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

FALL 2016




The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff officially opened Chick fil-A Express® and a We Proudly Serve Starbucks® location in the L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union.

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Chancellor’s Letter News & Events Class Notes

Features 40 COVER STORY



by Donna Mooney Photography by Archie Howard III and Brian Williams

Treston Hawkins is photographed in the STEM Building at UAPB.

After losing his best friend and both legs in a tragic accident, Treston Hawkins is moving forward and inspiring others to do the same







Although the anatomy of Kountz-Kyle Hall has changed, its purpose serves as the backbone for future medical professionals


From Pumphrey Stadium to D.C. and everywhere in-between, turning 70 never sounded so sweet for the marching band


For alumni Chris Racey and Ben Batten, opportunities at UAPB fed their success in the fisheries industry


Alumna Annette Dove uses second chance at life to help youth improve


Get to know a special group of donors and supporters that have invested in the future of the institution



Civil Rights Activist, Non-profit CEO and Entrepreneur. Explore the chronicles of a life well-lived by this distinguished alumnus

Volume 3 No. 3 Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander, J.D., Ph.D. Director of Development and Title III Administration Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall Program Director for Public Information/Editor

Tisha Arnold Copy Editor

Donna Mooney Creative Director

Brian T. Williams Contributing Writers

Debbie Archer Tisha Arnold Shakari Briggs Shedelle Davis William Hehemann Ray King Donna Mooney Carol Sanders John Worthen Contributing Photographers

Shaun Francis Archie Howard III 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 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a member of the University of Arkansas System.


Rapper, actor, and entrepreneur David Banner greets a band student during the Welcome Back Week assembly, where he served as guest speaker. During his address, he motivated and challenged students to plan for life after college. See more on page 14


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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

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It is with Golden Lion pride that we welcome you to the Fall 2015 issue of the UAPB Magazine. We are delighted to use this publication as an avenue to keep our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders informed about the positive and innovative initiatives at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Every year, the enthusiasm builds around this time and this year is no exception. The past few months have been quite interesting and eventful with much to take pride in. Among the excitement, we entered into the new academic year with a bang – enrollment increase! For the time since 2009, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff experienced an increase in enrollment by 37.9% for first-time freshmen with 684 freshmen enrolled. Overall student enrollment, including graduate students, increased by 5.8 percent, with a student population of 2,666 compared to last year’s overall student population of 2,513. In addition, after revamping the curriculum, our nursing program was reinstated offering a RN-BSN program and Pre-Licensure (Generic) Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program. To cap it off, UAPB received a $250,000 grant to create the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Endowed Nursing Professorship in Rural Health with our new Nursing Chairperson, Mrs. Diann Williams, being the first recipient. What a way to kick off the school year! At UAPB, we are committed to helping students travel the journey from success to significance. We want our students to not only be effective, but transformative; not only productive, but truly generative. Therefore, we have opened a new Student Success Center to not only enhance student retention and success but to also help students navigate through any academic or personal challenges that may impact their ability to excel at the university.

We are also fortunate to have dynamic faculty who are not only committed to the success of our students but are also enhancing their professional development in order to better serve the educational needs of our students. In this issue, you will read about Dr. Karl Walker, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science who received a grant for $53,291 to fund his research project “Context- Dependent Dihedral Angle Sampling with Protein Folding Simulations” from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences, a funding agency of the National Institute of Health; Dr. Pamela Moore, associate dean for global engagement, Office of International Programs, who recently graduated from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy; and Dr. Steve Lochmann, professor of aquaculture and fisheries, who was recently inducted into the inaugural class of the American Fisheries Society’s (AFS) Fellows Program. Our students have had the opportunity to be exposed to some of the best thought leaders and innovators on and off campus including professors, ambassadors, bestselling authors, and famous personalities. Within the past few months, we had the pleasure of visits from retired U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins; award-winning actress, Keshia Knight Pulliam; and bestselling author, Nathan McCall. We look forward to many more through the course of the school year. These individuals are living models of success and significance, and they stand as examples of what students can become. Another example of success is on the cover of this magazine, our very own alumnus and award-winning, national recording artist, Smokie Norful. Needless to say, our university is taking great strides towards a higher level of excellence. We are committed to enhancing our students academically, culturally, and socially. As you read this issue, we hope that you feel the pride that we experience every day at “Dear Mother.” Thank you for your continued support in contributing to the legacy of being a “student-focused, success-driven, mission-based” university. We invite you to come and experience the vibrant life on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. You will see firsthand why we are a dynamic university – on the move! Sincerely,


Fall 2016 5


UAPB participates in pilot program to build entrepreneurship in the Delta by John Worthen | Courtesy of the Pine Bluff Commercial

Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, announced at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff that the school will participate in a pilot program to build entrepreneurship across the Delta region.

Six Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Delta region, including the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, have been selected to participate in an entrepreneurship program through the inaugural HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative, the Delta Regional Authority announced at UAPB. The program is designed to grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by helping students learn about how to start businesses and make them thrive, DRA officials said. “The initiative will help these institutions expand programming opportunities and support services for their student populations engaging HBCU leaders, community leaders and student entrepreneurs in a series of activities that support the growth of minority-owned businesses on college campuses in the Delta region,” according to a news release from the DRA. At the event, Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the DRA, said, “entrepreneurship is one of the strongest economic opportunities for young people in our region, and this initiative is our way of helping our region’s HBCUs invest in the entrepreneurial growth of their students and thus the Delta communities around them.” 6

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander said at the event that growing entrepreneurship in the Delta is critical to the area’s future prosperity. He thanked the DRA for its role in helping to spearhead the new program. “Entrepreneurship has the potential for growth to hire millions of people,” Alexander said. Other than UAPB, participating schools include Grambling State University in Grambling, La., Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Miss., Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss., and Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. The selected schools will receive up to $24,000 in support services to host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop to teach aspiring and advanced student entrepreneurs about the skills and resources needed to launch and scale their businesses, according to the DRA. Upon completion of the session, student entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas for a chance to be selected to represent their schools and the region at Founders Weekend on the AEI campus in Lithonia, Ga. Winning entrepreneurs on each campus will receive pitch practice, mentorship with successful minority entrepreneurs, business model development, and other technical assistance leading up to the Founders Weekend activities.

Martin, McCray, Okiror appointed to senior-level positions in UAPB administration




Three administrators were appointed to senior-level positions— Dr. Carla Martin was named Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration; Dr. Jacquelyn W. McCray was named Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Linda Okiror was named Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success. Dr. Martin, who has served as Interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration since 2014, is a former Dean of the School of Business and Management at UAPB. Before joining UAPB, she worked as an attorney with Corporate Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., as a Real Estate Transactions Manager and Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity, where she was responsible for partnering with the company’s procurement structures to create and sustain business opportunities with Wal-Mart’s more than 2,500 minority and women owned suppliers. Attorney Martin practiced in the areas of criminal defense, domestic relations (adoptions, child custody, child support, divorce), personal injury, wrongful death, probate (wills), real estate, and civil litigation. Dr. Martin is involved with the Pine Bluff Rotary Club and Leadership Pine Bluff. She also serves as a board member to the University of Arkansas National Alumni Association; the University of Arkansas School of Law Alumni Board; the Foundation for the Mid-South; United Way of Southeast Arkansas; Jefferson Hospital Association, Inc. Membership Board; the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County; the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Pine Bluff Jefferson County Library Board; the Pine Bluff Area Community Foundation; National Association of University Women; The Links, Incorporated; and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Dr. Martin was the top graduate from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2004 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law. Dr. McCray, who has served as Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs since 2014, is a former Dean of the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences and former Director of the 1890 Research and Extension Programs at UAPB. She has previously served in various capacities including Professor of Home Economics, Assistant Administrator for 1890 Programs, and Deputy Dean. She was awarded $20 million in grants and contracts through the USDA and other federal agencies. In 1991, Dr. McCray was elected President of the American Association of Housing Educators. She also served as Chair of the 1890 Association of Extension Administrators and as a member of the USDA Extension Committee on Organization and Policies.

A native of Monticello, Arkansas, Dr. McCray received a Bachelor of Science from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College, (now the UAPB). She received a Master of Arts from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. Named a Distinguished Alumnus by the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Dr. McCray also was named in 2007 a Centennial Laureate, one of the top 100 graduates of the FSU College of Human Sciences during its 100 years of existence. Upon her appointment as a Vice Chancellor, Dr. Okiror will serve as a member of the Executive Cabinet. In addition, UAPB will raise Enrollment Management and Student Success to a Division within the university. Dr. Okiror, who has served as Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Success since 2014, has responsibility for the Offices of Recruitment, Admissions, the Student Success Center, and the summer Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program. She provides leadership to programs that create opportunities for the recruitment of new students and the success, retention, and persistence to graduation of continuing students. In 1996, Dr. Okiror started in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, where she rose from Assistant to the Dean to Associate Dean for Academic Programs. She has been a member of the enrollment management administrative team since 1998 as Director of Education Assessment and is the founder and past director of the LIONS Program. Dr. Okiror authored and co-authored grants of more than $1.5 million for programs that support student success and faculty development. She has 17 years experience with summer programs bridging to college readiness, and faculty development. Dr. Okiror holds a Ph.D. in crop physiology from the University of Minnesota and a masters of education from Trenton State College in Trenton, New Jersey.

Fall 2016 7


Students from five states participate in AgDiscovery program by Carol Sanders

Twenty junior and senior high school students from five states including Arkansas spent two weeks living on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) campus as part of the AgDiscovery residential career exploration program. Daytime hours were spent interacting with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) professionals at their respective work places and with university professors as the teens learned about careers with USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the college courses necessary to qualify for those careers. The teens banded geese, extracted strawberry DNA, dissected fish and received tips on imported fire ant biocontrol. Students also toured UAPB’s Aquaculture Research Station and the Arkansas State Vet Tech School in Beebe, Arkansas, and they learned about wildlife management at airports while at the Little Rock Air Force Base. Not only did they tour Heifer Village’s Little Rock campus, they left the comforts of their dorm to spend a night at the Heifer Ranch where they experienced a life similar to that of developing countries and gained a new appreciation of life in the United States. “Students seemed so bright for their ages,” said Willie Columbus, research assistant/educational outreach coordinator. “At times, I was awed listening to them. They were so diverse, well-rounded and well-traveled; one had visited all 50 states. They became very close instantly and vowed to remain friends and visit each other. To have students learn about careers in agriculture while making lifelong friends is what I envisioned for the program when I became coordinator five years ago.” 8

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At left: Mike Freeze, private fish farm owner, gives students a closer look at the crawfish he raises in addition to hybrid striped bass. (1) USDA-APHIS Investigative and Enforcement Services agents and students conduct a mock police investigation on the UAPB campus of a farmer suspected of transporting quarantined plants between states. (2) Jeewan Pandey, graduate research assistant, shows students how to make the nutrient-rich medium for growing plants in O.R. Holiday Hall (the applied sciences building) on the UAPB campus. (3) Wildlife Disease Biologist Clint Turnage with USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services tells students the importance of testing Canadian Geese for Avian Influenza and other infectious diseases.




