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START STRONG with Army ROTC. You’ll develop leadership skills that allow you to lead in any career while earning money for your college tuition. And, when you graduate and complete Army ROTC, you’ll commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. Learn more at

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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



Story by Donna Mooney Historic images courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center Once hosting legends like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Duke Ellington, and James Brown, this building now serves a different type of distinguished leader. 22


Story by William Hehemann Photo courtesy of Carnita Whimper Passion about fashion and a fervor for entrepreneurship is helping her fulfill her life's dream.



Story by Donna Mooney Photography by Brian T. Williams A chance meeting with an art professor launched her into becoming a pottery incon. 30

growing the next generation of givers


Story by Donna Mooney | Photography by Brian T. Williams Through hard work and dedication, the New Millennium Leaders initiative has been successful, raising more than $1 million dollars. Since its inception in 2000, it has become an emergent mission of generosity. Now, Dr. Fiddmont says the time has come for the mission to expand.

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Volume 2 No. 2 Chancellor

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

James B. Tyson, CFRE Editor

Tisha D. Arnold Copy Editor

Donna Mooney Creative Director

Brian T. Williams Contributing Writers


Award-winning journalist and national television personality TJ Holmes discusses his experience covering race relations in the media.

Read more in RECAP on page 18

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

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

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ATTN: UAPB Magazine 1200 N. University Drive, Mail Slot 4789 Pine Bluff, AR 71601 870.575.8946 Email Website UAPB Magazine is published three times a year by the office of Institutional Advancement and Development at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a member of the University of Arkansas System. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations. The university has pledged not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. This policy extends to all educational, service and employment programs of the university. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604. Let Us Know What You Think We want to know what you think of this issue of UAPB Magazine. To share your opinions, email us at



UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

CHANCELLOR'S LETTER This year, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff celebrated 142 years of educating generations of Golden Lions from across the state and nation. What was once a dream for Joseph Carter Corbin, the first leader of the institution, has now flourished into a thriving 1890 land-grant institution that prepares those who enter for experiences that otherwise might not have been possible. This past spring, we had the privilege and opportunity to confer 212 degrees during our May Commencement, where the Honorable Asa Hutchinson, Governor of the State of Arkansas, served as our speaker. One thing that Governor Hutchinson stated is that “UAPB is a historic, proud and accomplished university. Its strength and vitality is essential to the state of Arkansas.” He is correct. UAPB has been and continues to be a vital part of our state and nation. The university and all of its stakeholders work harmoniously to create a campus climate that fosters student satisfaction and a sense of community, leverage diversity to enrich the learning environment and contribute to the strength of our state and nation’s workforce. The reach of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is rapidly expanding. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni recognize and embrace their roles as global citizens, constantly discovering new and innovative ways to make a meaningful mark on the world. These experiences contribute to their awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures and provide a wide range of exciting opportunities for personal and communal growth – both on campus and beyond. In this issue of the alumni magazine, you will read about members of the UAPB community who pursue excellence in their personal and professional lives. Such individuals include Precious Taylor, a current student who was awarded the Gilman International Scholarship, a prestigious award sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for non-traditional and students from diverse backgrounds to study abroad.

You will also read about four young alumni who recently received medical degrees from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Byron Andre Davis, former UAPB baseball player, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals; and one of our distinguished alumnus, Dr. Dorothy M. Fiddmont, who is featured on the cover. These individuals embody the type of engaged citizenship that UAPB celebrates and seeks to cultivate in our students. I hope that reading this magazine will remind you not only what UAPB has meant to you but also awaken in you a new sense of pride for our institution. Thank you for your continued support as we remain unyielding in our commitment to providing our students with the best educational experiences possible. Sinerely,

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

Summer 2015 5

CHANCELLOR'S TOWER TALK Above: UAPB students line up to ask questions about the campus. More than 250 students, faculty and staff attended the event.


With the theme, "Honoring the Legacy: Blending the Past and Future," the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff celebrated 142 years of existence during Founder's Celebration. Events included an 1890 Day Walk and Health Fair, Tower Talk, and the Educational Access Conference. Photos by Brad Mayhugh, Richard Redus, and Brian T. Williams.

1890 Day Wellness Walk/Run and Health Fair Carla Martin (far left), interim vice chancellor for Finance and Administration, and Dr. Edmund R. Buckner, associate dean for Research and Extension Programs (far right) pose with the winners of the walk/run: Asm Sorker, graduate student of horticulture and manager of the UAPB greenhouse; Sharoya Simmons, sophomore industrial technology, management and applied engineering major; and Salonica Hunter, sophomore mass communications major. Dr. James O. Garner (second from the right), dean/director for the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences was also present to congratulate the winners.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

FOUNDER'S AND HONORS CONVOCATION More than $100,000 in scholarships were awarded at the event. Tammie Hall, newly elected President of the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association gave the keynote address.

Alumni Breakfast Dr. Carolyn F. Blakely (far right) makes remarks during the panel discussion held at the breakfast. The panel also featured Michel'la Martin (center) - Miss UAPB, and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Carla Martin (left).

Sunrise Service At right: Reverend Glenn Barnes, Sr., pastor of Pine Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, delivered the Sunrise Service address to a near capacity crowd in Cross-Phipps auditorium inside Caldwell Hall.

Future of the Runway Fashion Show

Above: Calvin Booker, immediate past President of the UAPB/ AM&N National Alumni Association asks questions during the panel discussion held during the alumni breakfast.

Now in its third year, the widely popular event featured new and emerging fashion designers that are either students or alumni of UAPB. Fashions ranged from casual to formal and featured participants of all ages. Clockwise: Designers ThurshPulKair by Thurshala Banks; MADD Science by Clarence Stokes; RaShawn Tillman; Suburban Knight Clothing Co. by Brian T. Williams, Wilbert Williamas and Samuel Lee; Haunted by Daquaron Dale.

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UAPB student volunteers stock the campus’ food pantry, which serves the student population.


The Collegiate 4-H Club at UAPB recently partnered with the Arkansas Food Bank to open a food pantry on campus. The initiative was started after the Arkansas Food Bank contacted the office of student involvement at UAPB to gauge interest in a college food pantry program. The 4-H Club conducted an online survey of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assess need, support and available resources. The survey revealed a need and overwhelming support and adequate resources to establish the pantry, Conley said. Of 137 students that responded to the survey, 78 percent reported not having enough food for themselves or their household. For half of the student responders, this lack of food occurred five or more times during a semester. “Based on anecdotal evidence, college students are experiencing higher risk of food insecurity,” Conley said. “This is because they are considered a vulnerable population because they are often young, socioeconomically disadvantaged, have low levels of disposable income, live away from home and experience the increasing tuition and cost of living. Additionally, food insecurity by definition can be temporary and may pose negative student health and learning outcomes.”


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

According to the non-profit Feeding America, Arkansas ranks among the top 10 most food insecure states in the nation, with Jefferson County among the top 10 most food insecure counties in Arkansas. The statistics indicate that African Americans are twice as likely to be food insecure. To address the food insecurity on UAPB campus, Pia Woods, family and consumer sciences/4-H Extension agent, helped establish the Jefferson County 4-H Foundation as the nonprofit fiscal agent for a food pantry, Conley said. The pantry was approved as an Arkansas Food Bank Network partner in the fall of 2014. The 4-H Club then worked with the UAPB Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Club to make the pantry their signature community service project. Students completed required training, cleaned the pantry location, installed shelving and stocked the pantry. They also assisted students in completing intake forms and explained how the shopping-style pantry works. During the school year, the pantry will be open on the third Thursday of each month. Students in need of emergency food will be able to visit the pantry by appointment.



