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

FALL 2015




UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Keshia Knight Pulliam encourages students to follow their dreams in her speech during Welcome Back Week.


5 6 21 30 56 58

Chancellor’s Letter News & Events Perspective Athletics Class Notes In Memoriam

Features 38 COVER STORY seeing clearly


by Tisha D. Arnold Photography by Marc Smith The two–time Grammy® awardwinning recording artist has experienced more in 40 years than most do in a lifetime, but it wasn’t until he had everything that he realized something was missing

22 WHERE HISTORY LIVES The Museum and Cultural Center brings stories to life in a space that once held book stacks. Now in its tenth year of existence, the future of history looks bright







Dedicated faculty have revitalized the Nursing Program and look to impact the future of healthcare

How one alumnus is using proceeds from his business to fund scholarships at his alma mater

A North Carolina transplant, Dr. Ann Williams has taken to the community so well that she is often mistaken for a graduate



Get to know a special group of supporters that have invested in the future of the institution FALL 2015


Volume 2 No. 3 Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Develop0ment James B. Tyson, CFRE Editor


Anthony Jones, former player for the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers, shares the stage with four other football greats during the Legends and Legacies fundraiser. Read more in Athletics on page 30.

Tisha D. Arnold Copy Editor

Donna Mooney Creative Director

Brian T. Williams Contributing Writers

Tisha D. Arnold Staphea Campbell William Hehemann David Hutter Ray King Donna Mooney Contributing Photographers

Kitti Jackson Brad Mayhugh Richard Redus Marc Smith 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 communications@uapb.edu Website www.uapb.edu/magazine UAPB Magazine is published three times a year by the Office of Communications at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a member of the University of Arkansas System. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations. The university has pledged not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. This policy extends to all educational, service and employment programs of the university. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604. Let Us Know What You Think! We want to know what you think of this issue of PRIDE. To share your opinions, email us at communications@uapb.edu.



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UAPB MAGAZINE • 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. We entered into the new academic year with a bang – enrollment increased! For the first time since 2009, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff experienced an increase in enrollment. First-time freshmen enrollment increased 37.9 percent with 684 freshmen enrolled. Overall student enrollment, including graduate students, increased by 5.8 percent, with a student population of 2,658 compared to last year’s overall student population of 2,513. In addition, we started a new RN-to-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, and we named our new Nursing Department Chair, Mrs. Diann Williams as the first recipient. What a way to kick off the school year! As you peruse through the pages of this magazine, you will read about one of our most distinguished alumni, Mr. Smokie Norful who is featured as the cover story. The issue shares Mr. Norful’s personal experience at the university as well as his journey to becoming an award-winning, national recording artist. While at the university, Mr. Norful recalls the roles faculty played on the students as he stated, “they were almost [like] uncles and aunts to us in addition to being our professors. They took a personal interest in our lives and the roles they played allowed us to endear ourselves to one another.” Mr. Norful is a prime example of success and the type of graduate we want to continue to produce. At UAPB, we are committed to helping students travel the journey from college enrollment, to 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 complete their degrees at the university. We are also fortunate to have dynamic faculty who are not only committed to the success of our students, but they are also enhancing their professional development in order to better serve the educational needs of our students. Examples highlighted in this issue include: 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. Later this academic year, we look forward to welcoming internationally and nationally recognized, motivational and dynamic orator and speaker Reverend Dr. Bernice King; award-winning actor and author Hill Harper; worldrenowned poet, writer, commentator and activist Nikki Giovanni; and award-winning journalist, scholar, author, and activist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. These individuals are living models of success and significance, and they stand as examples of what students can become. 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. 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!


Laurence B. Alexander, J.D., Ph.D. Chancellor FALL 2015



Above: UAPB students engage in conversation while walking through the Bell Tower Plaza

Freshman Enrollment Rises 37.9% 5.8 Percent Growth in Overall Enrollment

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff experienced a dramatic increase in freshmen enrollment and total student enrollment. First-time freshmen enrollment has increased by 37.9 percent, with 684 students enrolled. Overall student enrollment, including graduate students, increased by 5.8 percent, with a student population at 2,658. Last year, UAPB enrolled 496 new freshmen and 2,513 students overall. UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander attributed the rise in enrollment to several factors, including enhanced scholarship offerings, a return of the PreLicensure (Generic) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, new STEM program offerings, as well as targeted marketing and recruitment efforts. “We are excited about the increased number of students who are choosing UAPB to help prepare them for careers of the future. These data represent leaders, doctors, teachers and scientists of tomorrow, and our faculty and staff are dedicated to ensuring their success,” said Dr. Alexander.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Other academic enhancements: • The first endowed professorship— Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Endowed Nursing Professorship in Rural Health • New scholarship programs to assist new and continuing students. • Expansion of the Summer Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program from 170 participants in 2014 to 280 participants in 2015.

Jefferson County Judge Dutch King, from left, city treasurer Greg Gustek, Fire and Emergency Services Department Chief Shauwn Howell, Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, Alderman Bill Brumett, the Rev. Jesse Turner, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Deputy Director and Chief Engineer Emanuel Banks and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Laurence Alexander cut the ribbon, officially dedicating the completion of the University Drive widening project Tuesday morning. (Pine Bluff Commercial/Ray King)

Widened University Drive celebrated with ribboncutting ceremony By David Hutter | OF THE PINE BLUFF COMMERCIAL STAFF Photo by Richard Redus

More than two years after construction began to widen University Drive, city, state and university officials joined Tuesday with representatives of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department to officially celebrate completion of the project. Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said the new University Drive “will provide a 21st century gateway to our city.” The project widened 1.6 miles of U.S. Highway 79B (University Drive) between Martha Mitchell Expressway and Oliver Road, which is just north of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Another project goal was to straighten out a dangerous curve just north of West Pullen Avenue. Highway and Transportation Special Projects Coordinator Glen Bolick said the overall project also included new traffic signals, a triple box culvert for erosion and flood control and new sidewalks and curbs. “There are good wide roads and sidewalks, and we’ve got lots of drainage with curbs and gutters,” said Emmanuel Banks, deputy director and chief engineer with the highway department. “What a gateway this is to the university, and there’s more to come.” Work to place the utility lines along the road underground is expected to begin this summer, officials said in a press release.

The project costed $6.7 million and was awarded to a company from Warren in December 2012. Work actually started in January 2013. Before the Highway Department began their work, Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility relocated 4,000 feet of sewer lines and added a new pump station, General Manager Ken Johnson said. “We wanted to get in there before the other utilities did,” Johnson said. Hollingsworth thanked the people who initially pushed for the widening of the roadway and said the completed project “is a tremendous accomplishment for our city and I see nothing but great things from this day forward.” Banks expressed special thanks for former State Sen. Henry “Hank” Wilkins III, who worked with former4th District Congressman Mike Ross in securing nearly $3 million in federal funds for the project. “For us to have people like that to go to bat for us was really good,” Banks said. State Highway Commissioner Frank Scott from Little Rock also spoke at the dedication, saying he looked at the project as “creating a gateway to UAPB and the city.” “It takes a gateway to go somewhere, and many cities grow around an institution of higher education,” Scott said. “UAPB is the institute of higher education in Pine Bluff.” Duke Fakouri, chairman of the Greater Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, acted as master of ceremonies for the brief dedication and ribbon cutting, thanking members of the state legislature, current members of the city council, County Judge Dutch King, UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander, Wilkins, former Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. and the Rev. Jesse Turner, executive director of Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc., for their help in making the now five-lane roadway a reality.

