folklore, humor and history offers a unique blend that delights her audiences. She has written, directed and performed in the plays Dancing After the Storm and The Talking Eggs (both based on folktales) for the Discovery Children’s Theater of the Smithsonian Institution. She toured for three years in Anansi the Spider, Trickster of Africa for Imagination Stage of Bethesda, Maryland and is the recipient of a Hallmark Fellowship, JC Penney’s Golden Rule Award and a four-time winner of the Maryland Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award for solo theatrical performance. Cheryl possesses a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees and has directed many shows for The MET including The Colored Museum, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, My Children, My Africa!, Zooman and The Sign, The Trial of One Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mamie Louise and Safreeta Mae,  Do Lord Remember Me, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Spunk, Having Our Say, Home, Fences as well as several original works from the Black Women’s Playwrights Group of Washington D.C.  A member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Professor Collins is also a talented voice-over artist and has been featured in many video and film projects. She has run summer theatre camps for several summers, in Pine Bluff at the Arts and Sciences Center.  In the first year of her tenure at UAPB, she led the theatre department’s John McLinn Ross Players at the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts’ (NADSA) play competition. They placed first in this competition alongside the nation’s other HBCUs and have won or placed five of the six years she’s been at the institution. The Institute on Greek Drama offers free housing in the dormitories, free meals in the campus cafeteria and a stipend for the three-week program that will focus on the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Discussions will also be led by distinguished classicists who teach Latin and Greek literature at major universities.

Dr. Mary E. Benjamin, vice chancellor for Research and Innovation delivers her acceptance speech after receiving her award for College-level promotion of Education at the Women of Color STEM Conference.

DR. MARY BENJAMIN GIVEN AWARD AT STEM CONFERENCE Dr. Mary Benjamin, vice chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was honored with an award for College-level promotion of Education at the Women of Color STEM Conference. Hosted annually by the Career Communication Group’s Women of Color Magazine, the conference recognizes outstanding women in the STEM fields and provides opportunities for professional development, networking, and recruiting. Dr. Benjamin graduated from Tuskegee Institute and Atlanta University before earning her Ph.D. in Sociology from Mississippi State University. As the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, she

has developed innovative programs promoting academic advance for students and faculty. She skillfully manages recommendations for employment, promotion, tenure and retention.  She serves as academic liaison to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and is the founder of the UAPB STEM Academy.  She has given leadership in obtaining STEM expansion grants totaling $16M from agencies including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority. She is passionate about increasing higher education STEM opportunities for students at HBCUs. UAPB Professor of Military Science Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Foster nominated Dr. Benjamin because of her advocacy and wanted to highlight her lifetime of work in preparing successful students. As Principal Investigator on the grants, her most recent adventure has been giving leadership in gaining approval and developing coalitions to successfully fund a $10M STEM Academy and Conference Center to centrally house the programs at UAPB. The facility is scheduled for completion by August 2014. About the Career Communication Group Career Communications Group, Inc. was founded 25 years ago with a unique mission: To promote significant achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professional careers. They are a socially conscious diversity media company that recognizes the mandate to inspire and promote excellence in our youth by telling the stories of the thousands of unheralded people striving for success. The people we reach provide top employers a unique opportunity to fulfill their mission of hiring this country’s most promising talent.

Summer 2014


"An investiture is never about an individual, but it is about a moment in history. In our case, it is about this moment — the moment in the 141-year life of the university when we celebrate our past, engage our present and envision our future." -- Dr. Laurence B. Alexander 30

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Laurence B. Alexander was officially installed as the 18th leader and new chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on April 25, 2014 in a 2 p.m. investiture ceremony at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The hallowed day also marked the 141st anniversary of the founding of the institution. A ceremony of dignity with many academic traditions and protocols, the event included an academic procession of delegates from other colleges and universities as well as UAPB faculty members. The chancellor’s medallion and university mace, charter and seal — as symbols of Alexander’s responsibilities at UAPB — were also conferred. Before coming to UAPB in July 2013, he served as the associate dean of the University of Florida Graduate School, director of its Office of Graduate Minority Programs, a distinguished teaching scholar and a journalism professor. He has held several administrative positions during his education career. A fellow in the 2012-13 Southeastern Conference Academic Consortium’s Academic Leadership Development Program, the New Orleans native earned a bachelor’s degree in drama and communications from the University of New Orleans, a master’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida, a law degree from Tulane University and a doctorate in higher education from Florida State University. As a professor, Alexander taught more than 10,000 students and has received “significant awards, honors and recognition for his research and undergraduate instruction.” Before serving at Florida, he taught at Temple University and the University of New Orleans. Alexander served three terms on the UF Faculty Senate and a term as a faculty representative on the boards of directors of the University Athletic Association

Above: members of Chancellor Alexander's family attend the Investiture, Pictured with his family is his wife, Mrs. Veronica Alexander (1st on the left in platinum).

Clockwise from left: Dr. Alexander unveiled the new logo for the institution at the summation of his address. UAPB student Steven "Spud" Howard wowed the audience with his acapella rendition of Amazing Grace. The event drew several dignitaries locally and nationally including Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. To view the video, scan the code below with a qr reader.

and UF National Alumni Association. He has worked in the journalism profession for The New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Alexander is a member of International Communication, Modern

Language, Education Law, American Bar and Louisiana State Bar associations and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Summer 2014


"The end of education is to know God and the laws and purposes of his universe, and to reconcile one's life with these laws. The first aim of a good college is not to teach books, but the meaning and purpose of life. Hard study and the learning of books are only a means to this end. We develop Power, Courage and Determination and we go out to achieve Truth, Wisdom and Justice. If we do not come to this, the cost of schooling is wasted". --- John B. Watson, First President, AM&N College President Bobbitt, Trustees Von Gremp, Broughton, and Waldrup; Director Broadway, stakeholders and friends. I am proud, honored, humbled and blessed to stand before you today. Proud because I am a part of the Pride of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Honored because you have placed your trust in me as a member of your team and a part of your family. Humbled because I stand on the shoulders of 17 other superintendents, presidents and chancellors who have preceded me as the CEO of this institution. And Blessed because I know from whence I’ve come, and I know that I have not arrived at this point on my own, rather I know I am here by the Grace of God, and I know that I share this space with many stakeholders who will journey with us.