Above: AgDiscovery students pose for a group photo: Row 1, (l-r) Ethan White, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Desiree Pearson, Brinkley, Arkansas; Tyler Scott, Cotton Plant, Arkansas; Zion Russell, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Katie Bailey, North Little Rock, Arkansas; Toni Lundsford, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; LaTaylor Rembert, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; and Daniel Olufelo, Marietta,Georgia; Row 2, (l-r) Diamond Watson, Wheatley, Arkansas; Madelynn Anthony, Portia, Arkansas; Christian Cornelius, Little Elm, Texas; Zipporah Bell, Monticello, Arkansas; Justin Thomasson, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Gabriel McDaniel, Hollandale, Mississippi; Kolby Holloway, Chicago, Illinois; Row 3, (l-r) Mariah Burdette, Grand Prairie, Texas; Elizabeth Nyarangi, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Samantha Cutshall,Texarkana, Arkansas; Herman Brown, Crossett, Arkansas; and Gabriel Gardner, Conway, Arkansas.

Fall 2016 9


UAPB students engage in community service during summer visit to Guyana by William Hehemann

Chelsea Robinson, a senior regulatory science major, and Ashlyn Carlton, a sophomore animal science major, presents a gift to Jamal Adrian and Stefan Holmes, residents of the St. John Bosco Orphanage in front of the hydroponic garden at the facility.

Two University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students who spent much of the summer learning agriculture practices in the country of Guyana, also took time to participate in community service activities during their time abroad. Chelsea Robinson, a senior regulatory science major, and Ashlyn Carlton, a sophomore animal science major, engaged with local youth at a Guyanese boys orphanage and children’s summer camp. At the St. John Bosco Orphanage in Plaisance, East Bank Demerara, the students met the residents and learned about their efforts in community gardening. The boys took Robinson and Carlton on a tour of the shadehouse they use to produce vegetables using hydroponics, a method of growing plants in nutrient-rich water, without soil. “During our visit with the boys at the orphanage, it was apparent how smart they are and how much they pride they take in their hands-on work,” Carlton said. “They were able to relate their activities in the garden with agricultural science concepts they are learning in school.”


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At the end of the visit, the UAPB students made a donation to the administrator at the orphanage to help fund school supplies for the upcoming semester. They also presented two students, Stefan Holmes and Jamal Adrian, with tokens of appreciation for the effort they put into their work with the hydroponic garden. Later, Robinson and Carlton interacted with children between 6 and 14 years old at a summer camp hosted by the Caribbean Youth Environment Network, a non-profit charitable organization that focuses on empowering young people and their communities to develop programs to address socio-economic and environmental issues. At the camp, they taught the children about caring for the environment through engaging activities. “The children were full of energy, ready to learn and very respectful,” Robinson said. Following their community service activities, the students visited Yvonne Francis, the grandmother of Shemar Francis, a sophomore agricultural business major at UAPB and native of Guyana.


can’t reach her full potential

without you!

Please invest in the lives of students like LaShanna by making a gift today! LaShanna Evans Nursing Pine Bluff, Arkansas Junior

Over 90% of students attending UAPB

today receive some form of financial aid. First-generation college-going students have a significant presence at UAPB. A large percentage of our students come from rural communities or urban cities where they and their families live at or below the national poverty level. Your gift to scholarships assists such students with attaining a college degree.

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

Fall 2016 11


Million Women Mentors program promotes STEM careers, sustainability by Shakari Briggs | Courtesy of the Pine Bluff Commercial

According to the organization, women represent only about 26 percent of workers in STEM-related fields, while men represent 74 percent of the STEM workforce, which includes jobs ranging from scientists to engineers to technicians to researchers to teachers. “We want to start as early as possible with young ladies [in the] sixth grade and forward,” said UAPB Vice Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Economic Development Mary Benjamin. “Our goal is to start early and mentor on the way, so that hopefully we get bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and PhD’s in STEM areas.” Arkansas Lt. Governor Tim Griffin discussed the importance of STEM and the invaluable impact it has on a person’s daily life. He rattled off everyday essentials, such as a smartphone, automobiles and computers as additional reasons to care about the future of STEM. “If we’re going to compete not only as a country, but as a state against other states and countries, we have got to have young people in the state who focus on STEM,” Griffin said. “It’s in our countries interest, it’s in our state’s interest, and it’s in your interest because of all the things you love related to STEM. That’s where the jobs are, better than that that’s where the good paying jobs are (and) that’s where the future is.” Above: Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin speaks to a capacity crowd about the importance of women and girls being interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers at the Million Women Mentors program launch at UAPB.

With the help of mentors, Hannah Destiny Rodgers is on the path to become a neurologist, a road she didn’t initially plan on traveling down. Rodgers was just one of hundreds of students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ’s Million Women Mentors launch at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, Conference Center. “I wasn’t planning on coming to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” said Rodgers, who is a freshman. “I came on Lion Fever Day and that’s when I met my mentor and she encouraged me to apply for STEM. She put me in positions where I needed to be.” STEM is a field underrepresented by women, and the Million Women Mentors hopes to change that by increasing interest and confidence in girls, as well as women, in an effort to inspire them to join these professions.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: More than 300 people attended the launch program, including youth summer programs like the Youth Engaged in Activities for Health program. Interactive science experiment stations were open to all attendees at the conclusion of the launch.

UAPB researchers improve disease Thank You of hybrid resistance for the contributions made to rice varietiesyou’ve to ensure help ensure the future of students at better harvests the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff The The STEM STEM program program began began in in 2006 2006 at at UAPB UAPB and and currently currently has has about about 300 300 students, students, half half of of which which are are female, female, according according to to Benjamin. Benjamin. The The Million Million Women Women Mentors Mentors program program reports reports that that of of 100 100 bachelor bachelor female female baccalaureate baccalaureate students, students, only only 12 12 graduate graduate within within aa STEM STEM major. major. Additionally, Additionally, only only three three continue continue in in STEM-related STEM-related fields fields 10 10 years years after after graduation. graduation. “Our “Our enrollment enrollment grew grew so so that that we we needed needed aa larger larger place place to to do do the the mentoring, mentoring, to to do do the the tutorials, tutorials, to to create create aa sense sense of of community community among among our our STEM STEM majors, majors,”” Benjamin Benjamin said. said. “Our “Our retention retention rate rate in in the the program program isis 100 100 percent, percent, but but we we also also feel feel challenged challenged because because where where do do you you go go from from there?” there?” By By partnering partnering with with high high schools schools and and universities universities across across America, America, Million Million Women Women Mentors Mentors has has three three goals: goals: increase increase the the percentage percentage of of high high school school girls girls planning planning to to pursue pursue STEM STEM careers, careers, increase increase the the number number of of women women pursuing pursuing undergraduate undergraduate degrees degrees in in STEM STEM related related fields fields and and increase increase the the percentage percentage of of women women studying studying and and advancing advancing in in STEM STEM jobs jobs via via mentorship mentorship programs. programs. “It’s “It’s called called Million Million Women Women Mentors, Mentors, because because we’re we’re trying trying to to reach reach at at least least one one million million mentees mentees over over the the next next four four years. years. In In Arkansas, Arkansas, we we want want to to reach reach 5,000 5,000 over over the the next next four four years…, years…,”” said said Walmart Walmart Leverage Leverage Human Human Resources Resources Senior Senior Manager Manager of of STEM STEM Strategy Strategy Andrea Andrea Roberts. Roberts. “I “I think think as as we we get get down down the the road road we we will will increase increase that that because because of of the the response response that that we we receive receive from from our our mentors mentors and and mentees. mentees.”” With With aspirations aspirations of of becoming becoming Buzzfeed’s Buzzfeed’s director director of of engineering, engineering, Pine Pine Bluff Bluff native native and and UAPB UAPB freshman freshman Ronni Ronni Knox Knox attributes attributes her her mentors mentors for for steering steering her her to to the the world world of of STEM. STEM. Knox, Knox, who who comes comes from from aa family family full full of of STEM STEM professionals, professionals, believes believes young young women women are are slowly slowly but but surely surely becoming becoming more more interested interested in in the the field, field, despite despite the the stereotypes stereotypes and and barriers barriers placed placed before before them. them. “…More “…More women women are are attracted attracted to to this, this, because because they they realize realize II can can be be like like her, her, II can can do do this this and and II can can do do just just what what he’s he’s doing, doing,”” Knox Knox said said describing describing successful successful women women in in STEM STEM careers. careers. “A “A lot lot of of the the reason reason why why we’re we’re not not doing doing itit is, is, because because we we were were told told we we weren’t supposed supposed to. to.”” weren’t

by William Hehemann

As part of the largest rice-producing state economy in the U.S., Arkansas rice producers are likely familiar with straighthead disorder, one of the most damaging rice diseases that can drastically reduce grain yields year-to-year, Dr. Bihu Huang, Professor of agriculture at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said. To offset the economic risks for rice farmers, faculty and student researchers at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences are working on hybrid varieties of rice for resistance to the disease, which costs Arkansas farmers $27 million and 74 million cubic meters of water annually. “Straighthead is a non-fungal disease characterized by the sterility of the floral parts of a rice plant,” Dr. Huang said. “The disease’s name is derived from the appearance of the flowering parts of the diseased rice, which remain straight when sterile and devoid of the weight of grain.” The disease, first reported in Arkansas in the early 1900s, is considered a threat to farmers because it can reduce grain yield to practically nothing, she said. Straighthead can occur every year, and Arkansas farmers have reported higher prevalence of the disease in recent years. “A viable solution to the problem is introducing resistant genes into hybrid rice, which has a 20 percent yield advantage over traditional rice,” Dr. Huang said. “This could vastly reduce the amount of money and water used for the prevention of the disease. UAPB is working to improve the disease resistance in hybrid rice varieties to help ensure greater yields in Arkansas.” Dr. Huang said UAPB’s involvement in rice research in Arkansas works to fulfill the objective of the Department of Agriculture to strengthen economic development in Arkansas by developing new and innovative research applicable to farming systems in southeastern Arkansas. Additionally, it enables UAPB to expand its capacity to conduct research in the area of food production and support its research mission to enhance the quality of life for diverse and limitedresource audiences. The research in rice breeding has provided involved, hands-on research opportunities for five graduate and three undergraduate students at UAPB, Dr. Huang said. “Research into timely topics with real-world applications and collaboration with the nation’s leading scientists has generated student interest in the Arkansas rice industry and provided invaluable training for future careers in agriculture,” Dr. Huang said. “UAPB’s participation in research so relevant to one of our state’s strongest industries will increase the ethnic, racial and gender diversity of the nation’s agricultural, scientific and professional expertise base.” Fall Fall2016 2016 13 13


Welcome Week

Rapper, entrepreneur, activist David Banner challenges students to think about life after college

by Tisha Arnold

Students were welcomed back to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a week full of events that hit its apex with an assembly. Held in the H.O. Clemmons Arena of the Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr., Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Complex, the guest speaker was rapper, activist and entrepreneur David Banner. Banner was not mum about discussing his past and the hard times he endured. “I’m from a place where most of my friends didn’t make it out,” Banner said. At one time, Banner was living in his van and struggling to build his career. He’d constructed a studio inside the van and had all his worldly possessions with him. One day a group of teenagers stole the van when Banner stopped through Birmingham on his way to Mississippi from Atlanta – taking everything away from him. Banner did not give up. Digging deep and relying on faith and lessons from his parents, he kept moving toward with his dream in spite of the setback. When he found his van abandoned by the thieves, the master CDs he was working on were still inside. Three months later, on another trip to Birmingham to sell his material, he caught the attention of Universal label executive Steve Rifkind and was signed to a multimillion dollar five-album deal. Covering everything from religion to relationships to understanding the importance of loving yourself, Banner continued to challenge and motivate students to think. “I want you thinking,” he said. “My name is David Banner; I don’t care what you think about me, I just want you to think. The bottom line is, why are you here? What is your intent?”