FALL 2015



SUMMER ALUMNI CONFERENCE The UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association held its annual summer conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Hosted at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead, workshops included Chapter Development, Trends in American Population, Fundraising Methods and more. The next conference will be held July 28-30, 2016 in Oakland, California. Photographs by Brian Williams

At right: UAPB student Alexander Watkins talks about his college experience to high schools students during the recruitment fair portion of the conference.

At left: Dr. Lloyd V. Hackley, former UAPB Chancellor gives a riveting speech during the luncheon.

At left: Chapter Presidents and members of the UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Board gather for a group photo after the opening procession.

At right: UAPB alumni, faculty, and staff put their heads together at a brainstorming session during one of the workshops. Topics covered chapter development, workforce trends and alumni giving. At far right: Velois Bowers and Frances Waddell pose for a photo as part of the High Five giving initiative


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


AGRICULTURE FIELD DAY The annual UAPB Agriculture Field Day was held Thursday, Sept. 17. Participants toured the UAPB Experimental Kitchen and Value-Added Products Laboratory, greenhouses and high tunnels. Topics included the reduction of straighthead disease in rice, production of hot pepper varieties and breeding cowpea varieties for production and marketing. Livestock topics included mixed species stocking and management of cattle and goats. John Lee, state conservation agronomist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and UAPB alumnus, delivered the luncheon speech. Photographs by Brad Mayhugh

John Lee, state conservation agronomist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, delivers the luncheon speech at the UAPB Agriculture Field Day.

Dr. Henry English, director, Small Farm Program, shows attendees pea varieties.


By Will Hehemann

Bridgette Jones, a sophomore major of the Merchandising, Textiles and Design (MTD) program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was recently named 2015 Model of the Year at the seventh annual Little Rock Fashion Week (LRFW). In addition to the modeling contest, the event featured fall and winter fashion lines, celebrity guests, fashion exhibitions, musical performances and networking opportunities with leaders in the industry. “Participating in LRFW was a really great experience,” Jones said. “The people I worked with were really nice and it has brought so many amazing opportunities. I learned a lot about modeling and how to work with different designers.” Jones said LRFW founder Brandon Campbell helped her determine the right designers to work with and the garments to model. She learned how to fit garments with the help of designers and assistants in preparation for the runway show. “Bridgette learned how to dress to match her personality in an course on apparel selection and design,” Yunru Shen, instructor for the MTD department, said. “Our program prepares graduates for professional employment in the apparel industry.” Shen said students with fashion career aspirations are not limited to jobs in fashion design. They can consider careers as a model, merchandiser, buyer, stylist or fabric designer. “I’ve been interested in fashion and modeling for as long as I can remember,” Jones said. “I just love that I can express myself and am able to try things other people wouldn’t.” Jones, who is captain of the UAPB Modeling Team and a member of The Fashion Network club, said she tentatively wants to pursue a career as an image consultant. FALL 2015 9


Dr. Carolyn F. Blakely stands as Retired U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins makes his final remarks and accepts awards and resolutions

Retired ambassador touts education, respect as keys to success By David Hutter | OF THE PINE BLUFF COMMERCIAL STAFF Photographs by Kitti Jackson

Retired U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins discussed education and respect as keys to success Thursday, as a guest speaker at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Born in Sterlington, Louisiana, in 1928, Perkins lived in Pine Bluff from 1942 to 1945 and attended Merrill High School. Perkins credited his Merrill High School teachers for teaching him about world affairs and encouraging him to further his education. Hundreds of people came to hear Perkins. “You represent what our country will become,” Perkins told the audience, which included many students. “We are never at the finish line. We are always pushing for the finish line. … Our nation is always at crisis points.” Perkins said he did not have relatives in Pine Bluff but knew that church people were watching over him to keep him on the straight path. “I did not have time to get in trouble because I was either in school, church or home,” Perkins said. “My Merrill High teachers laid out a plan for my success. They gave me the confidence to succeed.” 10

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Perkins served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps and earned a doctorate of public administration from the University of Southern California. He served as ambassador to Liberia, South Africa, the United Nations and Australia. Perkins said President Ronald Reagan selected him to build bridges with the people of South Africa, as a precursor to ending apartheid. Perkins said he delighted in meeting with people and took pride in being an American. “People are appointed to make the world a better place,” Perkins said. “It is a privilege that I have enjoyed beyond explanation to hear someone say ‘Perkins is an American.’ The United States is one of the strongest nations because it has a diverse population.” Perkins said he wanted to visit the imprisoned South African President Nelson Mandela but his request was denied by a South African government official. Perkins noted the students in the audience, encouraging them to study other languages. He said his grandmother did not read or write but collected books for her children.

A delegation faculty, staff, and administrators from UAPB participated in the 1890s on the Hill Celebration, held in Washington, D.C. in commemoration of the signing of the Second Morrill Act of 1890.

UAPB delegation celebrates land-grant university history on Capitol Hill Above: Members of the graduate chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated pose for a photo with Ambassador Perkins after presenting him with a lithograph. At right: Jefferson County Judge Dutch King presents a resolution to Perkins

Perkins said he received hate mail and experienced racial injustice but did not fixate on those instances. “I learned you never let one or two incidents determine the course of your life,” Perkins said. Perkins said he dreams of the Foreign Service being made up of Americans who represent the diversity of citizens. UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander lauded Perkins, telling students to pursue their dreams. “I am delighted you took time to experience greatness among us,” Alexander said of Perkins. “There is nothing you cannot do or achieve. With God, you can do all things.” Carolyn Blakely, long-time professor and administrator at UAPB, praised Perkins for achieving greatness. She encouraged the students to follow in his footsteps. “There is a global opportunity for you out there,” Blakely said. “Ambassador Perkins is a living example.”

By Will Hehemann

A delegation from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) participated recently in the 1890s on the Hill Celebration, held in Washington, D.C. The event marked the 125th anniversary of the signing of the Second Morrill Act of 1890 and the creation of the nation’s 19 historically black land-grant universities (the 1890s). Representatives from the universities shared academic and Extension research at an exhibition held at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress. UAPB presenters included Dr. Muthusamy Manoharan, associate professor of agriculture at UAPB, Dr. Rebecca Lochmann interim chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Dr. Jaheon Koo, associate professor of regulatory science, and Michele Thompson and Greyson Farris, graduate students of aquaculture/fisheries. A convocation held at the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building culminated the celebration. Tom Vilsak, the nation’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture, and M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) spoke at the event. Secretary Vilsack said that the research occurring at 1890s is critical to addressing many of the food, health and environmental concerns our nation faces. “The 1890s on the Hill Celebration was a tremendous opportunity for the universities to gather on Capitol Hill and share their many accomplishments,” said Edmund R. Buckner, interim dean/director of the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences. “Their contributions benefit not only underserved communities, but society as a whole.” Justin Morrill, the author of the Second Morrill Act, believed that all people deserved the right to education, regardless of race or social class. The Act extended educational access to former slaves through the 1890 land-grant universities, which had a shared goal of educating students in practical fields such as agriculture and mechanical engineering. FALL 2015



UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

THE CAMPUS QUEEN LEGACY CONTINUES Michel’la Martin (top right in the chambray shirt and striped skirt), the 85th Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is pictured with other university queens as part of EBONY Magazine’s HBCU Campus Queens feature. She is the second consecutive Miss UAPB to appear in the feature. Provided courtesy of EBONY Magazine/Johnson Publishing Company/Photo by Ron Aira

FALL 2015


GETTING NOTICED UAPB placed high on the lists of several ranking organizations:

Ranked fourth among the 25 Best Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Ranked 24th Nationally for Social Mobility, Research, and Service

Ranked third among 10 Colleges Doing Right By Kids

Ranked as one of the most affordable Universities in the State

$530K grant awarded to reshape math instruction The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) has received funding from the United States Department of Education under the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP). The funding, totaling $530K over a threeyear period will be leveraged to reshape mathematics instruction using novel mathematic training approaches around both informal and formal settings for all students at UAPB. Named the Mathematics STEM Undergraduate Apprentice Program (MSTEM-UAP), the program will be a true departure from traditional mathematics instruction for UAPB. The project team will leverage cultural and mathematical frameworks for students, such as communal learning using experiential mathematic analysis, communal learning via social media

tools such as micro-blogging (i.e. Twitter), and problem modeling using discipline specific simulations. “Mathematics is a critical literacy need for the Arkansas Delta,” Dr. Jessie Walker, chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science said. “This funding will aid the MCS department in its role of helping eager young individuals achieve their goals and aiding them in aspiring to greatness via mathematics and computer science.” MSTEM-UAP is operated within the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science where all faculty/ staff at will help in the project’s implementation. Dr. Jessie Walker will serve as project director, with Mr. Robin Ghosh, as project coordinator. The project started October 1, 2015.