The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a land-grant historically black college, took a chance on many students. I was one of them. It was the early 1970's and I had graduated high school from a small town Arkansas school district which was forced to desegregate. My white school counselor told me, "Eddie you work well with your hands." Advising me I was not college material. For many black Arkansas residents, Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College was the only choice readily available to seek a higher education. So I applied to AM&N in the spring of 1972. The college would merge with the University of Arkansas system, thus becoming the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff by my arrival that fall. I was immediately impressed with the campus. My older sister was already a student there. My high school academic record was not stellar and the academic advisor placed me in several remedial courses. My last two years of high school were spent fighting to insure a smooth racial transition at my school, decreasing my study and classroom time. UAPB was going through a similar racial transition. Most AM&N alumni, students and faculty had opposed the merger. I would soon become a part of a student boycott that would force the college's longtime president, Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, to resign. UAPB was the only predominantly black public higher education institution in Arkansas and students quickly became loyal boosters. We were especially loyal to our Golden Lions football team. Even when the team finished 0-11 my sophomore year. UAPB, by taking a chance on me, gave me an opportunity to imagine things beyond my small hometowns of Crawfordsville and Augusta, Ark. The school had dedicated and gifted faculty. I always knew I would be involved in public service and politics. I graduated with a political science degree. I had served as a student senator and chief of staff of the Student Government Association. In those roles I met with the governor and would represent my school at the White House by invitation of President Gerald Ford. By taking a chance on me, UAPB prepared me for the future. I received a graduate scholarship from Atlanta University where I studied urban politics and state & local governments. By UAPB taking a chance on me, it allowed me to become the youngest and first black department director in Pine Bluff. By taking a chance on me, my college made it possible for me to meet and work for two legendary civil rights leaders -- the Rev. Hosea Williams and the Rev. Joe Boone. It allowed me to become a top aide to Arkansas Gov. Frank White. My studies at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff also prepared me to become the information & education officer for the Commissioner of Insurance for Georgia. Finally, by UAPB taking a chance on me, a small town boy who grew up chopping and picking cotton was elected to the East Point city council. I’m grateful the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff took a chance on Eddie Lee Brewster. Today, UAPB is still taking chances on students like me.

NURSING PROGRAM APPROVED The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff received Initial Approval status for its Pre-Licensure (Generic) Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) program from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing recently. Enrollment is open for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, and prospective students who have completed the required prerequisite general education courses can submit applications. Students who are admitted to the pre-licensure program and successfully complete all required coursework and program requirements will be eligible to apply to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Students who pass the NCLEX-RN will be licensed to practice as a registered nurse. “I am exceptionally proud of the dedicated nursing program faculty and staff for completing the rigorous process of building a brand new framework and curriculum for our BSN and their tenacity to meet all of the Board of Nursing’s requirements for a stellar program,” said UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander. “Under the leadership of Diann Williams, the chair of the nursing program, we are pleased to shepherd students through the exacting process of gaining the knowledge and skills needed to pass the NCLEX-RN.” The addition of the BSN is one of many academic enhancements UAPB has made within the last year. Others include the opening of the STEM Building and Conference Center, a new Fitness Center, expansion of the Summer Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program, as well as the enhanced reimaging and marketing activity. These additions have created increased interest in UAPB, as student applications for the fall 2015 semester have surged by more than thirty percent.

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Governor Asa Hutchinson urges graduates to remember those that helped them along the way By Tisha D. Arnold | PHOTOS RICHARD REDUS

At right: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson addresses the class of 2015 during commencement exercises. Below: Graduates listen intently to the speech given my Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson during his commencement address

Graduates gathered excitedly at the Pine Bluff Convention Center May 9, 2015, with the gleam of a bright future in their eyes. The 152nd University of Arkansas Pine Bluff commencement ceremony was a lively celebration filled with congratulations from supporting family, friends, classmates, faculty and staff. Asa Hutchinson, the 46th Governor of Arkansas gave the commencement address and urged the 212 graduates to be thankful to those who helped them along the way. “As you think about this moment – the sacrifices that have been made, the people who helped get you here, all work in making the accomplishment you’ve achieved possible,” Hutchinson said. Hutchinson’s speech took listeners on a nostalgic journey of the influence he experienced throughout his own life. He said that the major influence in his life was his father who set a memorable example as an inspector in a poultry plant. His father would leave the farm they lived on at 4:15 a.m. to make it to the poultry plant – the plant was only five minutes away, and he didn’t have to be there until 5:00 a.m. That experience taught Hutchinson about hard work, along with three other lessons that are important in life: showing up, running the race, and finishing. Hutchinson commended the graduates for finishing this stage of their lives and reminded them to be appreciative of the challenges they faced during each step towards this milestone. “You might have to jump over a hurdle to show up, you may have to change a flat tire,” Hutchinson said. “It’s hard to run a race when you have obstacles, but you’ve finished and you’ve done something great.” Hutchinson’s address was his first commencement address since being elected Governor. To hear the full commencement address, scan the QR code with your mobile or handheld device.

At left: Graduates move their tassles from the right to the left side of their mortar boards during commencement


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At right: UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander hoods Governor Asa Hutchinson upon receipt of his honorary degree from the University of Arkansas at PIne Bluff.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas law school, Asa Hutchinson, at age 31, was appointed by President Reagan as the nation’s youngest U.S. attorney. Asa has spent the majority of his career in the private sector as a small business owner, lawyer and entrepreneur. He serves on the board of directors of two companies and as advisor to numerous others. Asa’s record in business and public service gives him a unique background to serve the people of Arkansas as Governor.


Above: Dr. H. Beecher Hicks beamed with pride upon receipt of his honorary doctorate. A 1964 Honors Graduate of AM&N (now UAPB), Dr. Hicks graduated from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in May 1967. Selected as one of the original Martin Luther King Fellows at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1972, his studies included the University of Nigeria, the University of Ghana and the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He earned the Doctor of Ministry in Theology degree in 1975. Subsequently, his dissertation, Images of the Black Preacher: The Man Nobody Knows was published by Judson Press in 1977. In 1994 Dr. Hicks received the coveted Merrill Fellowship at Harvard University Divinity School. In 1999, he earned the Master of Business Administration from the George Washington University. In 2008 Morehouse College of Atlanta, Georgia honored Dr. Hicks with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree. The author of seven books, Dr. Hicks is widely published in religious periodicals. The three most popular of his writings include: On Jordan’s Stormy Banks [2004], My Soul’s Been Anchored [1998] and Preaching Through a Storm [1987, 12th printing]. In addition, Dr. Hicks is President of H. Beecher Hicks, Jr. Ministries, Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in church leadership development and team building.

Fabiola Cardosa-Delgado (Arts and Sciences) Queretaro, Mexico Physics | 3.94 GPA Ms. Cardoso-Delgado plans on enrolling in graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to pursue a degree in Electronic Engineering.

Janette M. Spicer (Business/Management) Pine Bluff, Arkansas Business Admin./Mgmt. 3.902 GPA Mrs. Spicer plans to enroll in graduate school in the spring of 2016 at Webster University in Little Rock, AR to pursue a Masters' in Human Resource Management.