Our institution has produced dynamic, phenomenal, and powerful alumni who have made and some who are making their marks and contributing to changing the world. An investiture is never about an individual, but it is about a moment in history. In our case, it is about this moment — the moment in the 141year life of the university when we celebrate our past, engage our present and envision our future. It is an honor and a privilege to celebrate this investiture and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ’s heritage of excellence with each of you today. I am pleased to welcome you as well as express my sincerest gratitude to each of you who have traveled across the city, the state, and even across the country to celebrate this Founder’s week with us. I would also like to express my genuine appreciation to members of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and Dr. Bobbitt for the confidence they have shown in selecting me to serve as Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Thank you for your great leadership and steadfast commitment to the success of our system and this university. I also would like to express my thanks to the administrators, faculty, 32

staff, alumni, stakeholders, and to our students who each and every day make UAPB come alive. I am also delighted to acknowledge all of the delegates, representatives and other stakeholders who have assembled here to be with us, I say “thank you.” This is a joyful day all the more so because I share it with family and friends. My gratitude goes to my wife, who has been with me over the last 25 years and has supported my pursuits, even when the work hours were long and it required us to move ….. Also to the rest of the family members who have traveled from Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and California to share in this moment. I only wish my mother, grandmother, and oldest sister could be here to witness this day… Though they have gone on to be with the Lord, their memory remains with me, sharing the pride and joy that I feel on this day and in this moment. So I dedicate this to them. My appreciation to Dr. Benjamin for spearheading the Investiture Committee, whose hard work, along with the work of the members of her committee, is evident in the beautiful setting created for today's ceremonies. I also would like to thank the donors to this event who are listed in the program who helped make this occasion a reality. I am proud to be a part of the rich history that is imbedded in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. This day marks a new era in leadership at the university and this day…this very day also marks an anniversary for the founding of the university. For on this day in 1873, A legislative act was passed, establishing this institution, then known as Branch Normal College. As a result, we celebrate 141 years of blazing trails, breaking through seemingly impossible barriers, and reaching new heights while upholding and honoring the legacy of strong leaders of determination and ambition. You see, throughout the many years of our institution’s existence, we have overcome obstacles and succeeded despite the odds. This university has survived and advanced, in part, because of the vision and undying passion of past leaders who exemplified hard work, perseverance, dedication, and service to ensure that this institution strives for its highest potential and that our mission is executed. We salute leaders such as Joseph C. Corbin, Dr. John B. Watson, Dr. Lawrence “Prexy, Davis, Sr., Dr. Carolyn Blakely, Dr. Lawrence Davis, Jr., Dr. Calvin Johnson and many more. As I went through the interview process, I was encouraged to learn that there were not only one but two prior leaders with the name “Lawrence.” I thought that gave me a fighting

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

chance of becoming the next Chancellor. As chancellor, I appreciate all that our prior leaders have done. Because if it had not been for commitment, we would not be here today. Clearly, these are mighty big shoes to fill, but I will have a great deal of help in filling them. This campus is full of people who have been very supportive of UAPB--who have been champions for this institution for many years---and they continue to be champions for the university. It is with great honor and a humble spirit that I stand here at this moment on the shoulders of these giants to carry on the torch of achievement and excellence, while building on to their legacies. It is because of the strength and courage of those who have gone before us, today, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff stands as jewel of an institution in the University of Arkansas System. Established as Branch Normal College of Arkansas, our university provided higher education opportunity to the underprivileged and underrepresented. At the time, the sole purpose as a normal school was to prepare teachers for the newly freed slaves and their descendants. We later transitioned from Branch Normal College and an 1890 Land-Grant institution to Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College, or AM&N. Forty-two years ago, we merged with the University of Arkansas system and became the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Our institution has produced dynamic, phenomenal, and powerful alumni who have made and some who are making their marks and contributing to changing the world. Alumni such as the late Wiley A. Branton, Sr., a prominent civil rights leader and attorney, dedicated to ensuring that equality reached African-Americans in the education system in the state of Arkansas. Samuel L. Kountz, a pioneer in organ transplant surgery, who performed the first successful kidney transplant using a non-twin donor. In the brief time I have been here, I have had the pleasure of meeting many great alumni— among them: Arkansas State Rep. John Walker, a renowned a civil rights attorney in the state and region. Internationally registered engineer Raye J. Montague, who revolutionized U.S. naval ship design. U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis of Illinois’ 7th Congressional District. Educator and public administrator William “Sonny” Walker, longtime leader of the U.S. Community Services Administration. Noted Higher education expert Dr. Charles Nelms, a former university president and chancellor.

In the midst of rapid change and transformation that has engulfed higher education, I envision UAPB attaining Preeminence among Historically Black Colleges and Universities and climbing among the ranks of the best universities in the South, while enhancing student enrollment and success for a 21st Century globalized workforce. Distinguished U.S. Army Major General Aundre F. Piggee. Chicago Pastor Smokie Norful, a renowned Grammy Award winning recording artist. Starting Offensive Tackle for the New Orleans Saints, Terron Armstead, who helped UAPB to a historic football championship under Monte Coleman before moving into the Saints starting lineup. And there are many, many more. We have a strong history of molding our students into greatness, and we continue to do to so today. We are cultivating and growing a new generation of scholars and leaders who are preparing to take on many of the grand challenges as leaders in the 21st century globalized society. Specifically: We have the kind of institution that can attract, retain and graduate in increasing percentages more and more students in all available academic disciplines. We have a strong and diverse faculty, and we intend to continue to diversify the faculty, staff, students and curriculum… Not simply for the sake of being diverse—although that’s not a bad idea. But to achieve diversity for the sake of enriching the learning environment for our students. Dr. Davis, Sr. once said he hoped that UAPB would become a place where everybody could respect everybody else – where students of different ethnic and cultural background could live together as a community. These were his words…his dream…his vision, and because of his courageous spirit, it has become our reality. As we embrace education in a more diverse setting, we are preparing our students to become good citizens in an increasingly complex, multicultural, global society. We seek to further enrich our academic environment of 33 baccalaureate, 8 master’s and one highly regarded PhD program, by stimulating teaching and research with new perspectives through opportunities in international studies and programs. We want to further engage corporate, government and non-profits in providing students greater opportunities for workforce development

training, including experiential learning through internships, co-ops, research opportunities and study/work abroad. We will seek to encourage, assist and support the faculty and staff to pursue research that attracts to Pine Bluff, Arkansas collaborations and partnerships that yield federal research funding for scientific exploration and STEM student support. We will seek the support of foundations, corporations and private donors for the university’s growth and expansion in science and technology. And we will continue to seek investment in technological innovation, research, development and industry in this region of the Arkansas Delta. We embrace the opportunity to partner with our local and state institutions, our elected officials, our corporate leaders, our Chamber of Commerce, and other entities and economic development initiatives to increase employment opportunities and economic growth in Pine Bluff, in Jefferson County and in the state of Arkansas. We are committed to increasing the numbers of students prepared for careers in science and technology who will contribute to the economic prosperity of the Arkansas Delta. We will seek to increase the visibility of UAPB by telling our story—the essence of that story will be how we grew out of a teaching college established in the decade following the abolition of slavery in the Post- Reconstruction State of Arkansas to become a destination university, known as a caring place for students with a personal touch. When I see the students who come here as 1st generation students and who come from difficult circumstances---many are the first in their families to graduate from college, my mind reflects back on a poor boy from the projects in New Orleans, who, as the youngest of five children, was raised by a single mother, living in public housing, on public assistance, and riding on public transportation, but received the blessing of good rearing and the blessing of a good education. We want to continue to be that institution that offers hope. We will remain true to the mission of serving disadvantaged but deserving students. We want to continue to take our diamonds who have been in the rough and polish them, giving them the opportunity to shine. We want to encourage them to seize every opportunity. We want to enrich them with skills, training and learning---so that they may build up their confidence and lay aside their fears. Let them overcome their fear---by showing them that they have within them love, power, and sound mind. As the Chancellor of UAPB, I pledge to work with you to move this institution forward. I am committed to building on the successes of the past to make UAPB a better university. That means building on the success of the STEM Academy, increasing our student enrollment, continuing to advance the areas