Student Support Services gets $413K grant to help college students The Student Support Services (SSS) Program has received approval for refunding for 2015-2020. Donna M. Mooney, program director, said that during the first year of funding, the program will receive $413,145. According to the United States Department of Education, funding for the second, third and fourth years will be determined by budgetary requirements. Student Support Services is a federally funded program created under the Higher Education Act of 1965, also known as TRIO. Only first-generation college students, low-income students, and students with disabilities evidencing academic need are eligible to participate in SSS projects.

Two-thirds of the participants in any SSS project must be either disabled or first-generation college students from low-income families. One-third of the disabled participants also must be lowincome students. This SSS Program is approved to work with 308 students per year. The program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students towards the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next.

$280K NSF grant funded for dedicated research network Over the last several years, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has developed innovative and productive research groups exploring topics in bioinformatics, nanosciences, security analytics and biotechnology. UAPB was awarded a $281,488 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a Dedicated Research Network (DRN), making UAPB one of only two schools in the state with a network of this nature. The result of a collaboration between the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and Technical Services, this project is designed to enhance the institution’s campus network infrastructure to enabled dynamic network services for research activities.

The network will enhance existing large-scale research activities to take advantage of new network capabilities in particular by separating research network traffic on the campus, and among partners onto a specialized local dedicated research network (DRN). This will enable faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and students who have appropriate knowledge to make great and immediate strides in their research activities. The network will also serve as education and training ground for a new generation of researchers and majority minority student population from a HBCU in cutting-edge research disciplines within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).


Grant Title

Funding Source

Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall


U.S. Department of Education



Dr. Edmund Buckner

Evans/Allen Research

USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Dr. Edmund Buckner

Cooperative Extension

USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall


U.S. Department of Education


Dr. Edmund Buckner

Capital Building/Enhancing Global Learning

USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Dr. Jessie Walker

Mathematics STEM Undergraduate Apprentice Program (MSTEM-UAP)

U.S. Department of Education/ Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP)


Mrs. Donna M. Mooney

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program

U.S. Department of Education


Dr. Mary Benjamin


National Science Foundation


Mrs. Verna Cottonham

Upward Bound

U.S. Department of Education


Dr. Jessie Walker

CC*DNI Campus Design: Developing a Scientific Research Network to Support Data-Driven Research at UAPB

National Science Foundation


Dr. Henry English

Socially Disadvantaged Veterans

USDA/Office of Advocacy and Outreach


Dr. Jessie Walker

Math STEM Undergrad Apprentice Program

U.S. Department of Education


Department of Math and Technology

Research Initiation Award

National Science Foundation


Dr. Jessie Walker

STEM Workforce

U.S. Department of Education


Dr. Henry English

Micro Irrigation Spec

USDA/National Resource Conservation Service


Dr. Mary Benjamin


Arkansas Science & Technology Authority


Dr. Henry English

Strikeforce EQIP Support

USDA/National Resource Conservation Service


Department of Math and Technology


U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences


Dr. Mary Benjamin


National Science Foundation


Dr. Henry English

Strikeforce Outreach Assistance

USDA/National Resource Conservation Service


Department of Biology

Partnership for Biomedical Research

National Institutes of Health/Allergy and Infectious Diseases


Dr. Henry English

NRCS Student Intern

USDA/National Resource Conservation Service


Dr. Grant Wangila

Biomedical Research

National Institutes of Health/Allergy and Infectious Diseases


Dr. David Fernandez

Feral Swine Research

Tuskegee University

$2,500 FALL 2015



(L-R): Patrick O’Sullivan, Executive Director - Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield; UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander; Mrs. Diann Williams, Nursing Department Chair; Mark White, President and CEO - Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield; Dr. Carolyn Blakely, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield board member and retired UAPB instructor; and Dr. Sandra New, Blue Cross employer representative

Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield gives $250K to start endowment NURSING DEPARTMENT CHAIR IS INAUGURAL BENEFICIARY Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield gave $250,000 to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ’s Department of Nursing to fund the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Endowed Nursing Professorship in Rural Health. “We are grateful to Arkansas Blue Cross for recognizing our university’s role in producing qualified nurses for the state,” said UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander. “Through this gift, we are able to attract highly sought after faculty to add to our already strong roster of instructors.”


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The professorship allows UAPB to provide increased focus on the particular issues related to serving rural communities, and to expand the number of opportunities for students to enter into the program. “Arkansas Blue Cross is committed to helping Arkansans have access to quality health care where and when they need it — at the hospital bedside, in the clinic setting or in the community,” said Mark White, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross.

“And with a large percentage of Arkansans living in rural areas with special health and economic needs, we know that having skilled, knowledgeable nurses is critical to the care of our residents,” White said. “The Arkansas Blue Cross Endowed Professorship in Rural Health will be used to help secure top faculty who are forward thinkers — the kind of faculty that will educate, engage and inspire nursing students to work toward ways to meet the needs of Arkansans through innovative care and access options.”

Dr. Steve Lochmann honored with Fisheries Society induction


Dr. Steve Lochmann, professor of aquaculture and fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was recently inducted into the inaugural class of the American Fisheries Society’s (AFS) Fellows Program at the organization’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon. According to the AFS, fellows are members who have made outstanding contributions to the society in areas such as leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, resource management and conservation, and public outreach. Criteria for the fellowship included five years of membership with the AFS, professional experience of at least 15 years in the fisheries industry and a demonstrated excellence in contribution in areas including research and discovery, communication and outreach, education and pedagogy, application of fisheries science to management or policy and leadership or advancement of the profession. Lochmann, a member of the AFS for more than 20 years, is a former president of the AFS Arkansas Chapter and the Southern Division. He serves as associate editor for the North American Journal of Aquaculture and is president-elect of the Fish Culture Section. The AFS is composed of over 9,000 members worldwide, including aquaculturists, biologists, ecologists, economists, engineers, fisheries managers, geneticists and social scientists. According to the organization, its mission is to advance sound science, promote professional development and disseminate science‐based fisheries information for the global protection, conservation and sustainability of fisheries resources and aquatic ecosystems.

DR. PAMELA MOORE GRADUATES FROM DELTA LEADERSHIP ACADEMY Dr. Pamela Moore, associate dean for global engagement, Office of International Programs at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, recently graduated from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. The year-long training program brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. Forty-eight participants graduated from the leadership development experience, which emphasizes regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region. The program focuses on major issue areas important to the economic growth of the Delta region such as small business and entrepreneurship development, education and workforce training, public policy and governance, infrastructure and public health. “This year-long experience was a great opportunity to reflect upon the development context in the Lower Mississippi Delta region in comparison with similar contexts in which we are engaged through UAPB’s Global River Basin Initiative,” Dr. Moore said. “Through this initiative, we are currently working with small farmers and rural communities in the Niger River Basin in West Africa. We hope to expand program activities to other river basins in Africa and China during the upcoming year.”