Christina James (University College) Earle, Arkansas General Studies w/concentration in Education | 3.839 GPA

Casie Jackson (Education) Pine Bluff, Arkansas Early Childhood Ed. 3.765 GPA Mrs. Jackson plans to begin working as an elementary school teacher. After her first year of teaching, she will pursue a Master's of Education in Elementary Education.

Adrienne M. Morgan (Ag, Fisheries/Human Sciences) Pine Bluff, Arkansas Regulatory Science/ Ag | 3.688 GPA Ms. Morgan plans to enroll in graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff where she plans to pursue a Master’s in Agricultural Regulations.

Shreka Shaw (SGA President) Pine Bluff, Arkansas Accounting 3.306 GPA Ms. Shaw will began her career with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in August 2015. She later plans to attend graduate school to obtain her Master's in Accounting.

Ms. James is considering an alternative route of achieving licensure for a teaching position and wishes to enroll in a Master’s program for computer science and game development. Along with seeking the educational field, her ambitions are to attain a successful career in creative writing, both as a published author and script writer for an indie video game studio.

The UAPB ARMY/ROTC Golden Lion Battalion commissioned LaShanda Cathey (far left) and Quentin Thompson as Second Lieutenants in United States Army.

Summer 2015 11



Cousins continue UAPB alumni legacy For cousins Cornovious “CJ” Branch Jr. and Tara A. Branch, completing an education at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a celebration of a family tradition. During commencement, these millennials will follow in the footsteps of more than 90 relatives who have graduated from the university. The Branch family tradition began in the early 1920s when Annie Branch Gentry completed her studies at Branch Normal Agricultural Mechanical and Normal College (now UAPB). The tradition produced a lineage of doctors, lawyers, educators, engineers, pastors, entrepreneurs, entertainers and more. CJ and Tara are thrilled to add their names to this ever-growing list of UAPB scholars. Embracing the ideals of their grandparents the late John Wes Branch and Dorothy Mae Jackson Branch (from Watson, Ark.), these cousins understand the value of a college education and have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals.Their strong work ethic is no surprise, given that their fathers belong to the Fabulous Fifteen — 15 siblings who all matriculated to UAPB from their family farm in Watson. Year after year, a new sibling began the journey from farmer to scholar, and all 15 graduated from the university. Tara’s father, John W. Branch III, was the first of the Fabulous Fifteen to graduate from AM&N/UAPB. “My parents taught us to nurture and care for one another while we attended school,” he said. “Each sibling knew he was responsible for the success of his brothers and sisters.” CJ and Tara inherited this nurturing spirit. Born three weeks apart, the pair have been traveling through life together and supporting each other’s goals. 12

As 2010 graduates of Watson Chapel High School, the cousins decided to continue their educational journeys together at UAPB. “My family’s support has been invaluable,” Tara said. “They are so proud of my accomplishments. It’s a great feeling!” CJ also credits his family for influencing his college choice. “It was expected. My family is full of proud alumni of UAPB. They inspired me to work hard and to go after my dreams,” CJ said. “One of those dreams included playing on the 2012 SWAC Champion Golden Lions Football Team.” Tara said that it is the family’s faith in God that has been most influential for their success. “I feel so blessed to be a part of the Branch legacy. It wasn’t easy, but our family understands that when you put God first, you have the support to accomplish any goal,” she said. The Branch family believes in encouraging other students to meet their educational goals. There is an annual scholarship named in honor of CJ and Tara’s great aunt and uncle. The Ezell and Grace Branch Endowment Scholarship is available for non-family members to apply. CJ Branch is the son of Cornovious and Annette Branch of Pine Bluff. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business and marketing. He is a member of St. John AME Church in Watson. Tara A. Branch is the daughter of John and Paula Branch of Pine Bluff. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in health, physical education and wellness. She is a member of Family Church in White Hall.

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

GILMAN SCHOLAR Precious Taylor, a senior regulatory science and agriculture major at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is one of over 1,000 American undergraduates from 332 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This program provides opportunities for nontraditional and students from diverse backgrounds study abroad. Gilman Scholarships provide up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit. Taylor was awarded a $3,000 scholarship to travel to China this summer. “Receiving this scholarship affords me access to reach one of my lifetime goals of launching a career in international affairs,” Taylor said. “While in China, not only will I have the opportunity to earn academic credit, but I will also participate in a research internship.” Taylor learned about this scholarship from Dr. Pamela Moore, assistant director for Global Engagement and PDSO in the Office of International Programs and Studies and received assistance crafting her application from Mrs. Sheena Meadows, director of the Viralene J. Coleman Computerized Writing Center and the Carolyn F. Blakely Honors Program. “I am very proud of Precious Taylor for her hard work and dedication in submitting this application,” Meadows said. “She’s the first student from this institution to receive this scholarship and it’s my hope that it is the first of many prestigious scholarships and fellowships awarded to Precious and other UAPB students.”

Guest workshop presenters included Ms. Kitty Jerome, director of the Roadmaps to Health Action Center with County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, and Rev. Elaine Gordon, pastor of Ward Chapel A.M.E. in Peoria, Illinois.

CLEARING THE AIR The 12th Annual Clearing the Air in Communities of Color Workshop & Luncheon was held May 14, 2015, at UAPB in the STEM Conference Center with more than 100 people in attendance. The objective of the workshop was to: provide practical skills and comprehensive information for individuals involved in tobacco prevention and education in minority communities; promote the exchange of innovative programs and practices among individuals who are dedicated to eliminating disparities among different population groups; and improve multidisciplinary interaction and collaboration among professionals in tobacco prevention and education. PHOTOS BY RICHARD REDUS


Judge Berlin Jones conducts the swearing in ceremony for the newest members of the UAPB/AM&N Alumni Association Board of Directors: (l-r) Erica Sims, John Kuykendall (UAPB Director of Alumni Affairs), Timothy Pighee, Calvin Booker (Immediate Past President), VeLois Bowers (1st Vice President), Tanesha Thompson (Recording Secretary), Tammie Hall (President and Chairman of the Board), Tanya Townsend, Rashunda Johnson, Kymara Seals, Diana Albritton Wright (Parliamentarian), Kason Branch (2nd Vice President), Otis Jones (Treasurer), Jared May Photo by Richard Redus

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Faculty photo of Professor James W. Hazzard

On opposite page: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives the commencement address to the 1958 graduating class of AM&N College; At top left: Duke Ellington and his band perform a concert; Above: James Brown keeps the audience swaying during his performance at the Hazzard.

By Donna Mooney

Historic images provided courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center


ocated east of University Drive and facing west towards Caldwell Hall is the Hazzard Gymnasium. This unassuming building was constructed in 1952, and afterwards it immediately became not only the center of all campus athletic activity but also “the place” where AM&N graduations were held and distinguished speakers addressed the future leaders of the day. Although it was built earlier, the building was not formally named until 1958 when a special committee of students and alumni requested that all of the major campus buildings be named. According to the UAPB University Museum and Cultural Center documentation, the late Prof. James W. Hazzard is the buildings’ name sake.

Hazzard was noted as one of the early University coaches, helping to develop the athletic teams without additional pay. He was an instructor at the University from 1932 to 1941, and held the position of head of the Biology Department. From 1952 to 1984 Hazzard housed the University’s Physical Education Department, football, basketball and track staff, as well as equipment and classrooms. In addition to basketball games, University graduations were routinely held at the gymnasium. The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a commencement address in Hazzard Gym, as well as Mordecai Johnson, who was then President of Howard University. Notable celebrities that also performed at the Hazzard included the Duke Ellington Band and James Brown.