of aquaculture and fisheries, industrial technology and agricultural sciences, providing interdisciplinary opportunities for students in business, the arts and the sciences and attracting more students to the teaching profession, which is our history, our core. It means building up areas of strength in the health sciences, biotechnology and nano-sciences and nano-technology. I am committed to: Re-invigorating teaching and learning to ensure an exceptional undergraduate experience and a rigorous graduate environment; I am committed to: Championing the value of this University to the people of this state; I am committed to: Strengthening our business, community and philanthropic partnerships; I am committed to: Unleashing an entrepreneurial spirit that will engulf the campus, engage the local communities and reach nationally and globally. I am committed to: Leading a University that understands that diversity is critical to achieving overall excellence. Together, we can re-invent the land-grant vision of the nineteenth century to meet the global demands of the 21st Century. One of the ways we have chosen to reinforce this university’s past, present, and future is represented in our new brand. UAPB presents this new brand mark, which draws on a visual and emotional connection to the history of the University and presents a sleek and contemporary unifying point for its future aspirations. At a glance, this new graphic speaks to the continuity of the University’s mission and creates an exciting symbol for future students, alumni and the entire UAPB community. This new brand represents the new era—a new era of excellence… .a new era of promise, possibilities, and prosperity. Who knows where this new era of excellence will lead? Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. So UAPB, we need to keep on aiming high, we need to keep on reaching for the stars, we need to keep on pressing on the upward way; we need to keep on building on the firm foundation. Lift up your heads oh ye gates and be ye lifted up the everlasting doors and the King of Glory shall come in. I’m going to ask just those of you who know… who is the king of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty; the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads oh ye gates and the king of glory shall come in. Thank you. God Bless You.

Summer 2014






he L.A. Davis Student Union has always been a popular gathering spot for students, having served for decades as an on-campus social hub. Built in 1952, “The Union” was dedicated in 1958 in honor of former AM&N President Lawrence A. "Prexy" Davis Sr. At the time “The Union” replaced the university’s athletic field. Impressive in its day, “The Union” was furnished with a second floor terrace complete with patio furniture and a sound system for entertaining and meetings. Steep stairs located at the front of the building offered access to the terrace from outdoors, and located beneath the stairway was an aesthetic lighted goldfish pond. Homecoming week always brought alumni, visitors and friends back to this nostalgic landmark to relax and reminisce. According to the University Museum and Cultural Center archives, “The Union” initially had six guest rooms on the second floor to accommodate special visitors because there were no suitable hotels available for Blacks in the 1950s. In 1972, the first building underwent a major renovation at the cost of $1,459,000. The guest rooms were replaced by billiard and game rooms, and the terrace closed and the stairway was removed for security reasons. This two story building housed student offices, game rooms, a television room, a lounge, snack bar, a music room, cafeteria, dining room, a bookstore and the post office. A separate entrance at the back of the Student Union allowed entrance to the Black and Gold Room, an area dedicated for meetings and events with a seating capacity of 125 guests. Keeping with growth and expansion projects at the university, the L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union experienced another renovation in 2005. After completion, the former Student Union Ballroom had 34

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

been converted into a student lounge equipped with computers, Wi-fi access, a multi-media screen and a designated area for various student events. Comfortable lounge chairs and sturdy work tables were added to promote a student networking and studying environment conducive to learning. A disability lift was added for second floor access to all, and throughout the building, carpeting had been replaced by visually appealing black and white ceramic tile. The second floor seminar room received a facelift that included new furnishings and restoration of a food service area as well. Today, the Student Union is still a high traffic area for student recreation and relaxation; its purpose, role and scope have never altered, and with each revamping, it has evolved into the appropriate structure necessary for that period. (Portions of this story were contributed by the University Museum and Cultural Center.)

Clockwise from left: The L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union circa 1960s was and continues to be the hub of student activity for the institution. When a road went through the heart of the campus, it served as a central drop off spot for cars and charter buses as well. The roof-top terrace was a popular spot for card games and social gatherings for faculty and students alike Today, the L.A. Davis, Sr. Student has maintained its popularity; whether it's dining at BRB (Be Right Burger), playing pool or hosting student events.

Summer 2014



A Powerful Message Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks'64 delivers keynote address at 150th Commencement By Michael S. Lee | PINE BLUFF COMMERCIAL

The members of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff May 2014 graduating class were told to remember their graduation date because it marks their individual academic triumphs over adversity, and to be mindful that none of them got to that point on their own. Rev. H. Beecher Hicks Jr. delivered the address for the 150th Commencement Exercises at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Hicks wowed the crowd with his oratorical skills honed over a nearly 40-year career as the head pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. In the process, he provided the graduates with a powerful commencement address. “We live in a society that celebrates youth,” Hicks said. “But let me tell you: youth is not an achievement. It is just a number. Your achievement is the values by which you live and the principles on which you stand. “In my childhood I planted a tree in the front yard of our home,” Hicks said. “It wasn’t very long before that little

sapling stood taller than the one who planted it. Every once in a while I go back to that place and that tree reminds me of times gone by and to stand with my head held high. I may bend but I never bow.” Hicks said the seemingly inconsequential event that made up the planting of the young oak tree became ever more consequential with the passing of time. “The more I looked back on it the more important it became,” Hicks said. “It reminds me of the time I hit a baseball that went through Mrs. Cooper’s stained glass window. That taught me about judgment and salvation. It reminded me of some of the street fights I got into and of God seeing fit to provide me with allies who could fight the battles for me that I could not.” Hicks focused his words on the theme of marking your spot and used the biblical story of Samuel leading the Israelites against the Philistines as his primary narrative. “When the Israelites achieved victory over the Philistines Samuel set up a