At right: Banner gives his final salutation to the audience before taking his seat.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

UAPB Adopts Admission Application Fee

Above: Before delivering the keynote address for Welcome Week, David Banner spent time in the University Museum and Cultural Center. While there, he chatted at length with Mr. Henri Linton, Sr., Director of the Museum. Banner is an avid collector of first edition books and plans to visit the museum again.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff added an admission application fee for all online and paper applications. The following application fees were adopted September 2016: $25 for online undergraduate applications and $30 for paper versions; $30 for undergraduate international admission applications (available online only); $30 for online graduate applications (domestic and international [available online only]); and $45 for the paper version of graduate applications. Applicants can pay online when completing the online application or at the Cashier’s Office with cash, credit card, check, or money order. The Office of Admissions will consider special circumstances for applicants requesting a fee waiver. An applicant must have a high school counselor or principal verify that the student is eligible for one of two waiver categories: (1) student is enrolled in a federal, state or local government funded program that assists students from low income families (e.g., Upward Bound); or (2) the student requests UAPB/AM&N Legacy Status. A student may request Legacy Status as a child or grandchild (age 26 or under) of a UAPB/ AM&N graduate who is a current annual dues paying member or a Life Member of the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association. Students must provide the first and last name of the parent or grandparent as it appears on the UAPB/AM&N Alumni Roster.

Above: Banner speaks to Coulaj Eans, an elementary student that posed insightful questions during the audience response portion of the assembly.

Fall 2016 15


High school students learn about career opportunities and more at SAFHS camp by Carol Sanders

The goal of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS) Adventure Camp is to inform students of higher education and career opportunities related to SAFHS disciplines. However, the camp did much more than that. At the closing ceremony, each student had a few moments to reflect on his or her camping experience. Most of the 13 students from eight schools in Texas and Arkansas agreed that not only did they learn a lot, they were inspired and gained a new appreciation for what they have. Angel Allen from West Memphis, Arkansas, said, “Most eye-opening was Heifer Ranch and to see how good we have it.” Naomi Scott of Dallas said, “I learned to be grateful for what I have.” Others echoed similar sentiments. To get an idea of careers they might pursue, students visited several educational centers including the Mid-America Science Museum, the Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, Heifer Ranch & Heifer International Headquarters, and the National Center for Toxicological Research. “The students also visited some of UAPB’s greatest assets including the campus farms, the aquaculture/ fisheries center and the biotechnology lab,” Teki K. Winston, director of 4-H youth programming for UAPB said. “To gain practical information about future international opportunities,” the students attended an overview of the Peace Corps by Pine Bluff native Renee Smith, a Peace Corps volunteer who recently returned from serving two years in Morocco. 16

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: Adventure campers learned about goat research at the UAPB goat research facility and took advantage of an opportunity to feed one.

Students also participated in an essay writing workshop. Students campers, their hometowns and high schools were as follows: Pine Bluff – Gerrod White, Watson Chapel; Jacoby Adkins, White Hall; Alyssa Alley, White Hall; Jordan Robinson, Dollarway; Taylor Johnson, White Hall; Elizabeth Nyarangi, Watson Chapel; and Tylor Johnson, White Hall. Little Rock – Khaliah Younger, Little Rock Central; and Zion ParkerRussell, Lisa Academy. West Memphis – Angel Allen, West Junior High School; and White Hall – Joses Foreman, White Hall. From out of state were Christian Cornelius and Naomi Scott of Texas. The week-long residential camp is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Above: Gerrod White holds a catfish at the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Research Station while (l-r) Angel Allen, Tylor Johnson, Jacoby Atkins and Taylor Johnson look on. (Naomi Scott is behind Johnson). At left: Adventure campers participated in a scavenger hunt at Heifer International Headquarters. Elizabeth Nyarangi (left) and Christian Cornelious (right) identify items in a scale model of an Asian Village as part of the hunt.

Fall 2016 17


UAPB Fish Health Inspection Laboratory Holds Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony by Debbie Archer

Arkansas politicians, university officials and local fish producers spoke about the importance of fish health certification services provided by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Fish Health Inspection Laboratory during an Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held recently. Located in Lonoke, Arkansas, the lab is one of eleven facilities nationwide approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to conduct diagnostic testing that enables producers to obtain health certification for the export of aquaculture species, according to Dr. Anita Kelly, Associate Director and Interim Director, fish health services, Aquaculture Fisheries Center of Excellence and Extension fish health specialist. “The APHIS approved lab helps Arkansas producers receive the certification needed to ship their fish nationally and internationally, she said. “The lab provides prompt service as specialists test each fish species for viruses identified by the World Organization for Animal Health. “ Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB chancellor, said the opening of the Lonoke lab is possible after hard work, dedication and the support of many. “Today is a day of pride, promise and prosperity for the Golden Lion Nation at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” Dr. Alexander said. “We are thankful that this day has finally arrived after months of hard work and dedication. There are many who have contributed to this day in one way or another.” Senator Jonathan Dismang, President Pro Tempore, Arkansas Senate, said the Lonoke laboratory is of particular importance because of the impact of aquaculture in Arkansas. “(Aquaculture) is a $160 million industry. We produce 80 percent of the U.S. baitfish here in Arkansas,” Sen. Dismang said. “Making sure we have the APHIS certification ability to ship fish out around the country and even the world is critical to our community here and to our economy locally.” Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward said that agriculture is the largest industry in Arkansas with one in every six jobs in the state being tied to agriculture. “The aquaculture industry is a very important piece of the overall agriculture industry,” Secretary Ward said. “We have a lot to be proud of in our aquaculture industry. Our overall agriculture community is strong because of our ability to work together. Arkansas is strong because of our ability to work together.” 18

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Dr. Eric Park, president, Arkansas Bait and Ornamental Fish Growers Association, and Arkansas fish producer, said that 6 billion baitfish are produced every year in Arkansas. He said that baitfish go to 39 states in the country and that the gold fish that are part of the ornamental trade goes to all 50 states. He said that the certification program is very important to producers in the state. Jamie Anderson, vice president of I.F. Anderson’s Minnow Farm, said his business is a fourth generation minnow farm that began in 1947. He said the certification program is very important to his farm. “We would like to see a fifth generation, but a lot of that rests on this certification program,” Anderson said. “Last year we shipped to 40 states. It all starts with having our fish certified. As long as we have a history of that, we’re in pretty good shape.” Mike Freeze, co-owner of Keo Fish Farms, said their fish are certified twice yearly and that if one of those certifications is missed, there are several states they would be prohibited from shipping to for at least a two-year period. “Having the lab in Lonoke, centered around the fish farming industry, is a positive for us,” Freeze said. “We feel like our samples are being adequately processed at the center, and we don’t have to worry about being out of business for two years. We are pleased with everything that has been done.” Dr. Alexander said that the opening of UAPB’s Fish Health Inspection Laboratory is an affirmation of the university’s commitment to supporting Arkansas fish growers and their ability to bring their products to market. “It is but one strand of the general mission of land-grant universities like UAPB, for we are committed as well to teaching, research and service to the State,” Dr. Alexander said. “Our Extension efforts at the lab, combined with the overall land-grant mission of the university, enable us to proudly contribute to the prosperity of our state through enhancing the economic growth and development of this sector of the state’s top industry.”

Above: Pictured from left to right: Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, Interim Chair, UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries and Interim Director of the Aquaculture/ Fisheries Center of Excellence; Representative Camille Bennett, Arkansas District 14; Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB Chancellor; Dr. Anita Kelley, Associate Director and Interim Director, Fish Health Services, Aquaculture Fisheries Center of Excellence and Extension Fish Health Specialist; Dr. Eric Park, President, Bait and Ornamental Fish Growers Association; Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture; and Senator Jonathan Dismang, President Pro Tempore, Arkansas Senate.

Fall 2016 19


UAPB junior finds educational, spiritual inspiration during study abroad in Ghana by William Hehemann

After spending a month studying abroad in West Africa, a University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff junior says education abroad is transformational and recommends international programs to other students. Salonica Hunter, a mass communications major who recently returned from a program in Ghana, said the experience was both academically and spiritually informative. Hunter was the first student to complete a program entitled "Opening Doors to Global Opportunity: Preparing Future Leaders for Effective Engagement in a Global Society.” A cooperative effort between the UAPB Office of International Programs and Studies and Valley View University (VVU) in Oyibi, Ghana, her coursework included lectures on a number of topics such as economics, religion, politics and photography. This international experience will count toward her credit hours in a UAPB course on obtaining global perspectives. “Although I had the option to study elsewhere, I chose this country in West Africa because of the prestigious reputation of the university and to gain a clearer understanding of my cultural roots,” Hunter said. “The environment and the lecturers were insightful and inspirational.” Hunter said she benefited from thoughtful discussions inside and outside the classroom.


“The communication and cultural trips with the live history lectures catalyzed a new respect for myself as an African American,” she said. “I can now debunk the ideas and generalizations about Africa. I can testify to the hospitality and strength that was bestowed upon me by everyone I came in contact with, especially the administration and staff at Valley View.” The VVU program included two service-based activities at an elementary school and at a foster home. “At the school, I spoke to a classroom of students between the ages of nine and 11 about growing up and coping with peer pressure, while emphasizing the importance of literacy throughout school and after graduating,” Hunter said. “We also discussed American and Ghanaian colonial history and the Twi dialect.” At Christ Faith Foster Home in Adenta, Ghana, Hunter took time to get to know the youth residents through sports and educational activities. As a personal choice, she said she returned to donate to the residents with toys, soccer balls, clothes, notebooks and pens and pencils to contribute to their happiness. “In addition to learning about the country, I learned about myself,” Hunter said.

