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A Publication for Alumni and Friends of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

FALL / WINTER 2019

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

DOROTHY MAGETT FIDDMONT NEW MILLENNIUM LEADERS ------------------ATHLETICS HOMECOMING INSERT

LARRY BRAGGS CENTER STAGE

NOW THE FRONTMAN FOR THE TEMPTATIONS,

FIDDMONTTALKS NEW MILLENNIUM LEADERS INSERT ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: THE 1985 ALUMNUS ABOUT HIS JOURNEY TO| HOMECOMING SUCCESS


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BATTER UP

Members of the UAPB Baseball team tour the newly built Simmons Bank Pavilion at the Torii J. Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex. PHOTO BY RICHARD REDUS


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News & Events Recap Athletics Alumni Updates Class Notes In Memoriam

Features

56 COVER STORY

CENTER STAGE

LARRY BRAGGS by Donna M. Mooney

Alumnus Larry Braggs went from performing Handel's Messiah to singing lead for The Temptations. We caught him between performances to learn how he did it. 38

A ROYAL LINEAGE

by Stephanie Sims and John Martin From Miss “A” State to Miss UAPB, the 90-year history behind the name continues to reveal much about the university's legacy.

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IN TUNE WITH HIMSELF by Tisha D. Arnold

Alumnus Christopher Johnson found his love of music in Los Angeles and himself as an artist at UAPB; and it's led to opportunities of a lifetime 48

ACTING UP

by Donna M. Mooney The theatre program taught alumnus Randall Wilkerson to invest in himself. Now he's doing his part to pay it forward.

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MATTERS OF THE MIND by Dr. Ann Y. White

Alumnus Dr. Stephen A. Broughton discovered his direction in life while attending UAPB, and it changed his outlook forever. 66

Brian T. Williams Above: Alumnus Larry Braggs sings during a show in Riverbend, Ohio. He became the lead vocalist of The Temptations in 2015.

Photo by Vernell A. Dillingham

DOROTHY MAGETT FIDDMONT NEW MILLENNIUM LEADERS

This special insert features an elite group of alumni, donors and supporters that have invested in the future of the institution. 73

HOMECOMING INSERT

Meet the staff behind Golden Lions Athletics and learn more about this year's football team.


CHANCELLOR'S LETTER

Happy Homecoming—Proud Lions Keep on Roaring! Greetings Golden Lion Family and Friends: Welcome to Homecoming 2019! As we come together in unity for our annual celebration with family and friends at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, it is my great pleasure to welcome each one of you. It’s Great to be a Golden Lion! It’s Great to be a Golden Lion! In the past year, much has taken place as evidence of our commitment to the spirit of being GOLDEN in aligning with our strategic priorities. As you’ll recall, those priorities included: Growing enrollment and fostering student success Optimizing efficiency Lifting facilities Diversifying and increasing revenue streams Enhancing reputation Nationalizing visibility As you are aware, growing enrollment and fostering student success remain at the top of our agenda. Although we did not experience an increase in our enrollment numbers this past year, we have managed to stabilize our numbers through increasing our retention rates. Because of our student success drive, we have increased our retention rate to 71%, which is 4th among the 10 public four-year institutions in Arkansas. We also have increased our 4, 5, and 6-year graduation rates. We are also moving forward intensively in our recruitment efforts to ensure that enrollment growth is in our near future. UAPB also is making major strides in optimizing efficiency. We have significantly reduced energy consumption and eliminated much of our paper processing with computer software. Next year, we will join all other University of Arkansas System institutions in implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning Business Process Management Software (Workday®), which will further improve the campus business processing efficiency. In lifting our facilities, we have completed several renovation projects, including Caldwell Hall and the H.O. Clemmons Arena in the Kenneth L. Johnson HPER Complex. At the Bill Jones Field at the Torii Hunter Baseball/ Softball Complex, we completed construction of a Simmons Bank Pavillion, which includes a pressbox, locker rooms, restrooms and concessions, Future plans include a new student union and a new soccer/track and field facility. We have strengthened the Pride by diversifying and increasing our revenue streams through support from alumni and friends who show their love for this university through giving. This includes major gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations, including Verizon Foundation; $300,000; Great Lakes Foundation--$260,000; Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Slater--$250,000; Torii Hunter Foundation--$200,000; Dr. Diane Gilleland--$150,500; Relyance Bank--$150,000; Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Duvall--$125,000; Blue Cross-Blue Shield Foundation--$110,000; Sissy’s Log Cabin (Bill and Sharri Jones)--$100,000; Dr. Samuel J. Shacks--$100,000. We also received state Land-Grant Matching Funds for $576,000 and General Improvement Funds (Baseball Complex)--$300,000, both from Gov. Asa Hutchinson. I would like to offer my sincere note of thanks for these contributions and to all who have given to UAPB. It is because of you that we are able to continue enhancing the quality of our programs and outreach. 4

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Evidence of UAPB’s reputation enhancement can be found in its 2nd place ranking among the Best Value Colleges and Universities in Arkansas and in its placement as Best Average Net Price in the state among fouryear institutions. In addition, we have added two new academic programs: Hospitality and Tourism Management and Agriculture Engineering. We also joined with Southeast Arkansas College in an Associate’s to Bachelor’s (A2B) degree partnership, which has shown great promise in the first year, enrolling 40 students jointly at the two institutions. Finally, we seek to bring UAPB to greater national visibility. In addition to receiving national recognition the last two years through HBCU Digest Award nominations, we plan to promote the university using media marketing in national outlets. With your continued support, we shall continue to thrive and remain GOLDEN. For more information about contributing, please contact the Office of Development at (870) 5758701. Proud Lions Keep on Roaring! Go Lions!

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


Volume 5 No. 2 Volume 4 No. 1

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

Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Vice Chancellor for Institutional and Development Advancement George Cotton, Sr. Marla Mayberry Editor Editor Tisha D. Arnold

Tisha D. Arnold

Lead Writer Lead Writer Donna M. Mooney

Donna Mooney

Creative Director Creative Director Brian T. Williams

Brian T. Williams

Contributing Writers Contributing Tisha D. ArnoldWriters

Knowles Adkisson Shakari Briggs Tisha Arnold John Martin Shakari Donna M.Briggs Mooney Staphea Campbell Stephanie Sims Siony Dr. Ann Flowers Y. White William Hehemann Contributing Photographers David Hutter Brandon Batemon Henri Linton, Sr. Vernell A. Dillingham Donna Mooney Corbin Jones Carol Sanders Brad Mayhugh Contributing Mathieu LeducPhotographers Joeand Dempsey Rick Don Juan Moore Brad Mayhugh Richard Redus RichardWhite Redus Andrew BrianT.T.Williams Williams Brian Correspondenceand andAddress AddressChanges Changes Correspondence UniversityofofArkansas ArkansasatatPine PineBluff Bluff University ATTN:UAPB UAPBMagazine Magazine ATTN: 1200N.N.University UniversityDrive, Drive,Mail MailSlot Slot4789 4789 1200 PineBluff, Bluff,AR AR71601 71601 Pine 870.575.8946 870.575.8946 Email Email communications@uapb.edu communications@uapb.edu Website Website www.uapb.edu/magazine www.uapb.edu/magazine UAPBMagazine Magazineisispublished publishedtwice two times a year by the UAPB per calendar year of Arkansas at Pine a member of the byUniversity the University of Arkansas at Bluff, Pine Bluff, a member of Arkansas System. ofUniversity the University of Arkansas System.

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FIRM FOUNDATION

A bust was dedicated in the memory of Pearlie S. Reed, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for the United States Department of Agriculture 2008-2012. Seegraduates more on page UAPB move8 their tassels from the right to the left side of their mortarboard during spring commencement exercises. Keynote speaker Dr. Gwendolyn E. Boyd encouraged them to be bold. See more on page 36

A NEW CHAPTER

Fall/Winter 2019 52018 5 Spring/Summer

Brad Mayhugh

TheUniversity UniversityofofArkansas ArkansasatatPine PineBluff Bluffisiscommitted committed The policyofofequal equalopportunity opportunityfor forallallininevery everyaspect aspect totoa apolicy operations.The Theuniversity universityhas haspledged pledgednot nottoto ofofitsitsoperations. discriminateononthe thebasis basisofofrace, race,color, color,sex, sex,age, age,relirelidiscriminate gion,national nationalorigin, origin,sexual sexualorientation, orientation,marital maritalstatus status gion, disability.This Thispolicy policyextends extendstotoallalleducational, educational, orordisability. serviceand andemployment employmentprograms programsofofthe theuniversity. university. service


news and events

New degrees added in agricultural engineering, hospitality & tourism management for 2019-20

Photos courtesy of UnSplash.com

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has expanded its academic offerings to include its first engineering degree, Agricultural Engineering, and a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree program. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the programs at its meeting after both previously received the approval from the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. “It’s fitting that our first engineering degree would be in Agriculture as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is an 1890-land grant institution,” said Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Agriculture and tourism are the state’s top industries, generating $16 billion and nearly $6 billion annually, respectively. Our goal at UAPB is to offer programs that empower students to positively impact their communities, the state, and society at large,” said Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander. Dr. Carr added that the Agricultural Engineering degree will offer three areas of emphasis: power and machinery; agricultural production systems; and soil and water systems. The Power and Machinery track will challenge students’ creative minds to develop and improve the next generation of agricultural equipment. Upon completion, students may pursue careers in fields associated with hydraulic engineering. The Agricultural Production Systems track will focus on aspects of animal and plant production, including structural development and analysis and environmental control and air quality issues associated with housed animals and plants. This track will prepare students for careers in agricultural chemistry, large irrigation systems work and management, soil fertility treatment, biological pest control, and agricultural commodities.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The Soil and Water Systems track will emphasize the design and evaluation of conservation systems. Students will learn how to mitigate and improve the environmental impacts of production and agriculture. Upon graduation, students will have the knowledge to become water resource specialists, wastewater engineers, environmental engineers, and soil and water conservationists. University officials believe the response to the new degree programs will be robust, as potential students have expressed desires to study engineering at UAPB. Dr. Carr said individuals in this career path typically enjoy median earnings of more than $111,000 annually. The Hospitality and Tourism Management course of study will include classes that are key to the hospitality industry and tourism market, including management of restaurants and hotels and the marketing of both. Students will be prepared to thrive as general and sales managers and in entry-level positions. “The timing of the Hospitality Management and Tourism degree program is ideal as it opens the door for possible partnerships with the new casino resort coming to Pine Bluff,” said Dr. Carr. Individuals who are interested in the hospitality and tourism field should expect the work to involve hours beyond the typical 8-to-5 day, and Dr. Carr said the university will structure the classes likewise. “We will receive $500,000 per year over the next five years for agriculture-related scholarships. We hope to use these funds to expand scholarship opportunities to include students majoring in our two new degree programs,” he added. University officials said graduates of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program can expect to earn between $40,000 and $50,000 annually.


UAPB, SEARK launch program to earn associate, bachelor's degrees concurrently

Above: UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander and SEARK President Steven Bloomberg sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to commemorate the Associates to Bachelors (A2B) Program. Photo by Richard Redus

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) and Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK) officially launched a collaborative degree program known as Associate to Bachelors, or A2B. The program allows students to earn both an Associate degree at SEARK and a Bachelor’s degree at UAPB, concurrently. Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB Chancellor, and SEARK President Steven Bloomberg signed the official memorandum of understanding in a ceremony at UAPB’s STEM Conference Center. “This historic partnership between UAPB and SEARK creates better opportunities for students to access higher education,” said Chancellor Alexander. “I am thrilled to have signed this MOU and to assist more Arkansans in building successful futures for themselves. By partnering with SEARK, we are also strengthening the Pine Buff community and the southeast region of the state.” “I’m excited about this agreement. I thank Chancellor Alexander and everyone involved for recognizing and respecting the hard work our students are doing at SEARK, and creating a seamless transition to a four-year degree,” said President Bloomberg. “We are committed to working together with our communities and other educational institutions to ensure students have the best possible pathway to success.” The agreement allows students to enroll full time and earn a minimum of 12 credit hours — nine hours at SEARK and three at UAPB — each semester.

Once a student has begun earning 30 hours, this is known as the Transition Period, and he or she may live on the UAPB campus and take advantage of the university’s meal plan. Upon successful completion of 60 hours — 48 hours at SEARK and 12 at UAPB — with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, he or she may receive an Associate degree. The concurrent enrollment empowers students to make a seamless transfer between SEARK and UAPB. Haley Henderson, the first A2B student, shared excitement about her enrollment during Wednesday’s ceremony. Henderson, who passed the GED® in May to earn her Arkansas High School Diploma, said she wanted to start at SEARK because of the smaller environment before enrolling at UAPB. “This is a dream come true. I want to provide a more stable life for myself and my family and I know getting a degree is the best way to do that,” Henderson said. “I am happy to have this program, so I know I will not have to take the same classes over again when I go to UAPB.” Students may enroll in any two-year degree transfer program at SEARK and any undergraduate program at UAPB. Students enrolled in the A2B program will also enjoy the eligibility and privileges offered at both colleges, including tutoring and academic skills support, library access and attendance at sporting events. Tuition, room and board rates for each of the institutions apply, and financial aid will be processed according to federal guidelines. Fall/Winter 2019 7


UAPB receives $4 million NSF grant to diversify STEM student pool, workforce The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff received a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ARK-LSAMP) for the implementation of a Louis Stokes Pathways Research Alliance program. The initiative aims to help increase the pool and diversity of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates who will enter graduate school and the STEM workforce in Arkansas and beyond. ARK-LSAMP students enter the program as freshmen and participate in a well-integrated series of enrichment activities including a 6-week residential Pre-First Year Academy, a weekly guest lecture series, summer internships or cooperative experiences along with attendance and presentations at professional scientific meetings. A limited number of modest stipends are provided for eligible students. Formed in 2008, ARK-LSAMP maintains its commitment to its overarching goal and has added two new objectives in this grant cycle: a research component to test the impact of the strategies on STEM student retention, completion and entry to STEM graduate school or the

STEM workforce along with an intensified outreach and support component for Hispanic STEM students. ARK-LSAMP is a collaborative alliance of eight institutions including the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (the lead institution), Arkansas State University, Philander Smith College, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, Southeast Arkansas College, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas Little Rock and the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. The proposal was developed by three University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff STEM Academy leaders: Dr. Anissa Evans Buckner, Chair of the Department of Biology; Dr. Mary E. Benjamin, Vice Chancellor Emeritus for Research, Innovation and Economic Development and Dr. Charles R. Colen, Jr., Chair of the Department of Industrial Technology, Management and Applied Engineering along with Mr. Thomas Carter, Assistant Dean, College of Engineering, University of Arkansas, all of which will serve as project Co-Principal Investigators. Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will serve as Principal Investigator for the project.

Aquaculture/Fisheries students honored at symposium for largemouth bass presentation Two University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) students of aquaculture/ fisheries received awards for oral presentations at the 19th Research Symposium of the Association of 1890 Research Directors, Inc. (ARD). The conference provides opportunities for scientists and students from the nation’s 1890 land-grant universities to present research papers and posters on innovative and practical research findings in food and agricultural sciences. Around 900 participants attended the event and 500 research papers and posters were presented. April Surrat, junior, won first place in the undergraduate competition for her presentation titled, “Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) can Modulate Iono-osmoregulatory Mechanisms and Energy Mobilization to Deal with Chronic Sub-lethal Ammonia Toxicity.” In the graduate competition, Nathan Egnew won third place for his presentation titled, “Ecophysiological Responses of Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) to Deal with Long-Term Sublethal Iron Exposure.” “These students engaged in high-quality research and communicated their results effectively to a broad audience,” Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, Chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, said. Dr. Muthusamy Manoharan, Interim Dean/Director, UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS), said Surrat and Egnew are excellent representatives of their department, school and university. 8

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: UAPB students April Surrat and Nathan Egnew are photographed with their respective awards for oral presentations.

ARD is the federation of the 19 autonomous 1890 land-grant universities that provides coordination of research initiatives among member 1890 institutions in cooperation with federal, state and private partners. The association’s mission is to provide leadership to the institutions as they address food and agricultural research challenges facing the state, nation and world.


news and events

Psychology major Kyra Rattler selected among 2019 HBCU competitiveness scholars Kyra Rattler was among 44 students from 34 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to be named a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar. Announced by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it is the initiative’s highest student recognition. Competitiveness Scholars are comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students that are recognized for successfully preparing to compete for top opportunities that improve long-term outcomes. Each was nominated and endorsed by their institution President, which itself is an honorable mention. Johnathan Holifield, Executive Director of the Initiative, said “the Initiative’s watchword is competitiveness and these students are fine examples of the depth and diversity of competitive talent at our institutions. We are honored to recognize them.” Scholars were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students chosen based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or “gogetter” spirit. In the course of their one-year term, Competitiveness Scholars will learn and share proven and promising practices that support individual and institutional achievement, with the goal of strengthening prospects for career and life success. “I am delighted to be named the HBCU Competitiveness Scholar for my university,” Kyra Rattler said. “I plan to use this opportunity to expand my knowledge and passion for innovation, leadership, and scholarship.” A senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Rattler is a psychology major with aspirations of becoming a Family and Marriage Counselor. Through self-motivation, the Little Rock, Arkansas native manages a fifteen-hour course load while working a minimum of six hours per week, and maintaining a 4.0-grade point average during her academic tenure. Rattler demonstrates her potential for leadership by being involved in several campus organizations including the Carolyn F. Blakely Honors Program, Union Programming Board, and the Psychology Club. Holding a high regard for scholarship, she is a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society and the Psi Chi International Honor Society for psychology scholars. With these platforms, she strives to promote scholarship, leadership, and innovation. With the recognition of being named a HBCU Competitiveness Scholar, she plans to expand her platform for the awareness of mental health.

Kyra Rattler

“We’re looking forward to working with and learning from with this new cohort of HBCU Competitiveness Scholars,” said Elyse Jones, the Initiative’s Coordinator for the Scholars Program. “We have lots of unique, fun, and interactive opportunities planned for this year that will provide new opportunities for these representatives, exposing them to critical national conversations and powerful thought leaders.” Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for the 2019-2020 academic school year. Throughout this period, the Initiative will facilitate engagement activities, as well as provide information and resources that scholars can take advantage of or disseminate to fellow students. Scholars are encouraged to fully take advantage of the opportunities provided, engage with one another and showcase their individual and collective talents across the HBCU spectrum.

Fall/Winter 2019 9


news and events

Aquaculture/Fisheries major Juan Ramos chosen for prestigious Mass. science program by William Hehemann

Juan Ramos, a junior major of aquaculture/ fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was selected for participation in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Partnership Education Program (PEP). He was one of 16 student applicants nationwide chosen for the program, which will take place in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. According to the PEP website, the ten-week program is designed for college juniors and seniors who want to spend the summer gaining practical experience in marine and environmental sciences. Participants will complete a four-week course and a six to ten-week research project. “Juan has worked very hard to earn this opportunity, and we are thrilled to have him represent the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries in this exciting program,” Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, chair of the Department, said. Ramos said he found out about the program through his own personal research. “I feel like this will be a life-changing experience,” he said. “I have never had an opportunity this great or prestigious in my life. I feel honored to have been selected, and I plan to try very hard and represent the university the best I can.” As a program participant, Ramos’ tuition and room and board will be covered, and he will receive a stipend and travel allowance. He will also receive four hours of academic credit through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. PEP students have the opportunity to conduct research and receive training with leading researchers in marine and environmental sciences. The program aims to increase diversity in the Woods Hole research science community. The 2019 PEP course is titled, “Ocean and Environmental Sciences: Global Climate Change.” The course will be framed with modules on different disciplines that include physical oceanography, chemistry, biology and geology.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Juan Ramos

Ramos said he chose to major in aquaculture/fisheries because of his longtime interest in animals and marine life, as well as a personal conviction to help clean and protect aquatic habitats that have been polluted by human activity. “In my education and career, I plan on learning anything and everything I can about the oceans and the life and mysteries they contain,” he said. “My dream is to become a marine fisheries technician. I plan to do anything in my power to help protect and clean our oceans.” Ramos is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. At UAPB, he is one of the alto saxophone section leaders for the Marching Musical Machine of the MidSouth (M4). The Partnership Education Program is a project of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative. Participating institutions include NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, U. S. Geological Survey, Sea Education Association, Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Research Center. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is the program’s primary academic partner.


Agriculture majors receive scholarships, internships from USDA 1890 scholars program

Above: Four students of the UAPB Department of Agriculture were named recipients of the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Scholarship, from left: Shederick White; Jessica Harston; Elliott McElroy; and Kylan Williams (not pictured).