Dr. Moore was one of ten DLI graduates from Arkansas. Graduates were nominated by their state governor to participate in the program that included six sessions in Delta communities and Washington, D.C. “Here in Arkansas, Moore the statistics are clear,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “Nine of the state’s ten most impoverished counties are in the Delta. This is a telling sign that must be addressed. Working to create opportunity in the Delta is vital to our health as a state, a region, and a nation. I applaud the Delta Leadership Institute for preparing these future leaders to tackle the issues facing their local communities. These are the kinds of programs we need to revive a region of paramount importance to our state.” FALL 2015



The following individuals were selected by a campus-wide committee chaired by Mrs. Gladys Benford, director of Human Resources. Each person was recognized during a luncheon in August as part of the Faculty and Staff Seminar. The winners were presented with a certificate and awarded a bonus check for $1,000.


This award recognizes those engaged in the highest quality teaching or instruction. Nominees had to possess extensive knowledge and mastery of the subject matter, innovation in course and curriculum design, ability to inspire, guide, and mentor students through independent and creative thinking, service as a mentor, collaborator, and consultant to other faculty and teaching assistants, and work that enriches the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Angela Andrade Assistant Professor Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Sederick Rice Assistant Professor

Dr. Tracy Dunbar Assistant Professor

Department of Biology

Department of Agriculture


This award recognizes those who exhibit the highest degree of customer service. The University is fortunate to have faculty and staff members who demonstrate continuous, meritorious performance. However, there are those whose performance consistently exceeds the standards and expectations set for their position. This award is intended to recognize those staff members whose commitment and performance has made a significant impact on the University.

Alicia Farmer Instructor Department of Agriculture

Brenda Matthews Program/Project Specialist

Vileara Jordan Education Program Coordinator

William Haliburton Skilled Trades Supervisor

Office of the Dean for the School of Arts and Sciences

Department of Facilities Management

Stephanie Pugh-Williams Program/Project Specialist Office of Alumni Affairs

School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

UNIVERSITY OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT AWARD This award recognizes all types of public service; it would reward those whose service have the greatest impact for the university. It is given annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in community-based instruction, including public service internships and community partnership projects.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Arlanda Jacobs Extension Associate Department of Agriculture

Dr. Karl Walker receives $50,000 NIH grant for amino acid research

Dr. Karl Walker, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff received a grant for $53,291 from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences, a funding agency of the National Institute of Health. The grant will fund his research project “ContextDependent Dihedral Angle Sampling with Protein Folding Simulations.” The goal of the research is to advance knowledge of the relationship between the unique sequence of amino acids in a protein and its three-dimensional structure. Proteins perform many vital functions within cells, and as Walker a result the malfunction of a protein or network of proteins has been implicated in many human diseases. Modeling protein structures provides some understanding about the mechanism of their function or in some cases their malfunction. Understanding the mechanism of a protein’s function enables the development of drugs or other therapeutic molecules. This research seeks to create new tools to closely examine protein structures determined by experimental methods in relation to their amino acid sequences. In his capacity assistant professor at UAPB, Dr. Walker teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in computer science, mathematics, and bioinformatics. In addition, he engages in bioinformatics research at UAPB, some of which is done in collaboration with other Arkansas institutions. Dr. Walker has a persistent desire to investigate, learn, and share his knowledge with others. His bioinformatics research interests lie in protein structure prediction with emphasis on improving the accuracy of prediction. Dr. Walker’s lab develops models and tools for analyzing structural genomics and proteomics data. He has also collaborated on bioinformatics research projects with researchers at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute at ASU and the UAMS Myeloma Institute. He has published articles and delivered a number of presentations related to his research. Dr. Walker earned both an MS and Ph.D. in bioinformatics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He is a 2002 honors graduate of Morehouse College and a 1998 graduate of Pine Bluff High School. Dr. Walker has had many other educational and enriching experiences during his lifetime. These include student internship experiences at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Ames Research Center. He also worked in private industry in Little Rock, prior to pursuing advanced degrees at UALR and UAMS. A few of Dr. Walker’s most notable honors and awards include SREB Doctoral Scholars Fellowship, Outstanding M.S. Graduate for UALR College of Engineering and Information Technology, Outstanding Bioinformatics Masters Student in the UALR/UAMS Bioinformatics Program, and first-place award for oral presentation at the 2014 MCBIOS Conference. Additionally, he has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Atlantic.



Though the health benefits of educational attainment are wellestablished, they may be less pronounced for African Americans. Dr. Anthony Austin, assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) aims to shed light on the issue through his recent award as one of the recipients of the Psychological Research and Training on Health Disparities Issues Grants (ProDIGS). Sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the ProDIGs initiative seeks to increase the capacity of ethnic minority-serving postsecondary institutions and faculty to engage in health disparities research and to encourage student involvement in health disparities research training. ProDIGs offers small grants and a program of professional development activities targeted to early career faculty at these institutions to support activities associated with the preparation of an initial research or program/curriculum development application for federal or foundation funding.

FALL 2015



A Night to Remember with Torii Hunter and with special appearances by Cliff Lee, Chris Archer and Matt Kemp.

State House Convention Center Ballroom 101 east markham street - little rock, arkansas

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. 20

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff



Making Excellence a Priority A REFLECTION ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE HONORS COLLEGE by Dr. Carolyn F. Blakely | Professor Emeritus

Academic excellence has been a priority at Arkansas AM&N College/The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for many years, and I can attest to that fact. During my undergraduate years, there was no structured honors program; however, in its stead was a faculty that set high Blakely expectations for us and did not encourage us to achieve those standards but demanded that we do so. That same faculty also modeled for us the character, integrity, commitment, and perseverance needed to accomplish our goals and build for ourselves the lifestyle that we sought. So, how did The Carolyn F. Blakely Honors College evolve? As I was serving as an instructor in the English Department, Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., who was then the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, asked Dr. Floyd Goodwin and I to work one summer writing and developing an idea for an honors program. Fortunately, he liked what we proposed. The ten students who had left their comfort zones to join us in the program were delighted and excited to have an area designated to them to focus on their studies. The only problem was that we had no budget. As I continued to teach English classes, I struggled to grow the program by contacting high school counselors at various schools in an attempt to attract more students to the program. It was a bit difficult since we had no scholarship money with which to compete for those wellprepared students. In the middle 80s, a new Chancellor, Dr. Charles Walker, joined us and invited me to work as his assistant. Of course, that assignment released me from my work with the honors program. The late Dr. Victor Starlard of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences succeeded me as unofficial director of the honors program and wrote a constitution to govern the operations of the program. During Dr. Walker’s tenure as Chancellor, I was assigned to serve as Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and when he resigned as Chancellor, I was named Interim Chancellor, where I served until Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. was appointed as Chancellor in 1991. Fortunately, Dr. Davis still had a strong interest in continuing the growth of the honors program, so he asked me to take charge again. I readily agreed, but instead, I asked for the opportunity to develop an Honors College. He consented, and we began again.