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

UAPB student Salonica Hunter speaks to a classroom of students between the ages of nine and 11 in Ghana about growing up and coping with peer pressure

“I learned my strengths and weaknesses as an individual and how to cope with cultural adjustments.” Hunter said she was greatly inspired by the university faculty and staff, as well as locals she met. “I saw the ambition of the less fortunate Ghanaian people who worked hard from dawn to dusk in efforts to retail goods in order to have a day’s meal,” she said. “I heard the eloquence in the speech of those who were fluent in English, which inspired me to expand my own vocabulary. Through the interviews I conducted with the local women and through the one-on-one support of the staff, I was able to feel the humility and kindness of the women who are in my opinion so spiritually strong to not allow their circumstances to alter their faith.” Hunter encourages other UAPB students to consider studying abroad, both to gain pertinent educational or work experience in an increasingly globalized world and for the chance to experience something new and unfamiliar.

Above: Hunter stands outside the Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom and Ashanti Region in Ghana. It once served as the official residence of King Asantehene. At left: A woman tends a food stand at the Dodowa Market in Dodowa, Ghana.

Fall 2016 21


UAPB hosts Arkansas Affiliate of American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences by Carol Sanders

Above: New Arkansas Affiliate of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences officers (row 1, l-r) Yunru Shen, Nominating Committee; Dr. Janette Wheat, President; (row 2, l-r) Rachel Luckett, Nominating Committee; Rebekah Luong, Nominating Committee; Teki Winston, President-Elect; Brittnie Williams, Secretary; and Dana Horn, Counselor. Not pictured is Lindsey Sexton, Treasurer.

Professional and student members of the Arkansas Affiliate of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (ArAFCS) held their yearly state meeting at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) with Dr. Janette Wheat, UAPB associate professor, serving as conference chair recently. They elected officers, presented awards, earned professional development units, networked, renewed professional acquaintances and toured facilities. The theme “Moving Our Profession Forward through Advocacy, Technology, Research and Diverse Connections” allowed leeway for the home economists (family and consumer scientists) and students to explore and address issues affecting everyone. Topics included nutrition; obesity; breastfeeding; Early Head Start; sustainability trends in fibers, textiles and apparel; and the rise of the fashion industry in China. Kay Dutram, UAPB assistant professor and director of nutrition and dietetics program, reminded everyone that “time spent learning something is never wasted.” She said that weight and obesity are not only a U.S. problem but a worldwide one with 2.1 billion people overweight. After a discussion on breastfeeding, the course of conversation changed to fashion.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

UAPB fashion instructor Yunru Shen discussed the fashion industry in China including how in a short period of time it went from one of unisex, utilitarian garments to haute couture centers of fashion. Another aspect of the fashion industry was provided by Dr. Kaye Crippen, UAPB professor, who discussed sustainability. She said that some companies are hiring sustainability personnel who deal with greener ways to produce fashion to recycling and reusing the fibers and fabrics. Dr. Marilyn Bailey, head of the UAPB Child Development Center, discussed the importance of early learning experiences for babies and toddlers. She also told of the process involved in obtaining grant funding of the Early Head Start Initiative. Also part of the state meeting were a breast cancer awareness seminar, motivational speakers, tours to the UAPB value-added food product laboratory, the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, and a business meeting. Dr. Wheat took over as state president of the Arkansas affiliate on June 1; she will be followed by presidentelect Teki Hunt Winston, UAPB director of 4-H programs and SAFHS recruitment. Dr. Mary M. Warnock is the 2016 American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) Distinguished Service Award Recipient.

Dr. Edmund Buckner, Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, participate in Cuba trade mission to explore collaborative research opportunities by William Hehemann

Administrators from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS) traveled to Cuba as part of a delegation of the World Trade Center (WTC) of Arkansas. The WTC trade mission was a follow-up on Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s previous visit to Cuba in 2015, intended to promote trade between the island nation and the Arkansas agriculture industry. Dr. Edmund Buckner, Interim Dean/Director for SAFHS, and Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, Interim Chair, UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries and Interim Director of the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence, were among the WTC delegation that was led by Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. Other delegates included members of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Arkansas Rice Federation, Rockefeller Institute and other Arkansas businesses. A business forum organized by the World Trade Center and the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba allowed participants to hear from representatives of the Cuban government, as well as Ward, who spoke on behalf of Governor Hutchinson. The agenda included meetings held at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, which was reopened in 2015 after being closed in 1961 amid Cold War tensions. The delegation also visited the Special Economic Development Zone of Mariel, an area west of Havana that is intended for sustainable economic development through foreign investment.

Above: Dr. Edmund Buckner, Interim Dean/Director for the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, Dr. Jose Andres Diaz Untoria, Director General of the Institute of Animal Science in Mayabeque, Cuba, Dr. Mark Cochran, Vice President for agriculture for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, and Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, Interim Chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries.

“The trade mission to Cuba represented a good opportunity for UAPB to collaborate with Cuban agricultural universities, share agricultural technology and attract students to study in Arkansas,” Dr. Buckner said. “We were able to meet with officials from both universities and government agencies to discuss potential collaboration in fisheries/aquatic resource management and vegetable production.” Dr. Lochmann said the visit provided a chance for the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence to explore opportunities for collaborative research in aquaculture, as well as opportunities for educational exchanges of faculty members and students. “Though the Cuban government is primarily interested in obtaining rice and poultry from Arkansas, there is great potential for the further development of the nation’s aquaculture industry,” she said. “The vast majority of Cuba’s domestic production and consumption is of freshwater fish, mainly carp and tilapia. Cuban aquaculture industry leaders have concluded that their native species are probably not good for aquaculture and are studying a large variety of different species that are cultured successfully in the U.S. and other countries.”

Fall 2016 23


Above: (L-R) Willie Mae Hobbs, Director of Student Teaching in the School of Education at UAPB; Janet Broiles, UAPB Chief of Staff; Jerry Redmond, Owner and Lead Principal of Redmond Design; UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander; Dr. Mary E. Benjamin, Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development; Dr. William McHenry, Executive Director of the Mississippi e-Center Foundation and Professor of Chemistry at Jackson State University; Dr. Jacquelyn McCray, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Andrea Stewart, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. William Torrence, Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs met recently to discuss the details of the STEM STARS project.

STEM STARS partnership begins at UAPB to develop quality educators for schools with great need Dr. William McHenry, Executive Director of the Mississippi e-Center Foundation and Professor of Chemistry at Jackson State University, and Jerry Redmond, Owner and Lead Principal of Redmond Design visited the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) to discuss the details of their newly forged partnership. This happened one day after Jackson State University (JSU) was awarded a five-year $3,731,454 grant for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholars Teacher Academy Resident System (STEM STARS) project from the National Science Foundation (NSF).


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The first grant of its kind in Arkansas, the goal of the project is to address the challenge of providing high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers for all students in high need school districts. McHenry serves as principal investigator on the project along with co-principal investigators Dr. Daniel Watkins, Dean of Education at JSU; Dr. Renee Akbar, Division Chair of Educational Leadership at XULA; Dr. Mary E. Benjamin, Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB); and Dr. Melvin Davis, Executive Director of Mississippi Urban Research Center (MURC) at JSU. “The NSF-funded STEM STARS grant allows the UAPB STEM Academy to further expand its portfolio of STEM enrichment programs for the preparation of the state and national STEM workforce,” Dr. Benjamin said. “Partnering with Jackson State University, the lead institution, and Xavier University in this tri-state (Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi) program to prepare STEM college graduates to become master degree science and mathematics teachers and work in underserved areas will help to better equip more K-12 students with the academic preparation needed for entry to and success in our colleges, universities and vocational schools in STEM fields.” The STEM STARS program will prepare 120 teacher residents who will gain clinical and mentor experiences and develop familiarity with local schools, which is designed to enhance teacher retention and diversity rates. The Mississippi e-Center at Jackson State University leads the NSF initiative to produce 120 new STEM STARS (science and mathematics teacher) for the ArkLaMiss region and develop and test a research-based strategy.

“Clearly the most important element in producing more competitive scientists and engineers is to provide students with outstanding science and mathematics teachers. The STEM STARS initiative will develop an exceptional model that can be adopted by other universities,” said Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, President of Jackson State University. “We are pleased and honored to join with these two great institutions on a major project to greatly enhance the number and quality of exceptional STEM teachers. The NSF funds for this partnership will enable our STEM Stars to shine brightly in their interactions with our STEM students on campus and as they bring advanced teaching techniques to transform the educational experiences for students in schools in our communities,” said Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. “We know that the cultivation and nurture of the scientific and engineering talent among our K-12 students require outstanding teachers of science and mathematics, able to encourage passion and imagination. We at Xavier University of Louisiana are very pleased to partner with colleagues at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and at Jackson State University to prepare such teachers, STEM STARS, and to assure the readiness of students in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.” said Dr. C. Reynold Verret President of Xavier University of Louisiana. The STEM STARS partnership, with its focus on middle school and secondary science and mathematics, helps make it unique in its approach to increasing the number of high quality, culturally responsive, and licensed middle and secondary science teachers prepared to teach in the nation’s high-need urban and rural schools. Project outcomes are expected to inform the design of additional Teacher Residency Academies that will serve as novel alternatives to the traditional teacher preparation and post-baccalaureate certification programs common throughout the nation. The 120 teacher residents supported by the program will obtain state licensure/certification in science teaching, a Master’s degree, and initiation to National Board certification.

Fall 2016 25


Chick fil-A Express®, We Proudly Serve Starbucks® locations open at UAPB

Above: SGA President Milae Wilson, UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander and Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Ashleigh Tate cut the ribbon during the grand opening of Chick fil-A Express® in the L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union. They are joined by (l-r) the Golden Lion Mascot, Mr. John Inman, Regional Director of Thompson Hospitality, Dwayne Craig, Senoro Management Consultant of the Leadership Development Program at Chick-fil-A, Inc., and the Chick fil-A cow mascot.

The excitement of the fall semester began a week early at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with the grand opening of Chick fil-A Express® and a We Proudly Serve Starbucks® location in the L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union. Campus officials, employees, and students were present to celebrate the historic occasion. UAPB Chancellor, Dr. Laurence B. Alexander reflected on his goal of adding the brands to the institution and noted the effect the additions will have on Pine Bluff. “What improves the quality of life for our students on campus, improves the quality of life for the people of Pine Bluff and contributes to the economic development of our community.” 26

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Dwayne Craig, Senior Management Consultant of the Leadership Development Program at Chick-fil-A, Inc., was present and raved about his experience at UAPB. “Everyone I talked to about opening a restaurant at [UAPB] was excited about the project,” Craig said. “We appreciate you wanting us to be here.” Known to those on campus as the Lion’s Den, both franchises offer a select menu. Chick-fil-A Express® serves a number of their sandwiches, nuggets and fries with the exception of breakfast items and milkshakes. The We Proudly Serve Starbucks® location offers the full range of coffees and beverages along with select pastries, fruit and cold sandwiches only.