Four University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) students from the Department of Agriculture were named recipients of the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Scholarship. Jessica Harston, a senior major of plant and soil science, Shederick White, a junior major of agricultural economics, Elliott McElroy, a sophomore major of agricultural business, and Kylan Williams, a sophomore major of agronomy, will be able to complete their degrees debt-free and obtain work experience at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies. The USDA program awards scholarships to students attending the nation’s 19 historically black land-grant universities. The scholarship will cover the students’ full annual tuition, room and board, books and fees at UAPB. 1890 National Scholars receive experience interning at USDA agencies and are required to compete for USDA employment immediately after graduation. Following her graduation in May 2019, Harston will start a job as a soil conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Harrisburg, Arkansas. White will serve as an administrative intern to an assistant state conservationist at the Jimmy Carter Plant Materials Center in Americus, Georgia. McElroy will work with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Washington D.C. during the summers over the course of his education, and Williams will start an internship with NRCS. Harston first heard about the scholarship from former program alumni who touted the benefits of debt-free education and experience working with a federal agency, as well as the helpfulness of UAPB’s USDA 1890 Liaison office. Throughout her undergraduate education, Harston interned as a soil conservationist trainee for USDA-NRCS offices in

Woodruff, White and Monroe Counties. As she embarks on a career with NRCS, she continues a family legacy, as three of her uncles are retired NRCS employees. McElroy said being accepted as an 1890 National Scholar is an honor. McElroy said he decided to apply to the program after considering the ways it could help him pursue a career in agricultural business. He felt he could gain a wide range of essential skills that will eventually help him in the workplace. During his internship with FAS, McElroy aims to broaden his knowledge of agricultural sectors both in the U.S. and abroad. Williams said he hopes to gain new skills and knowledge in agriculture from his internship for NRCS. He is interested in witnessing firsthand how the USDA works to serve the nation’s farmers. During his education at UAPB, Williams was excited to learn that career opportunities in agriculture are not just limited to farming. After he graduates, he hopes to work as a soil conservationist for the USDA. White said he looks forward to the chance to gain more effective leadership skills working closely with area and state conservationists in Georgia. The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is intended for high school seniors entering their freshman year of college and rising college sophomores and juniors. Eligible students must major in agriculture or related sciences, which include agricultural engineering, agronomy, animal sciences, botany, food sciences and technology, forestry, human sciences, horticulture, hospitality and tourism management, natural resources management, soil conservation, farm and range management, pre-veterinary medicine and computer science. Fall/Winter 2019 11


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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


news and events

At left: Miss UAPB 20182019 Angelica Perkins (far left, first row) is photographed with the top 11 winners of the HBCU Campus Queens feature for EBONY® Magazine. Miss UAPB won first place in the vote-based competition. Below: Angelica Perkins is photographed at Fort Pickens – Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Florida. Opposite page: As part of their participation, each campus queen received a custom cover image from EBONY® Magazine. Photos by Rick and Don Juan Moore

Representing with Pride

Miss UAPB 2018-2019 among campus queens featured in EBONY® Magazine Angelica Perkins, the 2018-2019 Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was among 11 other campus queens photographed for the annual HBCU Campus Queens feature in EBONY® magazine. A Monticello, Arkansas, native, Perkins won the top spot in the votebased nomination system. The photo shoot took place at Fort Pickens – Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Florida. A Carolyn F. Blakely Honors scholar with a 3.9 GPA, the Business Finance major was heavily involved in numerous organizations at UAPB. Perkins was involved on campus from the second she entered Golden Lion Country, beginning in the (Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program. A few experiences she’s had include studying abroad, an active reign as 2017 Miss Black and Gold, and Director of Public Relations for the Student Government Association, where she created innovative ways to better connect the campus, her most popular venture being “Starred on the Yard.” Perkins also helped charter an on-campus recycling program. As a selfless advocate of service, she also serves as the chapter co-chair of community outreach for the Beta Beta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. This position allows her to be heavily invested in the campus and the Jefferson County community. A Spring 2019 graduate, she plans to attend law school in hopes of becoming an international business lawyer. Fall/Winter 2019 13


Six UAPB graduates garner positions at firm that specializes in global cybersecurity

Above: UAPB graduates Blake Jackson, Shadelle Boddy, Terrae Jenkins, Osaye Maynie, Syndey Douglas, and Prentiss Royston have accepted full-time positions at Northrop Grumman.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) graduates are continuing to build a legacy of professionalism to be proud of for the institution. Each year, students take part in career fairs, leadership conferences, internships and Cooperative Education opportunities with the goal of landing successful careers upon graduation. The legacy continues with six students who majored in Industrial Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ITMAE) that have accepted permanent job offers with Northrop Grumman in Palmdale, California. The students were hired in various engineering roles with salaries ranging from $70k-$80k per year. Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company that provides systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Shadelle Boddy of Chicago, Illinois, was hired as a Systems Engineer. Prior to accepting this role, he completed two internships with the company in Baltimore, Maryland. Not only did he take part in internships, he was also active in campus activities and organizations as the President of the UAPB student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and student liaison for the Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) Program. Boddy was also a member of the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) Scholars program. Syndey Douglas has been hired as an Industrial Engineer at Northrop Grumman. During her time at the university, the Chicago, Illinois native participated in an internship with Altria in Richmond, Virginia and had the opportunity to attend the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Leadership Institute. Her campus involvement included serving as a Student Liaison for YMTF, a member of the STEM program, and the student chapter of NSBE. 14

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Blake Jackson of Chatsworth, California accepted a position as Quality Engineer after completing one internship with Northrop Grumman at their Palmdale location. He also did two internships with General Electric Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. Staying focused and following the direction of his career coach, Jackson was involved in campus organizations and held various leadership roles including manager for the women’s basketball team, and Keeper of Records for his fraternity. Terrae Jenkins accepted a position as an Industrial Engineer. Prior to accepting this role, the Pine Bluff, Arkansas, native completed an internship and Cooperative Education position with General Electric Global Operations in Houston, Texas, and Highland Pellets locally. As others before her, Jenkins followed the direction of her career coach and was active in campus organizations as a student liaison for the YMTF program and a member of NSBE. Osaye Maynie of Chicago, Illinois, accepted a position as Industrial Engineer Northrop Grumman. He interned with John Deere in Moline, Illinois, Northrop Grumman in Baltimore, Maryland, and General Electric Global Operations in Houston, Texas. On campus, he once served as Vice-President of NSBE and as a student liaison for YMTF. Prentiss Royston will join Northrop Grumman as an Industrial Engineer. Being active as a leader on campus, the Chicago, Illinois, native served as President of the STEM Academy, student liaison for YMTF, and Treasurer for his fraternity. Having also attended the TMCF Leadership Institute, Royston completed internships with Dell Technologies in Austin, Texas, The Greenwood Project, and Option Pit.


news and events

Students elected to national leadership positions in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Diamond Compton

Leah Rowe

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students Diamond Compton and Leah Rowe were appointed to national leadership positions for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Compton was named National Second Vice President and Rowe was elected as a Collegiate Member of the National Nominating Committee. A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Diamond Compton is a senior mathematics education major with a 3.9 cumulative GPA. After her graduation in Spring 2020, Compton intends to enter graduate school for Educational Assessment and Measurement to become a research analyst for educational testing companies or government agencies. Her long-term goal in life is to become a chancellor of an institution. During her matriculation at UAPB, she has shown pride

in her involvement with the institution as Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society President, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society of Education Secretary, STEM Scholars Academy Sergeant-at-Arms, Carolyn F. Blakely Honors College Chaplain, Student Government Association Freshmen Class President and Sophomore Class Secretary, and as a member of Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, and Alpha Chi Honor Society. She has also provided great leadership to her local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta as a past Chapter President and Chapter Vice President, and currently serves as Chapter Financial Secretary. “The moment that the results were announced, I cried tears of joy,” Compton said. “Joy to God for directing me in an empowering path I thought I could never accomplish and blessed for witnessing the belief of an entire organization in my ability to assist in leading them.” As National Second Vice President, Compton will work with officers and chapters in stimulating and strengthening collegiate participation in the life of the Sorority, serve as a liaison between collegiate and alumnae chapters to strengthen relationships and understanding, serve as a member of the Scholarship and Standards Committee, and perform all the duties of the office of the National President in the absence, or at the request, of the National President. Leah Rowe is a proud native of Dermott, Arkansas, and is a senior majoring in biology pre-Medicine with a 3.82 GPA. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences to gain more insight in research. Rowe's ultimate career goal is to become a physician scientist and uncover the truth behind common health disparities plaguing the African American community. "I'm currently still in awe,” said Rowe. “When I heard my name called all I could do was look around because I was in total disbelief. To have the opportunity of expanding my leadership skill on this scale is truly a blessing. I can't thank the members of the sorority enough for trusting me with this task." As a Collegiate Member of the National Nominating Committee, Rowe will collaborate with other members of the committee to increase participation of collegiate members to assume leadership in the sorority, solicit and receive nominations from chapters and members of persons to serve in Grand Chapter offices, provide to chapters timely notice of vacancies, requirements, and timeline, and Consult with and advise the Regional Nominating Committee Chair. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, is a private, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. Since its founding, more than 200,000 women have joined the organization. The organization is a sisterhood of predominantly Black, college educated women. The sorority currently has 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters located in the United States, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Republic of Korea. Fall/Winter 2019 15


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While making strides in poultry industry, Paula Johnson earns Master's from UAF

Paula Johnson

Since Paula Johnson graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) with a degree in animal science in 2016, her academic and professional life has picked up pace. As a supervisor at the Tyson Foods plant in Hope, Arkansas, she is responsible for the safety of her team members, as well as the maintenance and upkeep of poultry processing machinery. She recently earned a master’s degree in poultry science from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF) and is now considering her options for earning a doctoral degree. “My professional life is fast-paced and requires a lot of organization and excellent time management skills,” Johnson said. “I am learning something new every single day. There have been many late nights and early mornings, but I don’t regret any of them because they are adding to who I am as an individual. I can now take what I am learning to help others, and I am still excited about it.” Johnson was the first UAPB student awarded the 3+1 Certificate of Poultry Science. The program allowed her to complete her education at the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and UAF. Established in 2013 between UAPB and UAF, the program now enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculturepoultry science from UAPB and a concurrent 16

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

bachelor’s degree in agricultural, food and life sciences-poultry science from UAF. “My education at UAPB prepared me for any journey I could possibly embark on,” she said. “What I learned at UAF was a bonus that has helped me in understanding the various aspects of where I am now. I understand both the scientific and mechanical aspects of my profession. I am able to analyze processes and develop methods to implement that improve my department – starting with the people down to the finished good.” Johnson’s career with Tyson Foods began after she interviewed for an operations associate position at the annual International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. She was hired for the position, and five months later, was promoted to the role of supervisor for the Dapec (leg and quarter pack-out) department. “I work to ensure a safe work environment for all team members and that we are operating efficiently to produce a quality product for the customer,” she said. “The work environment is fast-paced and sometimes can seem overwhelming. However, I enjoy the daily opportunities to learn something new and develop and implement ways to improve my department.” Johnson said highlights of the job include the ability to learn new skills, as well as the fulfillment of seeing her team members happy in their work. Challenges of the role include having to think on her feet in the event that any components of the mechanical processing equipment malfunction. Johnson said the graduate degree program at UAF gave her a solid understanding of the poultry industry, including poultry health and processing. “The desire to learn more – and the potential that I saw in myself and that others saw in me – motivated me to obtain my master’s degree at UAF,” she said. “It was an overall great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I met so many great professors and fellow students who helped me and were also just good friends.” Johnson’s successes pave the way for other UAPB animal science majors to benefit from the partnership between UAPB and UAF. As she considers the possibility of enrolling in a doctoral program, Johnson looks forward to gaining more professional experience. She looks to develop ways to further improve the work environment and department as a whole for team members and climb the corporate ladder to ultimately obtain a directorial position. Johnson said she has had an interest in animals and science since childhood. Rather than watch cartoons, she preferred to learn about the natural world by watching the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, as well as exploring outdoors. “I would play outside as a child but tended not to do the typical things a child does such as swinging or playing jump rope,” she said. “Rather, I would look at the leaves in curiosity or observe the various types of birds, listening to the sounds they would make. And my favorite activity was correcting my mom on the difference between a mole and a rat – to this day she does not let me forget that moment.”


Animal science students learn production techniques during visit to UAF Center for Poultry Science Ten animal science students traveled to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF) Center of Excellence for Poultry Science to visit the center’s facilities, take part in hands-on poultry production exercises and interact with professors. Participants included undergraduate students Kelcie Wilmoth, Lizney Rudds, Mia Martin, Malcolm Jackson, Michaela Lewis, Laysea Odom, Shataria Evans, Zachary Montgomery and Crystal Spratt, and Lea Brewer, a graduate student of agricultural regulations with a focus in animal science. Dr. Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science at UAPB, and Dr. Emmanuel K. Asiamah, assistant professor of animal science, accompanied the students on the trip. The students visited a hatchery and several poultry facilities at UAF and learned about molecular biology, as well as poultry breeding and processing techniques. “The purpose of the program was to get students familiar with the UAF Department of Poultry Science,” Dr. Lohakare said. “The participants were able to take part in various lab activities involving hatchery practices and farm management, artificial insemination in chickens and processing practices such as deboning. They seemed excited about an opportunity to learn through hands-on experience.” The practices the students received training in are very similar to those that take place at commercial poultry production facilities, he said. Having this type of hands-on experience will help the students as they start to look for jobs in the industry. At UAF, the students attended presentations on poultry science. They heard from Dr. Michael Kidd, director of the UAF Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and Department of Poultry Science, and Dr. Deacue Fields III, dean of the University of Arkansas’ Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. During a luncheon, the students interacted with faculty members of the UAF Department of Poultry Science. Professors spoke to the students about graduate programs related to animal science at UAF. Established in 2013 between UAPB and UAF, the program now enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture-poultry science from UAPB and a concurrent bachelor’s degree in agricultural, food and life sciences-poultry science from UAF. Wilmoth said the poultry breeding and processing techniques she learned during the visit will be useful in her career. “It’s always nice to learn new things that can possibly help me in future jobs,” she said. “The UAF faculty were very nice and informative. I also enjoyed touring the facilities.” Jackson, who hopes to find a job in the poultry industry after graduation, said he appreciated the opportunity to network with UAF faculty. “I actually want to attend graduate school for poultry science, so the visit was a great way to learn about the programs at UAF,” he said. “One of the key things I learned from conversations with faculty members was that poultry professionals are in high demand. More people are needed to fill the void as the industry continues to grow.”

UAPB awarded $7,000 USPOULTRY Foundation recruitment grant The Department of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was recently awarded a $7,000 U.S. Poultry and Egg Harold E. Ford (USPOULTRY) Foundation grant, given in part by George’s Inc., Chicken and Poultry Company. Through its Industry Education Recruitment Fund, the USPOULTRY Foundation offers grants to higher education institutions that can demonstrate plans for connecting more university students to the poultry industry. “This grant will be very beneficial in increasing the awareness of academic and career opportunities in the poultry industry among UAPB students,” Dr. Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science at UAPB, said. “The funds will allow students to visit commercial poultry farms and processing facilities, as well as the research, incubation and hatching facilities at institutions such as the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.” The award will also fund students’ attendance at the annual International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. Sponsored by USPOULTRY, the trade show features the latest technology, products and services related to the poultry and egg, meat and feed industries. “In previous years, we have only been able to take around 10 or 12 students to the expo,” Dr. Lohakare said. “Now, more students will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to receive firsthand industry exposure, as well as network with industry leaders and search for jobs or internships. This opportunity is open not only to animal science majors, but also majors of regulatory science, biology and engineering.” Established in 2013 between UAPB and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF), the program enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture-poultry science from UAPB and a concurrent bachelor’s degree in agricultural, food and life sciences-poultry science from UAF. “The program gives students an extraordinary head-start in gaining skills and finding meaningful employment in the poultry industry,” he said. “We hope to recruit and retain more minority students for this program through advertising and recruitment drives both on and off campus.”


Timothy Campbell returns to U.S. with new outlook after Peace Corps stint in Gambia by William Hehemann

Timothy Campbell, a 2015 alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), recently returned from two and a half years of volunteer service in the Peace Corps in the West African nation of Gambia. There, he served as a health education facilitator and was responsible for building the capacity of rural communities to incorporate sustainable practices related to health and nutrition. The Peace Corps is a U.S. government program that enables recent university graduates and experienced professionals to work in volunteer positions overseas. Volunteers play a vital role in helping low-income communities across the globe achieve various development goals. When applying to the program, Campbell specified that he would be willing to serve in any country. Upon reading his acceptance email, he was very excited to learn that he was selected to serve in Gambia. Campbell had previously heard of the country’s rich historical references during his studies and from “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” Alex Haley's novel and television series that explored the diaspora of AfricanAmericans. After arriving in Gambia, Campbell traveled to the village of Kiafa, where he immediately began an intensive eight-week, community-based training program, which emphasized health promotion, community development and cultural integration. Upon completion of the intensive program, Campbell traveled to Jiffarong, Gambia, a rural town with a population of 1,000 approximately three hours away from the capital of Banju, and a five-mile walk to the main highway. After being set up with a host family, he immediately began his duties as a health education facilitator. “The Gambians’ most pressing health concerns are malnutrition and the prevention of malaria and other diseases,” he said. “I teamed up with local community members, healthcare providers and local counterparts to help resolve some of these prevalent issues.” Groundwork consisted of leading workshops in the community, hosting malnutrition clinics and advocating for the proper use of bed nets and sanitation measures. Campbell’s duties were not limited to health advocacy – he also served as chairman of the Peace Corps diversity committee. “Serving as the chairman of the diversity committee allowed me to express to host country nationals that America is a very diverse place with a multifaceted culture,” he said. 18

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The leadership and soft skills he developed at UAPB proved very beneficial as he acclimated to his new surroundings. “I was surprised to discover that working to integrate into the community and learning the language and cultural practices were just as important – if not more important – than the ‘development’ work I conducted with the community members,” he said. Acclimating to the relatively demanding social climate was challenging at the beginning of the program. “Gambians are really huge on greeting and socialization,” Campbell said. “When I would wake up, I would have to go out and greet all of my host family in the local language. If or when I didn’t greet and eat breakfast with them, they would think that I was sick or unhappy.” Campbell said meeting and befriending community members was one of his favorite aspects of the experience. The people were very open to him upon his arrival and shed tears on the day of his departure. “When arriving I sort of had the ‘I’m home’ mentality,” he said. “However, this feeling was short-lived and replaced by the realization of a strange disconnect with the people.” One night, Campbell was sitting and chatting with a group of village elders about American politics, when one addressed him, using the nickname they referred to him by, “So Yaya, who is white? Your mother or your father?” Campbell responded that both his parents identified as black Americans, to which the elders laughed in disbelief. He then went on to explain the history of AfricanAmericans and the transatlantic slave trade, which they started to understand. “I then explained that I was also black,” he said. “And I will never forget what one of the older women told me. She said, ‘Yes, Yaya, we understand that you are black like we are, but your mind is white, Yaya.’ And from that moment I knew that maybe I was at home in my mind, but surprisingly still foreign to the inhabitants that live on this land and call it ‘home.’” In retrospect, Campbell said the home he had been striving to obtain had to be earned. The culture he felt he missed had to be pursued passionately, with humility and perseverance. Campbell said spending two years in Gambia and interacting with the people was transformational. He recommends that current UAPB students consider volunteering in the Peace Corps. The experience helps participants gain a global perspective and can serve as a good foundation for potential interests in international affairs.


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Campbell will pursue his master’s degree at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a part of the selection process, Campbell was one of three returned Peace Corps volunteers nationwide selected for the school’s 2019 Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which allows participants to continue their service to underserved communities while pursuing graduate studies at a reduced cost. Currently, Campbell serves as a program/research associate for the UAPB Office of International Programs and Studies (OIPS). “Timothy has been such a great role model and example for UAPB students, and he has brought tremendous value to our ongoing global leadership initiative,” Dr. Pamela Moore, associate dean for global engagement, OIPS, said. “Students are intrigued by his global experience and motivated to explore participation in our education abroad and Peace Corps Prep programs.” While he grows accustomed to his new academic and professional routine, Campbell reflects on how the volunteer experience changed him. “I like to believe that Gambia developed me – not the other way around,” he said. “It taught me the basics of human life, friendship and true patience.”

Above: Timothy Campbell served two and a half years as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in the West African nation of Gambia. There, he worked as a health education facilitator. He is photographed assisting a woman with a third-degree burn. At right: Campbell conducts malnutrition checks during one of the bi-quarterly malnutrition clinics he hosted in Jiffarong, Gambia.

Photos provided courtesy of Timothy Campbell

Fall/Winter 2019 19


news and events

Aquaculture/Fisheries research on bass diets wins awards at two prominent associations

Above: Katie McCann, graduate student of aquaculture/fisheries at UAPB, center, is photographed with Steven Rawles, animal physiologist-fish nutritionist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, left, and Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, right.

Katie McCann, a graduate student of aquaculture/fisheries, won awards from two of the most prominent national aquaculture and fisheries associations. She received both the awards for her research on minimizing the use of fish meal in the diets of hybrid striped bass. The Fish Culture Section of the American Fisheries Society awarded her the best student abstract travel award. The $450 award funded her travel to the Aquaculture Triennial Meeting, recently held in New Orleans, Louisiana. “The Aquaculture 2019 Triennial Meeting combined the annual meetings of the World Aquaculture Society, National Shellfisheries Association, Fish Culture Section of the American Fisheries Society and the National Aquaculture Association,” McCann said. “Since nearly 4,000 people attended the conference, it really helped me gain more industry connections and network for potential jobs.” At the conference, McCann won first-place for student oral presentation. She received a $1,000 prize and a certificate of recognition from the U.S. Aquaculture Society. McCann’s research project is conducted in conjunction with the Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas, where she works with Steven Rawles, animal physiologist-fish nutritionist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS). “Katie benefited greatly from the research collaboration between UAPB and the ARS aquaculture unit in Stuttgart,” Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, said. “She has distinguished herself with these awards and will have a variety of attractive job offers when she completes her degree.” McCann’s thesis focuses on minimizing the fish meal used in the diets of sunshine bass. When sunshine bass are cultured in commercial settings, feed costs comprise upwards of 60 percent of total production costs, she said. 20

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“Fish meal is still used at the inclusion level of about 25 percent in sunshine bass diets, but its use is declining due to high and volatile prices coupled with unsustainability, as wild stocks of small marine fishes such as herring and menhaden are in decline,” she said. McCann tested the effectiveness of commercial protein concentrate blends from H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc., a private supplier of protein products for the for the animal agriculture industry, in the diets of sunshine bass. The products tested contained a mixture of animal and plant products. “When combined, plant and terrestrial animal products often offer complementary amino acid profiles and preserve the palatability necessary for carnivorous fishes such as the sunshine bass,” McCann said. “At the same time, overall feed costs are reduced.” A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, McCann earned a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology with a minor in chemistry from the Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. “I have always had an interest in hunting, fishing and the outdoors since a young age, and that passion eventually lead me to where I am today,” she said. “I remember having a carp scale collection in my garage when I was five years old and dissecting fish all day at my grandparents’ lake house.” McCann said she changed her major in college five times before she realized she could eventually make a living working with fish. After she graduates from UAPB with her master’s degree, she plans to pursue a career in aquaculture nutrition in either the private or public sector.