In the development process, I realized that we needed to acquaint ourselves with the structure, needs, expected outcomes, and attractions of an Honors College, so we joined the National Collegiate Honors Council, an organization that governed and advised all colleges and universities that had honors programs/Honors Colleges nationally. In those conferences I made contact and interacted with directors and Deans around the country and was soon assigned to various committees, eventually being elected to the executive board of the NCHC. By this time, the more than one hundred (100) students in our Honors College had developed their own Honor Student Association, had written their own by-laws, and developed for themselves the opportunity to develop their leadership skills. Also, by this time we had a budget of $6,000! But, as we continued to grow, our external support became astounding, not only financially, but also in assisting us with our recruitment efforts and in the purchase of Honors College blazers earned by the students who maintained a certain grade point average and who were engaged in leadership efforts. Although we still had no scholarship money, a family friend, Mr. Gus E. Bowers, established an annual Carolyn F. Blakely scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for an entering freshman member of the Honors College, and another alumnus, Dr. Herbert Carter, donated $20,000 to encourage students to participate in a writing contest in an effort to improve their writing skills. On my retirement, Dr. Carter agreed to transfer the balance of that money to the Honors College budget. Also, another alumnus, Cornel Scott, granted $249,000 to the university in honor of my deceased husband, Neal Blakely, and directed that I designate its use. Because my husband was concerned about improving the writing and communication skills of students, I chose to grant the money to the enhancement of the Viralene Coleman Writing Center. Upon my retirement in 2010, the students in the Honors College presented a plaque to me at our senior banquet naming the Honors College in my honor. A dinner was also held in my honor sponsored by my family and friends where nearly $12,000 was added to the Carolyn Blakely Scholarship. My prayer is that the hard work that went into the development of this program will not go in vain and that future generations who come to us hungry for knowledge and willing to accept the challenges of going the extra mile will continue to benefit from our efforts. With continued growth and development, I contend that this program can, and will, serve as a recruitment attraction, in the same manner that the choir, the band, and athletic programs do. FALL 2015



Where History Lives


Photographs courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center


n April 2015, the University Museum and Cultural Center celebrated 10 years of collecting, documenting and exhibiting historical artifacts about the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the Arkansas Delta. According to Henri Linton, Museum Director, there appears to be no end to this growing collection as items are added daily. The Museum and Cultural Center located in Childress Hall, is the home to the Keepers of the Spirit: the L.A. Davis, Sr. Historical Collection that abounds with more than 130 years of University documents. Since it’s opening, hundreds of visitors have viewed the artifacts, photographs and articles that date back to 1875 when Branch Normal College began. Linton said Keepers of the Spirit was created in 1993 to document the history of the school (UAPB), and since its inception, this exhibit has expanded through contributions from former alumni, friends, local citizens and through his physical research. “Each week we find more information and material that we were not aware of,” Linton said. “Two weeks ago, a friend of mine was cleaning out a storage building and found pictures of the late Dr. Grace Wiley (former Chairperson of the UAPB Music Department), and he found a statue created by Isaac Hathaway." Recently, while researching in Conway, Arkansas, Linton found papers documenting where Roland Hayes – a renowned international tenor singer – was at the University in 1939. “We also have his death mask created by Isaac Hathaway.”


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Before Childress Hall received the final major renovations necessary to house the University Museum, the building had several notable renovations that included raising the roof and installing new windows outside and completely refurbishing the inside. Today, this distinct construction has a new identity as the cultural and archival center of the campus. In addition to the museum space, Title III and the Office of University Relations and Development are located in Childress Hall, as well as a conference room and a reception hall. The museum has exhibition halls on the first and second floors, offices, workrooms and storage rooms. Renovations were funded by the Department of Education Office of Post-Secondary Education Title III, Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program.

At top right: Inside of Childress Hall (then Watson Memorial Library) circa 1940s Above: The Mezzanine level currently exhibits a visual overview of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Commencement Speech at UAPB in 2010 At left: A partial view of the University Museum and Cultural Center from the Mezzanine level. An impressive pictorial history of the institution dons the walls on two sides of the space.

Future Museum upgrades include an installation of interactive audio and video systems, a projector system with a television monitor to show videos of historical events, and a forthcoming new exhibit for Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander. A new LED track lighting system was recently installed.

Childress Hall’s Background Had it not been for the vision to create and house a museum there, the building now called Childress Hall would have been demolished in 1991. “This building was slated to be torn down after Dawson-Hicks Hall opened and this building was vacated,” Linton said.

“I convinced Dr. Davis (former Chancellor Lawrence A. Davis, Jr.) to keep the building for a museum and give Title III and the Development Office more space. Together we all worked hand in hand to see this project through.” Childress Hall has changed locations and purposes twice in the history of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. When UAPB was AM&N, Childress Hall was not only located on the south end of the campus, but also it was a men’s dormitory. According to Museum documents, Childress Hall is named after the late Rufus C. Childress. Today, Caine-Gilleland Hall stands where the original Childress Hall once stood. The current location of Childress Hall is on Watson Boulevard adjacent to Lewis Hall and Douglas Hall, and across the street from the Adair-Greenhouse Human Sciences Building. This structure was built in 1939 and formerly housed the John Brown Watson Memorial Library and the Department of Art. In 1968, both the Library and the Department of Art moved into new locations, and the building took on new activity as a Student Services Building – a student center with a Reading lab, the Student Testing Center, Basic Academic Services, Career Services Center and staff offices. Because of its unique design, the building was named on the list of National Historic Places. Information for this article was contributed by the University Museum and Cultural Center FALL 2015





fter starting her career as a 9-month-old in an advertisement for baby products and going on to appear in the long-running “The Cosby Show” on television, Keshia Knight Pulliam said Thursday her decision to go to college “was the first time she ever said no” to her father. Speaking as a part of the distinguished speakers program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff during Welcome Week, Knight Pulliam said she was the oldest of four children and she decided she wanted to go to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, while her father wanted her to go to schools like Yale and Princeton. She graduated from Spelman in 2001 with a degree in sociology and was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and said she has been “able to go from Little Rock, Arkansas, to the White House and meet a Spelman sister or sorority sister.” After college, Knight Pulliam went back to acting, appearing in movies like “Beauty Shop” and “Madea Goes To Jail” and in Tyler Perry’s award-winning television show “House of Payne.” The program was held at the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building and Knight Pulliam told the largely student audience to “follow your dream and follow your passion.”


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“Success comes from hard work, from sacrifice and dedication,” she said. “Congratulations on making that first big step in deciding what you want to do with your life.” Knight Pulliam told the students to look at challenges as opportunities because they would be able to look back and say, “Yes, I did that.” She also said that the friendships and relationships that the students build during their time in school will be things they will carry with them the rest of their lives. “Treat people the way you want to be treated because you never know when you are going to run into them again,” Knight Pulliam said. She said that with today’s global society, “You are going to connect with people from around the world.” “If you stay on your block, in your city, you will never know what the rest of the world has to offer,” Knight Pulliam said. Knight Pulliam said her career had transitioned a lot since she started as a 9-month-old. “It’s not where you begin, but it’s where you end up,” she said. “Never put yourself in a box. You’re only limited by how big you can dream.”

“It’s not where you begin, but where you end up. Never put yourself in a box. You’re only limited by how big you can dream.”

Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam

Above: Zariah Nelson gave a stirring vocal performance before Keshia Knight Pulliam delivered the keynote address. At left: Keshia Knight Pulliam receives a special gift from members of the Graduate Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.