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Today, the UAPB ROTC Golden Lion Battalion utilizes the building including eight offices, four classrooms, and a conference room. The battalion just welcomed its new director, PMS Wilette Alston-Williams.

Above: Among the litany of famous visitors to Hazzard Gymnasium, the distinguished list of speakers included Howard University President Dr. Mordecai Johnson

Above: 1970's photo of the Golden Lion Batallion during drills


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

In 1984, the Kenneth L. Johnson Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Complex (HPER) was completed. Since then, the Hazzard has adequately housed the Military Science Department, intramural sports and football team equipment (In 2000, UAPB completed Golden Lion Stadium, and in 2008, the J. Thomas May Field House was completed that now houses all football equipment). Today, Military Science/ROTC is the only department housed in Hazzard. The basketball gym is still in operation, and the gym is used throughout the year for campus events, as well as ROTC trainings. ROTC has access to eight offices, four classrooms, and a conference room. ROTC began at Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) in 1967 and was offered in fall of 1968. AM&N College, along with the State College of Arkansas (now University of Central Arkansas) became some of the first Reserve Officer Training Corps to be established in over 15 years, being one of only 15 programs established that year. Introducing the program to the campus. ROTC fulfilled all of the obligations mandated by the Morrill Act of 1890 that required all land grant colleges to teach military tactics.





UAPB. OF THEM. “I chose UAPB because I have family members who are alum, the campus was very welcoming, and I was offered a scholarship that covered the cost of my tuition. The scholarship relieved financial concerns that I had. At UAPB, I am mentored, enjoy the campus life, and appreciate the education that will help me reach my career goal of becoming a pharmacist.” Tangelia Thomas

Southfield, MI Chemistry, ‘18

“Being at UAPB has prepared me for the real world. It is a place where I have been nurtured, offered great leadership opportunities, made lifelong connections, and determined my career path. The financial support I received helped greatly. I will give back after graduation to help make a difference in the life of another student.” Edlun Marshall

Elaine, AR History, ‘15

Edlun gives back and encourages other to do so as well. To give online, visit

Summer 2015 17



For journalist TJ Holmes, covering race in the media is personal By Tisha D. Arnold | PHOTO BY RICHARD REDUS


he UAPB annual Men’s Day Celebration featured TJ Holmes, award-winning journalist and national television personality as the guest speaker. Currently an anchor on early morning news for ABC and a contributor for Good Morning America, Holmes opened his speech recognizing his Arkansas roots – he was born in the West Memphis area, graduated from the University of Arkansas and worked for three years at THV11. Amidst the numerous invitations he receives to come back to Arkansas and speak, Holmes said he chose to speak at UAPB because his parents met and were married while attending AM&N College (now UAPB). “Although the University of Arkansas has been important to my life, this campus actually gave me life,” Holmes said. Holmes reflected on current issues affecting Pine Bluff and talked about how stories on race issues happen all day, every day around the country. He recalled an instance when he was covering the George Zimmerman case and was accused of being too black on TV. “As a light-skinned [man] with green eyes, I don’t get that a lot,” Holmes quipped. “So I was excited when I was accused.”


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

During the first day of the Zimmerman trial, Holmes was giving live coverage, making it through the first segment. During the commercial break, his producer (who happened to be Caucasian) ran towards him saying he can’t be on camera sounding biased, ultimately letting his viewers know which side he was on. What did Holmes do to upset his producer? He said he called the victim (Trayvon Martin) by his first name. In journalism, it’s common practice to call a child by first name as a second reference in a story – last names are used as a second reference when it comes to adults. When he called Trayvon Martin by his first name, the producer saw it as too personal because Holmes is of the same ethnicity as the victim. “You’re damn right it’s personal,” Holmes said. “What [the producer] did when he ran out of that booth [was show that] it wasn’t my bias – his bias was showing because he couldn’t fathom for a second that a 17 year old young black man was a child, a boy.” Holmes contrasted his experience with the Martin case to that of Natalie Holloway, a Caucasian high school graduate that went missing several years ago during a senior trip to Aruba. In that case, no one admonished him for referring to her as “Natalie.”

“We have to change hearts and minds in this country.....just pummeling each other doesn’t get us anywhere.”

Holmes recounted another situation where he and his producer (who is also African American) were working on a segment about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri – they were waiting anxiously to get a confirmed picture of him. With a broadcast that was set to air at 2 p.m., it was nearly time to go live and they’d been working on it since 8:30 a.m. Once they finally received the photo, Holmes recalled that he and his producer were frustrated as they laid their eyes upon a stereotypical photo of a black male. Brown was standing on the porch in a jersey holding up a gang sign - a photo that sparked one of the most extraordinary Twitter movements Holmes said he has ever seen (#iftheygunmedown). “Everybody was putting up pictures of themselves at work or at their wedding juxtaposed with a [second] photo of them hanging with their boys drinking Hennessy,” Holmes said. “People asked the question, if they gunned me down, which photo would the press use?” Holmes reflected on another experience covering the Bobby Moore case that resulted in a hung jury. Moore had a history of criminal behavior that ultimately swayed the jury in favor of the police department. “There are actual comments from jurors stating the reason why they couldn’t convict the officer because they believed the officer was preventing future crimes by killing the kid,” Holmes said.

He talked about these stories because he said they impact the perception of a person and that matters because America is just as segregated as it is diverse. “We don’t know each other,” Holmes said. “That is a problem that we haven’t necessarily come up with a good way to fix.” According to Holmes, the solution is communal. “Every time you step out the door, you are representing something greater than yourself,” Holmes said. “You have that burden where every time you do something stupid, it reflects badly on [all African Americans].” Holmes followed his comment with practical advice to handle the inevitable situations that sometimes occur with AfricanAmericans. He encouraged the audience to think about ways their reactions and encounters with other ethnicities impact how a person will perceive the race as a whole. Closing with a parallel on how race relations conflict is handled universally, Holmes emphasized the need to learn from it and confront a person’s thinking; failure to do so results in a cycle of both sides coming out of their respective corners to fight and returning with the same mindset. To view the full event online, scan the QR code with your mobile or handheld device

Summer 2015 19



Carlos James Head Caoch

The Baseball team won its second consecutive SWAC Western Division Championship (2014, 2015). This places the team with the second most wins in school history with 25 - making it their third consecutive 20-plus win season.

Above: A rendering of the championship ring Provided courtesy of the Southwestern Athletic Conference


PHILLY BOUND Senior right-handed pitcher Kevin Walsh was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 21st round. A Chi Alpha Sigma National Student Athlete Honors Society in 2015, was taken with the 624th pick and is the second Golden Lion selected in this year's draft behind Andre Davis. The Magnolia, New Jersey native spent two season (2014-15) with UAPB after transferring from Gloucester Community College, compiling a 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA, coming out the bullpen his senior year. He allowed 12 runs (eight earned) on 29 hits over 42.1 innings with 54 strikeouts.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Three baseball team players were awarded First Team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) honors, voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors. Andre Davis, a 6-6, 225 senior infielder/ pitcher from Castro Valley, California, earned first team all-conference honors this season as a first baseman. Blake Estep, a 6-3, 175 junior pitcher from Choctaw, Oklahoma, earned all-conference honors as a starting pitcher. This past season, he made 16 appearances on the mound, while starting in 12 of them. He finished the season with a 6-3 record and a 5.09 ERA, allowing 86 hits, 40 earned runs and striking out 52. Rounding out the cast of first teamers is Kevin Walsh, a 6-3, 220 senior relief pitcher from Magnolia, New Jersey. He finished the season with a 4-2 record and a 1.70 ERA. In 23 appearances on the mound, Walsh gave up 29 hits, eight earned runs and struck out 54 batters on the season. He struck out a season high six batters against Prairie View A&M (3-7-15) and struck out five against Ole Miss. (3-18-15) and Southern University (4-19-15).