UAPB students secure jobs, internships at Production and Processing Expo

International Production and Processing Expo attendees from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, front row, from left: Shederick White, Blake Conner, Jehrica Webb, Bria Khabeer, Lizney Rudds, Terynn Riles, Chinara Starlard, Tenea Jones, Tamia Thomas, Dr. Jayant Lohakare, Jasmine James, Ashlyn Carlton, Tanilah Jones and John Reed Jr. Back row, from left: Malcolm Jackson, Jamease Sherrill, Jarvis Green, Candace McKnight, Frances Flowers, Kylan Williams, Danielle Williams and Myles Morton. Not pictured: Raven Burnett, Yamnah Sargent, Lea Brewer and Melissa Walker.

Twenty-five University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students recently attended the annual International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia. There, they interviewed for jobs and internships and networked with professionals in the poultry industry. Sponsored by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, American Feed Industry Association and North American Meat Institute, the annual trade show features the latest technology, products and services related to the poultry and egg, meat and feed industries. According to an IPPE press release, over 32,900 people attended the 2019 expo, including 1,426 exhibitors. UAPB student participants included majors of animal science Ashlyn Carlton, Jarvis Green, Malcolm Jackson, Bria Khabeer, Candace McKnight, Myles Morton, Lizney Rudds, Tamia Thomas, Jehrica Webb, and Dec. 2018 graduates Raven Burnett and John Reed Jr.; agriculture business majors Blake Conner, Frances Flowers, Jasmine James, Tenea Jones, and Danielle Williams; regulatory science majors Tanilah Jones, Terynn Riles, Yamnah Sargent, Chinara Starlard, and Melissa Walker; agronomy major Kylan Williams; agriculture economics major Shederick White; graduate agricultural regulations major Lea Brewer; and business administration major Jamease Sherrill. The students attended the expo through the UAPB College Student Career (CSC) Program, which paid for their accommodation. As part of the CSC program, the students submitted their resumes months before the expo to set up interviews for jobs and internships during the event. “Eleven of our students came back with job or internship offers,” Dr. Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science at UAPB, said. “These students have the chance to get a head start by gaining professional experience in the industry during their studies.” Conner interviewed with Tyson Foods and was offered

an internship for the summer. “My experience at IPPE was magnificent and a lot of fun,” he said. “I was offered an internship with the company I wanted, so I am really satisfied with the trip.” Carlton received an offer for an operations associate position at Tyson Foods’ office in Green Forest, Arkansas. “I learned a lot about different companies within the processing and production industry, which I enjoyed because I now have a greater perspective than before,” she said. Brewer, McKnight, Riles and Thomas also received job offers from Tyson Foods. Jackson received an internship from Cobb-Vantress Inc., and Webb received an internship from Koch Foods. Morton received offers from Daybreak Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and Tyson foods. James received an internship offer from Pilgrim’s Pride. Prior to attending the conference, Reed Jr. accepted a job as a third-shift laborer with Packers Sanitation Services, Inc., a sanitation company that cleans food processing plants. When he discovered the company’s representatives would be attending the conference, he conducted a second job search within the company and found a job opening for a plant safety manager in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. “I read more about the company and studied its safety manual before attending the conference,” Reed said. “When I had an interview with them, they suggested I visit the plant and flew me to Tennessee a few days later. Once I returned home, they offered me the job – I will be starting in March.” Reed Jr. said he encourages other UAPB students to consider attending the conference in subsequent years. “IPPE was a wonderful experience – there was something there for everybody,” he said. “As for finding job opportunities, guidance is key, and we were guided in the right direction thanks to Dr. Jayant Lohakare.” Fall/Winter 2019 21


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Students honored for research, presentations at American Fisheries Society Chapter Meeting

Above: Jamie Kindschuh, Nathan Egnew and Micah Tindall.

Three University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) graduate students of aquaculture/fisheries took awards at the meeting of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Jamie Kindschuh and Micah Tindall won awards for research presentations, and Nathan Egnew won an outstanding service award. Kindschuh won best student poster presentation for her research titled, “Assessment of Sampling Strategies and Distribution Patterns of Physical Habitat in Arkansas Reservoirs.” She received a $100 prize and a plaque. “Reservoirs are characterized by dynamic ecological processes that change the quantity of their physical habitat – factors such as wood structure, aquatic vegetation, and substrate – through space and time,” Kindschuh said. “The purpose of my study was to inform the development of a standardized framework to evaluate the status of physical habitat within Arkansas reservoirs located in highland and lowland regions. A standardized framework could benefit management agencies by providing a system-level assessment of current habitat conditions.” Tindall won best student oral presentation for his research titled, “Movement of Northern Snakehead on the White River System of Eastern Arkansas.” He received a $100 prize and a plaque. “Northern snakeheads are an invasive fish species found in the eastern part of the state,” Tindall said. “This project was designed to characterize some of their movement patterns, specifically directional movement across all four seasons. We surgically implanted radio telemetry tags into the fish and followed their movements across these seasons.” Egnew won an award that recognizes outstanding service by an AFS Arkansas Chapter student subunit member.

He received a $50 prize and a plaque. Egnew’s recent research has examined the combined and individual effects of ammonia and iron on juvenile largemouth bass. He said he chose to major in aquaculture/ fisheries at UAPB because eventually he would like to work in a fish hatchery. Tindall said his dream job is to work as a fisheries biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). “My best friend’s dad was a biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” he said. “I began volunteering with him at a very young age and continued to volunteer for multiple fish and wildlife agencies all the way through college.” After she graduates, Kindschuh plans to pursue a career as a biologist for a state agency. “Fishing has always been a big part of my life,” she said. “Growing up, I often went fishing with my family, and I remember the thrill of catching my very first fish. That excitement hasn’t gone away, and I will always cherish those memories with my family.” She said she originally chose to obtain a degree in aquaculture/fisheries to learn to manage fish populations and their associated habitats so other families could experience the joys of fishing she is so familiar with. The AFS Arkansas Chapter was founded in 1986. Chapter members include fisheries and aquatic sciences professionals of the AGFC, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as numerous representatives of Arkansas’ universities. Fall/Winter 2019 23


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Dr. David Fernandez receives recognition for 2nd President’s Volunteer Service Award for work in Nepal to optimize production

Above: Dr. David Fernandez, left, stands at the head of the class as farmer-to-farmer program participants in Nepal learn how to use genetic selection to improve herd productivity and profitability.

Dr. David Fernandez, interim assistant dean of academic programs and Extension livestock specialist for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS), received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes U.S. citizens and lawfully-admitted, permanent residents of the United States who have achieved a required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime. Dr. Fernandez received the award for the volunteer work he conducted in 2018 with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Farmer-to-Farmer program in southwestern Nepal with the Beautify Nepal Association. There, he helped local goat farmers optimize their production practices. “Our School is very proud of Dr. Fernandez and his achievement,” Dr. Muthusamy Manoharan, interim dean/director for SAFHS, said. “He sets an example for others to take action and make a difference locally, nationally and internationally.” During his volunteer work in the Surkhet District of Nepal, Dr. Fernandez helped local producers learn how to breed goats appropriately for hardiness (health). Goat farming is an important source of income in the area, especially among women. Despite recent increases in production, the farmers haven’t always been able to earn more money. Over the course of the program, Dr. Fernandez emphasized the importance of developing a good record-keeping system and implementing a rotational breeding system. These measures help reduce inbreeding and ensure larger, healthier offspring for sale. Because goats in Nepal are susceptible to many of the same parasites found in Arkansas, Dr. Fernandez recommended the farmers use the FAMACHA method to detect internal parasites such as barber pole worms for more effective treatment and to select goats that are resistant to these parasites. Dr. Fernandez received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2014 for work with two non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh, the Jagorani Chakra Foundation and Naifa Maruf Foundation. His other volunteer experience includes 24

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

a trip to Kenya coordinated by the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture organization to work with the Kenya Leather Development Council. All three volunteer projects were supported by USAID grants. Extension volunteer work with farmers in the developing world can have a tremendous, positive impact on communities, Dr. Fernandez said. “The advice and training you give has the potential to help a family lift itself out of poverty, improve the safety and status of rural women and allow children the opportunity to go to school so they can have a brighter future rather than stay home and work,” he said. “Farmers and host organizations take all you have to say to heart, put it into practice and create systems that reinforce what they have learned so other farmers in the region can benefit long after you have gone.” Dr. Fernandez said the farmers’ gratitude and host organizations’ appreciation for a volunteer’s willingness to travel across the world to help them is often overwhelming. “They really find it hard to believe that someone from America – a nearly mythical place where everyone has all they could want or need – would be willing to meet them where they are and offer to help them be successful,” he said. During his travels, Dr. Fernandez always learns something new to take back and share with the farmers or students he works with in the U.S. “The new perspective you gain on agriculture in America and elsewhere is priceless,” he said.


George R. Cotton, Sr. returns to Arkansas as VC for Advancement and Development George R. Cotton Sr., Senior Vice President of Development for the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, has been appointed the next Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Development at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). With 30 years of senior management experience in non - profit and University settings and 25 years of extensive comprehensive campaign experience, UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander considers Cotton an asset to the future of the institution. “Mr. Cotton brings a wealth of relevant higher education experience to the leadership role in advancement and development at UAPB,” said Alexander. “As a result, he will be able to hit the ground running, building on the history of development, strengthening ties with alumni and other stakeholders and donors, and providing leadership for the various functions of the division, including development, marketing, communications, publications, and the Economic Research and Development Center.” During his time at the Wright Museum, Cotton was responsible for the direction of development, marketing, and membership for cultural initiatives. He was key in guiding fundraising and planning strategies, including supervision and management of operations and planning by unit directors within Communications, Membership, and Donor Relations. His major accomplishments at Wright Museum include securing the first $1million gift in the museum's history, reconstitution of its annual appeal, improvements in the membership engagement process, and increasing new gifts to by more than 65% during the first year. Prior to joining the Wright Museum, Cotton was the Vice President of University Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation at Florida A&M University where he guided them to record breaking fundraising years. He also has served as Assistant Vice President for Major Gifts at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Senior Director of Development for the Wake Forest Baptist Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Director of Development and Alumni Affairs for the College of Science at George

George R. Cotton, Sr.

Mason University, and Associate Director of Institutional Advancement at Southern Illinois University. Before entering higher education advancement, he served as Executive Director of the Regional Education and Advocacy Coalition on HIV and AIDS, the largest minority-led non-profit organization of its kind in the St. Louis region. A native of the Phillips County area of Arkansas, Cotton received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arkansas State University. He and his wife, Deloris, have two adult sons, George II and Malcolm.

Fall/Winter 2019 25


Lieutenant Colonel Kevin J. Moyer appointed Professor of Military Science, ROTC Director Lieutenant Colonel Kevin J. Moyer has been serving as Professor of Military Science (PMS) at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) since June 2019. A position that includes concurrent roles as PMS at Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University, Moyer said he jumped on the opportunity because of the impact ROTC had on his life. Once a cadet himself in ROTC at the University of Memphis, Moyer credits the officers that were in his program for being willing to take a shot on him. According to Moyer, the greatest takeaway from involvement in ROTC for a student is the development of skills, attributes, and competencies of what it means to be a leader. Knowing how to take orders and take charge are essential to becoming a productive member of a team or community. “A lot of my success and personality in my leadership philosophies are a result of the ROTC program,” Moyer said. “If I could ever have gotten a chance to pay it back, that's exactly what I wanted to do. When the opportunity came forward, I jumped all over it without even thinking twice. What I cared about was the fact that I would have a chance to once again give back to the program that gave so much to me.” LTC Moyer was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers in 1998 with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Memphis. He received an M.A. in Public Administration from Webster University in March 2002 and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in September 2007. His previous assignments include Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Germany, and Missouri and he has deployed in service to this country to Nicaragua, Iraq, and Afghanistan. LTC Moyer’s military education includes the Command and General Staff College Officers’ Course, Red Team Members Course, Air Assault Course, Army Operational Electronic Warfare Course, Combined Arms Services and Staff School, and the Engineer Basic and Advanced courses. He also holds his professional certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

LTC Kelvin J. Moyer

His military awards and decorations include: two Bronze Stars, four Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, a Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, two Army Superior Unit Awards, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Air Assault Badge, and the coveted Engineer Bronze DeFluery Medal. He is married to Melodie Bichon of Hernando, Mississippi and has three daughters.


news and events

Belinda Bell named USDA 1890 liaison to benefit ties to small farmers, national scholars Belinda Demmings Bell, a 1988 alumna of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has been named U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1890 program liaison for UAPB by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. In this position, she will collaborate with the UAPB Office of Career Services and School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS) to increase the number of students studying agriculture and counsel them on employment opportunities in USDA agencies. She will support USDA partnerships with state, local and non-profit corporations that will assist research and Extension programs that serve small and limited-resource farmers and underserved communities. Her responsibilities will also include administering the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program at UAPB. Students accepted into the program receive full tuition towards a bachelor’s degree, books and the cost of room and board, as well as work experience with USDA agencies. Bell will increase awareness of the program by speaking with high school teachers and students and participating in career fairs and other outreach activities. Bell had been temporarily overseeing UAPB’s USDA Liaison Office since January 2018, while assigned as the USDA 1890 program liaison for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). She assumes the role at UAPB following the death of George Will Richardson, who had served in the role since 1993. “As the USDA/1890 Program Liaison, I plan to establish centers of community prosperity that will foster hope, opportunity, wealth creation and asset building in our rural and underserved communities,” she said. “I aim to provide the education, tools and resources necessary to address challenges outlined by the underserved communities. My main objective is to increase the viability and profitability of the communities that UAPB serves.”

Belinda Bell

Prior to joining UAPB, Bell worked at FAMU for four years, and before that, she worked for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for 28 years. She started her career with NRCS as a cooperative education student in Bloomington, Illinois, and later became the first female African-American district conservationist in Arkansas. She also served as a NRCS resource conservationist/social scientist and as an agricultural economist. Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from UAPB. Her daughter, Delta Bell, earned a degree in agronomy from UAPB-SAFHS, and her son, Bobby Madrid Bell, is a graduate of plant science at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Fall/Winter 2019 27


news and events

Stephanie Sims takes helm as Director of UAPB University Museum and Cultural Center

Stephanie Sims stands in front of one of the exhibits at the University Museum and Cultural Center. Located inside Childress Hall on UAPB's campus, Sims was named director of the facility. Photo by Brandon Batemon

12 years ago, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) alumna Stephanie Sims worked as a student assistant in the University Museum and Cultural Center (UMCC). She returned to the UMCC in July 2019 as director of the place where her love of history began. With initial aspirations of being an art history teacher, Sims admits that her career path morphed into what it is today. It was during her work-study program that she noticed she had a thing for preserving and putting together artifacts and exhibit installation, design, and planning. “When I was a student there were a lot of my other peers that weren’t comfortable with doing exhibit installation,” Sims said. “Even in my junior year, I was helping graduating seniors put their shows together.” What she loves most about history is that it repeats itself and can reveal information you would not have discovered before. Something as simple as a photograph can unfold into a recount of the events that led to the moment that was captured. Sims cultivated her skills at the UMCC for six years before seizing an opportunity to work as the personal archivist to former President William J. Clinton. In this position, she solely managed Clinton’s collection of personal papers and artifacts and assisted with multiple exhibit 28

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

installations with NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and Foundation staff at the Clinton Presidential Library. Sims obtained her bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and master’s degree in Public History from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is a member of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Located inside Childress Hall at UAPB, the University Museum and Cultural Center was founded in 2004 to collect, preserve, and promote the rich history of the institution and the surrounding Arkansas Delta. The museum is also home to a permanent exhibit, Keepers of the Spirit: The L.A. Davis, Sr. Historical Collection, that documents the history of UAPB. Created by the late U.G. Dalton and Henri Linton, Sr., the exhibit was a continuation of the Persistence of the Spirit exhibit which recorded the history of African Americans in Arkansas. In addition to rotating exhibits, the museum features a large collection of photographs, catalogs, yearbooks, letters, artifacts, portraits, and other ephemera that document the lives of the women and men who helped to shape the history of the university and surrounding delta area.


Pine Bluff youth attend summer camp to learn about cooking, kitchen safety, and nutrition Sixteen Pine Bluff children spent four days cooking, learning about nutrition and participating in fun physical activities during a youth enrichment summer camp at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Hosted by the UAPB Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, the annual camp teaches local children, ages 6 to 11, basic cooking skills, good nutrition and food safety practices and ways to be active. “This was the second year we hosted the youth enrichment camp,” Teresa Henson, UAPB Extension specialist– nutrition outreach coordinator, said. “We had a new group of excited campers, and this year we incorporated several Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities into the program.” The children participated in several hands-on cooking sessions. They learned how to prepare vegetable and rice stirfry, chicken fingers and sweet potato fries, pizza and tossed salad, and vegetable wraps and fruit salad. During the cooking sessions, they learned about kitchen safety, basic cooking measurements and the nutritional content of different foods and beverages. “The kids loved the idea of trying new fruits and veggies and getting the chance to prepare their own dishes,” Henson said. “Each day they would ask, ‘Ms. Teresa, when are we going to start cooking?’ or ‘What are we cooking today?’” Easter H. Tucker, interim family and consumer sciences program leader for UAPB, taught the campers how to make ice cream and the science behind the process. During an apron-making session with Linda Inmon, Extension specialist for UAPB, they learned the importance of measurements and dimensions. Shaun Francis, Extension horticulture specialist for UAPB, spoke to the children about sweet potato production. During a visit to the campus farms, they learned about livestock. Dr. David Fernandez, Extension livestock specialist, taught the children about goats, and they were able to try goat milk. The UAPB 4-H Club hosted several ice-breaker and teambuilding exercises that helped the children get to know each other. Outdoor physical activities included kickball games and relay races. Henson said all learning activities were aligned with the Arkansas Common Core Curriculum for science, math, reading and language arts for grades 1-5. Upon the camp’s completion, the children were asked to write about their favorite part of the camp and their overall experience, Henson said. Based on their responses, the most popular activities during the camp were the hands-on cooking sessions, the goat farm visit and the outdoor physical activities.

Henson said it is important for children to learn about cooking and nutrition. “We aim to provide local children the opportunity to try new and healthy foods,” she said. “At the camp, they are able to learn basic life skills related to cooking and exercise, as well as social skills by working as a group and communicating with each other.”

Above: Tyah Jordan, Christophepr Dixon and Courtney Beasley, Jr. cut sweet potatoes as they prepare sweet potato fries. Photo by Brad Mayhugh

Above: Campers watch Kyler Lee feed a kid goat during a visit to the UAPB campus farms.. Photo by Brad Mayhugh

Fall/Winter 2019 29


Verizon initiative aids learning for area boys to gain experience, guidance in tech careers The Verizon Innovative Learning (VIL) program brought more than 100 males of color in 5th – 7th grade to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to experience hands on, engaging activities in robotics, coding, 3D printing, and entrepreneurship. The three week project aimed to improve student learning and provide guidance through technology based experiments. Using a grant written by Dr. Trina Fletcher and Laura Hildreth, the camp is designed to have two summer components and four STEM sessions in the fall and four sessions in the spring. VIL provides free technology, free access and teacher training supporting to engage powerful learning in and out of the classroom. “I enjoyed helping the young men to realize the great potential they have in STEM fields of study. It was awesome to see the young men's faces light up as they created projects and printed with 3D printers, excelled in coding, programmed robots, and more," said 3D Printer Summer Staff Mentor and Engineer Larry Williams. "They were so excited to learn, it pushed me to learn even more myself to impart to them. In addition, it was so exciting to see each of the students put their best creativity into the Competition Friday events. They tried their best and came up with amazing concepts each week. I really believe they exceeded their own expectations. Finally, The UAPB VIL STEM program was a teaching and learning tool for the students and myself. This program must continue as it is a learning force to be reckoned with.” Tim Bell, entrepreneurship staff mentor and educator in the Pine Bluff School District said that only two percent of teachers in American public schools are Black men. As a positive role model for the youth, he feels a deep responsibility to positively influence the education field. "It’s my duty to share my insight on the blueprint for a successful being that has a great effect on society," Bell said."One must live by the fundamental purpose of life itself; which is achievement in every field of endeavor." D’Juan Sherrill, entrepreneurship staff mentor and engineering student said the students at VIL were amazing. "I’ve learned more and craved myself to pay more attention to the children of our future," said Sherrill. "Most youth lack attention from the ones that mean the most to them. So why not be that attention that they are lacking? It may help them choose a better path because of your positive influence.” Lead Mentor and STEM Academy scholar Tarique Barron shared Williams' desire to be a positive role model for youth. "There is a lack of hands on, actual playing outside just being a kid," Barron said. "Programs like this are important to teach and train by example and mentoring in a positive manner." 30

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: UAPB Computer Science student and camp mentor Isaiah Solomon watches as students manipulate an ozobot evo to follow lines coded on a page.

Above: VIL students work with Little Bits, a major instructional component of the Verizon Innovation Learning Grant.

"I really appreciated the opportunity to participate in this phenomenal program. " Since 2012, Verizon has committed a total of $400 million to helping under-resourced communities bridge the digital divide. Having helped over a million children to date, they look to help 2 million more by 2021.


NEW PROGRAMS

THIS FALL Agricultural Engineering Hospitality & Tourism Management Associate to Bachelor’s

we Take

in CURIOSITY. We also take PRIDE in discovery, innovation, determination and courage. Since 1873, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has educated and inspired some of the world’s greatest minds to reach beyond their circumstances and become who they want to be. We are a family of educators and learners, and our tight-knit community shapes the intellectual and social development of students who go on to reshape the world. Don’t take our word for it, just ask the countless number of Fortune 500 companies that look to UAPB to help them fill their ranks. It’s time you become a part of the PRIDE.