stone and called it Ebenezer,” Hicks said. “He marked the spot where the Israelites had known defeat but now knew victory. Israel’s history is defined by her relationship with her enemies and adversaries. The Philistines were Israel’s constant enemy and now Israel was victorious.” Hicks said that the situation Israel found itself in had parallels to the Class of 2014. “You all have been similarly faced with your own enemies,” Hicks said. “They put stumbling blocks in your path and laugh when you fall. The reason that Israel’s victory is so significant it because its defeat seemed so imminent. She should not have won when looking at how the two sides stacked up against each other. “Similarly there is someone here in this class today who by all accounts should not be,” Hicks said. “You had to fight against your adversaries and at times your defeat seemed all but certain. But you are here.” Hicks said it was not until Israel remembered that it owed all of its Summer 2014


previous successes to God that the tide of battle with the Philistines finally turned. “You must stay in touch with the Savior if you want to be victorious,” Hicks said. “Where is the God factor in your life?” Hicks said the Philistines were confused by what they considered an odd reaction by the Israelis to defeat. “The pain and defeat of the Israelites was met by shouts instead of cries,” Hicks said. “When the Philistines heard that the Ark of the Covenant had arrived in the Israelite camp they were afraid. The equation changes when God steps into my camp. If you never knew defeat then you can never know the joy of victory.” “God has enabled you to get through your suffering,” Hicks said. “Once Israel re-established its relationship

Clockwise from left: Honorary doctorate degrees were conferred upon Dean Emeritus Dr. Carolyn F. Blakely and Major General Aundre F. Piggee; Family and Friends of the graduates swell the entrance as they make their exit from the Pine Bluff Convention Center arena. At right: UAPB graduates stand at attention in preparation of their commissioning ceremony. They each received the rank of Second Lieutenant.

Photos by Richard Redus To view the video, scan the code at left with a qr reader.

with the sacred through the return of the Ark of the Covenant, Samuel prayed and God sent out a thunderstorm which threw the Philistines into confusion and the Israelites had their victory. The ones who deserve to graduate are the ones they said would never make it, the ones they said would never account for anything.” Hicks said that whenever help is received it must be acknowledged. “My success is not because of anything I have done but because the Lord has helped me,” Hicks said. “You mark the spot so that you will never forget where you came from, so that others will know what you went through, and to remind you

that the Lord has helped you. If the Lord has helped you, just mark the spot.” Hicks said that just as Samuel sacrificed a lamb to God in thanks for the victory over the Philistines, so to is victory for all humanity in the lamb of God. Hicks was honored with a spirited standing ovation that included the graduates as well as friends and family and university administrators, faculty and staff. Hicks is a 1964 graduate of Arkansas AM&N College and a native of Baton Rouge, La.

Summer 2014



Example of a 3D Visualization Cave


Professors receive grant to establish 3D visualization cave Imagine being able to walk through the central nervous system, forensics scene or the activity of a data stream – all of that will soon be possible thanks to the innovative minds at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Dr. Sederick C. Rice, assistant professor of biology has been awarded a $176,000 instrumentation grant from the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (Arkansas INBRE) to fund the Generating Enhanced Teaching through Science Education and Technology (GET-SET) project. Dr. Sederick C. Rice is the principal investigator (PI) and Dr. Antonie Rice, associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences is the co-principal investigator (co-PI) for the project. GET-SET is an instrumentation grant project 38

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

designed to acquire and utilize immersive learning and research technology in the form of a low-cost turnkey 3D visualization system. The main components of the GET-SET project are designed to develop a 3D visualization center at UAPB to improve STEM faculty professional development along with the application and use of 3D visualization in STEM classroom and research settings on the undergraduate and graduate levels. The funds from GET-SET will be used to develop a 3D visualization center in Rust Technology Hall on UAPB’s campus. “This is a very exciting time for me as principal investigator of the GET-SET Project,” said Dr. Sederick Rice. “The installation of a 3D visualization cave on our campus will open the door to enhanced student and faculty engagement in STEM teaching and research across our campus and provide instrumentation that will promote effective outreach to K-12 STEM teachers and students throughout the Arkansas Delta.” The Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) is a statewide network of collaborative partnerships to expand biomedical research capacity in Arkansas. The Arkansas INBRE builds upon infrastructure developed during the BRIN Phase, and features the three research-intensive institutions in the state – the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS); the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF); and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) -which provide scientific leadership.

ARK-LSAMP RECEIVES 3.5M FROM NSF The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has been awarded $3.5M from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further support the Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ARKLSAMP) program at UAPB. According to Dr. Mary Benjamin, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, the award is a testament to the collaborative work of eight Arkansas colleges and universities to help increase the diversity and workforce preparedness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates. With a shared vision and a well-defined set of interventions including a Pre-First Year Academy, internships, study groups, lecture series and select cohort grouping in Year I, and stipends, this Alliance currently enrolls 150 and has graduated 35. Among them is UAPB alumna Ashley Rich who is in her second year of a Ph.D. program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas State University alumnus Tony James who is in his first year of a Master’s program at Drexel University. The new award allows the Alliance to continue with an added emphasis on veterans and bridges to and from community colleges to four-year colleges and universities. “We are extremely pleased to receive our new grant award for the Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation,” said Dr. Anissa Buckner, ARK-LSAMP Project Director. “We have implemented this program across the state at our Alliance institutions and the National Science Foundation recognized the hard work and dedication of our efforts with the program through a second award. Thank you to our Executive, Advisory and Coordinating Boards for all of their efforts to help obtain this award for our underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines.” With the award, another two-year college, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, has been added along with a section to include veterans in STEM areas.

FERNANDEZ GIVEN VOLUNTEER AWARD Dr. David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national honor in recognition of volunteer service. Established in 2003, the award is presented to individuals, groups and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering. Dr. Fernandez received this award for his volunteer work with landless, primarily female, farmers. He worked with more than 280 landless farmers in the districts of Khulna, Kushtia and

Jessore in Bangladesh. Goats are considered a real asset for landless farmers. Not only do they represent a nutritious food supply for a family, but also selling a goat can double a family’s annual income, says Dr. Fernandez, who spent two weeks working alongside farmers teaching them about nutrition, breeding, and parasite and disease management. Farmers received practical tips and also learned to FAMACHA score goats to identify those in need of deworming. Dr. Fernandez was in Bangladesh as a Winrock International volunteer.