The women’s tennis team was one of six athletic programs in the SWAC to be publicly recognized by the NCAA for posting Academic Progress Rates that rank within the top 10 percent of their respective sports nationally. This is the second consecutive year the team has placed nationally for its high APR scores. The scores are based on academic progress between the 2014-15 school year.

GOING TO KANSAS CITY Former University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff baseball player Byron Andre Davis has been drafted by the Kansas City Royals. Davis, a 6-6, 225, pitcher/infielder from Castro Valley, California, was selected in the eighth round and was the 249th selection overall. This past season for the Golden Lions, Davis saw action in 38 games, while starting in 37 of them. He finished the season with 51 hits in 140 at-bats for a .364 batting average, while driving in 39 runs and scoring 34. He also tallied 12 doubles, one triple and six homers for a total of 19 hits for extra bases.

On the mound for UAPB, Davis made 19 appearances on the mound, while making one start. He finished the season with 2.28 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched for a 2-2 record and five saves, while striking out 35. Davis is a 2015 inductee into the student-athlete National Honor Society Chi Alpha Sigma and was the Trotter Ford Male Student-Athlete of the Year .

"Academics is important to me," said Head Coach James Cowan, IV. "Most of my athletes won't play on the next level. Doing well in the classroom is a major focus of mine." Tennis is a mental game - being able to do well in the classroom is a direct response to how well you will do in the court. Coach Cowan uses academic performance as a guage when recruiting prospective athletes.




(L-R): Head Coach James Cowan, IV; Tierra Poyner; Kristian Moore; Monica Arcos; Destiny Jones; Elizabeth Perez-Rodriguez, Xavier Graves, Student Assistant



FASHION FORWARD A keen eye for design makes her life's dream the major trend By William Hehemann

Images provided courtesy of Carnita Whimper

Alumna Carnita Nicole Whimper poses beside some of the garments she procures as junior assistant buyer for the Burlington Coat Factory’s West Coast buying office in Los Angeles.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At an office in the bustling garment district of downtown Los Angeles, 2010 alumna Carnita Nicole Whimper finds fulfillment in her creative flexibility in a career in corporate fashion. As a junior assistant buyer for the Burlington Coat Factory’s West Coast buying office, she uses her enthusiasm for the fashion industry to help determine the retailer’s fashion garments for the current and upcoming seasons. Whimper, a native of Pine Bluff, and is responsible for the selection of junior girls tops for 534 stores in 44 states. She works with vendors and attends fashion markets to select and negotiate for products that meet customer needs at competitive prices. In addition to product procurement, Whimper participates in the development process. “I enjoy being able to contribute to the production aspects of the job, whether it’s putting together ideas for a screen tee or choosing the fabric or silhouette of a garment to be produced for our stores,” she said. Vendors hope to create a list of garments that Burlington Coat Factory will consistently purchase and Whimper works with them to finalize product specifications. In a typical meeting with a vendor, Whimper communicates her company’s current needs as well as her own observances of current fashion trends. “Let’s say I go into a meeting and I know we are looking for feminine pretty tops,” she said.

N D Whimper recently launched her own boutique, Bare Swim, for which she procures and designs swimwear

“I tell the vendor some of the trends I saw last time I went shopping – lace or crochet designs, for example – and indicate the colors or designs that usually sell best for us. They then mock up a full production of what we want on specific top types such as regular T-shirts or V-necks.” In addition to her day job, Whimper enjoys entrepreneurial pursuits. In May 2015, she launched her own swimwear boutique, Bare Swim. Though the catalog currently features wholesale designs, she has already sketched up her own designs for future product releases. She said the process of starting a business from scratch has been challenging and fun. In addition to procuring the items for sale, she set up a website, www.bareswim. com, and coordinated with local models, photographers and makeup artists over social media to set up a full photo shoot for marketing materials. Whimper said the business is off to a good start. She was even invited to participate at Los Angeles Swim Week. Though she will not be able to attend the annual swimwear event this year, she hopes to in the future. Whimper received bachelor’s degrees in business marketing and agricultural business from UAPB, and a master’s degree in business economics from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. “The marketing instruction and challenging coursework at UAPB helped prepare me for my career,” Whimper said. “One of the most helpful exercises was creating a full business plan from scratch, including backend information such as target market demographics. These are the kinds of things I think about now in my career at Burlington as we market to people from different age groups or regions of the country.” While at UAPB Whimper was active in several organizations including the Delta Eta Chapter of Delta

Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Black Essence Modeling Team. She was the co-captain of the frontline dance team of the Golden Girls for the Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4) and was captain of the Spirit Team. She graduated with honors from Pine Bluff High School and was president of her class. The fact that Whimper works in the historic Cooper Building in an environment marked by branded and nonbranded showrooms such as 7 For All Mankind, Alice + Olivia, Halston Heritage and Levi’s is testament to her lifelong love for fashion. She said her mother, Alneta Whimper, was an early influence on her career. “When I was growing up, my mom worked in fashion and loved to shop just as much,” Whimper said. “We would take shopping trips to Little Rock almost every weekend, putting outfits together for our family. So much of my interest in fashion comes from her.” Whimper credits her father, Carl Whimper, with teaching her how to be business-minded, outgoing and hard-working. Mr. Whimper, a 1975 graduate of UAPB, was the director of media relations for athletics at UAPB and later served as the assistant director of student recruitment. CarnitaWhimper advises students to start thinking about their career while in college by joining student organizations and seeking out pertinent internships in their fields of interest. “Participating in organizations builds character, shows leadership and develops skills not learned in the classroom that can translate into experience,” she said. “This makes you a better candidate for an internship that can give you work experience and knowledge.” Summer 2015 23




WITH THESE HANDS How a chance meeting with an art professor molded her into a pottery icon

By Donna Mooney | photos by brian t. williams

For 38 years, Gail Miller of Dumas, Arkansas, has made useful, decorative, purposeful pottery to supply her more than adequate business called Miller’s Mud Mill. On this stormy wet day, Miller’s Mud Mill at Highway 65 South in Brookhaven Shopping Center has become a classroom to the curious wanderers who ventured in to discuss where Gail Miller found her skill and desire for mud working. It started at UAPB. After running a quick errand, Miller –silvery white hair pinned up and wearing a green work apron over black shirt and pants - is ready to discuss pottery and life lessons. She said she transferred to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1989. That’s when she met Terrance Corbin, a professor in the UAPB Art Department.

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE Gail Miller demonstrates her wheeling technique as she centers a piece of clay on the pottery wheel inside her shop in Dumas, Arkansas

Summer 2015 25

At left: Miller's signature thumb bowl always includes a small Cross stamped inside. It also comes in left and righthanded variations.

At left: Miller stands with a piece of clay in her hands, a medium she uses to create pieces of amazing work.