APPLY NOW

Justin Williams Biology Fall/Winter 2019 31


CHANCELLOR’S SCHOLARSHIP GALA RAISES MORE THAN $100,000 The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff raised $106,000 for scholarships during the annual Chancellor’s Scholarship Gala. Held at the Pine Bluff Country Club, the event was presented by its presenting sponsor, Waste Management, with the theme, "Prom of the Golden Era." The black tie gala began with a reception and silent auction followed by a dinner and program. Calvin Booker, alumnus and Corporate Vice President of Public Affairs for the Southern Group of Waste Management Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, served as master of ceremonies. The honorees included: Mrs. Bunia Baxter, retired educator of 40 years; Marty Casteel, Senior Executive Vice President of Simmons First National Corporation; Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Christy Walker; Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Torrance Walker; and posthumous honoree Attorney Wiley Austin Branton, Sr., defender of the Little Rock Nine. Since its inception, the gala has created a revenue flow of more than $750,000 to help support UAPB’s scholarships for students enrolled at the institution.

Thank you for your continuing support of the Chancellor's Scholarship Gala. Special thanks to our top sponsors:

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Waste Management

JRMC

Dr. Laurence B. & Veronica Alexander

Torrance Walker, MD & Christy Walker, MD

Calvin & Janetta Booker

Attorney Gene McKissic

Dr. Freddie Hartfield

SEARK College

Simmons Bank

Sissy’s Log Cabin

UAPB Executive Cabinet Elbert Bennett Janet Broiles Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr. Melvin J. Hines, II Carla Martin, Esq. Dr. Mansour Mortazavi Dr. Linda Okiror

Arkansas Medical Dental & Pharmaceutical Association and Southeast Medical Network

UAPB Deans & Directors Dr. Richard Bailey Dr. Anissa Evans Buckner Dr. Charles Colen, Jr. Bonita Corbin Dr. Karen DeJarnette Dr. Todd Garner Dr. Rebecca Lochmann Dr. Paul Lorenz Sheena T. Meadows Dr. Pamela Russ Dr. Andrea Stewart Dr. Grant Wangila Dr. Ann White-Taylor

Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield

Dr. Jewell Walker Aramark

Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation Baldwin & Shell Construction Nelson Architectural Group Relyance Bank The Design Group

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: Calvin Booker '79, Corporate Vice President of Public Affairs for the Southern Group of Waste Management Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, speaks at the podium during the Chancellor's Scholarship Gala. Waste Management was the presenting sponsor for the event. Photo by Brandon Batemon


news and events

UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander (far right) is photographed with Chancellor's Scholarship Gala honorees Dr. Torrance Walker, Dr. Christy Walker, Bunia Baxter, Judge Wiley A. Branton, Jr., son of posthumous honoree Wiley Austin Branton, Sr., and Marty Casteel. Photo by Richard Redus Below: The Benefit event was enjoyed by a capacity crowd at the Pine Bluff Country Club. Photo by Richard Redus

Fall/Winter 2019 33


news and events

AM&N college alumnus and Tuskegee Airman Thomas Vaughns honored for military service by Shakari Briggs | Courtesy of the Pine Bluff Commercial

It was standing room only as supporters gathered at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ’s STEM Conference Center to pay tribute to Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Franklin Vaughns -- a former Tuskegee Airman who lives in White Hall. “I didn’t realize I had so many friends to come back and be with me today,” Vaughns said, smiling. “It was just like a homecoming. I enjoyed every bit of it.” At the event, U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., presented Vaughns, 99, with the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII, Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal in honor of his service in not only World War II, but also the Korean War. All but the National Defense Service Medal were replacements for those Vaughns lost over the years. Boozman called Vaughns “an outstanding citizen in every sense of the way and every sense of the word. He was a hero in offering his service to the country in time of war, in fact, two wars. He served in World War II and Korea, and then he came back and helped build the country.” Boozman also described Vaughns as an example for everyone to follow in their efforts to serve the community. “He was not only a hero in respect of serving in that capacity, but he came back through 4-H and all of the different programs he was involved in through the years and just did an outstanding job. So, he’s somebody that we should celebrate like we did today.” Vaughns graduated from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (UAPB) in 1950 and used his degree to teach others. “Through life, I’ve had an opportunity to serve so many people, and I enjoyed every minute,” Vaughns said. “After I retired, I joined a volunteer agency, and then, after that, the Delta Service Corps. It wasn’t for money -- they only gave me expenses. But I enjoyed that just as well as I did jobs that paid money. I served in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Illinois teaching and training young people.” During the ceremony, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington declared Aug. 21, 2019, as Thomas Franklin Vaughns Day.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

"We challenge every citizen in the city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to learn at least two lessons from the life of Thomas Franklin Vaughns...,” Washington said. ”...One is (that) life is about serving others without expecting anything in return. That’s what Mr. Thomas Franklin Vaughns has done for us. Nugget number two is our communities are strongest when we honor our civic duty to be involved.” In addition to the medals he received from Boozman, Vaughns was showered with other tributes from the Office of U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., the Arkansas General Assembly, UAPB and even his church, Barraque Street Missionary Baptist Church. Vaughns said he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and stayed at Little Rock’s Camp Robinson before traveling to California to complete basic training. He would go on to serve in the Air Corps as a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II from 1942 to 1946. “There was a guy named Steve that was over the kitchen,” Vaughns said in a previous interview with The Commercial. “He told me to drop everything I was doing and report to my headquarters. I went there, and they had about 18 more guys there out of about 300 to 400 of our group. They said: ‘You guys have been selected to go to school to be Tuskegee Airmen.’” Vaughns also served in the Korean War, where he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, as a supply sergeant. He was later promoted to sergeant first class and was discharged in 1952 after serving one year. “That’s when I got the letter with Uncle Sam pointing (and) saying, ‘We want you,’” Vaughns said in a previous interview with The Commercial. “My boss told me to check my mail. He said I had some important mail on my desk, and it was mail from Uncle Sam ... I just knew that I was going to get out of it, but I didn’t, so I had to go back in and the Korean War was going on.” Reflecting on his recognition, Vaughns said, simply, “It really only means one thing, that I served to the best of my ability.”


At left and center: Arkansas Senator John Boozman presented Vaughns with the National Defense Service Medal and replacements for four medals the veteran lost: the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII and the Good Conduct Medal. Below: Sgt. 1st Class Thomas F. Vaughns, center, is photographed with Arkansas Senator John Boozman and UAPB Chancellor Laurence. B. Alexander at the event. Photo by Richard Redus

Above: Thomas F. Vaughns gives remarks during the ceremony in his honor,. Reflecting on his life, he summed it up in one statement, “It really only means one thing, that I served to the best of my ability.� At left: The capacity crowd inside the STEM Conference Center graced Vaughns with two standing ovations. Photo by Richard Redus

Fall/Winter 2019 35


RECAP

"Know that you will be successful, you will be victorious, you will remain triumphant, you will make a major contribution to the world because UAPB has prepared you to do that. They have prepared you to take your place in the world."

SHOW THEM WHO YOU ARE Engineer and STEM advocate Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd encourages Spring 2019 graduates to be vigilant in every area of life to obtain success by Tisha D. Arnold | Photos by Richard Redus

Spring 2019 commencement speaker Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd excitedly greeted the capacity crowd at the Pine Bluff Convention Center before proceeding to compliment the way in which HBCUs celebrate their graduates. Like many speakers before her, she emphatically stated that there was nothing like an HBCU graduation. Turning her attention to the graduates, she showered the class of 2019 with exhortations to rejoice in the gravity of the moment. "Today is a day of celebration. It’s a day of transformation," Boyd said. "As you move from the malleable caterpillars to the exquisite butterflies you will become, today is the day you celebrate all of the hard work you have put in here at this great institution to be able to sit in those chairs." 36

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Boyd reminded graduates and attendees of the rich legacy of UAPB graduates - many of which who have become noted academicians, entrepreneurs, military strategists, lawyers, sociologists, graphic artists, history makers, and trailblazers. Lauding the HBCU college experience, she admonished them to remember that this was their crowning achievement. "As you turn the page in your life from great to greater to greatest, this is the day you declared to the world that you are great, you are powerful, you have strength, and you have resilience," Boyd said. "You've shown it because you are here today. This is your moment when you transition from this place of higher learning and special significance.


Above: UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander joins the Chancellor's Medallion Recipients during commencement exercises. At left: Aaron Jones, Joseph Paul, and Aaron Hodge were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the United States Army. On opposite page: Spring 2019 commencement speaker Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd shares her insight with the capacity crowd at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

This place that's filled your heads and your heart with wisdom and knowledge and some of it from books, but most of it is from professors and administrators who saw greatness in you and wanted to make sure you had everything that you needed to succeed." An engineer and STEM advocate, Boyd further admonished graduates to show gratitude to those that supported their journey by remaining excellent and vigilant in everything they do. "Everywhere you go, represent the excellence that is UAPB. Be wonderful, be marvelous, and go out into the world and show them who you are. You are a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a proud graduate of an HBCU - don't let anybody diminish that because your degree is just as good as anybody else's." Before finishing her speech, Dr. Boyd implored graduates to be mindful of key areas that lead to success. She first stated that they must remain relevant and stay up-to-date in their field of experience with the purpose of becoming a person that is indispensable. "Be a team player and become the team leader," Boyd said. "Be innovative, be the executioner of excellence wherever you are. Be outspoken, find your voice and use it as a conscientious person in the community."

Reminding them to be confident in who they are and what they stand for, Dr. Boyd also advised them to choose friends carefully. "You need intellectual friends who will challenge you, who will push you where you need to be. You need social friends because you always want to have a little bit of fun, but you also need spiritual friends who will pull your coat tail every now and then and say what do you think you are doing?" Referring to a quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made about the function of education, she asked graduates to keep making progress. "Progress is more than effort - it is effort in the right direction, with the right people, at the right time, doing the right thing, in the right season. Be a part of progress wherever you are." Being original and passionate, setting goals, and dreaming big were also on Boyd's list of essentials for success. She concluded her speech asking graduates to live everyday to its fullest. "Know that you will be successful, you will be victorious, you will remain triumphant, you will make a major contribution to the world because UAPB has prepared you to do that. They have prepared you to take your place in the world." Fall/Winter 2019 37


then and now

Janie C. Moore, Miss "A" State 1945-1946, with her royal court.

A Royal Lineage From Miss "A" State to Miss UAPB, the 90-year history behind the name continues to reveal much about the university's legacy By Stephanie Sims and John Martin | Photographs courtesy of University Museum and Cultural Center and UAPB Archives

The history of the university can be found throughout campus. With the presence of the annual homecoming celebration, much of UAPB’s legacy is on display. The week-long event is a time when the past comes to life, as traditions of old are new again. Alumni return to gather with students, staff, and the community to celebrate and to remember. One of the longest 38

standing traditions during this time is the crowning of the campus queen. This year, when the tiara is placed upon the head of Jade West, she will join a history spanning 90 years and a name lost to time. Prior to 1977, the crowning of a campus queen came with the title Miss “A” State. Despite the school being officially known at the time as Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical &

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Normal (AM&N) College, students still often referred to the university as “Arkansas State College”. The Arkansas State College moniker denoted the school’s purpose as an institution primarily for the education of African Americans, which can be seen on a plaque installed inside of Caldwell Hall.


Above: Brianna Allen, Miss UAPB 2015-2016, is being crowned by Miss UAPB 2014-2015 Miche’la Martin, and UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander during Allen's coronation ceremony.

Above: Alena V. Erby, Miss "A" State 1928-1929, was the university's first documented campus queen.

Miss “A" State 1949-1950 Louise Fields being crowned by Co-Captains Frank Britto and John Wilson.

Verdie Mae Green Miss "A" State 1937-1938

Wanda Jones Miss "A" State 1952-1953

Vernetta Johnson Miss "A" State 1963-1964

Latoria Stubblefield Miss "A" State 1965-1966

Alumni from that time often remarked that the name carried on because when someone asked what college you attended “A” State rolled off the tongue better. While it wasn't the official name, “A” State quickly found itself associated with the university’s various sports teams, clubs, and of course, the campus queen. For over four decades (1929-1976), Miss Arkansas State was an unofficial title given to the college’s campus queen. The first documented Miss Arkansas State was Alena V. Erby. This title carried on for forty-seven years until the last Miss Arkansas State, Janice Carter. The crowning of Miss “A” State while accompanied by the captains of the football team quickly became tradition during homecoming games. continued on page 30

Earnestene Sargent Miss "A" State 1966-1967

Carolyn Morman Miss "A" State 1968-1969

Faye Wilson, Miss UAPB 1976-1977

Fall/Winter 2019 39


then and now

These homecoming games drew large crowds and notable celebrities of the time such as Jackie Robinson. Since the inaugural ceremony, the crowning of the campus queen evolved from a moment on the football field to an elegant coronation ball. The 1970s would ultimately see the end of the Arkansas State College title. While the name lived on briefly after the college’s merger into the University of Arkansas System in 1972, the school’s current name, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, eventually took over. It was just four years after the merger when the first Miss UAPB, Faye Wilson, would be crowned. The time period during the merger was one filled with concern. Students, staff, and individuals from across the state feared that the identity of Arkansas’ oldest predominately black institution would be lost. It was traditions like the homecoming queen that ensured the university’s history would be a part of its future. Along with the transformation of the school, the campus queen would see her role as representative of the university evolve over time as well.

Mattie Smith Miss "A" State 1969-1970

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Above: Irma Lee Glasco, Miss "A" State 1948-1949, is accompanied by Football Co-Captain Cleo Lee.

Wilma Price Miss "A" State 1970-1971

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Janice Carter, Miss "A" State 1975-1976

Lynda Harris Miss UAPB 1980-1981

Ruby McCoy Miss UAPB 1982-1983

Sandra Dupree, Miss UAPB 1977-1978

Keita Stuckey Miss UAPB 1989-1990

Rosaland Raynette Todd Miss UAPB 1990-1991


Salonica Hunter, Miss UAPB 2017-2018

Many women have been emblematic of this growth over the years, but it was during the 1970s when these women would achieve nation-wide fame. It was during this time that HBCUs began to enjoy more notoriety because popular publications such as Ebony magazine featured campus queens, including Faye Wilson in 1977. Her successor, Sandra Dupree, would also capture the attention of the public when she represented the state of Arkansas at the Orange Bowl in 1978. In the years since, Miss UAPB has continued to promote humility, elegance, and strength.

Antonaya Owens Miss UAPB 1992-1993

Angelica Perkins, Miss UAPB 2018-2019

Each queen has served as an ambassador for the university in various capacities including professional development, community outreach, and university awareness. From Jamie Robbins’ work with local youth organizations to Alexis Cole’s involvement with Shoes 4 Africa or Angelica Perkins, winning the top spot in the 2019 EBONY© magazine HBCU Campus Queens competition, these women continue to prove Miss UAPB is much more than just a title. Wherever you find yourself in the world when you’re speaking to an alumnus, perhaps you should take the time to ask them about their campus queen.

Felicia Watkins Miss UAPB 1993-1994

Kimberly Watkins Miss UAPB 1998-1999

Jade Saichai West, Miss UAPB 2019-2020

Jamie Robbins Miss UAPB 2011-2012

Alexis Cole Miss UAPB 2013-2014

Cynthia Talley Miss UAPB 2007-2008

Melissa Lison Miss UAPB 2010-2011

Jasmine Jones Miss UAPB 2002-2003

Tiny Marie Johnson Miss UAPB 2004-2005

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alumni updates

VeLois Bowers

Greetings fellow Alumni and Friends, What an exciting time at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff! A new semester has arrived and a season of change is vastly approaching. Individuals of all ages have come from near and far to “Dear Mother” in order to further their education, develop new relationships, and find or rediscover their purpose in life. Faculty and staff stand ready, willing and able to make a notable difference in the lives of students. The Alumni Association continues moving forward in its purpose of fostering an ongoing connection between the alumni of UAPB and the University itself that

ultimately gives our students the support they need to complete their education and then use what they’ve learned to make the world a better place. In the same way that you and I have benefited from the efforts of those who came before us, we now have the opportunity to continue to pave the way for those who have yet to come. We directly support students through the establishment of our Alumni Student Retention Program. We regularly provide direct financial support in the form of scholarships that are awarded to students who participate in the Lions Program, undergrads and graduating seniors. We have also donated monies to assist with Lion Fever Day, the Vesper Choir, and Endowment Funds. We are part of an HBCU filled with legacy and steeped rich in culture. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who have graduated from UAPB (and its predecessors Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College and Branch Normal College). This includes educators, agronomists, aquaculturists, tradespeople, engineers, lawyers, business leaders, mathematicians, health care professionals and more. As alumni and friends of this great University, you are a part of something

special, a Golden Lions Pride. As we continue the legacy of excellence, I hope each of you will dig deep and open your hearts to supporting the Alumni Association in ways you haven’t in the past. We need you, your innovative ideas, your time, resources, and your continued commitment to serve. We are currently embarking on the biggest project in the history of our formation – the Alumni Center Campaign. Within the next two years, we will be raising $2.8 million to construct a masonry and glass 10,000 square foot, state of the art National Alumni Center. This facility will include an alumni hall, meeting rooms, a board room and much more. This campaign provides a tremendous opportunity for “ALL” alumni to unite to support the building of this new event center that will be a service to students and alumni for years to come. The best is yet to come but it’s important that we remain united, focused, determined, and enthusiastic! With pride in our Pride, VeLois Bowers ’80 President and Chairman of the Board UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association

2019 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees The UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Hall of Fame highlights and honors deserving person(s) for their distinguished service to their alma mater and excellence in their field of endeavor. Since 2008, the Hall of Fame has celebrated inductees in the following categories: Arts/Visual; Entertainment/Media; Athletics; Business/Industry; Community Service; Education; Faith/Theology; Government/Law; Military Service; Medicine/Medical; Science/Technology; Agriculture/Fisheries/Human Sciences; and Lifetime Achievement/Posthumous. Sponsored by the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association, the following were inducted for 2019.

Atty. Eric Buchanan, '78 Government/Law

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Rev. H. Ed Calahan,'66 Faith/Theology

Dr. Ruth Jones, '94 Science/Technology

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Bertha Jones-Wilder, '69 Education

Odail Thorns, Jr., '64 Business/Industry

Johnnie Young, '75 Community Service


THERE ARE

HUNDREDS

OF STUDENTS WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE GENEROSITY OF THOSE WHO GIVE TO THE ROAR APPEAL. Please give today.

THE ROAR FUNDS WILL BE USED TO MEET THE FINANCIAL NEEDS OF OUR STUDENTS WHEN OTHER SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FALL SHORT. WITH YOUR HELP, WE WILL REACH OUR GOAL OF $500,000. Credit Card

All major credit cards are accepted.

*Donations made to endowment funds may be matched dollar-for-dollar through the Title III Program, HBCU Program, U.S. Department of Education, Department of Institutional Services.

Please make a gift of:

U A P B F O U N D AT I O N F U N D

n $145

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1200 North University Drive, Mail Slot 4981 • Pine Bluff, AR 71601

Phone: 870-575-8701 • Fax: 870-575-4605

www.uapb.edu/giving Fall/Winter 2019 43


alumni profiles

IN TUNE WITH HIMSELF

ALUMNUS CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON FOUND HIS LOVE OF MUSIC IN LOS ANGELES AND HIMSELF AS AN ARTIST AT UAPB; AND IT'S LED TO OPPORTUNITIES OF A LIFETIME by Tisha D. Arnold

The stage was black and the crowd was going wild. When 2009 alumnus Chris Johnson took out one of his earpieces, the roar of 125,000 concert-goers at Coachella 2018 was deafening. Those in attendance at the popular festival were there to witness a performance by Beyoncé, one of the most well-known artists in the world. It was a historic moment for African Americans because she was the first black female artist to headline the event. With more than 475,000 people connected via live stream, the two nights Beyoncé took the stage would prove to be the most watched performance for the event. According to Netflix, 1.1 million viewers watched Homecoming, the documentary that recounted the process it took to plan and execute an homage to African American culture and HBCU excellence. After playing Coachella, Johnson continued working with the artist as part of the Hornets horn section for the worldwide On The Run tour. He was also a co-arranger of the horn section for the album, Everything is Love, that won Best Contemporary Album at the Grammy Awards in 2019. How does one begin as a cellist and quickly find himself performing with noatbley the best in the music industry? The path it took to get there was one that started in an unexpected way. His interest in music began as a young boy playing around on the piano at his grandmother's house in his hometown, Los Angeles, California. Johnson said his mother noticed him playing by ear and figuring out melodies to children’s songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb. A pianist in her own right, his mother was told that Johnson had an ear for music. She enrolled him in the school choir where she taught second grade and eventually the school orchestra. It was in elementary school that he laid his hands on the cello – an instrument he would practice on incessantly and strive to make first chair each time he performed. “We had auditions for first chair every week, and I had to get it,” Johnson said. “If I didn’t get it, I would go home crying. I’ll never forget that.” Seeing his love for the cello, Johnson’s mother took him to see the Los Angeles Philarmonic Orchestra. They sat on the first row right in front of the cello section. Watching them perform, he was inspired by how passionate they were about their craft. After the performance was over, his mother took him backstage to meet the first chair of the cello section. Although he’d only been playing for a short time, the cellist encouraged him to stay with it. It was this experience at nine years old that made Johnson realize what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “Meeting her [the cellist] and seeing the whole orchestra play and how dope that was to me – I knew that I wanted to play music for a living.” At right: Chris Johnson is photographed with his trombone. Photo provided courtesy of Christopher Johnson

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"If I hadn't gone to UAPB, my life would be totally different.....I don't know where I would be."