Summer 2014




Dr. Lawrence Awopetu chosen to study abroad in Scandinavia Dr. Lawrence Awopetu, chair of the Department of Accounting at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was nominated for the 2014 Faculty Study Abroad program in Scandinavia. With the theme, “Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility,” the program will take him to Stockholm and Copenhagen in Sweden and Denmark, respectively. The Professional Development in International Business (PDIB) Scandinavia faculty study abroad program is sponsored by Robert Wang Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), University of Memphis, under the CIBER-HBCU Consortium. In 2012, Dr. Awopetu attended the faculty development in international business on globalization at CIBER and participated in a series of discussions on international accounting and its impact on corporations in the U. S. The 40

globalization seminar on International Accounting improved his skills to recognize sources of influence on the development of accounting standards and practices worldwide; understanding the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards(IFRS) worldwide; and develop strategies for teaching IFRS in the Department of Accounting program curriculum. Dr. Awopetu’s research interests include ethics and the accounting profession, and the impact of working capital on small and medium scale nonfinancial firms in the United States. The Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs) were created by Congress under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 to increase and promote the nation’s capacity for international understanding and competitiveness. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI, Part B of the Higher Education

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Act of 1965, the CIBER network links the manpower and technological needs of the United States business community with the international education, language training, and research capacities of universities across the country. The 33 CIBERs serve as regional and national resources to business people, students, and teachers at all levels. Building on the strengths of their faculty and staff, each CIBER organizes a variety of activities to advance the study and teaching of international business and to support applied research on United States competitiveness in the global marketplace. CIBERs work collaboratively with each other, with other departments and disciplines within their universities, other colleges and universities regionally and nationally, government and trade councils, professional associations, and business.

DOUBLE THE BOUNTY Various strawberry production techniques shown to increase yields at UAPB

Strawberry production trials by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff show that using high tunnels, low tunnels and plastic mulch can extend the growing season. Such systems allow early planting of strawberry plugs, increasing the yields and quality of strawberries, leading to increased profitability, said Dr. Leonard Githinji, an Extension horticulture specialist at UAPB. The university is exploring methods to establish and expand sustainable strawberry production in the state, he said. The project is

funded by a grant from the Walmart Foundation and administered by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability. “The overall goal is to establish and expand sustainable strawberry production in Eastern Arkansas and surrounding areas,” Githinji said. “In order to achieve this goal, we are conducting extensive outreach and education including hands-on training on several topics related to strawberry production and postharvest technologies.”

Sites in Jefferson, Lee and Lonoke counties are being used for demonstration of extension of the production season for strawberries; sustainable soil quality improvement; sustainable pest and diseases control and use of beneficial insects for strawberry production. Demonstrations also include reduction of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in strawberry production; water and energy conservation in strawberry production; reduction of human pathogens risks on fresh strawberries; and economic analysis of strawberry production. Summer 2014



RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE The Women's Tennis Team was awarded the NCAA Public Recognition Award, an honor given to teams that had an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sport in the 2012-13 academic year. The Women' Tennis Team's APR scored averaged out to a perfect 1,000 ranking them in the top 10 percent among Division I women's tennis teams in the country.

"We are honored to have received such a prestigious award. My student-athletes understand, that they are students first and athletes second, giving the true meaning to the word student-athlete," said James Cowan, head men's and women's tennis coach.

TOP FINISHER Junior Teneisha Davis was the top finisher for the UAPB women's cross country team at the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships on Monday morning. Davis finished sixth in the field of 69 runners, earning her second team All-SWAC honors. The top 10 runners in the race earned a spot on the All-SWAC team. A Newark, NJ native, Davis was the bright spot for the Lady Lions who finished the race 10th out of the 10 schools. She ran the 5K in a time of 19:37.16. Tineika Toussaint was the next closest UAPB runner to cross the line. She finished 36th with a time of 21:39.31.

BIG BREAKS Both track & field squads recorded program-high finishes on the final day of competition at the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Indoor Track & Field Championships. Highlights include:

• The men finished eighth in a final ranking that came close with the winner finishing with 98 points.

• Leading the women's team, UAPB Ninfa Barnard swept


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

the long distance events, breaking the SWAC record in the 3,000m with a spectacular time of (10:00.34) point performance, highlighted by a first place finish in the mile with a time of 5:03.99. Barnard also ran a personal best in the 800m with a time of 2:12.64, finishing second in the finals to break another school record Sierta Roach capture the women's shot put title with a distance of 14.08, breaking the SWAC old record of 14.03.

I am so thankful and appreciative of the scholarship that I received. The money that I have been awarded covered my remaining balance and books. I will always be appreciative to the individuals that donated to this fund.

u o y k Than

Balton Coleman Psychology

Memphis, Tennessee Junior To help deserving students like Balton, contact the Development Office at 870.575.8701

Summer 2014




BLOODED by bobbie handcock


aurice Jackson spends his days surrounded by wildlife at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. As an education specialist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, he teaches visitors about ecology and wildlife including the center’s resident snakes, turtles, alligators and fish. He conducts tours of the space which is part museum, lab, bird watching area, wildlife photography hotspot and environmental education facility. “Being exposed to nature at an early age sparked my interest in choosing this career,” he said. “I look at my career as a ministry - saving the environment by educating and designing effective programs that may interest young people in becoming better stewards of the natural world.” Jackson graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in fisheries biology. He went on to earn a master’s degree in aquaculture/fisheries from UAPB in 2002. Born in Chicago, Ill, Jackson grew up in Heth, Arkansas, a farming community between Forrest City and West Memphis, Arkansas. In his job at the Nature Center, Jackson said he enjoys “educating children in Arkansas about their global role in the natural world and how much they have impacted it. “ “My job duties consist of providing and administering Arkansas Game and Fish educational programs related to hunting, boating, fishing, and wildlife to the public,” he said. “I also develop new educational programs promoting outdoor recreation and nature education.” The Forrest City High School graduate developed a love for the outdoors earlier on because his greatgrandfather was a trapper and owner of a pay fishing lake. “I grew up being exposed to both hunting and fishing. As


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

a child, I spent a lot of time outside,” he said. Jackson worked for the Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff, Arkansas before moving on to his current position at the center in Little Rock. Before returning to Arkansas, Jackson worked for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (AWFF) as a supervisor and as an aquatic education biologist. He said his studies at UAPB provided a good foundation for the work world. “The fisheries program at UAPB exposes you to real job scenarios,” Jackson said. “Working on research grants with some of the professors helped a lot. I remember attending and presenting research papers at professional meetings.” Thanks to the Aquaculture and Fisheries Department, he said he was able to travel to Washington D.C. to visit the Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters. “Internships were a plus as well,” Jackson said. “I worked with the U.S. Forrest Service for two summers in the 1.8 million-acre San Juan National Forest quantifying streams for water. It was my first time visiting Colorado and seeing snow-capped mountains.” In graduate school, Jackson did a variety of research in collaboration with UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries and the Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture

Research Center. The fact that Jackson has returned to Arkansas and does outreach and education at the nature center makes him one of UAPB’s “most high-profile alumni, and someone who we can all view with Golden Lion pride,” said Dr. Steve E. Lochmann, UAPB associate professor and Jackson’s former advisor. Among Jackson’s achievements at AWFF is his work to successfully introduce a new hormone that is now being used by AWFF to spawn Gulf Coast strain striped bass. It cut the time

spent spawning these fish by 50 percent. Jackson and a colleague implemented AWFF’s first interactive hands-on outdoor classroom titled, Creek Kids, which introduced 4,000 children in grades 4 through 8 to stream surveying, biological indices and watershed concepts. In January 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed “Creek Kids,” one of the most innovative programs in the country “I hope to develop an improved program in Arkansas for grades 4 to 12 and look at the effectiveness of

watershed concepts in relation to student achievement (math, writing, and science scores) and student apathy towards nature,” he said. While at UAPB, Jackson was involved with organizations such the American Fisheries Society, the Ronald McNair Scholars Program and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Jackson is married to Dr. Melissa Jackson, a 1998 UAPB graduate. The couple has four children: Kevin, Al, Marc, and Shailey.