“I came and signed up for figure drawing under Prof. Today, Linton calls Miller an Arkansas icon. Corbin and I took color and design under Mr. Henri “Her unique, earthy slab pottery can be found Linton, and I still use what I learned from his (Linton’s) throughout Arkansas and the United States,” Linton course today,” Miller said. said. “The demand for her “But I was fascinated with works requires the assistance Corbin’s work. I took Art of her family as well as "...Gail is a unique artist and has a several Dumas residents.” History under Corbin and signature style different than any Danny Campbell, passed with an A- which was an accomplishment other ceramist I have met over the Chairman of the University because he gave six-hour of Arkansas at Pine Bluff years. The works illustrate her free Department of Art is familiar exams. I’m a big art history spirit, personality and a passion for with Gail Miller’s work. lover.” Henri Linton, University "I have known Gail since life assist with that.” Cultural Museum Director I was a student here at this and retired UAPB Art university and have always - Danny Campbell, chairperson of the UAPB Department Chairman said admired her work,” Campbell Department of Art that his association with said. “She is very patient with Gail Miller goes back many her pottery and often works years when she was an art student here at the university. into the late nights and into the weekends. Gail Miller’s “I followed her development even as a student as works are extraordinary and each work is handmade she demonstrated the propensity to be an outstanding with LOVE.” artist,” Linton said. “She showed keen interest in As for her expertise, Campbell describes her work developing her skills in working with clay under the as methodical and innovative with her glazes and the tutelage of the late art professor, Earnest Davidson.” application process. Miller said Davidson, Corbin and Linton greatly “Each glaze is carefully mixed and carefully applied influenced her interest in pottery. “These three people by using a repeated dipping process,” he said. “It is are the reason why I do this,” Miller said about her amazing to see her and the staff work interchanging pottery business. “ pottery and creative ideas about making art from a pile Linton said Miller left UAPB to support her family, of wet clay. and pursued her interest in ceramics and opened her Gail is a unique artist and has a signature style own studio at Dumas. different than any other ceramist I have met over the “She is a shining example of the success a person may years. The works illustrate her free spirit, personality achieve in any field once they put their minds to it.” and a passion for life.” 26

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At left: The face jars are sentimental for Miller she considers them family and companions in her store. Below: The vase she crafted in less than 2 minutes during her interview.

Above: Miller is photographed with members of her staff: Karen Rash, Joy Puryear, Jody Cochran and Penny McCarty (not pictured)

Miller said her continued passion for pottery stems from her desire for life. In 2000, she was diagnosed with cancer, and her poor health forced her to stop working - but only for a while. Then in 2007, she lost her house in a tornado, still she kept working. “I have learned that when you go through cancer and are a survivor, you become very grateful for everything,” she said. That grateful attitude has carried over into her pottery by way of her “thumb bowls.” These odd shaped over-sized multi-purpose bowls with thumb-print handles are various colors and sizes and each one is delightfully different. Miller completes each “thumb bowl” personally with her own thumb print. Although wheeling (working the clay on the potter’s wheel) is the favorite part of her job, Miller said her least favorite is glazing. “If I could get someone else to do it, I would,” she said. “Wheeling is my favorite job because when I’m feeling stressed this is a peaceful time for me.”

Demonstrating on the wheel, she grabs a ball of clay, and with glasses on the end of her nose and her hand clasped and wet, she begins forming a pitcher. Still talking, she spouts routine business facts. She goes through 10,000 lbs. of clay a month. She buys clay by the ton. It takes six minutes to create a piece. Miller humbly admits that her works have become very popular statewide and can be found at the Petit Jean Mountain Institute, the Peabody Hotel, and Mack’s Prairie Wings. On-line availability has increased the Mud Mill’s popularity throughout the United States and overseas. Not only has her work been purchased by many, but also her business has been recognized by the state. In 2014, Miller received the Henry Award for being the Boot Strap Business of the year. The Henry Award is a prestigious tourism industry award in Arkansas that recognizes individuals, businesses, and organizations that have distinguished themselves during the past year. “The city of Dumas and the Dumas Chamber of Commerce have been very supportive of me over the years, and I am very grateful for that,” Miller said. “My biggest customers come off this highway. Highway 65 goes from east to west, from Florida to the West Coast, and it has been profitable to me.”

Summer 2015 27

To help deserving students like Joshua, contact the Office of Development at (870) 575-8701. 28

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Summer 2015 29






UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


RATION ERS By Donna Mooney | photos by brian t. williams

The New Millennium Leaders initiative has been successful, raising more than $1 million dollars. Since its inception in 2000, it has become an emergent mission of generosity. Now, the time has come for the mission to expand.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


A Time to Give Back The year 2000 or Y2K was the year that introduced a new level of philanthropy to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff through the New Millennium Leaders Giving Initiative. Dorothy Littlejohn Magett-Fiddmont, Ph.D., stepped in to guide this initiative that asked alumni to donate $2,000 to help create an on-going student scholarship fund through the UAPB Development Office. Through hard work and dedication, the initiative was successful, and since then it has become an emergent mission of generosity. To that end, Dr. Fiddmont believes that the New Millennium Leaders must continue to flourish and expand with momentum and urgency. Dr. Fiddmont is a proud 1953 graduate of AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) who has become a purposeful UAPB supporter. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Illinois. She has served six years on the Board of Directors of the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association where she was Chairman of the Board and National President for two years. For 10 years, she served on the UAPB Foundation Fund Board where she assisted in planning, developing, and implementing successful fundraising initiatives. After years of dedicated work in education, she retired in 1992 from fulltime employment with the Illinois State Department of Education Association. 32

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Since then she has consulted with school districts and educational institutions on matters related to school improvement in large urban centers. With a quick answer and a warm smile, this spirited alumna explained how the UAPB New Millennium Leaders came into existence. Dr. Fiddmont said that a year before the campaign started, the UAPB Foundation Fund Board Chair – Larry Cooper - petitioned her to act as chairperson of the New Millennium Leaders Giving Initiative to raise money for students who were in need. “Chancellor Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., wanted a pot of money available and dedicated for those students who did not fit the currently established categories,” she said. “Two hundred alums giving $2,000 each in the first two years of the new millennium became the clarion call for New Millennium Leaders.” The UAPB Development Office worked diligently to make the campaign succeed. “Dr. Margaret Hall worked hard and people wanted to identify with this giving crusade,” Dr. Fiddmont said. “It took persistence to raise the $500,000 and receive matching funds to make it $1,000,000. The most rewarding aspect of it has been that people are still joining the New Millennial movement.” James B. Tyson, CFRE, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Development explains how the New Millennium Leader’s generosity helps UAPB students.

Summer 2015 33


“At my university, I had connections with people who were laced with dignity and concern, and people who were there to help. That’s the soul of the institution to me. It’s made up of these people who gave all they had and demanded the best of us and an equal measure of all we had.”

“The New Millennium Scholars program serves a two-fold purpose, it provides the resources for deserving students while encouraging both new and increased gifts to the University,” Tyson said. “Every successful endeavor has a champion. When it comes to UAPB and alumni giving, we have that in Dr. Dorothy Magett-Fiddmont, a champion par excellence. Many will tell you what to do, but Dr. Fiddmont has shown us what to do.” Mr. Tyson added that Dr. Fiddmont leads by example and that example serves as a rallying call for all other alumni to join her in making the kind of investment into Dear Mother that will ensure the doors of a high quality and affordable education remain viable for generations of future Golden Lions. "I salute her on her desire to lead us in a more excellent way,” Tyson said.