“What improves the quality of life for our students on campus, improves the quality of life for the people of Pine Bluff and contributes to the economic development of our community.” - Dr. Laurence B. Alexander Chancellor, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At top: UAPB students pose for an usie with the Chick fil-A® cow mascot. Above: Chick fil-A Express® opened for business to a capacity crowd of faculty, staff, and students. At left: While some of the grand opening crowd were in the line for Chick fil-A®, others were placing orders for Starbucks® coffee. Here, two students enjoy chilled coffee from the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® location.



by Donna Mooney

Photographs provided courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center


ountz-Kyle Hall, located to the left of forwardfacing John Brown Watson Memorial Library, is known across campus as the science building that bears the name of the late Dr. Samuel L. Kountz and the late Dr. Garland D. Kyle, former Dean of the UAPB Mathematics and Physics Department. When Kountz-Kyle Hall was completed in 1974 at the cost of $1.8 million, the UAPB Science Department relocated from the Mechanical Arts building, that was once in the center of the campus to its current location. At the time, the biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics departments were housed there. The new facility provided the necessary equipment for staff and students in the form of laboratories, classrooms, offices, study areas, and a 250-seat auditorium. In 1977, UAPB dedicated the Kountz-Kyle building. Dr. Kountz was an African American pioneer of kidney transplant surgery. Dr. Kountz was born Oct. 20, 1930, in Lexa, Arkansas. He was the eldest of three sons born to Rev. and Mrs. J.S. Kountz. After graduation from Morris Booker College High School in Dermott, Arkansas, Dr. Kountz earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Arkansas AM&N College in 1952. In 1956, he earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and in 1958, he graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He served his internship from 1958 to 1959 at San Francisco Hospital and from 1959 to 1962, he was assistant resident in the department of surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. He eventually became chief resident in the department. Dr. Kountz later became chief of the Kidney Transplant Service and associate professor of surgery at the University of California at San Francisco from 1967 to 1974. 28

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: Circa 1976 - Students conducting research in the laboratory

From 1974 to l981, he served as professor and chairman of the department of surgery, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Dr. Kountz died in 1981 at the age of 51. While Dr. Kyle was not a graduate of the University, his dedication to the campus earned him recognition for his interest in students, scholarships and the economic advancements of the disadvantaged. He was a loyal and respected worker at UAPB for 21 years, serving as a professor of mathematics, head of the Department of Mathematics, and Dean of the college, respectively. In April of this year, Kountz-Kyle entered Phase I of renovations funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Post-Secondary Education, Strengthening Institutions, Title III, Part B, Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program. Renovations include the addition of an elevator which requires interior work as well, an atrium for the front entrance to the building, and a handicapped accessible ramp. Other upgrades include refurbishing the lecture hall and replacing doors and windows. The total cost is about $1.7 million. The work is scheduled for completion in Fall 2016. (Information for this article was contributed by the University Museum and Cultural Center.)

At left: Circa 1977 - Dr. Herman Smith addresses students in the auditorium of Kountz-Kyle Hall Below: The newly renovated facade of the main entrance as it stands today.

At far left: Dr. Samuel L. Kountz, AM&N alumnus and innovator of kidney transplant surgery. At left: Dr. Garland D. Kyle, former Dean of the UAPB Mathematics and Physics Department

Fall 2016 29

Friday, March 4, 2016save the date






1 0 1 E a s t M a r k h a m S t r e e t , L i t t l e Ro c k , A R

GENERAL RECEPTION - 6:00 PM ž DINNER - 7:00 PM A fundraiser to enhance programs at the Torii Hunter Baseball, Softball, and Little League Complex. To purchase a ticket, contact the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Office of Development, (870) 575-8701 or (870) 575-8702.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Above: The UAPB Marching Band performs during a parade in Memphis, Tennessee.

No F Stopping Us Now

ans leave the refreshment stands and students run back to their seats when the UAPB Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4) takes the field during Golden Lion season half-time shows. The football team needs a break, but the Band is about to go to work. M4 turns 70 years old this year, and it is still marching to a beat of its own drum.



Odie Burris, the band director from 1981 to 1989, was the first AM&N alumnus to serve as band director. He named the band “The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South” and he named the dance line the “Golden Girls.” Although the name – The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South – was catchy and caught on quickly, sometimes fans mixed up the long name. Therefore, in 1998, Current Director of Bands, John R. Graham Jr., had the idea to shorten the name to “M to the 4th Power,” but a student put M4 on a t-shirt and the name became the band’s signature.

Fall 2016 31

SPECIAL FEATURE “Jackson State Band was called the ‘Sonic Boom’ and Texas Southern University had the ‘Ocean of Soul,’ so it only fit that we needed a shorter name,” said Graham, current UAPB Director of Bands. In 1998, the band made the M4 formation on the football field and the fans approved. Over the years, the term M4 has been presented to students as the M4 Life. Graham said a former student who was terminally ill wrote a letter speaking of what M4 meant to him and the student signed the letter – M4 for Life. Graham said the components of an M4 Life is that band members must take care of the spiritual, physical, academic and recreational parts of their lives.


Graham assumed the directorship in July 1994. Under his leadership, M4 has become one of the largest and most successful collegiate band programs in the nation. Also, under his guidance, the band has grown to nearly 300 members and has traveled and performed throughout the nation. The band began in 1946 under the direction of Alma L. Brown, who also was the Woodwind Instruments instructor. Music Department Chairperson, Ariel M. Lovelace, hired Harold Strong as the University band director from 1952 until his retirement in 1981. Burris was the next band director and he continued the traditions of the band program that were established by Strong. Other directors of the UAPB Band include Dr. Joseph L. Miller who introduced the current marching style used by the band today. Kelvin W. Washington succeeded Dr. Miller as director. Washington maintained a successful band program during the two-year death penalty given to the UAPB football program.


Prior to 1994 the band was much smaller with only 5060 students, and the band needed to grow. "That first year was hard,” Graham said. “We couldn’t produce the sound the band needed because we didn’t have enough trumpet players. I’ll never forget that we were playing Jackson State University and the band challenged us during the game, but we could not return the challenge. I promised myself that would never happen again.” Graham and his staff went recruiting for the next year. He said then Choir Director Shelton McGee showed him how to recruit students to Pine Bluff (from the Memphis area). He and his assistant recruited in Monroe, Louisiana, Shreveport, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma. The next year was the year of the Gateway Classic and Graham said former Chancellor L.A. Davis Jr. asked if Graham could have 120 band members. Consequently, due to strong recruiting efforts, the band was over 200 members strong. 32

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“...When students are a part of an organization, they will have the tendency to stay and graduate and the return level will be higher.” That next year, M4 was voted the most outstanding band at the Gateway Classic. A new era had begun. “This was an exciting time of building and growing for the University, and we had a lot of energy,” Graham said. “This was and is a service for the University that we provide. When we recruit, we don’t just recruit for the band, but we recruit students for the campus. These are nursing students, math students, education, science and social work students we recruit, and we will never turn away a qualified student who wants to be in the band because that’s another recruit for the University. When students are a part of an organization, they will have the tendency to stay and graduate and the return level will be higher.” Before Graham came in 1994, M4 had a very meager scholarship budget. Since then, the band’s recruitment level has improved, the University has supported it, and the scholarship budget has increased.


Three weeks before University classes begin, M4 Band members will wake up at 4:00 a.m. for morning runs to the Golden Lion Stadium in preparation for the exciting and strenuous season ahead. They will run up the stadium bleachers, take their places and watch the sun rise over the lake. Then Graham recites the story of the lion and the gazelle in Africa. “We tell the students the view at the top is great. Don’t be late for your date with destiny,” Graham said. “Some of these kids live in the inner city, and they have never seen the sun rise before. We talk about what this [the sunrise] means to them.” When M4 Band Camp is officially in session, the energy of the upcoming school year is prevalent on “The Yard.” The toe tapping rat-tat-tat of percussions and the soulful call of horns cannot be ignored. Section leaders arrive the first week, then the freshmen, followed by upper classmen. After the morning run and cardio session, the students have breakfast, and are in training until 8:30 p.m., learning fundamentals, scales, music, commands and movements. Diet and nutrition also is addressed during Band Camp no soft drinks, more water, and no junk food. Meals in the cafeteria are specially ordered to provide the nutritional substance needed for endurance. If the temperature outside is too hot, M4 stays inside until the temperature cools down.

At left: Circa 2006 - The Marching Musical Machine of the Midsouth makes their way to the stadium during a game against Alcorn State University (Flickr/Kevin Coles).

When Band Camp ends, M4 is prepared for the next level of performance.


M4 has traveled extensively over the past two decades, having been invited to numerous half-time shows and parades. Their most notable performances during the history of the Marching Band include the National Football League performances for the Kansas City Chiefs (1979), New Orleans Saints (1990), and the St. Louis Rams (2000). The band also performed at Gov. Bill Clinton’s Inaugurations in 1989 and 1991, and President Clinton’s Election Celebration in 1992. Parade appearances for the band include the MLK Parade St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1990 and 1991, and the “Krewe of Rex” Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans. In 2008, M4 marched in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade for the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, and performed for the half-time show for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. This well-known band has performed in nearly every major stadium in the country, including the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium, Soldier Field, Legion Field, Houston Astrodome, Louisiana Superdome, the Liberty Bowl, Independence Stadium, War Memorial Stadium, Arrow Head Stadium, the Edward Jones Dome and the Georgia Dome. M4 was featured in 2004 on the nationally syndicated television sports program “It’s in the Game.” From 2004-2006, the band performed in the national television broadcast of Operation PUSH. The band performed in the SWAC Championship in 2007, and at the 6th Honda Invitational Battle of the Bands in 2008.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.” -- Christopher McDougall Fall 2016 33


With all that M4 has accomplished, Graham says there is still room for growth. Future goals for the Band are to travel to the west coast and abroad, even visiting Africa. Also, he hopes one day the band can be in a larger facility, have more scholarships and hire additional staff. “As the band continues to grow, we need at least two more staff to accommodate our activities,” Graham said. “Right now we have a part-time secretary, and we need a full-time secretary. Plus, eight people with 265 students is just not enough.” Currently, M4 administrative and academic staff includes the following: Darryl Evans – Asst. Director of Bands and Jazz Ensemble Director; Harold Fooster – Asst. Director of Bands and Percussion Instructor; Gerome Hudson – Music Arranger and Inventory Manager; James Horton – Trumpet Instructor; and Shelia W. Early – Administrative Specialist. Other staff include: Jennifer Pighee – Golden Girl Assistant; Whitney Lee – Golden Silks Sponsor; and Tomeika Price – Golden Silks Assistant.