To view the full event online, scan the QR code with your mobile or handheld device FALL 2015



A New Era of Care



Photographs by Richard Redus

n 2013, the Nursing program was in a difficult place. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing closed the program, preventing the ability to accept any new students for the next two years. UAPB administrators, faculty and staff banded together to meet an aggressive goal to revamp the program and gain approval to reopen the program. That goal was met in January 2015 with the approval to offer the RN-to-BSN program. Great news followed in June allowing giving UAPB the green light to offer a redesigned generic pre-licensure nursing program. The need arose to hire some of the best in the industry – health care professionals who not only understood the challenges nursing students face, but have a shown passion and commitment to cultivating the best in the next generations of nurses. That task has certainly been completed, with most of them being graduates of UAPB. Diann Walker Williams retired from her job at Southeast Arkansas College in May this year as Vice President for assessment and nursing and allied health. She was transitioning to life as a retiree when she got the call to consider heading up the new nursing programs at UAPB. She accepted the challenge and hasn’t looked back. “I thought about it for a while and wondered if I wanted to give up my retirement for this,” Williams said. “One of the best things about nursing is [when] you see a need and have the ability to help, you do it. I don’t I would have been very comfortable sitting at home knowing there was a need I could possibly fill to help the university that gave me my start. I would have never gotten to where I am today if it had not been for this program.”


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

From the age of five or six, nursing was the only profession Williams ever wanted to pursue. She began her trek through healthcare after graduating high school where she attended Pines Vocational and Technical School (now Southeast Arkansas College) to obtain LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) certification. It was 1970 and at that time, that was the only level of nursing education available in Pine Bluff. She noted that she applied to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences RN program but wasn’t selected. She completed the one-year program at Pines VoTech and recalls paying $94 for the certificate. She was also married by then and was raising children. After working a couple years as an LPN, a newly created BSN program was being offered at UAPB. In 1974, she was accepted into program and was part of the second class it had since its inception.

Dr. Diann Williams '79 (second from left), is pictured in the simulation lab with faculty from the UAPB Nursing Department (l-r): Dr. Shawna Hughey, Ms. Terica Woods ’07, and Mrs. Carolyn Hood ’90. Nursing students utilize the facility to learn and hone their skills before progressing to clinicals.

By Ray King | Of the Pine Bluff Commercial Staff

Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam encourages students to follow their dreams

Following graduation from UAPB in 1979, she began working at Deaconess Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. There was such a nursing shortage at the time. Williams remembers being recruited very heavily by different hospitals. Some even promised a company car to go to work in. She worked at Deaconess Hospital during the day as a hospital nurse and experienced a defining moment while in the cafeteria. She happened to run into the director of the Deaconess Nursing School. “She pulled me aside and said she’d been seeing me around the hospital and asked if I would be interested in coming to the School of Nursing,” The next week, she began her first teaching job as an instructor in the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing. She learned as the students learned and began her instruction in the skills lab, a place she recommends as a beginning for any person interested in teaching other about nursing.

“We really need more baccalaureate nurses, but we want those nurses to leave with the intention and notion to want to further their education. They can become those researchers, nurse educators, and advanced nurse practitioners. This level of nursing will give them a springboard to move into that.” While teaching there, she also had the opportunity to help convert the program from a diploma to a full baccalaureate option. The program became accredited by the National League of Nursing. During this process, Williams was also pursuing a master’s degree from St. Louis University. Juggling a hectic schedule that included a full time job, graduate classes and clinicals, Williams can identify with the diverse class of nursing students she now has the privilege of teaching. FALL 2015



At left: Nursing Department Instructor Terica Woods shows Lashanna Evans the steps to checking a patient's blood pressure. The simulated beings used in the lab mirror vital signs and medical issues of live human beings.

When she came back to Pine Bluff in 1989, UAPB professor Dr. Silas Hunt was excited about her return. While she worked at UAPB for two years, she was offered a job at Southeast Arkansas College. She accepted the challenge and transformed the Allied Health Department, increasing from two programs to 12 programs with 13 options, including an associate’s degree in nursing, during her 22 year tenure. Williams believes that wherever students come from, they should be given access and opportunity to the best to make them competitive and give them resources that are comparable to any school any place else in the State and nation. When she began July 1, she had to prepare for a State Board meeting a week later. Needless to say, the pressure was on and time was of the essence. She immediately started to review the curriculum and made changes that would lead to the outcome of producing effective healthcare professionals. Williams had experience with the State Board, having been appointed by Bill Clinton when his term as Governor expired and first term as United States President began. She served on the Board for four years and was interim director as well. She was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming response to the program by prospective students. Within this first cohort of students, many of them have completed their bachelor’s degree but patiently waited for the revival of the nursing program. She is an advocate for them and has worked to make sure they have access to every resource available to assist with paying for their education. Williams sees the future of the program becoming a source to provide higher education for students who want to practice as a baccalaureate degree nurse. She sees the program as being one that is competitive with others in the State.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

She wants her students to feel proud to say that they are graduates of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff because they will leave here prepared to pass the NCLEX-RN, giving them the opportunity to practice and continue their education. “We really need more baccalaureate nurses but we want those nurses to leave with the intention and notion to want to further their education. They can become those researchers, the nurse educators, the advanced nurse practitioners. This level of nursing will give them a springboard to move into that track.” Williams' dedication has not gone unnoticed. She was recently named the Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Endowed Professor in Rural Health, the first endowment of its kind at UAPB. The $250,000 endowment shows that the State of Arkansas and its healthcare industries are invested in UAPB and its commitment to supply qualified professionals. Terica Woods graduated from UAPB in 2007 with her nursing degree, received her MSN from University of Phoenix in 2010, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in nursing practice from Walden University. She returned to the UAPB Nursing program as an instructor because it presented her with countless opportunities after she completed it as an undergraduate student. Woods wants to give her students the same opportunity. Carolyn Hood graduated from UAPB in 1990 and completed her master's degree in nursing from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2009. Now an instructor in the program, she wants to invest in the legacy of nurses that will graduate from the program. As a result of being in the program, Hood's hope is that they go on to live productive lives and make a difference in Nursing. "I would like to see them on the cutting edge of policy making. I want them to be the leaders of Nursing."



Background: B.S. in Biology (UAPB) Aspirations: Master’s degree in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner


Background: B.S. in Biology (UAPB) Aspirations: Traveling Nurse










Background: Associates degree in General Studies (Southeast Arkansas College) Aspirations: Nurse Practitioner

Background: Nutrition Dietetics, Dialysis Clinic, Military Aspirations: Military Nurse

Background: B.S. in Chemistry (UAPB) All Saints Medical School Aspirations: Doctorate degree in Nursing

Background: Health Education Aspirations: Master’s degree in Nursing, wants to start her own practice

Background: B.S. in Biology Aspirations: Master’s & Doctorate degrees in Nursing, Traveling Nurse, Nurse Practitioner

Background: B.S. in Biology (Philander Smith College) Aspirations: Home Health primarily, then Labor and Delivery Nurse

Current student at UAPB Aspirations: Work in a women’s and children’s hospital

Background: Associates & Science Degrees (Pulaski Technical College) Aspirations: Intensive Care Nurse, ER Nurse, Traveling Nurse

Current student at UAPB Aspirations: Traveling Nurse or Pediatric Nursing

FALL 2015



Photographs by Richard Redus

Above, left to right: A reception with the legends were held prior to the benefit that allowed fans to get autographs from Art Monk, Jackie Harris, Anthony Jones and Monte Coleman (not pictured). At right: The crowd gave a standing ovation to the football legends as they entered the room.