Giving with a Purpose Works Dr. Fiddmont said that people don’t mind worthwhile giving. “I learned that if we ask right for a good cause and show gratitude, people will give,” she said. “We must also document how the money is spent. Many of the donors were ordinary people without great resources, but with greater than ordinary love for the university.” The New Millennials did not reach the goal of $500,000 by 2002, but Fiddmont said that by then the deadline was not relevant anymore because the initiative had taken on its own culture. “After we reached $500,000 Barack Obama became president of the United States, and we sent band students to the inauguration,” she said. “We raised $200,000 in a short amount of time. That says that we do what we are motivated to do. We can do a lot more than we think we can do; we just have to turn the corner and make people feel good about giving back.” “On the fundraising end of it, the Millennium initiative has been a joyful and fulfilling experience,” said Title III Director, Margaret Martin-Hall, Ed.D. “Since mid-year 1999, over 180 individuals have answered the call to become Dorothy Magett-Fiddmont New Millennium Leaders! They accepted the challenge to be a positive factor among the many challenges that would usher in upon the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) in the 21st century.” According to Development Office reports, as of June 30, 2014, the scholarship fund had grown to well over $1.2 million resulting in over 50 students (who major in various disciplines and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities) being awarded scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500. 34

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“The Millennium Leaders have come to be all that was expected and so much more!” Dr. Hall said. Now, Dr. Fiddmont says the time has come for the New Millennium Leaders’ mission to expand. “Expanding the numbers and fine-tuning the mission of the New Millennium Leaders will provide much needed additional human resources for responding to student needs of this millennium and thus continue the story,” Fiddmont said. “That the New Millennium Leaders continue to demonstrate their commitment to UAPB with their financial support is a laudable outcome for the initiative. “However, equally as significant are the contributions of these individuals in their various professional endeavors, in their local communities, and on the national level. For each successful accomplishment of individuals whose education and training were received at UAPB accrues collectively to the credibility, effectiveness, and stature of the school as a significant player in higher education.” Her devotion and love for the University is evident in stories recounted of former faculty who helped her along the way. “I remember that Mrs. Hattie R. Watson, wife of John Brown Watson helped me in library research to make a connection between historical and political research,” Fiddmont said. “If she had not challenged me to be better and want more than what I had, I would have settled. She challenged me and at that point, I knew my work was good and I could take it anywhere."

Above, one of the many honorees profiled in her coffee table book, Millennium. Inset: Dr. Fiddmont is pictured with one of the New Millennium Leader Scholars.

Donors are Cultivated “I am grateful to UAPB for the education I received, and grateful to the faculty for instilling in me other values to help sustain me professionally,” Fiddmont said. “I want the students today to have the same opportunities that I had, and the New Millennium Leaders can assist with that.”

In reference to the next level of encouraging donors, Fiddmont said that the University and alumni must help establish a connection with students and find a smarter way to get them involved. “Maybe it has to do with history and accomplishments and making the students feel they belong to something great,” she said. “We must make them think about the honor connection with the campus, and we must establish that feeling when they enter the university. For years, no one asked me to give back, and it did not occur to me to give, until I was asked.”

Summer 2015 35

Class Notes EXPLORING TROPICAL MEDICINE dr. antonie rice’96 has been named the Assistant Dean for Education for the

National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to his appointment, he served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, and Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Dr. Rice received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from UAPB, and Master's/Doctorate from the University of Kansas in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1999 and 2002, respectively.

In a class of their own Four University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff alumni received their medical degrees from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in May 2015.

dr. stephen broughton ii'11

is a third generation physician behind his father and uncle, who are also UAPB/ AM&N and UAMS alumni. His specialty is in Internal Medicine.

dr. barbara johnson'10

is a Chicago native and the first doctor in her family. Specializing in Pediatrics, Dr. Johnson was hooded by her husband, Dr. Roderick Johnson, who is an ER resident and 2014 UAMS graduate.

dr. kristopher stepps'07

has been admitted to the LSU School of Business Executive MBA program. After earning his MBA, Dr. Stepps will pursue residency training in Family Medicine.

dr. randall walker'10

received his medical degree with a specialty in family medicine. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Health from UAMS.

received a Juris Doctor as well as a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Adams is a native of Blytheville, Arkansas. During his time at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, he majored in Political Science; was the President of Honors College; President of the George “Doc” Jones Forensic Association; Vice President of the Beta Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; and was an active member in the Student Government Association. After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Travis enrolled at the University of Arkansas School of Law. There, Travis held the position of Vice President of the Black Law Student Association for the 2013-2014 school year and President of the Black Law Student Association for the 2014-2015 school year. Travis plans are to become a successful attorney, rebuild the community, and fight for the injustices that take place each and every day. travis adams’12


Send your accomplishments, milestones and publications to 36

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

*Photos and book covers must be 300 DPI in resolution and in pdf or jpeg format

Pursuing Pharmaceutical Science donnie ray johnson, jr.’10 of Monticello, AR graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) from Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a student at UAPB, Dr. Johnson served as the 20092010 Senior Class President and was very active in the STEM Academy and Vesper Choir. Dr. Johnson has accepted a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at the Tallahassee Outpatient Clinic of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System. Within this residency Donnie will obtain additional clinical skills in ambulatory care, and participate in a teaching certificate program through the University Of Florida College Of Pharmacy.

SERVING OTHERS IN UGANDA melvin deshawn clayton’13, a graduate student studying at the

University Of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, will spend the summer completing an international service project in Uganda. He will work with The Beacon School East Africa, a primary school located in Uganda’s capital and largest city, Kampala. His work will assist the school in developing sustainable partnerships for funding streams and gaining accreditation. He will document the standards requested and provide recommendations for the Beacon School to reach these standards.

arnold robertson’91 has been appointed as the new school director at Quest Charter School of Pine Bluff. Robertson,

who long considered opening a local charter school focused on a college preparatory education, will continue to build a high quality educational program at Quest, a charter school run by operator Responsive Education Solutions (ResponsiveEd). Robertson graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1987, and after completing his degree in industrial technology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, he started his career with the Arkansas Department of Labor. He returned to Pine Bluff in 1998, when he became an instructor at Pine Bluff High School. After completing his Master’s in Education Administration and Supervision at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he became the assistant principal at Malvern Junior High School. He served as the principal at the middle school at Dollarway in 2009-2010 before being appointed principal of Dollarway High School in 2010. quiana pinckney'01 received Accredited in Public Relations

(APR) credential. Pinckney is the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications at HD Supply, one of the largest industrial distributors in North America. Pinckney previously managed public relations strategy for Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLC, a national labor and employment law firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and master’s degree from George Washington University. The APR certification program is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of 10 leading industry organizations including PRSA, and recognizes practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications.

wayne r. nolen’74 was invited to Malaysia to share

the need and impact of ministering to those in prison. Nolen, who currently resides in the Dallas, Texas area, has visited several prisons across Texas giving prisoners a message of hope while they are incarcerated as well as after they are released. Following a ministry retreat in Longview, Texas, David Swain, pastor of The Tabernacle of David, invited Nolen to Malaysia. Swain has planted several outreach churches around the world. During a Sunday service in Malaysia, Nolen shared the focus of his ministry with the congregation and how they could make a difference in the lives of those who are incarcerated.