At right: The Golden Girls perform during halftime. Normally donning black and gold costumes, their pink outfits were in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

At left: The flag twirlers, widely known as the Golden Silks, perform as they march down L.A. “Prexy� Davis Drive toward Golden Lion Stadium. Below: Circa 2009 - The tuba section is pictured during the Inaugural Parade in honor of the election of President Barack Obama (Flickr/ Kevin Coles).

Vividin tem acciess ediente, satis fex morum quem fuemede pri ina, Cat es hacioctatis. milint condet; etiuro et, qua nis, nonveri ocrevis simur quamdien sintiu maximusa nos, des verio con tus, ego hales Cat et in ve, qua dium ad poste ad resus horum poenam. Menat nihic


Great Catch



by William Hehemann

wo alumni of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence who formerly worked together as research associates during their graduate studies are now collaborating in their careers at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). Chris Racey, Chief of Fisheries for the AGFC, and Ben Batten, Assistant Chief, credit their education at UAPB with providing the insight and skills necessary to succeed in their career as they work to create fishing opportunities for Arkansas’ anglers and conserve aquatic resources across the state. After earning his bachelor’s degree in biology in his home state of Pennsylvania, Racey found his way to Arkansas during online research for fisheries assistantships. “I discovered an opportunity to work on a crappie stocking evaluation study with Dr. Steve Lochmann, a professor of aquaculture and fisheries at UAPB,” he said. “I knew I wanted to work on a sport fish species for my master’s degree thesis, so it was a great match. I had never been to Arkansas, but as an avid duck hunter was aware of the great duck hunting opportunities in the state. The opportunity to hunt and enjoy other outdoor activities in a state like Arkansas while pursuing my professional passion of fisheries management was too much to pass up.” Batten, an Illinois native who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said he started working with Racey on his second day in Arkansas when he began his graduate studies in aquaculture/ fisheries at UAPB and was hired as a research assistant. 36

Above: Chris Racey, Chief of Fisheries for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, center, is presented the AGFC 10 Year Service Award by former AGFC Chairman Emon Mahony, far left, and former AGFC director Mike Knoedl, far right.

“Chris and I have been working together ever since, just over 12 years now,” he said. “Besides the professional relationship, Chris and I also hunt and fish together. We have the trust and foundation that comes from working together professionally and personally for so long, which allows us to communicate very openly and honestly.” Now, Racey manages a team of 97 fulltime AGFC fisheries and aquatic resource professionals whose mission is to conserve, protect, manage and enhance Arkansas’ fish and other aquatic species and their habitats. In addition to ensuring sustainable fishing access for the public, they collaborate on a larger scale with organizations across the southeast to address pertinent natural resource issues.

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Racey said he and Batten lead a team of five fisheries division administrators who mentor AGFC staff and address any problems or opportunities related to Arkansas’ fisheries. “The best part of my job is having the chance to work with some of the most passionate and skilled professionals on the planet,” Racey said. “The AGFC is made up of highly-trained, energetic professionals who operate well as a team and whom many in the organization consider a second family.” Batten is responsible for overseeing the offices of AGFC fisheries management biologists in Rogers, Mountain Home, Jonesboro and Brinkley. Together, these biologists manage the fisheries in 33 Arkansas counties.

“The single greatest challenge of the job is balance,” he said. “We have a wide variety of people that are interested in the work we do, including anglers, conservationists, AGFC employees and commissioners and legislators. These groups have a diverse range of interests and our mission is to find a way to benefit as many people as possible while adequately protecting our state’s natural resources.” Racey said his education at UAPB paved the way for his career with the AGFC, where he started as a research biologist and later served in the communications division and as assistant chief of fisheries management before he was appointed chief in 2015. “I am grateful for the outstanding education I received from a world-renowned program that included relevant coursework and laboratory exercises,” he said. “My thesis research prepared me to use science to appropriately design a study and answer important fisheries management questions. There was also a strong emphasis on getting graduate students to collaborate with each other on projects, which gave me a broader understanding of the issues that affect Arkansas.”

“Chris and I have been working together ever since, just over 12 years now....We have the trust and foundation that comes from working together professionally and personally for so long, which allows us to communicate very openly and honestly.” Racey said he found the rigorous, three-tiered approach to education at the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Center especially helpful. The approach, which includes coursework, a thesis project with a defense and a final examination of knowledge, ensures that graduate students are expertly prepared to take on future jobs with state or federal natural resources agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private industry or academia, he said. “Without the UAPB-AQFI program, I would not be where I am today,” Batten said. “The relationship between the students and faculty is great. In graduate school, the students and professors not only have a student-teacher relationship, but also function somewhat like colleagues. This is very helpful for the transition into professional life, as it helps foster lasting professional relationships.” Batten said his primary advisors at UAPB, Dr. Lochmann and Dr. Mike Eggleton, professors of aquaculture and fisheries, were extremely influential in his development as a fisheries professional. “I’m very grateful that they were such an instrumental part of my education,” he said. “They are both extremely strong scientists and they helped me hone the knowledge that has greatly benefitted me in my career.” Racey said his interest in aquaculture/fisheries began during his undergraduate studies in a lab exercise for a biology course. “My class conducted a fish community electrofishing exercise in a popular trout fishing stream that ran through campus,” he said. “After watching those fish roll up to the surface during the incredibly cool electrofishing exercise and considering my strong interest in fishing, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in fisheries and aquatic resource management.”

At left: Ben Batten, assistant chief of fisheries for the AGFC, examines a channel catfish caught during an electrofishing exercise on Willow Beach Lake in Pulaski County, Arkansas.

Fall 2016 37


Leaving an Imprint



erving others is not what Annette Howard Dove thought she would be doing for the rest of her life. A 1980 alumna, her first interaction with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was as a phone operator. She ultimately added ‘student’ to her title, pursuing a degree in special education at night, while working at UAPB during the day. Of the many people she encountered at UAPB, Dove says it was the late Ann McPherson, Dr. Hazel Linton, and Dr. Rosemarie Word who impacted her the most. Before student teachers went out in the field, McPherson would make sure they knew their content and were dressed appropriately. Dr. Linton was the person that taught Dove how to handle all types of people, give encouragement, and provide sound advice. Dr. Word was a tough instructor who Dove regrets she avoided until her senior year because Dove learned so much from her. “UAPB gave me an opportunity. I learned so much about helping people,” Dove said. “It is a place that guides you through with so much support. They did an excellent job in making sure we were prepared.” Dove worked as a special education teacher after graduation and progressed to elementary education, enjoying an 11-year tenure. Soon after, she decided to apply to become a principal and noticed there was an opening for Coordinator of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). She took the position and moved to director of the program her second year. Although the program was experiencing success, having served more than 600 families, it seemed to Dove that something was missing. “When I was [doing home visits] with parents, I saw a lot of need, especially with a lot of young women. I felt like if they had some encouragement, they could do a little bit better with their situations.” Having been a teen mother herself, Dove could relate to the young parents she was interacting with on a daily basis. As youth leaders in their church, Dove and her husband William Dove, Jr. (1966 alumnus) also saw the challenges youth were facing. She recalled memories of spending time with them on weekends and traveling with them. 38

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Over time, Dove says they began to see a change. The environment, however, was steadily getting worse. “The Pine Bluff community got really bad with drugs and you could hear gunfire all times of the night, so we bought a new house and moved out.” Her family was safe and sound, however, she says it was God that reminded her that there are some people who don’t have the resources to move. At that point, Dove and her husband talked and decided to make a plan that would allow her to eventually quit her job and open a youth center. In the process of the goals they were setting, her husband died that year in 2000. “I couldn’t sleep,” Dove said. “[In the midst of dealing with my husband’s death], I kept hearing God remind me that I made a commitment. I couldn’t sleep until I decided to accomplish what I set out to do.” She quit her job the next year.


Dove says she found an old house and renovated it with the purpose of helping area churches develop programs. She had local support, but nothing was happening. She also faced funding challenges. The grant she was used to writing for while working at HIPPY didn’t apply in this new territory. Despite the detour in her plans, she found a way to continue to make a difference. “I started doing little programs out of the back of my car until I could get the building ready for use.” The building she purchased needed a lot of work and Dove put everything she had into it – she ran out of money and drained her teacher retirement. The situation seemed insurmountable, however, a turning point came when people began to donate money. A year and a half later, the center was opened in 2002 with 501(c)(3) status and an official name – Targeting Our People’s Priorities with Service (TOPPS), Inc. The community received the program so well that she immediately ran out of room because of the number of children that were coming to the center.

Dove is photographed inside TOPPS Graphics, a work experience program that gives at-risk teens the opportunity to learn skills in printmaking and t-shirt production.

Funding also improved when she garnered her first major grant for a girls mentoring program from the Department of Juvenile Justice. The grant was written to help 20 girls; they ended up with 52 and a waiting list. In fact, it was so successful within the first three years that representatives from the funding agency paid them a visit because they were impressed with the impact they were having.


About seven years later, an opportunity for growth of the program presented itself when the Big Rec Center in Townsend Park was renovated. She was contacted by Senator Stephanie Flowers who offered to donate the building to TOPPS. With two locations in Pine Bluff and pilot programs in Fayetteville and West Memphis, other services were added to the organization, including mentoring, college enrichment, after school programs, summer learning, and job training programs to at-risk youth. According to Dove, the job training initiative that resulted in TOPPS Graphics and DREAMS (Dreams Require Educating And Motivating Students) are the most popular programs. TOPPS Graphics gives at-risk teens the opportunity to learn skills in printmaking and t-shirt production as well as customer service, professionalism and interpersonal interaction with customers.

“It just excites me to see children learn. If I can help one child, then I’ve done my part.” Youth also receive job training by working in the after school and feeding programs. Developed by her son Mike Dove, DREAMS is a college enrichment program that helps at-risk students in high poverty areas graduate from high school and enroll in college. The program provides 10th-12th grade students in Fayetteville, Pine Bluff, and West Memphis, Arkansas, with a college mentor who will guide them through the entire process. Of the recent class of DREAMS students, all but one of them are currently attending UAPB. “We’re a small program, but we try to zero in on those kids that really need us,” she said. Future plans for the program include building a larger facility and offering transitional housing to homeless youth. Although her passion requires a lot of work, Dove says she is encouraged by the change that is seen in the children she serves. “It just excites me to see children learn.” Dove said. “If I can help one child, then I’ve done my part.”