Summer 2014




PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Engineered for

Greatness Raye Jean Montague by donna mooney

| photos by brian t. williams

Summer 2014




n a cold damp rainy Saturday afternoon, Raye Jean Montague, retired registered professional engineer, posed for a brief photo shoot in front of the USS Razorback (submarine) at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum at Little Rock. Head high, shoulders back, and a gleam in her eye, one could only imagine the respect she demanded when she walked into a room full of male engineers more than 50 years ago. Some were close to her age, others older, but never to be on the same level as this selfmade steel magnolia. She is a proud alumnus of AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), where her formal educational journey began and she determinedly nurtured her desire for an engineering career. Raye J. Montague, the name often used during her career, is not your average engineer. She has a name that has bewildered many male interviewers who thought that any applicant in the 1950s with the first name “Raye,” had to be a man. Despite obvious sexism and blatant racism, Montague used her God-given intelligence and abilities to prove to any skeptics that her talent and drive for engineering were genuine. Her career, which began modestly as a computer systems operator, crested when she was promoted to the civilian equivalent rank of captain as the Program Manager of Ships for the US. Navy’s Naval Sea System Command Information Systems Improvement Program. In 1972, she received the third highest civilian achievement award – the U.S. Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award. As Program Manager, she supervised 250 staff and she was responsible for equipment procurement for more than 100,000 people. In October 2013, Montague was inducted into the 21st Annual Arkansas Black Hall of Fame as an outstanding Arkansas native for being an Internationally Recognized Engineer, Graphic Designer and creator of the first computer-generated draft of a U.S. naval ship. She speaks fondly about AM&N instructors and college courses, but mostly about her journey


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

to becoming a well-respected and internationally registered professional engineer. The work she’s done in the midst of stubborn man-made obstacles has yielded to her persistent determination. This never-say-die attitude developed as a young girl and spilled over into her AM&N studies.


Made up Mind

ontague said her curiosity about ships ignited when her grandfather took her to see a one-man German submarine after World War II. “It looked like a tin can to me. I went on the ladder and saw the mechanism to make it work and asked the officer how it worked. The man told me, “You have to be an engineer to know that - but you don’t have to worry about that.” I went home and looked up the definition of an engineer in the encyclopedia. (I’ve been reading since I was four-years-old).” David R. Montague, PhD, an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and the Director of the UALR Senior Justice Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, added insight into his mother’s personal journey. “When I think of Raye J. Montague, I think of a person who came from (at that time) a small town called Little Rock, Arkansas, and grew up with many people surrounding her with positive encouragement, high expectations, and as many opportunities as a poor person of color in the South typically had in the 1930s and forward,” he said. “Many came to see it (the German submarine) out of curiosity, and what her grandfather succeeded in doing that day, was to plant the seed of opportunity in Raye’s mind that it is important to seek things out far beyond what others might think is possible. That day, Raye Montague decided that she wanted to become a professional who dealt with the technology of ships; meaning she wanted to become an engineer--whatever that choice meant in terms of requirements, goals and challenges.

Raye Jean Montague sits in the sunroom of her home and tells one of many engaging stories about her amazing life. One of which included a request to receive the same canon statue captains get once they retire.

Two years after she toured the submarine, she moved to Pine Bluff with her mother Flossie Graves McNeel. In the eighth grade at Merrill High School, she told her fellow students she was going to be an engineer. She said her teacher, Ms. Erma Holliday told her to aim for the stars and that “at worst you’ll land on the moon.” In high school, Montague said she signed herself up for mathematics courses and refused to attend the mandatory Home Economics classes initially. Eventually, Montague’s attendance included an agreement between her high school principal and her mother. “My mother was the wind beneath my wings, and she supported me even

Although Montague has several displays that document the journey of her life like plates from one of the computer's she programmed on (below), she enjoys life with her family and dog, Henry (at right).

Summer 2014



when I initially refused to go to Home Economics." Her mother went to the principal and negotiated her taking all the mathematics and science courses available if she passed the Home Economic courses. Her ability to succeed at both subjects was a testament to her upbringing and the early exposure she had to AM&N. “AM&N helped me in high school because the instructors there would go off to college for their master‘s degrees, and then would come back and share their latest books with Merrill High School,” Montague said. “The high school students at Merrill had the equivalent of a master’s degree when they graduated.” Because of AM&N College, Montague said she met great men and women like Jesse Owens, Mary McCleod Bethune and Marian Anderson before she ever set foot on the campus. “Almost every high profile person who came to AM&N came to Merrill, and they all said we could be what we wanted to be. They said you don’t have to be limited, so when I decided I wanted to learn to type - and there were no typewriters, I told my mother, who spoke with the principal. Not long after that, we had a typing class.”

From Books to Central Processing Units


ontague graduated from high school in 1952 and enrolled at AM&N with the mindset of becoming an engineer. Although the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville offered an engineering degree, she chose to attend AM&N during the tenure of L.A. “Prexy” Davis Sr. “I majored in business, and I received a secondary education license because everyone had a teaching license who graduated from the college at the time. I never taught school other than to practice teaching. I was not interested in teaching. I always knew I wanted to build ships.” While in college she was taught by instructors

like the late professors John M. Ross, O.R. Holliday, was active with the “Doc” Jones Debate Team, and was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (of which she is currently a Golden Member).

Raye J. Montague, the name often used during her career, is not your average engineer. She has a name that has bewildered many male interviewers who thought that any applicant in the 1950s with the first name Raye had to be a man. Since graduation, she has not been a stranger to her alma mater, having been a noted guest of the UAPB Kellogg Lecture Series. Once a year, she travels to her alma mater for homecoming, spending time with close friends, and also, she participates in the Merrill All School Reunion. Montague was the third generation student of her family to attend AM&N College. Her grand uncle, William Edward “W.E.” O’Bryant graduated from Branch Normal College in 1902. Her mother, Flossie Graves McNeel, graduated in 1927 from Branch Normal also. “That says a lot about the school and the education given at AM&N,” she said. “I always knew I was going to college, so when my high school friends told me they were doing things other than going to college after graduation, I was stunned because I never knew there were other options.” Science was her favorite subject and she took as many courses as she could in science as long as they did not conflict with her business courses. “At the time it was unusual for a young lady to take multiple science courses, but I was doing it regardless. I graduated from AM&N on a Tuesday and went to Washington D.C. on Wednesday to take my resume to the U.S. Navy. Arkansas did not have any computers at the time, and I knew that I wanted to work on one.”