National Football League greats Monte Coleman, Jackie Harris, Anthony Jones, Art Monk were present at the Legends and Legacies event. Keith Jackson also arrived to surprise the capacity crowd. Held at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, proceeds from the event were used to benefit the scholarship fund for football players at UAPB. “These are the guys we often admire in victory, in defeat, playoffs and the Super Bowl,” UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander said. “We are indebted to them for the good times they gave us in the NFL and taking the time out of their schedules to give of themselves for this benefit.” Each honoree was introduced and spent a few moments reflecting on their career in the NFL. Given their collective track record, there were a lot of topics to cover: Monte L. Coleman is a former linebacker who played for sixteen seasons with the Washington Redskins from 1979 to 1994. He is currently the head football coach for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions. Coleman coached the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to a SWAC conference championship by defeating Jackson State University 24-21 in the championship game at Birmingham, Alabama in front of an ESPN television audience. Jackie B. Harris is a former tight end in the National Football League. Harris played for four teams in his twelve-year NFL career which lasted from 1990-2001. 30

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Harris was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 1990 NFL Draft out of the University of LouisianaMonroe. In 1999, the Titans made it to Super Bowl XXXIV, in which Harris started. However, they lost to the Kurt Warner-led St. Louis Rams. Anthony Andrew Jones is a former coach and former player that served as head coach at Morehouse College from 1999 to 2001, and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University from 2002 to 2013, compiling a career college football record of 101 wins and 70 losses. Jones played eight seasons as a tight end in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers during the 1980s. He was a member of the Redskins’ 1987 Super Bowl championship team. James Arthur “Art” Monk is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Monk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Art Monk (far left) discusses his development as a player and a person as Jackie Harris, Anthony Jones, Monte Coleman, and Keith Jackson listen in. Each legend answered a series of questions and reflected on life in the National Football League.

Left to right: Art Monk, Jackie Harris, Monte Coleman, Anthony Jones,and Keith Jackson pose for a group photo at the conclusion of the event. More than $35,000 was raised to benefit scholarships for UAPB football players.

Monk helped found the Good Samaritan Foundation with his Washington teammates Charles Mann, Tim Johnson and Earnest Byner. The foundation provides youth with the environment needed to equip them with the skills, training and resources necessary to compete successfully in society through the Student Training Opportunity Program (STOP). Keith Jackson is a former player for the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, and Super Bowl XXXI Green Bay Packers. He retired from the NFL to be more involved in P.A.R.K. (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids), the after school ministry he started in his hometown, Little Rock, Arkansas. While he continues to reach the youth of Central Arkansas at P.A.R.K., he also works as a motivational speaker.

Items during the silent auction included signed footballs from UAPB alum Terron Armstead of the New Orleans Saints, jerseys from the late L.C. Greenwood, former tight end Jay Novacek, and Washington Redskins player Robert Griffin, III.

š To view the full event online, scan the QR code with your mobile or handheld device

FALL 2015




Mickey and Minnie Mouse are pictured with MEAC/SWAC Legend honorees Annie Greenwood, representing L.C. Greenwood (honored posthumously, Arkansas AM&N/UAPB); Donnie Shell (South Carolina State); Willie Jeffries (South Carolina State); and Monte Coleman (UAPB). Source: ESPN Events

In recognition of their accomplishments and contributions as distinguished alumni of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU), four honorees were presented with the 2015 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Award during the 11th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney. The MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception, now in its seventh year, preceded the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, which featured South Carolina State University and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The Legends Class of 2015 includes five-time NFL Pro Bowl player and four-time All-Pro safety Donnie Shell, a standout from South Carolina State; threetime Super Bowl winner and former Washington Redskins linebacker Monte Coleman, now head coach at University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff; legendary South Carolina State head coach and College Football Hall of Fame member Willie Jeffries, the first African-American head coach of a NCAA Division I-A football program at a predominantly white college (Wichita State, 1979); and, 32

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

posthumously, six-time Pro Bowl player and two-time All-Pro defensive end L.C. Greenwood, named the 1968 Ebony All-American defensive end of the SWAC while at Arkansas AM&N, now University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Greenwood was one of the four members of the Steel Curtain who remains one of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top two franchise leaders in sacks. “Every year, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Award proves to be a remarkable representation of the contributions and successes across Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president, ESPN Events. “We are delighted that in 2015 we will again enjoy an outstanding class, with four distinguished men whose careers in sports started at HBCUs.” Each honoree received an HBCU Trailblazer Award in recognition of the impact made to his or her respective career, community or alma mater.


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.


© 2015 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff





Photographs by Brian T. Williams

atrick Sanders is a UAPB alumnus who enrolled as a hopeful journalism major, but graduated as a serious business major with extensive plans to give back to Dear Mother. Sanders and his two close friends, (also alumni), Stephen Brandon Shelby and Ricky Johnson, started Tailored by StephenB, a men’s fashion brand that specializes in hand-crafted bow ties and accessories. These young entrepreneurs donate money from their business sales to the University for student scholarships. Each business partner plays an important role in the work, according to Sanders. Shelby hand sews the ties; Sanders maintains the website and blogs for the group; and Johnson is the front man - he handles the social activity events to promote the ties. They all work to design the ties. Because his “day” job is mostly electronic and removed from actual customers, Sanders says his usual work attire is jeans, t-shirt and a hoodie. On this day, he looks the part of a businessman/entrepreneur in his dress slacks, starched shirt and, of course, a bow tie. He’s so adept at tying a bow tie that he can master a finished bow tie without a mirror in less than a minute.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“Our ties are different because you can’t get designer bow ties, and people like something handmade, hand-crafted and different,” Sanders said. “The ties come in all fabrics, including velvet, seersucker and leather, and they are reversible.” Again, money from the ties doesn’t just line the pockets of these industrious young alums, but goes to help a deserving student through the UAPB Scholarship Fund. “I started thinking about how I could give back to this university,” Sanders said. “I never wanted to give back when I was in school, but when I went away to graduate school, I realized [then] that UAPB had much to offer.”

“I started thinking about how I could give back to this university.....when I went away to graduate school, I realized [then] that UAPB had much to offer.”

Sanders poses for a photograph inside Henderson-Young Hall, home to the School of Business and Maganement

Sanders explained that the other state universities didn’t offer that camaraderie and personal interaction that UAPB had. “It made me appreciate my UAPB experience even more, and made me see the financial challenges students face at UAPB.” “My Mom told me about the New Millennium donors – she and my Dad are both AM&N alumni (Bobbie Sanders and Clinton Sanders). I saw them give back to UAPB, so I started working with Dr. Margaret Hall, who is a very encouraging person.” Taking philanthropy a step further, Sanders and his friends are currently working with their alumni line brothers (Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.) to establish an endowment that will pay tuition for two incoming 2016 freshmen until they graduate. Sanders graduated in 2009 with a degree in business management and an emphasis in marketing. He said he arrived at UAPB with the idea of being a sports editor – but soon abandoned that idea when he discovered that he needed to attend law school to complete that dream. So, he turned to business management, and found help through his soon to be mentors, Dr.