Fall/Winter 2019 45


THE TURNING POINT By the time he was in middle school, Johnson had been playing the cello for a few years. Much to his chagrin, his school only had beginning strings courses. His band director noticed this about him and decided to assign trombone parts for the cello. He recalls sitting next to the trombone players during rehearsal and hearing his band director practicing on the trombone thereafter. “The trombone was such a cool instrument to me,” Johnson said. “It just spoke to me. I told myself that I want to play the trombone.” Initially saying no when asked, the band director was reluctant because of Johnson's promising talent on the cello. His director knew that he would no longer play the cello once he picked up the trombone. He was right. Given only the mouthpiece to practice on, Johnson was anxious to try playing the entire instrument, and snuck into his band director’s office to put a trombone together. Catching him in this act, the director let him take a shot at producing a note. “My first sound on the trombone was horrible,” he said. “But that was my first time playing the trombone. I haven’t put it down since.” His mother and band director supported the passion he had for the trombone and enrolled him in private lessons from sixth grade through high school. MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF M4 While in high school, Johnson’s principal and UAPB alumnus Herbert Boykin was a member of the local alumni chapter who orchestrated a phone call between Johnson and recruiter LTC Solomon Jamerson to talk about his plans for college. Jamerson showed him a video of M4 (Marching Musical Machine of the MidSouth) on a VHS cassette. Although Johnson wanted to go to an HBCU, he hadn’t planned on going to a four-year institution. Jamerson told Johnson that if he made an audition tape, he could possibly get a scholarship to attend UAPB. After submitting his tape, he received the call a few weeks later that his path had been made clear. 46

Moving to Arkansas was a huge culture shock for Johnson, however, he also met and made friends with others at UAPB that spanned the country. Spending his next six years in the Natural State, he remembers having Thanksgiving dinner at a different house each year. The friendships he made as a member of M4 impacted another big day in his life. The best man and groomsmen at Johnson's wedding to his wife, Lauren, were either classmates or members of the band. “[In] any kind of marching band, especially at an HBCU, you’re going to make friends forever,” Johnson said. “It’s an amazing thing, it’s a community.” He also developed a close relationship with Director of Bands John Graham and had long talks with Jazz Ensemble Director and Trombone Instructor Darryl Evans. The first student under Evans' tutelage, he learned lessons that went beyond sheet music. Even when he took private instruction, Evans taught him a lesson he would never forget. “I didn’t tell [Mr. Evans] I was taking these private lessons and he found out,” Johnson said. “On my next lesson with him, he was so hard on me. I couldn’t do any of the things he was asking me to do. He told me that it didn’t matter if I could take lessons from the trumpet masters of the world. If I wasn’t practicing, I wasn’t going to improve.” He applies that lesson to his life to this day. Anytime things feel difficult, Johnson said he thinks about what Evans said and gets back to work perfecting his craft. Johnson says it was instructors like Evans, Graham, and Fooster that helped shape him into the musician he is today. The next chapter of his life unfolded when he met the late Clark Terry and got a chance to study and spend time with him, sparking a passion for jazz music. As a result of his involvement with the Clark Terry Jazz Festival, Johnson met legendary jazz artist Ron Carter. This chance meeting resulted in a full scholarship to attend Northern Illinois University (NIU), where he earned a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Studies.

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

"If I hadn't gone to UAPB, my life would be totally different," Johnson said. "I don't know where I would be." A DATE WITH DESTINY Johnson returned to Los Angeles after graduating from NIU and became a highly sought after professional musician. During this time, Johnson had just began to play with a brass trio called The Smoking Horns. There was a call to do a recording session with Derek Dixie. Johnson didn't know this was Beyoncé's music director, but he knew the importance of staying on the music scene and jumped at the opportunity. While playing with some of the tracks, he heard a familiar voice. At the end of the session, he learned that it was Beyoncé he heard singing. Dixie connected with him after the session and quickly recruited Johnson a few weeks later. Initially, he didn't realize what the gig emtailed. It started to make sense once they were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. It was November 2017 when he and other musicians found out they were going to play Coachella. "One day I'm going to be able to show my kids that I was a part of this. Just knowing that I am [a product of] HBCU culture, there's no feeling like it in the world." After the festival, he performed every month until December 2018 as a part of The Hornets horn section for the On the Run Tour. Johnson admits that it was weeks after both experiences before he had time to take in what he had just experienced. Among the continents and venues played during the tour, his favorite city was Rome, Italy. Stade de France in Paris was a memorable venue. "It was Bastille Day in Paris and France's team won the world cup," Johnson recalled. "That crowd was the most lit ever." It was during the tour that tracks were recorded for the Everything is Love album. During a release party after their performance in London, Johnson heard the horn arrangements for songs Boss and Summer. Everything is Love won Best Contemporary Album at the Grammy Awards in 2019.


WHAT'S NEXT In addition to Beyoncé and Jay Z, Johnson has recorded and toured with other iconic artists in the music industry. Some of the artists include Stevie Wonder, Raphael Saadiq, TLC, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Jamie Foxx, Mary Mary, Ledisi, Cardi B, Aloe Blacc, The Brandon Brown Collective, Jennifer Hudson, Solange Knowles and Macy Gray. Keeping the lesson he learned from Evans to keep practicing, Johnson continues to work on his craft.

The leader of his own group, The Chris Johnson Experience, he is working on a solo album and continues to book gigs. Currently playing tuba for Kanye West’s Sunday Service, he also looks to open a recording studio as well mentor other youth that wish to become professional musicians. "My ultimate goal is longevity," he said. "I want to continue to tour and work with major artists...I never want to put my instrument down."

At top right: Chris Johnson takes in his surroundings at Olmpiastadion Berlin in Berlin, Germany during pre-show set up. Photo by Corbin Jones At right: Johnson (third from right with trombone) is photographed with The Hornets, the brass section that played for Beyoncé`, during a performance at Stade De France in Paris, France. Photo by Andrew White Below: As Beyoncé performs in Santa Clara, California, Johnson (pointing with trombone under his arm) and members of The Hornets strike a pose. Photo by Andrew White

Above: Johnson is photographed in his costume prior to performance time at Coachella in 2018. Photo provided courtesy of Christopher Johnson


alumni profiles

Bed Bug (R. Charles Wilkerson) meets up with Aiden Pearce (Noam Jenkins) in the video game, Watch Dogs. Photo by Mathieu Leduc - Š Ubisoft Entertainment

Inset: R. Charles Wilkerson's headshot

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


ACTING UP

THE THEATRE PROGRAM TAUGHT ALUMNUS RANDALL WILKERSON TO INVEST IN HIMSELF. NOW HE'S DOING HIS PART TO PAY IT FORWARD. by Donna Mooney

To be or not to be a biochemist? That was the question Randall Charles Wilkerson answered before he settled on a college major. In his eyes, he could either put in the grueling hours studying biology, a subject he struggled with in high school, or he could receive a degree in acting, and not only portray a biochemist, but hundreds of other impressive characters from time to time, minus the headache . Today, Wilkerson is an actor known for his work in commercials, voice overs and video game characters. To his credit, he played a character in the first season of Empire, and has played a role in Chicago P.D. Other stints include commercials for Hot Wire and Progressive Insurance. Wilkerson gained his college theater experience while studying and performing with the John McLinn Ross Players at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. An active 2008 alumni, Wilkerson said he will always be grateful for his onstage and backstage presence at UAPB. His allegiance to Dear Mother is evident not only in his words, but also in his deeds as he devotedly donates 10 % of his personal finances to the University from each check he receives. Currently living in Los Angeles, Wilkerson began his long-distance interview eager to discuss the craft he loves, the people who helped him and the lessons he's learned along the way. His tenor voice is steady and each sentence conveys his conviction that he is living out his purpose. “The idea to become a biochemist stemmed from seeing the movie The Rock, when I was in middle school and watched Sean Connery ‘save the world,’” Wilkerson explained. “Eventually, it became clear that I just wanted to play a biochemist in a show, and not be one.”

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alumni profiles

“Looking back, this was the best decision ever for me...I really learned about acting at UAPB...I had great experiences at UAPB.”

“You know when you are a little kid swimming in the summer in Arkansas and they say, you’ve got one hour left, you try to make everything count,” Wilkerson explained. “I found myself trying to hold on to the very last minute I was in that pool. That’s how I feel about acting. When you’re in it, you stop thinking about time, and try to enjoy it because you know it will be over soon, but once you’re done, you have that feeling that you’ve got to get back to it. Once bitten, you never want to shake it.” As a tribute to both his late father and his late grandfather, named Charles Wilkerson, Jr., and Sr., respectively, Randall Wilkerson said he changed his professional name to R. Charles Wilkerson. According to Wilkerson, both his father and grandfather were his greatest fans, encouraging him to follow his dream no matter what. His father died in 2012. “The last thing my father said to me was ‘I love you son. Keep acting,’” Wilkerson said.

Waiting in the Wings Wilkerson had originally planned to attend Howard University and major in theater to study at the same school graced by actors Ruby Dee, Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad, but that didn’t work out. He was prepared to look at another college when his mother, Patricia Wilkerson, intervened. Although Howard University had accepted him, the school did not offer him the financial aid packet he desired. With a little prodding from his mother, Wilkerson reluctantly applied to UAPB and received a full scholarship ride. Also, Wilkerson’s twin sister, Regina, had enrolled at UAPB the semester before and had received a full ride scholarship. “Looking back, this was the best decision ever for me,” Wilkerson said. “I went to UAPB for free. I really learned about acting at UAPB, and I met my wife, LaShaun in Dr. Carolyn Blakely’s English class. I had great experiences at UAPB.” Another benefit of attending UAPB was Wilkerson meeting Stephen Broadnax who would soon become Wilkerson’s theatrical mentor. Broadnax was a well-known national and international actor performing a successful one-man show in Edinburg, Scotland, prior to 2003. Throat surgery brought Broadnax back to the states, and fate lead him to the UAPB Theater Department. The next year, Broadnax was invited to take UAPB students on the road to perform THE HIP HOP PROJECT in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. [THE HIP HOP PROJECT is an awardwinning, full-length original play directed, choreographed and conceived by Broadnax.] Currently, Broadnax is the Head of the Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) in Acting, and Associate Artistic Director for Outreach at Pennsylvania State University. “I was in Steve Broadnax’ s Acting 1 class at UAPB in 2004, 50

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

and I went to him and expressed my interest and told him I wanted to be an actor,” Wilkerson said. “I told him I wanted to learn more, and he allowed me to travel with them to the Kennedy Center as a stage manager, and we sold out the Center. Steve Broadnax came to UAPB and told all of us in that class that we were special, and that we would leave our mark.” While at UAPB, Wilkerson performed as the lead character Walter Lee, in “A Raisin in the Sun.” Once he became established at UAPB, Wilkerson was active in several organizations, including Honor’s College, the Golden Ambassadors, Junior Class officer, Alpha Phi Alpha and Alpha Psi Omega. Outside of theater, Wilkerson said he had instructors who kept him focused like Joyce Bracy Vaughn. “She not only looks like my Mom, but she acts like her too,” Wilkerson joked. “Ms. Vaughn was my emotional support and Dr. Carolyn Blakely was my academic support. Dr. Blakely’s classes taught me structure.”

Above: Wilkerson sports his line name, "The Block Buster." He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

All the World’s a Stage In 2008, Wilkerson graduated from UAPB with a bachelor’s of arts degree in theatre. Afterward, he received a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in acting from the University of Virginia. Following graduate school, he and his wife moved to Chicago, and he worked in Community Theater. He also taught theater and worked in the box office of Cirque de Soleil. “Chicago is a good place to nurture stage acting, but just about everyone I knew had two or three jobs – survival jobs,” he said. “What they don’t tell you in graduate school is how to prepare for life after college. I would tell my younger self and theater majors to learn about financial literacy, contracts, how to survive, how to set up a 401K, how to pay taxes and how to pay your rent.” In 2014, Wilkerson and his wife moved to Los Angeles, the hot spot for all upcoming actors in search of television and film acting jobs.


According to Wilkerson, Los Angeles is also the “make or break” location of all actors because of the high cost of living. “You have to have a place to stay and a car in Los Angeles to travel to auditions that may be 1-2 hours away,” he said. “However, most apartment complexes won’t rent to people with less than a year working on a job. Ninety-five percent of actors moving to L.A. leave after one year because of the cost. I was told that the most important thing to do is hang around. ” According to Wilkerson, “I’ve learned that sometimes it doesn’t matter how much talent you have, you may not get the job, but don’t let that affect how you feel about yourself or your self-esteem” Wilkerson said. “It doesn’t mean you are not talented or you’re not worthy. You can’t be afraid to fail." If you get three or four call backs, you’re doing a good job. It just may not be your time. I have found in my life some of my best answers from God have been ‘no.’ God reminds me that my grace is sufficient for all men.”

At top: Wilkerson stars as Steve the "Expert" , a plumber who needs a little help with the sink. Photo by © Progressive Insurance At right: A husband and wife are at a hardware store looking at appliances. After wandering the aisles, the only expert they can find is Wilkerson's character from the fertilizer department. Photo by McGarry Bowen LLC - © Sears Below: R. Charles Wilkerson as a tough Guard opposite Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) on the Fox Show, Empire. Photo by Fox - © Empire

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alumni profiles

MATTERS OF THE MIND ALUMNUS DR. STEPHEN A. BROUGHTON DISCOVERED HIS DIRECTION IN LIFE WHILE ATTENDING UAPB, AND IT CHANGED HIS OUTLOOK FOREVER. by Dr. Ann Y. White

When he stepped onto the campus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in the fall of 1975, Dr. Stephen A. Broughton, knew it was where he was supposed to be. “It was wonderful,” Broughton, staff psychiatrist at the Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System, in Pine Bluff, said recently. “I grew up there. So for me, UAPB was about learning what I wanted to do and how I wanted to be. It was the extra touch I needed.” That extra touch helped propel Broughton into a successful career in mental health care. For the past 11 years, he has been a staff psychiatrist at the Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System where he practices general psychiatry for adults. From 1999-2008, he operated the only black-owned private psychiatry practice in Pine Bluff. His success also has brought other prestigious honors, including an appointment to a 10-year term on the Board of Trustees for the University of Arkansas System. The appointment, made by former Governor Mike Beebe, ends in 2022. The board is the governing body for the University of Arkansas System. Broughton currently is the only black member of the board. Born in Pine Bluff in 1958 to parents, Theodis and Delores Broughton, both AM&N (now UAPB) College graduates, Broughton said he had always wanted to study medicine. A 1975 graduate of Pine Bluff High School, his impressive scores on the PSAT and SAT tests helped him gain a National Merit Letter of Recommendation and a spot as a National Achievement Finalist, accomplishments that brought scholarship offers from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Hendrix College in Conway and Rhodes College (formerly Southwestern at Memphis) Broughton said he had decided to accept a scholarship from St. John AME Church, where he was a member, to attend Hendrix College when some members of the church intervened. “Many of the professors at UAPB attended St. John, one of them being Dr. Rufus Caine,” Broughton said. At that time, Caine was chairman of the biology department at UAPB. “Dr. Caine said we can teach you what you need to know to be a physician,” Broughton said.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Dr. Stephen Broughton is pictured in the main hall of the Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System in Pine Bluff, where he works as a psychiatrist. Photo by Brian T. Williams

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alumni profiles

"...for me, UAPB was about learning what I wanted to do and how I wanted to be. It was the extra touch I needed.” 54

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


About that time, UAPB had gotten a grant from the Kellogg Foundation which offered science majors a full scholarship with a stipend. Broughton, a chemistry major, was one of the first students to receive the scholarship. At UAPB, Broughton said he had a different kind of cultural awakening. When he graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1975, Broughton said that of the 640 seniors, only about five black students were listed in the top 100 students in the class. At UAPB, however, those numbers were different. “It was wonderful being around black students who were smart and ambitious,” he said. “It was different being in an environment where I was told that I could do things. I felt excited to be in an environment I thought I would thrive in.” He did thrive. At UAPB, Broughton was a member of the Chemistry Club, Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Broughton graduated from UAPB in 1979, and enrolled in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After earning a medical degree in 1990, he completed an internship in psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center and a residency program in psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. He returned to Pine Bluff in 1994 and was hired as a staff psychiatrist at Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System. He was promoted to medical director in 1997, but left the mental health center in in 1999 to open a private practice. He also has worked as an instructor at

the Arkansas State Hospital for Mental Illness and the University of Arkansas College of Medicine in Little Rock. In 2008, he returned to the Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System as a staff psychiatrist. Despite his success in the field of mental health care, Broughton said he wasn’t always interested in psychiatry. “I went to medical school with aspirations of becoming a cardiologist,” he said. “I decided to move into psychiatry near the end of my third year in medical school. I was fascinated with the human mind, and there were few African-Americans in the field at the time.” After completing his residency in 1994, Broughton said he became the second African-American male ever to practice psychiatry in Arkansas and now is only one of eight black psychiatrists practicing in the state. Broughton said he is particularly interested in the number of misdiagnosed black men who are dealing with mental illnesses. He said many are diagnosed with severe mental illnesses when they could be less severe. He said such diagnoses could lead to other problems. “It could cause problems with employment or with insurances issues,” he said. Broughton said he also has something else of which he is very proud. He and his wife of 26 years, Cheryl Govan Broughton, have two children, Dr. CaLynna Nichols, who is the first woman to graduate from Prairie View A & M College with a doctoral degree in electrical engineering; and Dr. Stephen Thomas Broughton II, a UAPB graduate who is currently a second-year fellow in cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

At right: Broughton (second row, far right) is photographed with the Chemistry Club in the 1978-1979 yearbook.

Photo provided courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center

Above: Dr. Broughton listens to presenters during a University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees meeting. He is currently the only African American member of the board. Photo provided courtesy of the University of Arkansas System

At left: As a member of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees, Dr. Broughton often represents the entity at system campuses across the State. He is seen here in the processionial during commencement exercises at the Pine Bluff Convention Center for UAPB. Photo by Richard Redus

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COVER STORY

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


ALUMNUS LARRY BRAGGS WENT FROM PERFORMING HANDEL'S MESSIAH TO SINGING LEAD FOR THE TEMPTATIONS. WE CAUGHT HIM BETWEEN PERFORMANCES TO LEARN HOW HE DID IT. by Donna Mooney

Vocalist and music entertainer Larry Braggs may not be a newcomer to the music industry, but he is still a fairly new member of the legendary music group The Temptations, the R&B group that has entertained the masses for decades with engaging love ballads, finger snapping melodies, and hip-shaking tunes. The 1985 alumnus is in his fourth year as the soulful lead singer for the world-renowned group. Known in the music industry as an audience pleaser, The Temptations’ concert schedule is just as demanding today as it was 40 years ago, performing nationally and internationally for audiences of all ages. Time, life, and fate have changed the faces of the Temptations, and now, only one original member remains, Otis Williams, Jr. The Temptations were between performance dates when Braggs met face-to-face to reflect on his musical journey from low spots to high notes. He embraces the university and credits his campus training with positioning him for greatness. He tells a compelling story of a young boy who started out “clowning around” with his vocals and ended up singing for the enjoyment of others. Hot weather demands cool clothing in the South, so for the interview, Braggs wears a lightweight pinstriped off-white suit. His matching short-brimmed hat makes the look. He’s not a flashy guy, but Braggs has that persona that alerts others that he is somebody special. What he exhibits as an adult, was encouraged when he was a child. Fall/Winter 2019 57


cover story

On this page: Larry Braggs is photographed in one of several performance outfits he wears as a member of The Temptations. Photo by Brian T. Williams­

Inset: A 1981 photo of Braggs during his time as a member of the UAPB Vesper Choir. Photo provided courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center

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t five-years-old, Braggs said he developed a taste for music when his aunt stood him on a table to sing the Beetles’ song, “Hard Day’s Night.” From there, his 4th Grade teacher in a Chicago middle school told him that if he was going to sing, then he needed to do it the right way. After that, Braggs said every time he moved up a grade, some music teacher helped move his talent forward. Born into a family with entertainment vibes, Braggs is the eighth of nine children. His father, a native of Mississippi, performed with a tap dancing team in his early years. However, illness forced the elder Braggs to retire when Larry Braggs was about nine years old. “I entered a talent show in 6th Grade and I sang a song by the Four Tops, “Ain’t No Woman like the One I Got,” Braggs said, grinning and shaking his head in dismay. “I had put together a musical group, but I was the only one who could sing, and I had no idea what I was singing about.” In high school, Braggs said he sang first tenor, while his music teacher waited for his voice to drop, which never happened. He eventually became the lead soloist for the school choir. “We had the number one choir in the state of Illinois,” he said with pride. Prior to high school graduation, his music teacher surprised him and two other graduating seniors and took them to Gary, Indiana, to see the UAPB Vesper Choir on tour. During that visit, Braggs was introduced to Professor Shelton McGee who auditioned him for Vesper Choir on the spot.

That audition provided Braggs a full ride scholarship to UAPB - the problem was, Braggs had not planned to attend college. He wanted to sing with a group.

Between Vesper and Venues

In fall of 1981, Braggs enrolled at UAPB as a music major. When he was not singing with Vesper, he was singing with his own music group called Polo. “We were the first band in Pine Bluff,” Braggs said proudly. “That group included Skip Pruitt, Morris Hayes, Edward Dunmore and Derrick Campbell (Morris Hayes was the former music director for Prince for 18 years). We were the Pine Bluff version of the Commodores.” While his group was popular in the community, Braggs said Professor McGhee was not as impressed.

Professor Shelton J. "Fessor" McGhee

“I got in trouble many days in Vesper Choir because Vesper members were not supposed to sing any other music and strain our voices, plus, I was the lead singer for Handel’s Messiah,” Braggs said. “Professor McGhee knew we were singing off campus because that was how we made money back then. We were poor and our parents didn’t have money to send us, so we competed in talent shows and performed with a band.” Fall/Winter 2019 59


cover story

According to Braggs, no talent show was off limits. He competed in gospel talent shows, R & B talent shows, and even country/western talent shows for money. “Professor used to say, ‘You cannot be singing the Messiah like no whiskey tenor. Go to your room and don’t talk to anybody and don’t sing anymore until the performance,’” Braggs reminisced. “I’d love to sing the Messiah again one day at UAPB. I’d have to stop singing for six months, though.” “Nobody can say anything bad to me about UAPB,” he continued. “This University saved a lot of kid’s lives. They gave us the personal touch with staff and professors who cared about your success. They wouldn’t let you fail if you tried. If I hadn’t gone to school there, I don’t know what would have happened. I realize now that I needed all those people and the school to get where I am today." When thinking of some of the people that impacted his life as a student, he recalled more fond memories with faculty and staff. “We were a real family. U.S. Reed’s mother would take care of us. Back then, if one person had a car, then we all had a car. It didn’t matter what fraternity you were a member of. Professor Odis Burris and Professor Harold Strong were great. I remember Dr. Wiley and J.Y. Williams. Ms. Townsend in Financial Aid went out of her way to help students.” With a true village experience under his belt, Braggs graduated in spring 1985 with a degree in music.