Photograph by Brian Williams Fall 2016 39




reston Hawkins is a preppy kind of guy. He’s subject to sport a bow tie to class or wear a blazer and slacks almost every day of the week. His toothy grin is contagious. If he’s in his wheelchair, then his disability is obvious, but so is his strong self-will. Treston is an

overcomer. From June to August 2016, Treston Hawkins successfully completed his internship at the USDA Rural Development Office in Washington, D.C., working as a loan specialist. He is a senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, majoring in business agriculture. Hawkins appears to be an average 23-year-old college student, but he has above average attributes. He chose a late Friday afternoon to talk about his reality since the 2014 accident that took the life of his best friend, Balton Coleman, and left him a double amputee. He and Coleman, and a female friend had just left Chili’s late that evening where they celebrated Balton’s 21st birthday. The car they were driving, a large SUV, stopped running and the young men got out to push the vehicle, and the young lady stayed in the car, but while they were pushing the car, a van ran into them.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Archie Howard

Treston Hawkins is photographed in front of his car at Lake Saracen in Pine Bluff.

Fall 2016 41 Photographs by Archie Howard and Brian Williams

“By moving forward, it keeps me from thinking about how I am, and the things that happened... We are not our situation – it’s our attitudes that affect our situations.”


Coleman died from injuries caused by the accident. Hawkins was rushed to the hospital where doctors amputated both of his legs. Hawkins doesn’t remember much about the night of the accident, but he remembers the pain of loss afterward, and how he has learned to gather strength from it to move forward. “By moving forward, it keeps me from thinking about how I am, and the things that happened,” Hawkins said. “We are not our situation – it’s our attitudes that affect our situations.” For six weeks, Hawkins was in the hospital undergoing treatment and rehabilitation for his wounds. The first four or five days, he was in and out of consciousness. Fortunately, he only required one other surgery since the amputation, and that was a skin graft on his stomach. “My time in the hospital still haunts me to this day,” Treston said. “It gave me a lot of time to think. There were some days that I didn’t even get out of bed. I had to depend on others for almost everything. I tried to be calm, but it’s easy to lash out at others when you are in pain.” Determined to keep busy and stay focused, Hawkins contacted University instructors to complete his remaining coursework for fall 2014. “My instructors were great because it was so close to the end of the semester they worked with me,” he said. “I had support from my family and friends.”

“I was either going to stay in Dermott and let my grandparents take care of me, or I was going back to college....I wanted to be in college. I struggled in high school. I got suspended. I had bad grades, but college was a second chance to do better. Balton was the person who motivated me to do better.”


On Christmas Eve 2014, Hawkins left Baptist Hospital in Little Rock to go home to live with his grandparents in Dermott, Arkansas, his hometown. Once there, he was even more aware of his physical changes. He had to ask his grandparents to fix his food and help with daily needs. Hawkins couldn’t return to campus in spring 2015 because he still needed home health care, and he had frequent doctor’s appointments. Determined not to quit, he enrolled in on-line classes at UAPB to keep working towards his degree. “I was either going to stay in Dermott and let my grandparents take care of me, or I was going back to college,” Hawkins said. “I wanted to be in college. I struggled in high school. I got suspended. I had bad grades, but college was a second chance to do better. Balton was the person who motivated me to do better.” Coleman and Hawkins became fast friends as freshmen while shooting pool in Harold Hall Complex in fall 2012. “I knew once I met him and understood his personality, that I needed to be around him,” Hawkins said. “He was fun, and he knew where I was trying to get to and he pushed me. He motivated me. I liked being around him. Coleman had a 4.0 his first semester.” Coming back to UAPB was the way to keep Balton Coleman’s spirit alive.

Balton Coleman


Hawkins says he used Balton’s inspiration to push him back on campus fall 2015. Fighting shame and overcoming fear, Hawkins moved back into Johnny B. Johnson Dormitory a week early and started afresh. Friends reassured him nothing had changed, and he began to realize his own value. “I want to help others get through bad days and make them smile,” Treston said. “That’s what we live for, to make each other’s life bearable. People like my story. They say that if I can lose both legs and still be highly motivated and get around, what’s their excuse?” Still, Treston works even harder to keep his independence. He insists on doing what he can for himself. Sometimes, if people insist, he lets them hold doors or carry his tray in the cafeteria. At times he’s still sensitive about being in a wheelchair or walking with his prostheses. If he happens to fall, and he has fallen since his return, he shared that his main pain or hurt, is for his friends to see him. Otherwise, he’s usually okay. The more he walks with his computerized legs (C-legs), the easier it becomes for him.

Fall 2016 43


Above: Treston Hawkins is photographed with Leah Rowe, the first recipient of Hawkins’ Be The Change scholarship. Rowe is a graduate from Dermott High School and is now a student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff majoring in chemistry.

The C-legs have prosthetic knees that are computerized, and the sensors can actually detect when he’s about to stumble and balance him. He may not be able to walk upstairs yet, but he can walk downstairs. “It’s about two generations out before the technology is complete to make these knees be able to bend, but someday in the future, I expect to be dancing at somebody’s wedding,” he joked. “Until then, I will use my wheelchair because sometimes people are still a little overprotective of me, and I don’t want my friends to worry.” In the future, he would like to have a set of running prosthetics so he can renew the exercise routine he had before the accident. “I want to run a 2k or 4k someday,” he said. “I miss those days when I used to run around [Lake Saracen] in the evening to clear my mind.” Although his parents and grandparents didn’t approve at first, Hawkins taught himself to drive using hand controls. His mom gave him a car and he already had his license, so he ordered the hand controls online, and asked a trustworthy friend to ride with him in case he needed help. That was November 2015.


While in D.C., Hawkins gets up at 5 a.m. every morning to take a 45-minute ride on the Metro to work. He leaves at 6:10 a.m. to beat the crowd, whether he’s in his wheelchair or walking on his C-legs. His mind is on getting to work and beating the morning rush. Hawkins was supposed to have signed up to take the Metro service for people with disabilities, but he didn’t, so he said that he chose to “be normal” and do what everyone else does. Expect Hawkins to be different, always. 44

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

His apartment is ½ mile away from the metro station, and he didn’t realize it was hilly until the first day he went to work by Metro. Once he made the 15 minute trek, he settled in for his morning commute. Metro time equals reading time. Today he’s reading “The Souls of Black Folks” by W.E.B. Dubois. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could take the Metro,” he said. “I like to see myself being as independent as possible. It still gets to me at times that this is how I have to get around. People try to help me and sometimes I let them, but most of the time I do not.” At least once a week, Hawkins walks to work using his prosthesis, so he can stay active in them. “I may have to stop and catch my breath, but it’s okay cause I want to do it. The only problem is in the D.C. heat, sweat builds up in my prosthetic legs, so I have to dry them off and put them back on or they may fall off.” Hawkins is scheduled to graduate this fall after completing 17 hours this semester. After graduation, he wants to do public service and work for a senator, politician, or the USDA. A strong proponent for education, Hawkins created a $500 book scholarship for graduating students at Dermott High School called “Be the Change.” Students must attend UAPB, have at least a 2.8 GPA, and write a 500-word essay about a struggle they went through and how they overcame it. He awarded his first scholarship in May 2016. “I have this strong urge to help people attain greatness,” he said.

u n i v e r s i t y o f a r k a n s a s at p i n e b l u f f

Dorothy Magett Fiddmont New Millennium Leaders

This special section is a tribute to three individuals who, since our Homecoming 2014 publication, have increased their level of support to and/or joined the Dorothy Magett Fiddmont New Millennium Leaders. They are part of the many positive things that occur at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).

History of the Millennium Initiative

The approach of the year 2000 was a time of excitement, fear, and anticipation. There was much ado, much preparation, and much trepidation as to how technology would make the transition. Would mass transit systems in large cities be immobilized? Would Wall Street and major financial institutions collapse? Was UAPB positioned for the 21st century and all that it entailed? Indeed, the new millennium was upon us, and just as pundits the world-over readied for international and national technological challenges, one individual came forth with an idea that would keep UAPB in the forefront of educational excellence. Dr. Dorothy Magett Fiddmont set forth the idea of identifying a group of individuals who would agree to be ambassadors for the university and as evidence of their commitment donate $2,000 to provide much needed scholarship funds for deserving students at UAPB. The institution, from its earliest days as

Branch Normal, had always had the good fortune to have persons who were deeply committed to its mission, goals, and objectives. The group now being formed would comprise some of the individuals from the earlier years of Arkansas AM&N College and many more from more recent years of the institution. They would be the New Millennium Leaders. As ambassadors, they would be the individuals who could be counted on to share the many positive things happening at the university. They would be kept abreast of happenings at the university by remaining connected, involved and well-informed. The Millennium Leaders have met the challenge. They have stayed the course. Through good times and not so good times, the Millennium Leaders have been strong advocates for the university. They have focused on all the good and positive things UAPB has forever encompassed in the midst of no publicity, poor publicity and negative publicity. The Millennium Leaders have been a positive force. They are among the leaders of this millennium! Some of them have passed away. Though they are gone, they are remembered for the trails they blazed, the commitment they made, and the legacy they left for others to emulate.

Fall 2016 45

jennifer r. smith

Jennifer R. Smith graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on May 6, 1989, and is third-generation alumnus of AM&N/UAPB. She comes from a long line of relatives, who are also alumni of AM&N/UAPB. Jennifer is currently active in the D/FW Metroplex Alumni Chapter of the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association, Inc., in which she is a Platinum Life Member. In the community, Smith is a volunteer at the Harmony Community Development Corporation Food Pantry and the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. She is also a core team member and event volunteer for the annual Loving the Me I See Girls’ Self-Esteem Workshop. Smith is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of Negro Women and she serves as Chair of the Library Advisory Board for the City of DeSoto, Texas. Additionally, she is a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and has been continuously active since she pledged in 1986. After a rigorous application and interview process, Smith was recently selected as one of the twenty-two (22) members of the inaugural class of the Delta


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Fellows Program, a leadership development program for future leaders in the Sorority, professionally, and in the community. Professionally, Smith is employed at Southern Methodist University in the Meadows School of the Arts as an Academic Records Coordinator. She thoroughly enjoys being employed on a college campus because it keeps her “young and vibrant.” In the words of her Sister, “Jennifer works at ‘FAME’ for college students!” Smith’s Faith and Family are most important to her. She cherishes the titles Daughter, Sister, Auntie, Niece, Cousin, and Friend but above all, CHILD OF GOD! She is an active member of Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. During her time on the UAPB campus, she served as President of the Delta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., as an Off-Campus Senator in the SGA, and as a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and she was selected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Jennifer wholeheartedly supports her Alma Mater and knows that she is the woman she is today because she spent time at UAPB.

johnnie brown-swift

Johnnie Brown-Swift is a native of Cotton Plant, Arkansas. After graduating from AM&N College with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics, she also obtained a M.S. in Management and Business from National-Louis University. While at AM&N College, she was initiated into the Alpha Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and presently she enjoys Life Membership and Golden Soror status. Swift moved to Washington, DC where she enjoyed a 37 year long and rewarding career with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. Combining outstanding performance with social consciousness, she helped to change the fabric of the Patent and Trademark Office and distinguished herself with unique accomplishments as a Patent professional. A PTO pioneer during the 1960s, Swift was the first African American woman to become a Supervisory Patent Examiner in determining the patentability of inventions in specific areas of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and antibiotics. She also served in the Specials Programs Division of the Patent Cooperation Treaty Legal Office as Supervisory Specials Programs Examiner.