ODD SCHOLARSHIP One thing most people do not know about Montague is that when she started at AM&N, her mother (Flossie Graves McNeel) did not have enough money for her to be able to complete the degree; this means they literally did not know how she was going to continue in school. A crazy thing happened during her freshman year though. In order for students to get


to the required physical education class on campus, students needed to cross the street in town, which was a busy street. A university police officer known as “Cop Collins,” always stood on the corner to act as a crossing guard and control traffic so students could get to class on time if they needed to cross. She and others were instructed to cross the street, but a

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

truck’s brakes gave out and could not stop. Raye was run over by the truck and this is why an overpass was built on campus. The University of Arkansas System then decided to pay for the remainder of her education at AM&N, which is how she was able to afford to graduate college.

"I carried the weight of minorities and women on my shoulders at times. Regardless of what happened, I had to try harder.�

Montague's official U.S. Navy photo Photo courtesy of Raye Jean Montague

Summer 2014


Above: Although she is a civilian, Montague has the equivalent rank of a Captain and was given a flag and pins upon her retirement. Clockwise from left: Montague's impressive career included giving lectures in the U.S. and abroad; receiving numerous awards from organizations like the Society of Manufacturing Engineers; membership to the Board of Directors to the CAD CAM Chapter; and breaking barriers during discussions at conferences.


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: a photo of the SSGF Escot, the first naval ship designed by a computer. At left and below: one of many plaques that make up Montague's impressive collection of recognitions.

Below: In October 2013, Montague was inducted into the 21st Annual Arkansas Black Hall of Fame as an outstanding Arkansas native for being an Internationally Recognized Engineer, Graphic Designer and creator of the first computer-generated draft of a U.S. naval ship.

Summer 2014




Defining Moments

he Navy hired her and put her to work with men who had attended Harvard and Yale. Montague didn't let it deter her from her goals thanks to her firm foundation from her alma mater. “AM&N taught me to never stop learning. I had strong math and science teachers at Merrill High School and college just strengthened that.” Hence, Montague sent herself to computer school at night while she worked days. The first computer she worked on was the UNIVACI Serial No. 2. “I broke my first barrier by learning to operate a computer without any formalized training. I went on to teach the other men there, but still I did not receive a promotion. The men did, but I was told I had to work at night to learn more and at the time, I did not have a car to get to work at night, and I did not know how to drive.” So, Montague bought a car and taught herself how to drive … at night. “I bought a 1949 Pontiac Valiant and without a license, drove it home. Eventually, she said received her driver’s license but never took a written test to get it.” Her most notable accomplishment caught the attention of her superiors when she was credited with completing a rough draft of the SSGF Escot, the first Navy ship created by computer. Normally the task of designing a ship takes two years just to complete the rough draft by hand, but Montague accomplished the unimaginable. She revolutionized the ship design process by producing the first computerized ship model plan - and in record time. “President Nixon was in office then and he wanted a rough draft of a ship completed in two months, not two years,” Montague said. “However, President Nixon’s aides asked for a replica in one month. I did it in 18 hours and 26 minutes," Montague gleamed proudly as she reminisced. From that point on, her career accelerated. To her dismay, her life was threatened, and someone broke into her desk at work. The Navy had to move her office across from security, and her car had to be moved to a secure place. “People felt like I (a Black woman) should not have received that type of award before a white person did. I earned this award many times over, and I was going to accept it. The more awards or accolades you receive, the lonelier it gets,” she said. “Her innovative design of the first rough draft of a U.S. Naval ship in history using a computer led


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

her to be a go-to person by numerous industries in the private sector and foreign countries dealing with computerized manufacturing. This included lecturing at the United States Naval Academy and completing monthly briefings to the Chair of the United States Department of Defense’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Above Board

ut of the rain and into her warm house and clothes, Montague is surrounded by her career mementos, plaques, certificates, awards, and family. David Montague and granddaughter Riley are the perfect hosts and assistants. Henry, the family’s pewterhaired French poodle, eventually finds his way into Montague’s lap and the discussion continues. “I experienced racism on different levels,” Montague said. “When I took the Federal Services Entrance Exam, they said my score was not high enough. I made 95. I carried the weight of minorities and women at times. Regardless of what happened, I had to try harder.” To her credit, Montague became an international registered professional engineer without an honorary degree. Being the program manager of a ship is like being a CEO, and Montague said that is when her education at AM&N helped her most. “Using my AM&N knowledge of accounting, I submitted budgets for research and development all the time I was in an authoritative position,” she said. Known for always reaching back to open doors for others; she was able to break the glass ceiling over and over again in numerous settings, while still giving to others and focusing on her family simultaneously. Prior to Ray Montague’s retirement in 1990, she began lecturing and traveling the world for speaking engagements. The day she retired, she was given the flag that had flown over the National Capital. After 50 years in Washington, DC, she returned to Little Rock in 2006. Montague is now active in several community organizations including the Links Inc., the Association of University Women, and the American Bridge League. She also serves as a mentor to inmates through a program sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Corrections and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Her most notable accomplishment caught the attention of her superiors when she was credited with completing a rough draft of the SSGF Escot, the first Navy ship created by computer. Normally the task of designing a ship takes two years just to complete the rough draft by hand...... She revolutionized the ship design process by producing the first computerized ship model plan - and in record time - 18 hours and 26 minutes.