From there, he joined the group Da Bizness and stayed with them until he moved to Pittsburg, California, a move that started out rocky, but soon proved worth it all. Braggs was working three jobs in California. He was a Sears’s manager from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., worked for Propane from 4 to 8 p.m. and he performed at Harry Denton’s Starlight Club from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. “One night, the DJ told me that the group, Tower of Power was looking for a new singer. The drummer playing for us said he knew the drummer with Tower of Power and set up the connection. I sent them a music demo and I got the job, but I only had three days to learn 25 of their songs. In the meantime, they hired me, but they were still auditioning singers. I made up my mind that I was the singer for Tower of Power and they did not need anybody else. I had to prove myself.” That’s when Braggs decided that a singer may out sing him, but he would not outperform him. “I am an entertainer and I’m determined no one will entertain better than me,” he said. Braggs received his training from people in the industry. “I loved James Brown, and later in life, I got the opportunity to meet him and talk to him for 45 minutes,” Braggs said with a laugh. “But, I don’t remember what we talked about because I was too busy staring at these two pink rollers he had in his hair, one on each side of his head.” Years later, Braggs also met and toured with his idol, Tom Jones. “When I was young, I watched the Tom Jones Show every week he was on, no matter what,” Braggs said. “To me he was something special. And then I toured two summers with Tom Jones when I was with the group Tower of Power. He’s the reason I started wearing suits on stage. He was my idol. I loved him.”

“I couldn’t have gone to school without a scholarship at UAPB.... We are working on an endowment scholarship for the next five years... We want to help students go to this college.”

Professional Gigs and Big Breaks After graduation, Braggs said he joined the group Trick Tracks – his first real professional working band in Austin, Texas.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


The Temptations sing during a show in Riverbend, Ohio. Braggs became the lead vocalist of The Temptations in 2015. They are currently in the middle of a multicity tour that will run through June 2020.

Photos by Vernell A. Dillingham

Fall/Winter 2019 61


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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Photo by Brian T. Williams


“This University saved a lot of kid’s lives. They gave us the personal touch with staff and professors who cared about your success. They wouldn’t let you fail if you tried. If I hadn’t gone to school [at UAPB], I don’t know what would have happened. I realize now that I needed all those people and the school to get where I am today. " After 14 years of touring with Tower of Power, another break came when The Temptations were on the hunt for a new lead singer. Oddly enough, it was another drummer who connected Braggs with the group contact, Otis Williams, Jr. “I received a telephone call from Mr. Otis Williams, asking me if I was interested and of course I said yes,” Braggs said. “This time, I had six months to prepare for my new job.” In summer of 2018, Braggs married Leslie Randolph, another UAPB alum and a Brinkley, Arkansas, native. Oddly, they didn’t know each other in college, since she was a freshman and he was a senior when she enrolled at UAPB. As fate would have it, a chance meeting in Washington, D.C. in 2017 brought them together. Randolph is currently a colonel in the U. S. Army. Together, they have created the Braggs-Randolph Scholarship for UAPB. The scholarship will cover tuition for students with at least a 2.5 GPA or above that major in music or mass communications. “I couldn’t have gone to school without a scholarship at UAPB,” Braggs said. “We are working on an endowment scholarship for the next five years for $50,000. We want to help students go to this college.” This fall, Braggs’ youngest of three sons, Cody, will attend UAPB as a mass communications major with emphasis in music production. “My advice to him is to find other students who are positive and like-minded,” said Braggs, shifting into inspirational mode (His other sons, Andrew and Brandon, have careers in the music industry as well). “My advice to students looking to join the music industry is to learn the music business and all aspects of how marketing works. Learn recording, music production and don’t be afraid to have people better than you working on the team. Be the person who knows how to facilitate everybody else in the room. Be the one to get everyone else on the same page to reach the same goal.” Addressing the preconception of what life is like in the entertainment industry, Braggs said aspiring artists

should be prepared for late night shows and early morning flights the next morning to the next gig. Because trends change, he also considers variety and endurance to be an important part of becoming successful. “Don’t be afraid to try different genres of music. You may have to sing blues before you sing R&B. It’s okay to have very high aspirations, but you can’t always start at the top, because if you mess up at the top, it’s hard to get back.” Braggs has a heart for helping others. When he’s not crooning with The Temptations, he conducts vocal clinics around the world for children from 8th grade to high school. “I tell them don’t get caught up in material things,” he said. “Don’t sell off property. I want them to learn how to make this place better before I leave. I want them to know how to start a business and not just how to work a job.”

The Motivator and Entertainer Taking his role as a celebrity seriously, Bragg says when he leaves home, he knows his life is not private anymore. He knows that once he steps outside the four walls of his home, he has to be on. “You are watched, videoed, photographed and you never know who is watching and who you can impact,” he said. “You have to watch how you treat people and be willing to share a kind word. We are in charge of a talent while we’re here and it’s our responsibility to nurture and feed it,” he said. “If you don’t, it could be taken and given to somebody else.” As the temperature outside heats up and the magazine photographer focuses on the best lighting, this singledout Temptation gives a cool impromptu solo when asked about his Temptations’ favorite song. Without hesitation, singing like he’s on stage before a full audience, he belts out the first stanza, “Sunshine, blue skies, please go away. My love has found another and gone away …” Braggs the entertainer, is on.

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Wow! I’m excited about going back to school!

No matter how our students spend their summer layovers, they need your help to reach their destination without financial stress.

Please make an investment today! Collin Branch Agricultural Business Pine Bluff, AR Sophomore

Please help us to

ROAR.

REACHING - OPTIMAL ACADEMIC - READINESS

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Office of Development • UAPB Foundation Fund 1200 North University Drive, Mail Slot 4981 • Pine Bluff, AR 71601 Phone: 870-575-8701 • Fax: 870-575-4605


university of arkansas at pine bluff

The Dorothy Magett Fiddmont Leaders Initiative Remains a Strong Impetus for Scholarship Support for UAPB Students What began as a burning desire to create an additional scholarship fund for students attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), has resulted in $1,544,958 for that purpose.

Grant. Exceeding that goal with a current fund balance that had grown to $1,544,958, since 2005 (when the first scholarship was awarded), nearly 120 students have been awarded over $106,782.

The Fiddmont Millennium Leaders Initiative was established in 1999 to provide students in need of financial assistance the opportunity to attend college at UAPB. The goal was to raise $500,000 in private donations that would be matched dollar-for-dollar by the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education Higher Education Programs, Institutional Service, Title III HBCU

Becoming a Fiddmont Millennium Leader is an excellent way to make a significant impact on students attending UAPB. Also, all funds donated from October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2022, can be matched dollar-fordollar by the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education Higher Education Programs, Institutional Service, Title III HBCU Grant—

Entry Level Bronze Support Level Silver Support Level Gold Support Level Platinum Support Level Alumni chapters and organizations may be recognized as Fiddmont Millennium Chapters/Organizations at the $10,000 gift level.

$2,000 $3,000 $4,000 $5,000 $6,000

Fiddmont Millennium Leaders continue to be a positive force for changing students’ lives and reversing economic distress for generations to come. They are:

Fall/Winter Fall/Winter 2019 652019 65


Dorothy Fiddmont, Ph.D. PLATINUM Carolyn Frazier Blakely, Ph.D. Lonzell A. Branch, LL.D. Letha Harper Branch Larry B. Cooper Frederick C. Fiddmont* Cleon Aurelius Flowers, Sr., M.D.* Martha Ann Flowers, M.D. Martha LaVeda Raspberry Flowers* Eddie Lamar Harris Freddie D. Hartfield, Ph.D. Shirley Johnson Margaret J. Martin-Hall, Ed.D. Jessie P. Newborn, COL (R) Gladys Turner-Finney Helen Harris Page Doris Hurst Wallace Bill Wilder GOLD Samuel Staples Zelma Staples SILVER James M. Bosley, COL (R) Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., Ph.D. Wanda Garrett, J.D. Bertha M. Neal Harrison, Ph.D. Myrtle J. Hyman Jacquelyn Williams McCray, Ph.D. Floyd E. Morris Patrick W. Sanders William “Sonny” Walker, LL.D.* Bettye J. Williams, Ph.D. BRONZE James R. Bell, Ph.D. Jackey E. Cason Leon Crumblin, Ltc (R) Frances Harris-Waddell Keita Stuckey Todd Jewell Walker, Ed.D. Xavier B. Stribling

ENTRY LEVEL Rosenwald Delano Altheimer, Ed.D. Leonard Anderson Mildred Pasley Bailey Larry J. Bankston Mildred Elizabeth Thompson Baskins* Thomas Harold Baskins James R. Bell, Ph.D. Josephine C. Bell, Ph.D. Frederick Birth* Lloyd Black Annie Laurie Blood-Fuller Hannibal Bolton Calvin E. Booker, Sr. VeLois Bowers Gertrude “Anita” Broadway L. Don Brown, LL.D.* William Bryant, Maj (R) Hubert O. Clemmons, Sr.* James D. Clemons Evester Louise Williams Darrough* Audrey Taylor Davis Darwin Davis, LL.D.* Ceola Davis-Barnes, D. Min Constance Dees, Ed.D.* Earnest Dees, Ed.D. Lenora Shaw Dixon Oliver “Coach” Elders John Flowers, M.D. Mary Yeargin Flowers Lula M. Ford Kenneth H. Gardner Willie H. Gilmore Reverend Hodijah Ocie Gray* Barbara A. Grayson, Ed.D. Dorothy Greening-Mercomes Joseph “Joe” Alexander Hale, Ed.D. Theo A. Hamiter Eddie Lamar Harris George Herts, Ed.D. Janis Page Holland-Bankston Andrew E. Honeycutt, D.B.A. Calvin Johnson, Ph.D. Judge Charles V. Johnson, Retired

* Deceased 66

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Gamma Sigma Chapter, Spring 2007 Line Marvin A. Jones, Ph.D. Verma K. Jones, Ed.D. Clementine Farr Kelley John Wesley Kelley Felicia L. Kennedy The Honorable John M. Lewellen* Henri Linton, Sr. Artis Lofton, LTC (Ret)* Jean Hicks McIntosh Linda Nation-Murray Doris J. Broomfield Odems Linda L. Okiror, Ph.D. J. Andre Pendleton Timothy D. Pighee Reverend Kerry Price Dariest “Doc” Raynor The Honorable Carl Anthony Redus, Jr. Bobbie Farr Sanders Clinton W. Sanders John Odell Seals Jennifer R. Smith Johnnie Brown-Swift Roger Swift Odessa Bolden Talley Carla Thompson-Bowens, D.Th. Odail Thorns, Jr., LL.D. Hardy Thrower Clyde Nelson “C.N.” Toney, DHL* Clincy Trammell, Jr. Thedora Clemmons Trammell Elizabeth Kaye Littlejohn Trice Garland D. Trice, III Kalven L. Trice Vernon Lee Trotter Aaron VanWright, Jr., Ed.D.* Kenzie Wallace, LTC Roy L. Walter Wanda Warren-Baskins Paul G. Williams Shirley M. Williams William Monroe Willingham, Ph.D. * Katie Smith Worsham


Add your name to this list! Become a Fiddmont Millennium Leader! Join your fellow alumni and friends, and/or encourage your alumni chapter or organization to become a Fiddmont Millennium Leaders Chapter/Organization. Just complete the following information and send it to the address below. 

Yes! Please include me as a Fiddmont Millennium Leader.



Yes! Please UPGRADE my current Fiddmont Millennium Leader level.

I am making the following donation to the Fiddmont Millennium Leaders Scholarship Fund:  $2,000 Entry Level  $3,000 Bronze Level  $4,000 Silver Level  $5,000 Gold Level  $6,000 Platinum Level  I am paying in full.  I am making a pledge payment. Amount Enclosed:__________ 

Yes! Please include us as a Fiddmont Millennium Leaders Chapter/Organization.

Name of alumni chapter/organization_________________________________________________________  We are paying in full  Amount Enclosed:___________________ Payment Methods  A check is enclosed. Please mail and make checks payable to: UAPB Foundation Fund Mail to: Office of Development University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 1200 North University Drive Mail Slot 4981 Pine Bluff, AR 71601 

Please charge my credit card. All major credit cards are accepted.

Name:__________________________________________________________________________________ Address:________________________________________________________________________________ Please charge $_________to my credit card #____________________________ Exp. Date_____________ Signature_______________________________________ Type of Credit Card________________________  I would like for you to draft my donation from my bank account. Please mail, email, or fax to me an electronic transfer/ACH debit form. Name:__________________________________________________________________________________ Mailing Address:__________________________________________________________________________ Email Address:___________________________________________________________________________ Phone Number.____________________________

Fax Number: ____________________________ Fall/Winter 2019 67


golden lions athletics

batter up

Simmons Bank Pavilion completed at Torii Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex

Above: Side elevation of Simmons Bank Pavilion. The structure consists of a press box, office space, team locker room, and concession stand. Moser Construction, LLC led the construction of the project. Photo by Richard Redus

The Department of Athletics, along with UA System

Makris, Jones, and Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander

President Donald Bobbitt, members of the UA System Board

further commemorated the upgrades by throwing the first

of Trustees, Simmons First National Corp. CEO George

pitch at a game versus the Grambling State Tigers.

Makris, and Sissy's Log Cabin President Bill Jones held a

"The completion of the Simmons Bank Pavilion is

ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Simmons Bank Pavilion

a major highlight of the 2019 baseball season. UAPB is

to announce the newly named Bill Jones Field on April 19,

fortunate to have support from our community partners to

2019, at the Torii Hunter Baseball and Softball Complex.

complete the Torii Hunter Complex," said Dr. Alexander.

The Simmons Bank Pavilion consists of a press box,

"We are forever grateful for the long-standing relationships

office space, team locker room, and concession stand. Moser

with Bill Jones, Torii Hunter, and Simmons Bank that have

Construction, LLC led the construction of the project.

positioned UAPB to enhance its athletics facilities."

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


At right: Senior Infielder Ryan Mallison catches a pop up during a game against Prairie View A&M University. Below: Redshirt Senior Pitcher Sergio Esparza congratulates his teammate on a successful play during a game against Grambling State University. Photos provided courtesy of UAPB Athletics

Hunter, a five-time Major League Baseball AllStar and nine-time Gold Glove winner, provided the initial donation to begin renovations on the complex nearly seven years ago. "To finally see the completion of the Complex is a wonderful feeling," said Hunter. "For the studentathletes and fans, this facility will increase the quality of game-day experiences. It gives everyone a higher sense of pride—an attitude that will help the Golden Lions win at home." "We are excited this day is here and that the Golden Lions will have a first-class baseball facility for years to come," said George Makris, chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corp. "We hope this elevates the program and helps these student-athletes reach their goals both on and off the field." "I'm deeply honored by UAPB's decision to name its field the Bill Jones Field. My family loves the Golden Lions, and we are thrilled to see the transformation of this Complex," said Bill Jones, president of Sissy's Log Cabin. "We are blessed and thankful for Torii, Bill, Simmons and everyone who contributed to the improvements to our facility and the building of the Simmons Bank Pavilion," said UAPB Baseball Head Coach Carlos James. "This gives us the ability to further improve Golden Lions Baseball. As a proud Pine Bluff native, myself and my staff are working daily to build a championship program the entire region can be proud of." Fall/Winter 2019 69


golden lions athletics

Dawn Brown named Women's Basketball Head Coach Dawn Brown was officially introduced as the new head women’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Brown was greeted by an enthusiastic standing-room only crowd as she laid out her vision for the program. “I take this opportunity very seriously,” Brown said. “I’m excited in accepting the challenge of transforming this women’s basketball program into a premier program in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, not only contending for championships, but also in the growth and development of our student-athletes. My staff and I will establish a culture in which when one leaves this program, you will be equipped with the confidence and knowledge to stand tall as business women, attorneys, educators, doctors, or even a coach knowing that the education you receive here at the University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff will hold just as much weight as any other institution in the country.” Brown, who won the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship while leading Prairie View A&M University and is a former SWAC student-athlete, comes to UAPB after spending the previous season as associate head coach at Jacksonville University of the Atlantic Sun Conference. In 2017-18, Brown was head coach at Division II Shorter University of the Gulf South Conference. Brown spent six seasons at Prairie View A&M (201016) as a part of the winningest era in program history. As an assistant coach, the Lady Panthers won SWAC Tournament Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013, advancing to the NCAA Tournament every year. Upon being named interim head coach prior to the 2013-14 season, Brown continued the winning legacy, leading PVAMU to first-time wins over Houston and Sam Houston State while leading the Lady Panthers to their fourth consecutive SWAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. She was named full-time head coach after the season, and in three seasons as head coach, PVAMU won 41 games, including 30 victories in SWAC play in advancing to the conference tournament in each year.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: Women's Basketball Head Coach Dawn Brown and Melvin Hines, III,Director of Athletics

A Jackson, Miss. native, Brown began her collegiate coaching career as recruiting coordinator at Tougaloo College (2008-09). As a player, Brown was a two-time captain at Atlanta Metropolitan College, leading the team to back-to-back GJCAA Tournament appearances. She completed her playing career at Jackson St., leading the Lady Tigers to a SWAC Regular Season Co-Championship. “Our style of play will reflect on three pillars: energy, effort, and execution,” Brown said. “There will be a raised level of togetherness, of toughness, and of aggressiveness, and we will be gap-specific in our schematic in our game preparation. We will give our ladies a sense of power in how they dictate the outcome of the game. We want people to come out and see an energized group of young women who will empower each other and be committed to one another.”


Chelsey Lucas named Women's Volleyball Head Coach Chelsey Lucas will be shaping the future of women's volleyball in her new position as head coach. A former SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference performer in volleyball, Lucas comes to UAPB after three seasons as head coach at conference member Alcorn State, helping the program advance to the SWAC Tournament in her final season for the first time since 2015. "We are elated to hire a person of Chelsey's pedigree," Hines said. "She was a student-athlete in this conference, a Player of the Year in our league, and a SWAC Champion. Chelsey knows what it takes to compete and win in the conference, and we look forward to her having great success at Arkansas-Pine Bluff." In 2018, the Lady Braves' six conference wins were the most in the program since the 2003 season. Alcorn ranked second in the nation in aces per set at 1.98. "I'm thankful to Mr. Hines for this opportunity to lead the Lady Lions volleyball program," Lucas said.

"I competed in the SWAC Western Division as a player, and coached against the division in the last three years, as well as the entire conference and have seen the quality of play continue to get better yearly. I'm excited to build the UAPB program, and we will work hard to build the Lady Lions into a consistent championship contender." Lucas first entered coaching in 2007 as an assistant coach at Terrebonne High School in her hometown of Houma, La. and as head coach of the Bayou Bandits club team. She was then hired as Houma Junior High School's head volleyball coach in 2009 before taking the same job at Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) in 2011. Also in 2011, Lucas was named club director of the Louisiana Southern Swing Volleyball Club in the midst of immediate success at Riverside. She led the Rebels to back-to-back LHSAA Division IV semifinal appearances in 2012 and 2013. As a player, Lucas was named SWAC Defensive Player of the Year

Chelsey Lucas

in 2006, anchoring the backline for Grambling State during its run to the SWAC Regular Season title. A 2006 All-SWAC first team selection as a senior, Lucas led the conference with 396 digs, highlighted by a SWAC season's best 43-dig performance at Texas Southern. Lucas earned her Bachelor's degree from Grambling in 2007, and her Masters from the University of Phoenix in 2011.

Jeremy Winzer takes helm for Women's Soccer

Jeremy Winzer

Jeremy Winzer has been named head soccer coach at Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Winzer previously was the head soccer coach at Jarvis Christian College, where he led both women's and men's programs to their best seasons in school history. Winzer is also leading efforts to build a soccer stadium on campus as the teams played their first home games in school history.

Prior to JCC, he spent one season as head women's soccer coach at Kansas City (Ks.) Community College, helping the program earn allconference players for the first time in school history. Winzer had a brief stint at Mississippi Valley State as athletic academic counselor and assistant soccer coach prior to KCCC. "Being the head coach at UAPB is a true blessing for my family and I," Winzer said. "We are thrilled to be joining an athletic department and institution that is so progressive and on the rise back to prominence in the SWAC. Becoming a head coach in the SWAC means so much to me on a personal level having two family members who've earned scholarships to SWAC schools, and now having a chance to leave my mark now is amazing.

I intend to make UAPB more than just a job, but a home for me, my wife and my new baby girl." Winzer got his start in coaching in 2008 as head coach at Ruston (La.) High School, compiling a 96-24-1 record in five seasons, winning three district championships. He also has been a volunteer coach at Louisiana Tech (2008-13), assisting with goal keepers and the team's strength and conditioning. He spent one season as Head Reserve Team Coach and assistant men's soccer coach at Culver-Stockton College, before spending one season as head coach at Iowa Wesleyan University. Winzer has also been an individual and group soccer coach, training several players who went on to play Division I soccer including four who played professional soccer.

Fall/Winter 2019 71


We have a lot of pride in Pine Bluff.

We’re proud to support the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. This has been our home since 1903, and it’s where our headquarters is still located today. Go Golden Lions!