A Life Member of the AM&N/UAPB National Alumni Association, she served in many capacities through the years in the Washington, DC Area Alumni Chapter, Houston, TX Alumni Chapter and presently with the Pulaski County Chapter. Swift was a recipient of the National Alumni Behind The Scenes Award in 2014. A Professional Registered Parliamentarian, the highest certification from the National Association of Parliamentarians, Swift has served as parliamentarian for local, regional and national organizations including DC Democratic Party State Committee, Congressional black Caucus Spouses, etc. She served as Parliamentarian for the Eastern Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. from 2002-2006. After moving to Houston, TX and continuing work with social and service organizations, she served as Parliamentarian for the Western Area of The Links, Incorporated from 2011-2015. She is a Member-At-Large of the Arkansas Association of Parliamentarians. She is married to Mr. Roger Swift. She has two daughters and a granddaughter.

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roger swift

Roger Swift is a native of Pine Bluff and a graduate of Merrill High School. He holds a B.S. Degree in Music Education from AM&N College and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, New York City. While at AM&N College, he was a member of the AM&N Band and Tau Sigma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Swift is a lifetime member of the National Alumni Association. He served as a Regional Director while a member of the Dayton/ Cincinnati, Ohio Chapter and co-chaired the committee to plan the second Annual Summer Conference held in Cincinnati, OH. As president of the Houston, TX Alumni Chapter, Swift organized and developed a fundraising Golf Tournament that has increased the chapter’s ability to generate annually large sums of revenue to support the University Scholarship Fund. He contributes generously each year to this fund. Swift has received numerous certificates of recognition and appreciation for his services to the university as follows: by the Golden Lions Booster Club for outstanding support as a member of the Mighty Lions Club for 1989-1990; the UAPB Department of Music Band Achievement Award in recognition of Meritorious Service to the UAPB Band in June 1981; the


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Challenge Club Member 2013-2014; and National Alumni Behind The Scenes Award, 2014. Swift is the founder and CEO of the Urban Family Center, Inc. located in Pine Bluff, AR from which he retired. Currently, he is CEO of Swift Enterprises, a consultant business providing training, technical assistance and workshop presentations such as Stress Relief, Relaxation Techniques and Chakras Healing for a healthy mind. He is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. Swift has dedicated his life and utilized his skills in management, training and treatment to improve the quality of life for children, families and community services. Certificates of appreciation were received as follows: for valuable contributions to the Arkansas State Youth Suicide Prevention Commission, guest speaker for the Varner Jaycees, from Jefferson County Department of Human Services, Pine Bluff Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and training to the staff of Jefferson County Head Start Program. He has been happily married to Johnnie Brown-Swift for over 10 years.


PRIDE At the UniversitY of ArkAnsAs At Pine BlUff, YoU Are A PArt of A PlAce where A legAcY of excellence hAs Been forged. You are a part of a place where our students are as diverse as the world in which they are preparing to thrive. You are a part of a place where world-renowned academic programs are led by stellar faculty who provide one-on-one instruction. You are a part of a place that prepares you to go on to impact the world — as a proud representative of the pride.

UAPB.EDU #PrideUAPB Fall 2016 49

© 2015 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Imagine migrating to Dayton, Ohio, as an African-American at the turn of the 20th century to the great promise of opportunity beckoning you in the North. Instead you find a “northern city with a southern exposure.” De facto segregation is persistent over Dr. Gladys Turner-Finney time. Dr. Gladys TurnerFinney presents a historical view of African American migration and the importance of Dayton as a “factory town.” Finney traces early black protests, community and political leaders, and ultimately the advent of the Dayton Model Cities Program with empowering the black community to participate in the governmental and economic structures of the larger Dayton community. In the 1970s, Dayton became part of the federal “Model Cities Program,” a feature of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Dayton’s Model Cities Program was successful in creating a system of citizen participation in the black community of West Dayton to identify and address community needs. Frederick M. Finney served as Program Evaluation Director for the Dayton Model Cities Program. It is through his recollections and insight that we encounter a previously untold part of Dayton’s history. Finney died in 2008. His manuscript and notes were organized by his wife, Dr. Gladys Turner Finney’57, under the title, “Call to the Land of Promise.”

Sammie Thomas’75, one of the owners of Thomas

Groceries and Gift Store at 2003 N. University Drive, was presented with the 2016 George A. Makris Sr. Small Business of the Year award. She is pictured with rotarian Ted Drake (right), during the annual Rotary Small Business Appreciation Day at the Pine Bluff Country Club, a joint meeting between the Pine Bluff Rotary Club and West Pine Bluff Rotary Club.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff Police Officer Latherese Ellis (holding plaque), is recognized as Officer of the Year.

Courtesy of the Pine Bluff Commercial

Pine Bluff Police Officer Latherese Ellis’01, who will complete her second year on the force in November, was named Officer of the Year during the department’s annual awards banquet. Ellis also received a Meritorious Conduct Award for performance beyond the call of duty and a Lifesaving Award, both stemming from incidents in 2015. The Meritorious Conduct Award was based on her actions in responding to a reported burglary in progress call at China Town Restaurant on April 23, 2015. According to a report, Ellis and her training officer, Officer Jason Boykin, saw a dark gray Chevrolet Impala leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed with the lights off. The officers turned on their blue lights and siren when the car made a left going onto Main Street. The driver of the vehicle turned east on 34th Avenue to Georgia Street, then continued north on Georgia Street until the driver lost control at the corner of Georgia Street and Park Place and damaged a chain-link fence at 301 Park Place before it came to a stop after damaging a privacy fence at 1727 S. Georgia St.

According to the report, two men jumped out of the car and ran and were chased down and arrested. When the officers returned to the car, they found money on the ground and inside the car, and in the back yard of 1725 S. Georgia St., where one of the men was found hiding, gloves and a black rag were located in an old ice chest. The Lifesaving Award was based on Ellis’ response to a report of a newborn not breathing. According to her report, at 9:01 p.m. Sept. 17, she was sent to 802 W. 26th Ave., and on arrival, met the mother and father standing outside waiting on an ambulance. The mother of the child handed the infant boy to Ellis and said he was not breathing and Ellis said in the report there was a stream of thick saliva running down the side of his face. “I then finger swept the mucus from his mouth and the infant Brayton Hutchinson took a few short breaths,” Ellis said in the report. “He then started moving his hands. The fireman then arrived and began to examine Brayton Hutchinson. He was responding to my flashlight while the paramedics checked him thoroughly.”

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


William “Sonny” Walker is founder and principal of The Sonny Walker Group, a management consulting/networking firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Born in Arkansas, he has held leadership positions at local, state, regional and national levels, working on matters pertaining to strategic planning, early learning, education reform, political campaign management, economic and human resources development, worker productivity, partnership development, networking and fundraising. Prior to forming The Sonny Walker Group, he served as executive director and chief operating officer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. He also served as an assistant to Mrs. Coretta Scott King for speech preparation and development. Before assuming the position at The King Center, Dr. Walker was vice president of the National Alliance of Business (NAB) for 13 years, where he was responsible for its programs and activities in eight southeastern states. The NAB was a business sector-led partnership dedicated to establishing an internationally competitive American workforce. Dr. Walker began his professional career as an educator in the Arkansas public schools as a teacher, athletic coach and administrator. He also served as president of both the Little Rock and Arkansas Associations of Teachers. Following his directorship of the Economic Opportunity Agency of Little Rock and Pulaski County (a community action agency), he served in Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s cabinet as head of the Arkansas State Economic Opportunity Office. After a stint as a division director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Walker was appointed director of the Southeast Region for the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and its successor agency, the U.S. Community Services Administration. He served as director for ten years under four U.S. Presidents – Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. In 1965-66, Dr. Walker assisted in organizing and providing leadership for one of the first Head Start programs in the nation, The Crusade for Opportunity in Syracuse, New York. He also led a team that developed a recent comprehensive strategic plan for the National Head Start Association. Fall 2016 53

REMEMBERING SONNY WALKER Dr. Walker served as a national consultant for Leap Frog School House with special emphasis on Head Start/Early Childhood Development and as a lecturer for the National Alliance for Black School Educators with emphasis on Black male challenges. He also has provided consultant support for Cambium Learning Group including extensive work with VOYAGER addressing issues related to special education and strategies for closing the achievement gap. Most recently, Dr. Walker worked with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights as a campaign consultant in support of the development of the National Center at Pemberton Place. In the summer of 2011, Dr. Walker was inducted into the internationally known History Makers in recognition of his civil rights contributions and achievements in the state of Arkansas. A graduate of his hometown institution, Arkansas AM&N College, he did further study at Arizona State University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Arkansas, and The Federal Executive Institute. Dr. Walker is listed in Outstanding Personalities in the South, 1974 – 2010; Who’s Who in Black America, 1976–2010; and Who’s Who Among African Americans, 1997–2010. A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he is the father of two daughters, Cheryl, a restaurant consultant, and Lesli, mother of three children and grandmother of three; two sons, Jimmy, a two time All-American defensive tackle with eight years of professional football and currently County Unit Supervisor in South Bend, Indiana; and William, Jr., former County Commissioner and 16 years in the Arkansas Legislature, former Arkansas State Senator and five-year member of the State Parole Board, and executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and currently director of Career Education for Arkansas. He has eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Dr. Walker has been an important civil rights leader in America for most of his life, particularly in the state of Arkansas. A native of Pine Bluff, he has helped progress the cause of diversity in Arkansas greatly, starting in 1957 when he helped the Little Rock Nine prepare for their historic integration into Little Rock Central High. In 1963, Dr. Walker served as campaign manager for T. E. Patterson, helping Patterson become the first Black school board member in Little Rock. Later that decade, he facilitated the successful integration of the Little Rock Jaycees and the State Police. Dr. Walker has also worked for equality and economic progression through the private sector. For 13 years, he was the vice president of the National Alliance of Business, an organization focused on making America’s workforce internationally competitive. He has been the executive director and COO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, as well as having been an assistant and speech writer for Coretta Scott King. Dr. Walker most recently founded, and served as principal of, The Sonny Walker Group, a management consulting and networking firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has received countless awards and honors, including five honorary doctorates.


UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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UAPB Magazine | Fall 2016  

After losing his best friend and both legs in a tragic accident, Treston Hawkins is moving forward and inspiring others to do the same.

UAPB Magazine | Fall 2016  

After losing his best friend and both legs in a tragic accident, Treston Hawkins is moving forward and inspiring others to do the same.