Summer 2014



DLA Pacific commander retires after 27year Army career Joe Arnold'89, Defense Logistics Agency Pacific’s commander wrapped up his Army career at a retirement ceremony aboard the historic USS Missouri battleship in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 22. Army Col. Joe Arnold retired after more than 27 years of service. In May 1989, he received a commission as distinguished military graduate from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and served in positions of increased responsibility, culminating as the DLA Pacific regional commander in July 2011. DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek presided over the ceremony and presented Arnold with the Legion of Merit medal. According to the medal’s citation, “Arnold assimilated the needs of the Warfighter leading to the quick implementation of the United States Pacific Command’s new gaps analysis tool, and he led his command in support of the President’s Rebalance to the Pacific concept.” Harnitchek called Arnold “dedicated, honest and unrelenting in his passion to do the right thing.” “He’s had one of the hardest missions in DLA, representing the entire 26,000-person logistics monster here in one of the toughest regions on the globe,” the admiral said. Before presenting Arnold with his certificate of retirement, Harnitchek presented a certificate

o s '8

Outgoing DLA Pacific Commander Army Col. Joe Arnold reflects on his military career and the positive support he has received from family and friends along the way. Photo by Nicole Dumm

from the president of the United States to Arnold, as well as a certificate of appreciation to Arnold’s wife. Arnold was also presented with a U.S. flag that was flown over the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, and the US Pacific Command headquarters. Arnold gave a short speech to recognize the foundation he relied on to achieve a successful military career: faith, family and friends. “I can’t imagine any other career that could have brought me the rewards and satisfaction this one has,” he said. “It has not always been easy, and I realize I was never promised any easy career.” Arnold said he relied on his faith for wisdom and guidance and recognized

the friends and professional colleagues whom he leaned upon throughout his career. He identified his family as the “most essential part of (his) well-being,” and thanked family members near and far for their consistent support throughout his Army career. He presented his wife and daughter each with a bouquet of roses symbolizing the years of love, happiness and support they have provided to him. Arnold wrapped up the day’s events stating, “With all the opportunities the Army has afforded me and my family, I’m confident our established foundation will continue to be the guidepost for what awaits us in the future.”


PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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o s '9 Alumna appointed as Deputy Superintendent for Park Operations at Statue of Liberty NM and Ellis Island

Cherie Butler'94, a 21-year National Park Service veteran, has been selected as the next Deputy Superintendent for Park Operations at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, according to Superintendent John Piltzecker. She will begin her new assignment in early May. "Cherie is the right fit at the right time for the park," said Piltzecker. "She has an excellent reputation as a leader who works collaboratively in all areas of management to improve park operations. From her front line experience working with park visitors, expertise in interpretation and education, and superb capabilities as a facilitator of partnerships, the park will benefit from her skillset in the years ahead." The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are sites that symbolize and commemorate the living reality of freedom, democracy and opportunity in the United States. Woven into the history of these sites are the aspirations and contributions of millions of immigrants who made the United States their new home and the world leader it is today. A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that in 2012 12,073,658 visitors to national parks around New York Harbor spent $394,399,300 million in communities near the park. "The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are iconic and special

places that continue to inspire Americans and visitors from around the world," said Butler. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to the place where I began my National Park Service career and to work with park staff, nonprofit and concession partners, volunteers and the local communities around the Tri-State area to protect the park's resources and to expand the visitor experience." Prior to this appointment, Butler was the first superintendent at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, one of America's newest national parks and she also supervised the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.

Lieutenant Colonel Erica L. Ingram'95, of Little Rock has assumed command of the 871st Troop Command from the outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Dwight D. Ikenberry. With nearly 700 Guardsmen, the 871st is one of the largest battalions in Arkansas.

Camron Doss'99, received his law degree from the Law School of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Summer 2014


ne’s unexpected death a life full of roses. t about her past and nded her of the scars death but is soon challenges, obstacles, rom her past.

y discovers the real he learns about the er mother. Christine e truly realized that e and hope beyond nd never forgotten. her special place in plays in the Creston hat if there was any n it was her.

laugh and touch you thrilling, mysterious

s much as I have….


Tanika Edwards'00, will join Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families as director of governmental affairs. Jade West'12, has been accepted into the Howard University School of Dentistry. Her dream is to become an orthodontic surgeon.

Ryan L. Watley, Ph.D.'09, was honored during a University of Oklahoma hooding ceremony, a special recognition ceremony for doctoral degree candidates.

Jennifer Caldwell'11, received her Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

THE BOOKSHELF Grandma's Rose is a novel everyone can relate to no matter what nationality or culture they are. You’ll laugh and cry with the characters in the story. Once you read it, you’ll realize how much we’ve changed as a family, and understand the true meaning of a mothers love. Available at, ( and other online book retailers.

Armentta Brown'14, has been accepted to the College of William and Mary to pursue a graduate degree in Accounting. Maria Cabane'14, has been accepted to Boston University to pursue a dual Master’s degree in Sports Psychology and Counseling. The former student-athlete plans to play professional tennis and get hands-on experience at a high level and continue at Boston University to earn a Ph.D. in Sports Psychology. Her dream is to be the team psychologist for Guatemala’s National Soccer team with the goal of helping them qualify for their first World Cup.

This book recounts the life of Thedora Clemmons Trammell who uses her skills as a beautician to build a business and life beyond hair care in Pine Bluff, AR. Following in the tradition of other notable Black women from small towns, Mrs. Trammell from Elmyra , Arkansas, becomes a successful beautician and business woman. Using the skills she learned at home and from working for others, she establishes a substantial family enterprise. The book recounts her early work on the AM&N campus college canning factory and her work for the then president of the college. The book is written by Dr. Sandra E. Gibbs, a graduate of AM&N College (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) and the University of Illinois, is a former Associate Executive Director and Senior Program Officer for a national professional organization of English language arts educators. The book is available for purchase at Trammell’s Beauty & Barber Supply located 2700 W. Pullen St., Pine Bluff, AR 71601. 58

PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

IN MEMORIAM Deceased alumni since October 2013, arranged by graduation year.


1960s (con't.)


Mr. Thomas Phillips, Sr.’67 09/10/2013, Little Rock, Arkansas

Mrs. Yolanda Johnson Upshaw'86 01/13/2014. Maumelle, Arkansas

Mr. Clyde N. Toney, Sr.'50 01/13/2014 Pine Bluff, Arkansas

2010s Ms. Melba Smith'68 03/20/2014. New York, New York


Ms. Norma Ward Burris'52 10/20/2013. Los Angeles, CA

Mrs. Ollie M. Hassler 02/14/2014. Detroit, Michigan

Bobbie E. Hodge'53 11/2/2013. Pine Bluff, Arkansas Dr. David Earl Walker, Sr.'68 01/15/2014 Pine Bluff, Arkansas Mrs. Jewell Canady Whatley'56 03/29/2014 Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Alvin T. Barton, Jr.'12 10/16/2013. Forrest City, Arkansas

Mr. John R. Whatley 10/08/2013. Pine Bluff, Arkansas

1970s Ms. Alberta Hollister'70 10/24/2013. Memphis, Tennessee

1960s Mr. James Floyd’66 07-24-2013. Little Rock, Arkansas

Walter Scott “Sonny” Johnson'62 10/02/2013 Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Mrs. Willie Belle Aldridge'73 10/20/2013. Holland, Ohio

Ms. Mary Roach'75 12/28/2013. Davenport

Summer 2014



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PRIDE Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff





PRIDE Magazine - Summer 2014  

Summer 2014 issue of PRIDE Magazine featuring internationally registered engineer Raye Jean Montague

PRIDE Magazine - Summer 2014  

Summer 2014 issue of PRIDE Magazine featuring internationally registered engineer Raye Jean Montague