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2019 HOMECOMING INSERT | GOLDEN LIONS ATHLETICS

Keith mcCluney ACTING ATHLETIC DIRECTOR EXECUTIVE SENIOR ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR FOR EXTERNAL OPERATIONS

Keith McCluney was named Acting Athletic Director in September 2019 after joining UAPB as Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations in Spring 2019. McCluney will oversee the implementation of the UAPB Annual Fund external partnership opportunities for Golden Lion Athletics. McCluney brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Arkansas-Pine Bluff after serving more than 15 years in athletic administration and development, including time with several Power 5 institutions. Prior to UAPB, McCluney spent one year as Associate Athletic Director for Development at Florida Athletic University overseeing all donor relations. McCluney spent nearly three years at Middle Tennessee State University, where under his leadership, the Blue Raider Athletic Association experienced unprecedented growth and completely overhauled their development process while positioning the organization for sustained long-term annual fund growth and preparing the donor pool for future major capital projects. During his tenure at MT, McCluney led two major capital projects. The renovation of the Athletics Sports Performance Center had an immediate and direct impact on student-athlete performance and success as it produced bowl appearances, conference championships and multiple NCAA Tournament berths. 74

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The premium space renovation of the Floyd Stadium Open Air Box seating area also served as a major upgrade to the most sought after area of all athletic inventory and provided a substantial increase in revenue while greatly improving the game day experience. MT Athletics opened a $6 million indoor tennis center (Adams Tennis Complex) during this era of unprecedented growth and revitalization and has hosted local, regional and national events since its opening. McCluney went to Middle Tennessee after four years at Wake Forest where he served as the Director of Regional Development for the Deacon Club. As part of the Deacon Club team, McCluney's primary focus was soliciting and securing major gifts to fund strategic initiatives and capital projects. McCluney played a major role in the early stages of the "Wake Will" Campaign that recently surpassed $200 million raised for athletics and transformed the historic campus' athletic facilities. Prior to his time with the Deacons, McCluney served in two other Power 5 administrative roles as the Assistant Director of Development at the University of Tennessee and the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of Miami. Prior to his time at Miami, McCluney began his athletics administration career as Assistant AD for Marketing and Promotions at North Carolina A&T. McCluney is a former football student-athlete and graduate of Fayetteville State University with a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing. McCluney also is a graduate of the Sports Management Institute (SMI) and the North Carolina A&T State University Leadership Academy as well as a member of the National Association of Athletic Directors of Development (NAADD). McCluney is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.


cedric thomas HEAD COACH - SECOND SEASON ARKANSAS - PINE BLUFF, ‘99

UAPB alum Cedric Thomas is in his second season as head coach of the Golden Lions. In his first season, UAPB produced six players who earned All-Southwestern Athletic Conference honors, including four first-team selections. RB Taeyler Porter led the conference with 1,220 yards. SWAC Freshman of the Year in WR DeJuan Miller tied for the conference lead in receptions (56), was third in receiving yards (801), and was tied for second in receiving touchdowns (six). K/P Jamie Gillan earned first team honors at both positions, was second in the conference in punting average (42.5), and led the SWAC with 20 field goals made. DL Jalen Steward was second on the team in tackles and first in sacks with seven. UAPB went 2-9 in Thomas’ first season at the helm, with the Lions losing four games by a touchdown or less, including a pair of overtime defeats. Thomas returned home after spending six seasons at Alcorn State, initially coaching defensive backs (201215), before spending the last two seasons as defensive coordinator (2016-17). The Braves won four straight SWAC Eastern Division titles, including back-to-back SWAC titles in 2014 and 2015 and played in the inaugural Celebration Bowl. The former Golden Lion cornerback began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Alcorn (2001) before becoming running backs coach at Tennessee-Martin for one season (2002). Thomas had two stints at Mississippi Delta Community College as defensive coordinator (2003-04; 2007-11), sandwiched around coaching defensive backs at Itawamba Community College (2005-06).

After beginning his collegiate playing career at Mississippi Delta Community College, Thomas was a twoyear letterman and started his senior for the Golden Lions. He graduated from UAPB in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and earned his Master’s degree in administration from Alcorn in 2015. The Cleveland, Miss. native is married to Kelunda, and the couple has one daughter, Loegan. Thomas also as a son, Cedric Jr.

Fall/Winter 2019 75


2019 HOMECOMING INSERT | GOLDEN LIONS ATHLETICS

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


DEPTH CHART OFFENSE

WR or

1 Harry Ballard III (6-3 201 Jr.) 18 Dalyn Hill (6-1 190 Fr.) 80 Paul Todd (6-3 197 R-Fr.)

WR

7 Tyrin Ralph (5-8 161 R-Jr.) 5 Kolby McNeal (6-1 186 Sr.)

LT

78 Mark Evans II (6-4 286 So.) 72 Raschad DeCosta (6-3 300 Fr.)

LG

76 Atondre Smith (6-3 312 Jr.) 67 Ja'Quan Bennett (6-5 327 Fr.)

C

54 Jayden Glover (6-0 296 Sr.) 52 Raynald St. Jour (6-2 287 Sr.)

RG

70 Jordan Mack (6-4 362 Fr.) 77 Noah Hayes (6-5 295 R-Fr.)

RT

79 Bradley Burrell (6-4 313 Sr.) 74 Brandon Pippen (6-3 301 Fr.)

TE or WR

6 Jeremy Brown (6-3 208 R-Jr.) 19 Daryl Carter (6-2 228 R-So.)

QB or

10 Shannon Patrick (6-2 190 R-Jr.) 12 Skyler Perry (6-3 212 So.)

RB

2 Taeyler Porter (5-10 202 Sr.) 8 Keshawn Williams (5-10 201 R-Sr.)

3 Josh Wilkes (6-3 184 R-Jr.) 88 Deshawn Lawrence (5-11 188 R-Fr.)

DEFENSE DE

16 Xavier Mitchell (6-2 252 R-So.) 97 Tyler Smith (6-2 233 Fr.)

NG

96 Joshua Wallace (6-2 277 Sr.) 99 DeCarlo Hamilton (6-4 357 Jr.)

DT

91 Jacari McKinney (6-1 287 R-So.) 95 Rashaad Clayton (6-1 280 So.)

DE

58 Jalen Steward (6-4 248 Sr.) 27 Christian Brown (6-5 230 Jr.)

MLB 33 A.C. Gilliam (6-1 234 R-Jr.) 44 Monroe Beard III (6-1 204 Fr.) SLB

43 Kolby Watts (6-0 190 Jr.) 53 Isaac Peppers (6-0 206 So.)

CB

23 Martevious Washington (5-11 160 Jr.) 29 Jordan Brown (6-1 164 Fr.)

CB

12 Shawn Steele (5-11 178 Jr.) 4 Henri Murphy (6-3 192 R-Sr.)

NKL

35 Paul Reeves (5-10 192 Sr.) 28 Solomon Brooks (5-11 187 Jr.)

FS

14 Blake Conner (6-2 198 R-Sr.) 32 Nijul Canada (6-0 184 R-So.)

ROV

21 Jaylen Thigpen (6-1 185 Jr.) 9 Rico Merriweather (6-3 213 R-Jr.)

SPECIAL TEAMS PK P

47 Zack Piwniczka (5-10 213 R-Fr.) 48 Myles Pini (6-0 185 Fr.)

LS

41 Jonah Penalver (6-4 230 R-Fr.) 46 Thomas Reny (6-2 230 Fr.)

48 Myles Pini (6-0 185 Fr.) 47 Zack Piwniczka (5-10 213 R-Fr.)

KR PR H

4 Henri Murphy (6-3 192 R-Sr.) 1 Harry Ballard III (6-3 201 Jr.) 7 Tyrin Ralph (5-8 161 R-Jr.) 4 Henri Murphy (6-3 192 R-Sr.) 48 Myles Pini (6-0 185 Fr.) 85 Chris Robinson (6-3 188 R-Jr.)

Fall/Winter 2019 77


2019 HOMECOMING INSERT | GOLDEN LIONS ATHLETICS

quick facts GENERAL INFORMATION

FOOTBALL HISTORY

Founded / Location............................ 1873 / Pine Bluff, Ark. Mascot...............................................................Golden Lions Colors..........................................PMS Black, PMS Gold 124C Affiliation................................................NCAA Division I FCS Conference..........................................Southwestern Athletic Chancellor.....................................Dr. Laurence B. Alexander Acting Athletic Director/Executive Senior Associate AD for External Operations....................................Keith McCluney . Alma Mater: Fayetteville St., 1993 Deputy Athletic Director/COO/SWA...........Temeka Samuels . Alma Mater: Eastern Michigan, 2003 Senior Associate AD / Strategic Communications.........Duane Lewis . Alma Mater: Southern, 1995 Faculty Athletic Representative................Dr. Brenda Martin Stadium..................................................Simmons Bank Field Year Opened / Capacity.............................2000 / 16,000 Surface...................................................................IRONTURF

First Year.....................................................................1928 Black College Championships...............................1 (2012) SWAC Championships...........................................1 (2012) SWAC Western Division Championships.....2 (2006, 2012) SWAC Postseason Record...........................................(1-1) Last Appearance............2012 SWAC Championship Game Result....................................UAPB 24, Jackson St. 21 (ot)

COACHING STAFF

Head Coach.....................................................Cedric Thomas . Alma Mater: UAPB, 1998 Playing Exp: CB, Miss. Delta Comm. College (1995-96) . CB, UAPB (1997-98) Year at UAPB / Overall Record.................................2nd / 2-9 Assistant Head Coach / Quarterbacks................Doc Gamble . Alma Mater: Tennessee Martin, 1995 Offensive Coordinator / Wide Receivers.......Jermaine Gales . Alma Mater: Southern Arkansas, 2002 Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line.....Jonathan Bradley . Alma Mater: Arkansas St., 2011 Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends / Recruiting.....Thomas Sheffield . Alma Mater: Sam Houston St., 2011 Offensive Line / Run Game Coordinator......Jason Onyebuagu . Alma Mater: Northern Illinois, 2009 Defensive Backs / Def. Passing Game Coordinator...Torenzo Quinn . Alma Mater: Memphis, 2010

Running Backs..............................................Rahmann Lee . Alma Mater: Glenville St. 2016 Linebackers...............................................Deion Roberson . Alma Mater: Alcorn, 2016

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

TEAM INFORMATION

2018 Record / SWAC Record (finish) 2-9 / 1-6 (4th, SWAC West) Offensive Starters Returning / Lost..............................9/2 Defensive Starters Returning / Lost..............................6/5 Letterwinners Returning / Lost................................32 /20 KEY RETURNERS RB Taeyler Porter..........226 car, 1,220 yds (5.4 avg.), 9 TD WR DeJuan Miller.............56 rec, 801 yds (14.3 avg), 6 TD WR Josh Wilkes................18 rec, 500 yds (27.8 avg), 4 TD DE Jalen Steward................70 tackles, 7.0 sacks, 16.0 TFL KEY LOSSES DE JeKevin Carter................79 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 10.0 TFL K/P Jamie Gillan...42.6 yard avg. / 20 made field goals, 22 PATs (82 pts) STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS Duane Lewis Senior Associate AD / Strategic Communications lewisd@uapb.edu | 870-575-7949 Cameo Stokes Assistant Director / Strategic Communications stokesc@uapb.edu | 870-575-7955 Website: uapblionsroar.com Facebook: @UAPB Golden Lion Athletics Twitter: @UAPBLionsRoar Instagram: @UAPBLionsRoar MAILING ADDRESS 1200 North University Dr. Mail Slot 4891 Pine Bluff, Ark. 71601


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2019 HOMECOMING INSERT | GOLDEN LIONS ATHLETICS

numerical roster # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 80

Name POS Harry Ballard III WR Taeyler Porter RB Josh Wilkes WR Henri Murphy DB Kolby McNeal WR Jeremy Brown TE Tyrin Ralph WR Keshawn Williams RB Rico Merriweather DB Shannon Patrick QB Skyler Perry QB Shawn Steele DB Dejuan Miller WR Blake Conner DB Xzavier Vaughn QB Xavier Mitchell DL Taylor Holston QB Dalyn Hill WR Daryl Carter TE Lavonski Williams Jaylen Thigpen DB Tychristopher Harris LB Martevious Washington DB Keyvien Johnson DB Stanleigh Bentley DB Omar Allen RB Christian Brown DL Solomon Brooks DB Jordan Brown DB Tayvon Littlejohn QB Isaiah Singleton LB Nijul Canada DB A.C. Gilliam LB Tarik Nelson LB Paul Reeves DB Chris Newton DB Detavion Turner RB Derrick Smith DB Kabrin Williams DB Diori Barnard LB Jonah Penalver LS Wynton Ruth RB Kolby Watts LB Monroe Beard III LB Nathaniel Floyd TE Thomas Reny LS

HT 6-3 5-10 6-3 6-3 6-1 6-3 5-8 5-10 6-3 6-2 6-3 5-11 6-2 6-2 6-4 6-2 5-10 6-1 6-2 RB 6-1 6-1 5-11 5-9 6-1 5-9 6-5 5-11 6-1 6-3 5-11 6-0 6-1 6-1 5-10 6-2 5-11 6-1 5-9 6-1 6-4 5-9 6-0 6-1 6-1 6-2

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

WT 201 202 184 192 186 208 161 201 213 190 212 178 183 198 179 252 198 190 228 5-10 185 211 160 171 168 183 230 187 164 170 227 184 234 200 192 200 224 168 159 187 230 197 190 204 224 230

CL R-Jr. Sr. R-Jr. R-Sr. Sr. R-Jr. R-Jr. R-Sr. R-Jr. R-Jr. So. Jr. So. R-Sr. Fr. R-So. Jr. Fr. R-So. 189 Jr. So. Jr. R-Fr. So. R-Fr. Jr. Jr. Fr. R-Fr. So. R-So. R-Jr. Fr. Sr. Fr. R-Fr. Fr. Fr. R-Fr. R-Fr. So. Jr. Fr. Fr. Fr.

HOMETOWN / PREVIOUS SCHOOL St. Louis, Mo. / Missouri Immokalee, Fla. / ASA Miami Jr. College Rockhill, S.C. / Butler CC Pine Bluff, Ark. / Virginia Tech Little Rock, Ark. / Parkview HS Ruston, La. / Ruston HS New Orleans, La. / Edna Karr HS Pine Bluff, Ark. / Dollarway HS Augusta, Ga. / Laney HS W. Palm Beach, Fla. / Northland College New Orleans, La. / Edna Karr HS Arlington, Tex. / Arlington HS Belle Glade, Fla. / Glades Central HS Maumelle, Ark. / Maumelle HS Beaumont, Tex. / United HS New Orleans, La. / John Curtis HS Cincinnati, Oh. / Iowa Central CC New Orleans, La. / Edna Karr HS Conyers, Ga. / Salem HS Fr. Pahokee, Fla. / Pahokee HS Laurel, Miss. / Southwest CC Shreveport, La. / Woodlawn HS Collins, Miss. / Southwest CC Dallas, Tex. / North Mesquite HS Yazoo City, Miss. / Yazoo HS Pine Bluff, Ark. / Watson Chapel HS Madison County, Fla. / Laney College Belzoni, Miss. / Hinds CC Tampa, Fla. / Hillsborough HS Greenville, Miss. / Greenville Weston HS Pine Bluff, Ark. / Pine Bluff HS Mansfield, La. / Mansfield HS Shreveport, La. / Evangel Christian HS Chattanooga, Tenn. / Notre Dame HS Lexington, Miss. / Lexington HS Eldorado, Ark. / Eldorado HS Jonesboro, Ark. / Nettleton HS Houston, Tex. / Height HS Marion, Ark. / Marion HS South Miami, Fla. / South Miami HS Fort Myers, Fla. / Riverdale HS North Little Rock, Ark. / North Little Rock HS DeSoto, Tex. / DeSoto HS Chattanooga, Tenn. / Notre Dame HS Sherwood, Ark. / Sylvan Hills HS Toledo, Oh. / Central Catholic HS


47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 58 59 62 64 65 66 67 70 71 72 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 95 96 97 99

Zack Piwniczka Myles Pini Timon Akins Athen Smith Arius Ofum Raynald St. Jour Isaac Peppers Jayden Glover Jalen Steward Jamaal Foote Kerryon Taylor Chaudre White JaVonn Gray Eric Jones III Ja'Quan Bennett Jordan Mack Zion Farmer Raschad DaCosta Brandon Pippen Daniel Godina Atondre Smith Noah Hayes Mark Evans II Bradley Burrell Paul Todd Berkarion Black Alex Boone Steven Jones Zackary Vaughn Christopher Robinson Jordan Allen Terrill McCray Jr. Dashawn Lawrence Jordan Johnson Christopher Kilpatrick Jacari McKinney Rashaad Clayton Joshua Wallace Tyler Smith DeCarlo Hamilton Zach Webb

K P LB DL DL OL LB OL DL DL TE DL DL OL OL OL DL OL OL DL OL OL OL OL WR WR TE WR WR WR WR WR WR WR DL DL DL DL DL DL QB

5-10 6-0 6-1 6-2 6-2 6-2 6-0 6-0 6-4 6-3 6-4 6-2 6-2 6-3 6-5 6-4 5-10 6-3 6-3 6-2 6-3 6-5 6-4 6-4 6-3 6-3 6-4 5-10 6-1 6-3 6-1 5-10 5-11 6-1 6-4 6-1 6-1 6-2 6-2 6-4 6-1

213 185 212 249 230 287 206 296 248 272 256 215 312 328 327 362 272 300 301 307 312 295 286 313 197 158 253 175 169 188 201 159 188 185 325 287 280 277 233 357 179

R-Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Sr. Sr. So. Sr. Sr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. R-So. Fr. Fr. R-So. Fr. Fr. Fr. Jr. R-Fr. So. Sr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. R-Jr. Fr. Fr. R-Fr. Fr. R-So. R-So. So. Sr. Fr. Jr. Fr.

San Tan Valley, Ariz. / Poston Butte HS Queensland, Australia / Ormiston College Marion, Ark. / Marion HS Barton, Ark. / Barton HS Rome, Ga. / Rome HS Naples, Fla. / ASA Jr. College Greenville, Miss. / Greenville HS Key West, Fla. / Key West HS Memphis, Tenn. / Overton HS Pine Bluff, Ark. / Pine Bluff HS Milwaukee, Wis. / Milwaukee HS Strong, Ark. / Strong HS Indianapolis, Ind. / Lawrence Central HS Lewisville, Tex. / Lewisville HS Cincinnati, Oh. / Aiken HS Las Vegas, Nev. / Bishop Gorman HS Winchester, Ark. / Dumas HS Coconut Creek, Fla. / Coconut Creek HS Alpharetta, Fa. / Alpharetta HS Rialto, Ca. / Eisenhower HS DeSoto, Tex. / DeSoto HS Oson Hill, Md. / Oxon Hill HS St. Louis, Mo. / C.E. King HS Brooklyn, N.Y. / Nassau College Memphis, Tenn. / Hillcrest HS Pine Bluff, Ark. / Pine Bluff HS Eldorado, Ark. / Eldorado HS Ft. Worth, Tex. / N. Crowley HS Beaumont, Tex. / United HS Batesville, Ark. / Batesville HS N. Las Vegas, Nev. / Legacy HS Darien, Ill. / Morton HS Cincinnati, Oh. / Taft HS Jacksonville, Ark. / Jacksonville HS Fairbanks, Ak. / Ben Eielson HS Moreno Valley, Ca. / Moreno Valley HS Memphis, Tenn. / Memphis Central HS Amite, La. / Loranger HS Cleveland, Miss. / Cleveland Central HS Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. / College Of The Canyons Memphis, Tenn. / Cordova HS

Fall/Winter 2019 81


class notes Dr. Charlie Nelms '68, published a memoir, From Cotton Fields to University Leadership: All Eyes on Charlie chronicling his journey to becoming a noted higher education leader. A

native Crawfordsville, Arkansas, Nelms has devoted his life to equalizing opportunities for disenfranchised peoples. He is currently a senior scholar at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and a Center Scholar at the Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University School of Education, as well as retired Chancellor of North Carolina Central University, and IU Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs Emeritus. In retirement, he works with historically Black colleges and universities to strengthen leadership and governance. Active in professional, civic, and higher-education organizations, Nelms served on the Board of Governors for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the National Advisory Board of the National Survey of Student Engagement and has chaired the American Council on Education Commission for Leadership Development. The nationally recognized leader in higher education keeps a jar of cotton on his desk to remind him of his dreams, sacrifice, hard work, love and the support of his parents. He hopes that readers takeaway from his memoir the notion that they must embody the change they wish to see in the world and that they are more than their material possessions. Further, he hopes it inspires others to share their own experiences about the empowerment they achieved through education.

Jennifer Smith

At right: The cover of Dr. Charlie Nelms' memoir

Above: LTG Aundre F. Piggee, '81(left) presents the Certificate of Retirement to Col. Jennifer Wesley, '89 at a ceremony in her honor. Photo by Richard Redus

Col. Jennifer Denise Wesley '89, retired from the U.S. Army after 30 years of honorable military service. During her last post, Wesley served at the Pentagon as the Chief of Strategy and Plans Division, Army G-4 where she was responsible for providing the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, logistical analysis that support the development and implementation of operational plans and policies at the strategic level. She was also responsible for writing and developing the implementation plan for the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 Logistics Strategic Planning Guidance. A native of Camden, Arkansas, the 1989 alumna graduated

Dr. Shaun Marq Anderson ’05, has been selected to serve as an advisor for the upcoming PBS Kids children's series, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. Based on the children’s book series Ordinary People Change the World by New York Times, bestselling author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos, the series will introduce kids to inspiring historical figures and the character virtues that helped them succeed. An advisor on the portrayals of key sport figures such as Jackie Robinson and Wilma Rudolph, he also served as a keynote panelist at the PBS

as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree and received a master’s degree from Webster University in 2005 and a second master’s degree from the Army War College in 2014. Colonel Wesley’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Army Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (5 OLC), Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

Annual Meeting in Nashville. The Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication at Loyola Marymount University, Dr. Anderson is a communication scholar that examines how organizations engage in and strive for effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In particular, his work focuses on how sport organizations utilize their platform to engage in social justice, community development, leadership, and diversity initiatives. He has worked with several organizations on their CSR initiatives including Major League Baseball, Football University, and Job Corps.