Summer 2015 37

IN MEMORIAM Deceased alumni since March 2015 Jarris V. Phillips'62 passed away on May 28, 2015 at the age of 75. He was born in Crocketts Bluff, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents Jarvis and Lillian Phillips; his brother Edwin Phillips; his sisters Lillie Smith and Dr. Arcenia London. He graduated from Immanuel High School in Almyra, Arkansas and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Arkansas AM&N College (now the

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). He received his Master's Degree from Governor State University in Illinois. He worked in public education for more than 34 years. He began his career teaching Art at Holman and Stuttgart High Schools in Stuttgart, Arkansas. He taught at Phillips County Junior College in Helena, Arkansas and Chicago Public Schools. He later moved to Pine Bluff where he taught in the Pine Bluff School District at Dial and Belair Junior High Schools and retired from

Anneshia D. Hildreth-Smith'03 was born August 23, 1971 to Billy and Evelyn Hildreth, Sr. in Pine Bluff. She answered God's call Friday, May 22, 2O15. She confessed a hope in Christ at an early age and joined Highland Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Rickey Bifford, Sr. Anneshia was raised with a strong Christian background. In later years she united with St. James United Methodist Church with her children where she remained a faithful and loyal member. She attended Ansbach Elementary School in Ansbach, Germany and graduated in 1989 from Watson Chapel High School where she exemplified being an honor student. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a B.S. degree in Psychology, while at UAPB, she was a member of the world renowned Vesper Choir, Vikette Society, Inc., and the Epsilon Zeta Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., where she held various local, state, and regional positions.

Evelyn Bolden Kentle'74 of Pine Bluff died Monday, May 11, 2015 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was 63 years old.


She worked for the City of Pine Bluff's Homeless Initiative Program, Tranquility Behavioral Health, and Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Health. She was a member of St. James UMC for 20 years where she served in many capacities, including the choir, children's ministry, summer youth program, vacation bible school, hospitality committee, and most recently the St. James Boxing club. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Edgar and Viola Roberson, Sr., Ozie "Doc" Hildreth, and Myrdia HildrethBrown. She is survived by two daughters, Kyla Crenshaw, of Plano, Texas and M'Kajea Smith, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas one son, Aaron Smith II, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas one grandchild, Kingston (on the way); her parents, Billy and Evelyn Hildreth, Sr., one sister, Monica Hildreth, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas one brother, Billy Hildreth, II of Farmersville, Texas and a special son, Darrian Clark of Plano, Texas her god-mother, Patricia Johnson of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She also leaves behind many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, god-children, family members and friends whom she was raised with the majority of her life.

She was born October 21, 1951, in Gould, Ark., the daughter of J. T. Fairley and the late Annie Mae (Upchurch) Johnson. She accepted Christ and was baptized at an early age. She received her early education in Gould, graduating from Gould High School in 1969. In 1974, she received her B.A. in Sociology, with a minor in Early Childhood Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Mrs. Kentle’s career as an educator spanned more than 24 years. She retired from Martin Elementary School at Altheimer, and had also worked in the Dollarway School District, and with special needs children at Jenkins Memorial Center. She and her husband were the owners of Happy’s Kids Learning Center at Pine Bluff. She is survived by her husband of 37 years,

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Jack Robey Junior High School. After retirement, he taught art classes at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. To cherish his memory is his wife, Bessie Montgomery Phillips, daughter, Erica Javeeta Phillips of Atlanta, GA, son, Jarvis Vincent Phillips of Pine Bluff, AR; his sisters, Lula Brooks and Grace (Charles) Carter both of Little Rock, AR, and his brother Frillie Phillips of Crocketts Bluff, AR.

Jerry W. Kentle, whom she married on March 25, 1978; a son, Jarris W. (Alison) Kentle, of Shawnee, Okla.; a daughter, Tonja(Curtis) Gilbert of Olathe, Kan.; two acquired sons, Bryan(Jamie) Kentle, and Derrick(Tamika) Kentle, both of Pine Bluff, two acquired daughters, Kimberly Jackson of Pine Bluff, and Adrienne(Don) Smith of Gould; four brothers, Samuel Johnson, Jr. and Mark Johnson, both o St. Louis, Mo.; Levi Walker and Barney Kyle, both of Chicago, Ill.; two sisters, Linda Gunn of Omaha, Neb., and Janice Lowery of Peoria, Ill.; 15 grandchildren, and two great-


Brenda A. Jones'89 of Pine Bluff, passed away on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital in Houston, Texas. She was 57 years old. She was born February 1, 1958 to the late Eddie Lee and Mary Lee Johnson. She was also preceded in death by one brother, Eddie L. Johnson, Jr.

She was educated in Pine Bluff School District where she graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1976. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a degree in political science and the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2005 with a bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. She was employed as a registered nurse at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Student Health Services and later at the St. John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital. She was a member of the West Hepburn At. Church of Christ.

Francical Janette Jackson, of North Littte Rock, Ark., peacefully and joyfully boarded her train God dispatched just for her with grace as she headed toward her new heavenly home on Monday, April 13,2015. She was 75 years old. After graduating from Scipio Africanus, Jones in 1955 she excelled in higher education by receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from AM& N College of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She didn’t stop there. Because of her desire and love for children she furthered her education by receiving a Master’s Degree in Education and a second Master’s Degree in Special Education both received at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

She loved the Lord, enjoyed reading, shopping, gardening, and tending to her flowers. She was a woman of quiet and gentle spirit. She is survived by her husband, Berlin C. Jones; Two Daughters, Andrea R. Jones and Shavonna M. Jones; two sons, Berlin C. Jones, II and Burton A. Jones all of Pine Bluff, AR; four brothers; one sister; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

As her career proceeded she obtained her Administrative Degree. She accomplished much with these degrees. After 56 years in education with the North Little Rock School District she retired to serve in her church, King Solomon and her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She was preceded in death by her parents John lrvin, Mable Murray, Laura and Johnie Jones, son Hosea Jackson, Jr., husband Hosea Jackson, Sr., brother Lathan Murray and granddaughter Charlandus Rudley-Dolphus. Those who will cherish her loving legacy, daughter Veronica Dokes, sister Linda Givens (Melvin), step-mother Bertha Irvin, Godsister LaFaye Dokes-Conley (Shelby), and beautiful grandchildren whom she loved with all she had, granddaughter Francical Jackson, grandsons LaVar, LaMont, and Hosea Il Jackson, Quintin Trotter, Robert Dolphus, Roderick and Rueben Brown.

Vern D. Garrison, Sr.'96, of Memphis, died Tuesday, June 9, 2015 in his home. He was 44 years old. Vern was a Physical Education Specialist for the Shelby County Schools System. He is survived by his wife, Chandra R. Garrison of Memphis; his mother, Dorothy M. Garrison of St. Louis, MO; one daughter, Tranica S. Garrison; two sons, Brandon S. Garrison and Vern D. Garrison, Jr., all of Memphis; one sister, Deborah Garrison of Dallas, Texas and one grandchild.

Kenneth Smith'77 March 17, 2015 Little Rock, AR

Jerry L. Jackson'75 March 19, 2015 Pine Bluff, AR

Mr. Edward E. Hill March 8, 2015 Pine Bluff, AR

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 1200 North University Drive -Mail Slot 4789 Pine Bluff, AR 71601-2780

JULY 25, 2015

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


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