Shaun Anderson

WE WANT TO KNOW 82

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Send your accomplishments, milestones and publications to communications@uapb.edu


Micheal D. Johnson '97, was named superintendent of Florida A&M University’s Developmental Research School. Johnson has served as principal or an administrator in school systems in Denver and Oklahoma since 2002. Currently, he serves as senior adviser for equity for Denver Public Schools and director of the school district’s Black Male Achievement Imitative. Previously, he served as

Micheal D. Johnson

instructional superintendent for Denver Public Schools, and executive principal in the district. Prior to joining Denver Public Schools and Regis, Johnson served as a middle and high school principal for Tulsa Public Schools, an elementary principal for Jefferson County Public Schools (Jeffco), an elementary and middle school teacher for Aurora Public Schools and a special education teacher for Altheimer Unified School District. He is currently a doctoral candidate in urban education leadership at the University of Oklahoma. Jimmy Cunningham, Jr. ‘87, curated and debuted the Delta Rhythm and Bayou Freedom and Blues exhibit. Located on the main floor of the UAPB Business Support Incubator in downtown Pine Bluff, the exhibit draws from the region’s heritage in the arts, music, and entertainment. After writing two books on Pine Bluff and the Southeast Arkansas Delta,

he realized that there was a profound wealth of underappreciated history related to these areas. A product of the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance, the primary goal of the non-profit organization is to develop increased tourism in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta regions along U.S. Highways 65 and 82.

At left: Jimmy Cunningham, Jr. stands near the main entrance to the Delta Rhythm and Bayou Freedom and Blues exhibit located in the UAPB Business Support in downtown Pine Bluff.

Leon Jones Jr. '95, who was the first black man to lead the Department of Labor in the state of Arkansas, has been named the director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. Born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Jones worked in a grocery store and taught high school before completing his law degree. Following law school, he opened his own legal practice. He also served as a board member for the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission,

the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund and the Fayetteville Housing Authority. Jones worked on the 2014 campaign for Asa Hutchinson as the minority outreach coordinator.

A past Commissioner of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission and the Fayetteville Housing Authority, Jones is active in the Arkansas Bar Association and recently became a member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Leon Jones, Jr.

Above: Attorney Crystal Sims, Attorney Nicole Scott, Attorney Kendra Spearman, Attorney Henderson Banks

Atty. Kendra Spearman '09, has teamed up with three other young attorneys in Chicago to form a "Superhero lawyers group" to legally address various social ills, as well as a host of other concerns. In law school, Spearman was a member of an award-winning trial team that was, at the time, ranked third in the nation. The owner and proprietor of Spearman Law, she now uses those award-winning skills in courtrooms across Chicago for clients involved in civil rights, juvenile defense, church and nonprofit, and divorce matters. With a deep concern for youth, she also works to train the next generation of lawyers, police officers, politicians and other civil servants. Through her innovative Junior Advocacy Program, she shows high school students how to be more civically engaged, including working with them to produce a mock trial. This gives students the confidence they need to pursue their dreams while keeping them off the streets. Fall/Winter 2019 83


in memoriam

DeWitt Hill, Jr.

DeWitt Hill, Jr. '51, died April 15, 2019.

His life was one of faith, prayer and servanthood. He was an exemplary leader who had a heart for people from all walks of life. He was a mentor and father of the gospel to many pastors, elders, and evangelists. Born July 27, 1929, to the late DeWitt Hill, Sr. and Susie Graham-Hill in Sample, Arkansas, he was the eldest of seven children. He graduated from Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1947. He attended and graduated from Arkansas AM&N (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Technology and later earned a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. Among the many plaques and awards he has received, he obtained a Doctorate Degree in Counseling as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Hill wed Erma Kendrick in 1951. To this union, there were two children, Finley Wayne and Christine Hill. After forty-six years of marriage, Mother Erma K. Hill died March 29, 1998. His professional career began as an Industrial Arts Teacher in Warren, Arkansas. He later served in the Pine Bluff School District as a teacher, counselor, and principal. His service had a tremendous impact on many students, parents, teachers, and staff.

84

Hill acknowledged and accepted his calling into the ministry in 1949. At the age of 29, he was appointed pastor of Trinity Temple Church of God In Christ (Now First Trinity Church Of God In Christ) in 1959. In 1973, his ministry rapidly grew as he accepted and became the pastor of Greater Trinity Church of God In Christ in Little Rock, Arkansas. God continued to enlarge his territory in ministries as he began to evangelize throughout the state, nation and foreign fields. Pastor Hill later organized Trinity Evangelist Association (TEA) and traveled with a caravan of vehicles to conduct tent revivals around the country. He traveled extensively and was a well-known servant throughout the brotherhood. His expansive ministry is reflected in the many sons and daughters who have become pastors, missionaries, evangelists and other great leaders. Pastor Hill served as the Arkansas First Jurisdiction Youth Department President for fifty (50) years and transformed the lives of many young people across the state. These youths were given opportunities and encouraged to pursue their dreams. Pastor DeWitt Hill, Jr. and Missionary Minnie P. Brooks were united in marriage on April 19, 2003. With this union, he welcomed Marinda Brooks as his second daughter. Together Pastor and Missionary Hill continued to work in the ministry in Haiti, the Philippines and the Bahamas. In 1991, he sponsored a Summer Food Program for families throughout the city of Pine Bluff. His vision extended beyond the walls of the church as he worked tirelessly to secure funds to provide housing for low income and elderly individuals in Pine Bluff. That vision became a reality in 2009 with the opening of Golden Age Apartments. In addition, Pastor Hill's vision to convert an industrial building into a multi-functional facility

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

was fulfilled when he was able to purchase the building for less than market value. This facility known as the Trinity Annex is available for use by community groups, schools and churches. This organization has allowed numerous of students to participate in after school and summer camps. Because of Pastor Hill’s commitment to help restore the city of Pine Bluff, the family of the late former Congressman Jay Dickey donated a commercial building to First Trinity to be used as another ministry tool. In his honor, the Pine Bluff City Council added his name to the Catalpa Street signs. Pastor Hill’s body of work is recognized in many venues. As an entrepreneur, in 1989, Pastor Hill was the owner, licensed funeral director and manager of Christian Way Funeral Home in Pine Bluff. In 2016, he became the oldest agent with Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company in Arkansas. As the first African American to broadcast on radio in southeast Arkansas in 1964, his daily radio and weekly television broadcast ministries (The Ministry of Compassion) touched many lives. In 2018, Pastor Hill made his debut into the movie industry by securing a role in “It’s Called Life.” Pastor Hill is preceded in death by his parents and three brothers: Horace, John and James Hill. His memory will be cherished by his loving wife, Missionary Minnie P. Brooks-Hill; one son, Finley W. Hill, Sr.; two daughters Christine Hill, and Marinda Williams (Barry II); five grandchildren, Finley W. Hill, Jr., (Keshelia), Kylen, Mariyah, Makiyah and Barry Williams, III; three greatgrandchildren: Ailehs, Ailidya and Finley W. Hill, III; three sisters – Sara Naomi Thompson, Doris Watson and Bettye Williams and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends, including the members of First Trinity and Greater Trinity Churches of God In Christ.


Madilyn Carol Watson Thornton '59, died July 20, 2019, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She was born May 16, 1938 in Eudora, Arkansas, to Reverend Dr. John Watson, Sr. and Ethel Mae Hill Watson. She was born into an educated, hardworking family. This background led her to share her skills by educating Madilyn Thornton others. Madilyn was educated at Main Street Elementary School, Merrill High School (1955) and received the Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). She furthered her education in the summer months by attending the University of Illinois (Champagne, Urbana) taking advanced mathematics classes. She completed all coursework for the master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Thornton was married twice and to the first union a daughter,

David L. Dickson

Joyce Yvonne Huskey Wilson

Debra, was born. She inherited a love of teaching from her mother and chose to share her skills in the classroom educating youth. Her first teaching job (1959) was in the Earle Special School District in Earle, Arkansas, as a high school math teacher and pianist. After one year, she was able to secure a teaching position in the Pine Bluff School District No. 3. She taught mostly 8th grade at Southeast Jr. Sr. High from 1960 to 1970 and at Belair Jr. High from 1970 to 1972. In 1973, she worked as at UAPB as a professional math tutor and counselor for Student Special Services until her retirement. Thornton was preceded in death by her mother and father, stepmother (Maxine Watson), brother (John, Jr.), sister (Arnette) and her dear Aunt Eliza. She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Debra Holly Ford and son-in-law, Dr. Kevin Michael Ford, Sr of Mitchellville, Maryland; grandson, Kevin Michael, Jr (Imani) of Glenarden, Maryland; granddaughter, Courtney Camille of Washington, DC; great-grandson, Kevin Michael, III; sisters, Vivian Miller (Arnett) of Flint, Michigan and Eva Watson of Pine Bluff; brother, Claude Watson (Mae) of Pine Bluff; stepbrother Thurman Scott, Sr. (Mary) of Little Rock and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

David L. Dickson '64, was born in Brinkley, Arkansas, to the late James and Ollie Dickson, Sr., and died May 21, 2019. Dickson graduated from Marian Anderson High School and AM&N College with a degree in History. His first job after graduation was a high school History teacher at Brinkley High School. There he met his wife, Betty Briscoe. He was a member of the Masonic Temple, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and Allison Presbyterian Church where he served Joyce Yvonne Huskey Wilson '83, was born June 11, 1945, in West Monroe. LA to her late parents Milton Huskey and Mary Rhodes. She died unexpectedly on Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to her parents, Joyce was preceded in death by son Jonathan J.A. Wilson; two sisters, Florence Wright and Dorothy Huskey; five brothers, Robert, Tony, George, Greg and Johnny; and granddaughter Jocelyn Dean of Pine Bluff, AR. She leaves to cherish her

Willie Anderson, Jr. '56, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was born January 6, 1934 to the late Willie Anderson Sr and Ruth Dotson Anderson in Memphis, Tennessee, he met and married Mildred Jean Jordan Harris. To this union, two sons and one daughter were born and raised. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, Memphis, Tennessee in 1952 and furthered his education at AM&N college (now known as University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) where he majored in Music, and pledged

as a deacon and elder in the church. He was preceded in death by his parents and six siblings: James Dickson, Sr., Joe Dickson; John Dickson; Mabel Pearson; Ida Belle Grant; and, Earlene Horton. He is survived by his loving wife Dr. Betty L. Dickson and his daughters Kimberly Dickson, JD and Devin Dickson, MD, all of The Colony, TX, and his brother Isaac Dickson of San Francisco, CA. memories husband of 53 years, Samuel Wilson, Jr.; daughters, Sheryl Goodwin and Saundra Kirklin; son, Aaron D. Wilson, all of Las Vegas, NV; two sisters, Margaret Jackson (Kenneth) of Harvey, LA, and Sylvesta Cameron (Rev. James) of New Orleans, LA; three brothers, Michael Huskey (Rebecca) of Harvey, LA, William Huskey of Jackson, MS, and Gerald Huskey (Leann) of Gulfport, MS; six grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Tau Sigma Chapter. Anderson served in the United States Army and returned to Pine Bluff where he taught band at Townsend Park/ Dollarway School from 1958-1993. He had a passion for music and truly loved teaching music to his young students. He died July 2, 2019. He is preceded in death by his wife: Mildred Jean Jordan Anderson, parents: Willie Anderson Sr. and Ruth Dotson Anderson, one brother: Herbert Lee Jr. and one sister: E. Lorraine Osborne. He leaves to cherish his memory one

daughter: Melody Anderson of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, two sons: Rodrick Harris and Christopher (Tiffany) Anderson both of Dallas, Texas, two brothers: Leonard S. (Agnes) Anderson of Decatur, Georgia, and Ronald B. Anderson of Los Angeles, California, seven grandchildren: Shannon (Antoyne) Davis of Pine Bluff, Arkansas., Rodrick Harris II, Quinita Harris, Ryan Harris, Kyle Anderson, Kayla Anderson, Kameron Anderson all of Dallas, Texas, his great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends. Fall/Winter 2019 85


in memoriam Edna Blanche HemphillTuberville '74, was born on October 20, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri. Education was an integral part of her life. She was educated in Missouri public schools until her graduation from Southeast High School in 1967. She continued her studies at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated and began teaching in the Pulaski Edna Hemphill-Tuberville County School District in Arkansas after graduation. She worked there until returning to her home district in Kansas City. She truly believed in the saying “to teach is to touch a life forever." She loved each of her students and was known for sending workbooks and reading materials to the children in her family.

Eddie Higgins

Eddie L. Higgins '65, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, died April 3, 2019. She was born July 18, 1941, in Little Rock, Arkansas to the late Roosevelt Raynor and Bernice (Byrd) Wright. She leaves to cherish her memories husband, Columbus L. Higgins, Sr., of Pine Bluff, AR; son, Columbus L. Higgins, Jr., of Centerton,

Laura Ann Bowe-Randolph '66, of DeSoto, Texas, formerly of Brinkley, Arkansas, died on May 11, 2019 in Dallas, TX. She was born August 30, 1944 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, to Justus Edward Bowe and Emma Jean Johnson. A 1962 graduate Laura Bowe-Randolph of Marion Anderson High School in Brinkley, Arkansas, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at AM&N College (now UAPB) and earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Arkansas State University. She was married to Leon Randolph for 45 years until he preceded her in death. After she moved to Texas to live with her daughters, she attended her daughters’ churches and was a member of The Village United Methodist Church prayer team and an honorary mother’s board member at St. James Church of God in Christ. She also attended the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship-an international Bible study group) which allowed her to continue her passion for Bible study. Bowe-Randaolph taught at Partee Elementary School in Brinkley for over 35 years where she helped mentor and shape the lives of countless teachers and students.

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She taught in the Kansas City public schools for twenty-eight years and was a proud member of the American Federation of Teachers until her retirement. Enjoying life’s simple pleasures is how Tuberville maintained her youthful glow. She loved spending time with her grandchildren or talking to her sister, Evelyn Joyce, on the phone for hours. She also enjoyed shopping. It was not uncommon to open the mailbox to find an envelope or box from her, with newspaper clippings or other items she’d found that made her think of those she loved. She remembered birthdays of family members and friends and would send cards commemorating those events regularly. She is preceded in death by her parents, Hubert Hemphill and Lillie Beatrice Flethcher-Hemphill, and her son Shawn Tuberville. She leaves behind to cherish her memory her husband of forty-eight years, Bedford Tuberville, her son Jason Tuberville, her grandchildren; J’Lah, Trayvon, and Adrianna, one sister, Evelyn Joyce Hemphill- Callaway (Eddie, III); her mother in law, Marcella Tuberville, as well as her aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, cousins, and friends.

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

AR; brothers Arthur Henry Raynor, Russell Taylor and Abrey Lee Taylor all of Little Rock, AR; sisters, May Francis Raynor of Chicago Illinois; Derothy Coats of North Little Rock, AR; Arkie Byrd, Brenda Byrd, Deloris Moore, Pat Moore, Lillie Raynor-Johnson, all of Little Rock, AR; and four grandchildren.

She was adored and respected by both students and teachers and was known for her kind and gentle, yet firm demeanor. After retirement from the Brinkley Public School System, she was asked to return briefly to serve as a consultant to assist in the development of other teachers. She is preceded in death by her parents, Bishop Justice Bowe and Emma Jean Johnson, her mother-in-law, Bennie B. Adams, one brother, Nathan Bowe, one sister Loree Bowe, one sister-in-law, Ella Reynolds and her loving husband A. Leon Randolph. Left to cherish her loving memories are four daughters: Leslie (Larry) Randolph-Braggs of Frisco, Texas; Tracy Randolph-Davis of Atlanta, Georgia; Jacqueline (Dante) Randolph-Anderson of DeSoto, TX: and Valeria (Victor Sr.) Randolph-DuPree of Dallas, TX; one god-daughter Rosalind Leon of Brinkley, AR; three brothers, Justus E. Bowe, Jr. (Christine) of Roswell, NM; Samuel Bowe (Jacqueline) of Detroit, MI; Leon Bowe of Shreveport, LA; six sisters Minnie Crosby of Shreveport, LA; Rosie Kelly (Byron) of Shreveport, LA; Voree Willis of Brinkley, AR; Emily Bowe of Washington, D.C., Cora Bowe of Brinkley, AR; Carolyn Bowe of St. Louis, MO; Brother-in-law, Donald (Edna) Randolph of Wheaton, IL. 18 Grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and a hosts of nephews, nieces and family.


Carolyn Jean Boddie Gibson '56, died April 12, 2019, three days after her 88th birthday. A Little Rock, Arkansas native, she was the youngest child of Richard L. and Dorothy Wiggins Boddie. She and her brother Richard were lovingly raised by their maternal grandparents, Lula and E.D. Wiggins, after the untimely death of her mother when she was a year old. Carolyn attended the historic Carolyn Jean Boddie Gibson Dunbar High School, a model school for African-Americans in Arkansas before integration. Her love of knowledge continued when she entered and graduated from Arkansas AM&N College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). A smart, beautiful and popular coed, she was a majorette and homecoming queen. She was a charter member of the Delta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Upon graduation, Gibson remained in Pine Bluff and began her career at her alma mater in the Freshman Studies Department, eventually becoming the director of counseling and testing. While in Pine Bluff, she met, fell in love with and married Ernest Gibson, who was director of the student union at the college. Gibson and her husband Ernie were blessed to have two beautiful daughters, Stephanie Yvonne and Dorothy Trefon. Shortly after Brown v Board of Education (1954), Gibson's hometown was embroiled in the fight to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Her first active involvement in civil rights was to provide support to the families of the Little Rock Nine through the formation of local, informal committees of friends. In 1962, Gibson and her family embarked on the next chapter in their lives, moving to Birmingham, Alabama. There they operated the A.G. Gaston Motel and Restaurant, which was a part of several "Green Book" locations across the South, and which provided black people visiting Birmingham a first class lodging and dining experience. What began as an opportunity for entrepreneurship and professional growth quite coincidentally quickly resulted in their operating a place that was the epicenter of one of the most significant chapters in the U.S. civil rights movement. The Gaston Motel was the headquarters and the residence Roshaundra Natrell Criner Banks '05, was born January 18, 1977 to Renea Criner and Otha Hampton and died April 30, 2019. A 1995 graduate of Stuttgart Public Schools, she started her career at Phillips Community College as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), finishing with honors. She worked several jobs throughout her nursing career. She furthered her career and become a Registered Nurse (RN). She enrolled at UAPB and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In 2015, she was employed by

of Dr. Martin Luther King and the SCLC in their efforts to desegregate public facilities in Birmingham. The motel hosted leaders and celebrities from all over the world who came there for strategy meetings, marches and other events. Their business, as well as them personally, were the constant target of harassment and arrest, culminating in the bombing of the motel on Mother's Day 1963. Birmingham was not an easy time for her. She unfortunately suffered a miscarriage while there. Despite the challenges, Gibson and her husband were blessed with meeting and befriending Dr. King, which was an honor of their lifetime. In 1964, Gibson and her husband accepted positions in the public schools in Joliet, Illinois. There she continued to teach and mold the lives of future generations. In fall 1967, they were instrumental in bringing Dr. King to Joliet to speak. After her husband accepted a position at College of DuPage, the family moved to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and Gibson became the third black educator in the nearby Wheaton, Illinois schools, where she tirelessly and lovingly educated elementary school students for the next 25 years. Gibson was involved in many activities aimed at the betterment of the quality of education, including vice-president of the WheatonWarrenville Education Association Diversity Committee; chairperson of the board of directors of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), a founding charter member and first president of the Glen Ellyn Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Gibson was also a charter member of the West Towns Chapter of Links, Inc. and six years as president of the DuPage County branch of the NAACP. In 1996, Gibson and her husband retired to Olympia Fields, Illinois, and worked in several organizations. She was also a member of the Olympia Fields Enhancement Organization. Thoughtful and deliberate, she offered wise counsel, was a committed advocate, and a phenomenal leader. She is survived by her husband, Ernie, two daughters, Stephanie Gibson Branton (Wiley), and Dorothy Capers (Steve). She was blessed to have four grandchildren: Carolyn Lucille Branton Smith (Courtney), Wiley Austin Branton III, Mariah Cathryn Matthews and Mackenzie Marie Capers. They were the lights of her life. Carolyn is also survived by her brother Richard E. Boddie, her nieces Wyndolyn Boddie Hughes (Roy) and Debbie Gibson, nephew Richard Lamont Boddie, and many other family, bonus children and friends.

the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health in Little Rock, where she worked in various areas within the hospitals. She leaves to cherish her memories her husband Terry Banks; two daughters Raven Monique Banks of Dallas, TX and Tybriea Roshaun Banks of Conway, AR; mother Renea Criner of Stuttgart, AR; one brother Ryan Criner of Little Rock, AR; four sisters Reneakia Criner of Little Rock, AR, Rashadra Criner of Stuttgart, AR, Nicole Hampton (Jimmy) Hickman and Chimera Hampton, both of Little

Rock, AR; four brothers-in-law Charles (Lechia Manuel) Banks of Lafayette, LA, Michael (Sherry) Banks of Pine Bluff, AR, Donald (Angela Johnson) Banks and James Banks, both of Stuttgart, AR; two sisters-in-law Phyllis Hill of Conway, AR and Robbie Banks of North Little Rock, AR; two special nieces Ne’veah Tolliver and Raegan Ross; two special nephews Caleb Criner and O’Ryan Criner, whom she loved dearly (she was their ‘Tee Tee’); and a host of uncles, aunts, and cousins who will miss her dearly.


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UAPB Magazine | Fall/Winter 2019