Harry Campbell (Dean of the Business Department 2007-2009) and Dr. Charles Colen (Chair of the Industrial Technology, Management and Applied Engineering Department). “Dr. Campbell got me out of my comfort zone and helped me see the different angles business majors can approach,” Sanders said. “Overnight my thinking changed, and business management opened new doors and possibilities for me. Both men genuinely cared about my well-being and wanted to see me succeed in life.” Sanders said Dr. Campbell even encouraged him to pursue a Ph.D. in business. While he has yet to begin work on a doctorate, this young businessman received an MBA from UALR in 2010, and he completed a post baccalaureate degree in sociology and psychology in consumer behavior, also from UALR. “Dr. Colen gave me that ‘tough Uncle’ response when I was in school,” Sanders said. “He talked straight logic about how to get past struggles. I appreciated that because I come from that type of family.” Sanders is a Little Rock, Arkansas native and a Parkview High School graduate. He says he still keeps in touch with Dr. Campbell and Dr. Colen, and

reaches out to them for encouragement and advice. Currently, Sanders lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a Product Manager for Explorys, and IBM Company that handles healthcare analytics. Shifting into his teacher persona, Sanders takes to the dry eraser board to explain the importance of his job. “Explorys is a platform to aggregate data from hospitals and gather, inform and dissect it for their customers,” he said. He explained further that patient data acts as a solution in a cloud to bring in data from two different places. Then data is transitioned to a neutral post. “UAPB five years from now, I’d like to see enrollment up to 10,000 students,” Sanders said. “We are committed to giving back to UAPB. My brothers saw what the New Millennium leaders were doing and wanted to do the same, and make donations that went directly to scholarships, so we could see the fruit of our labor. There are a lot of us (young alumni) who are committed to giving to the endowment because we want to see it grow. The next step with the foundation is to extend the same idea to other organizations.” FALL 2015


A Heart for the Pride and the People



Photograph by Brian T. Williams

Ann Williams, Ph.D., IOM, the Executive Director of Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce, is wellknown for being an enthusiastic promoter for the city of Pine Bluff. However, this soft-spoken woman also has a heart of gold for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, even though she’s not an alumnus. One could say that UAPB danced its way right into her heart. In 1990, Williams was a bright-eyed recent graduate of Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when she moved to Pine Bluff and began working as a special education teacher for Pine Bluff School District. One day, she visited the UAPB campus out of curiosity, met a UAPB Golden Girl and literally danced her way in as a Golden Girl adviser. “I was walking across campus when I ran into this young lady on her way to band practice and she was a dancer,” Williams said. “I told her I was a dancer (a former captain of the dance team at Elizabeth City State), and she took me to practice with her. I started showing her some dance steps and the band director, Dr. Miller, called me over. He said, ‘I want you on that team – you want a job? The rest is history. ” To stay in shape, the petite Williams spends 45 minutes a day doing Zumba or walking five miles, six days a week, in addition to the hours of daily training with the Golden Girls. Fortunately, her day job is not as physically demanding. 36

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

As the Director of the Chamber, Williams is responsible for implementing the Chamber’s Program of Work, coordinating the organizational structure and procedures, and managing the Chamber budget and expenditures. Her other duties include motivating its volunteers, directing the maintenance of the membership base, interpreting and administering policy, and coordinating external relations and communications. Also, any Leadership Pine Bluff graduate remembers that Williams is the Leadership expert. Williams has been the Executive Director of Leadership Pine Bluff since Judy Norton handed the reigns over to her in 2005. Williams is recognized throughout the city and central Arkansas for knowing intricate details about Pine Bluff, although though this model Pine Bluff citizen was born and raised in Kinston, North Carolina. From 1990-93 Williams worked for Pine Bluff School District., first as a special education teacher at Forrest Park Elementary School, and then as a test examiner. When her daughter Christen was born, Williams took a 5-year leave to be a stay-at-home mom. With Christen in kindergarten, Williams went back to the Pine Bluff School District. After a year, she left the district to work for the Greater Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce - as a receptionist.

“In the future, I see Pine Bluff coming together and the people working collaboratively to rebuild it... This is an amazing city and the people here are priceless...”

Dr. Ann Williams, Ph.D., IOM, poses for a photo outside of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce Building

“I took a leap of faith, Williams said. “I knew I still wanted to work with people, but I wanted to do something different. I was happy at that front desk at the Chamber, and I learned a lot about people and what they really want.” The first promotion Williams received at the Chamber was to Director of Member Services. “When I started this job, I knew I would work my way up,” Williams said. “I believe that the knowledge I gained working that front desk is what helps me today. My job in the school district had me traveling through the community with testing, so I met some of the same people I help now. What made the promotion better was that I had the opportunity of meeting new people.” In 2001, Williams graduated from Leadership Pine Bluff, and five years later, Judy Norton asked Williams to take over the program. “I was supposed to shadow Judy for a year, but I helped with one session, Judy turned it over to me and it has been wonderful. Every year I get to see the city of Pine Bluff through 25 different sets of eyes.” In 2007, Williams started Junior Leadership Pine Bluff. This group of young leaders in training includes 10th grade students from all Jefferson County school districts, private schools and home school students. The program mimics the same training as the professional Leadership program and lasts from January to May each year. Every program offered by the Chamber promotes Pine Bluff.

“In the future, I see Pine Bluff coming together and the people working collaboratively to rebuild it,” Williams said. “We have so much potential here. Pine Bluff is the only city in the state to exceed United Way goals every year. We have the railway, airway, waterway and university to make it work. This is an amazing city and the people here are priceless, and we must continue to train people and let them know what we still have in Pine Bluff. People have to catch on to the pride of UAPB. It has been a secret for too long.” As a strong community leader, Williams is very active and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Arkansas Class III and a 2011 graduate of the Jeff Ferris Leadership Academy. She serves on the Board of Directors West Pine Bluff Rotary, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Foundation Fund Board and the Southeast Arkansas College Foundation Board. Other memberships include the Pine Bluff Chapter, The Links Incorporated, Tau Beta Sigma National Band Sorority Inc., Junior League of Pine Bluff, Toastmasters Club and Family Church in White Hall, AR. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s double degree in education and child psychology from Elizabeth City State University, a master’s degree in rehabilitative counseling from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. FALL 2015




For award-winning recording artist SMOKIE NORFUL, success struck a chord in him to pursue a deeper purpose By Tisha D. Arnold

Photographs by Marc Smith

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.” This interview started off like many others – exchanging pleasantries and giving an overview of what the questions would cover. Most people are familiar with his musical career, however, you have only scratched the surface of a multifaceted soul that has learned to seek significance after experiencing so much success. IN THE BEGINNING Smokie Norful grew up the son of W.R. Norful, Sr. who was a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. He began singing at the age of four and playing as a self-taught pianist at five years old. Because AME pastors are placed for short periods of time at different churches, he and his family moved around a bit. Although they spent a good deal of time in Oklahoma, the bulk of his teenage and adult life was spent in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was a part of the first ninth grade class to attend Jack Robey Junior High School and matriculated through Pine Bluff High School. Norful said his decision to attend UAPB was an easy one – it was close to home and many of his friends were going to attend there. He always knew, even while in high school that he was going to UAPB – it was a common conversation. “I had a lot of professors from the university who were members of my father’s church [Rev. W.R. Norful, Sr., at St. John AME Church],” Norful said. “They were advocates for UAPB and encouraged me to go. I knew I would have a support network.” This strong support network also included his parents. “I never knew what it was like to have a student loan because they paid for my education at UAPB,” Norful said. “They worked really hard to make sure that I and my brother had everything we needed to make it through college,” Later on, Smokie said he eased the financial burden on his parents by staying at home while attending UAPB. 38

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Above: Norful poses for his graduation photo during his senior year at UAPB. At top right: Norful (front row, second from the left) is pictured with members of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi.

“They were almost [like] uncles and aunts to us in addition to being our professors. They took a very personal interest in our lives and the roles they played allowed us to endear ourselves to one another. They would in turn coach us, rebuke us, love us, help us and it was more than just ‘You’re coming to class, I’m getting a check...It was very personal, very relational.” “I liked my house – I liked my room, I liked my parents,” he said, laughing. “I told them, jokingly that they would have to call the police [to get rid of me], I’m not ever going anywhere.” In fact, the younger Norful lived with his parents even after he had full-time employment as a teacher. “I was driving a Mercedes, I had Blue Cross and Blue Shield, I had it going on!” he quipped. A CHANGE OF COURSE Norful originally majored in Political Science at UAPB because he wanted something different from music. One of his Professors, David Vaughan eventually convinced Norful to change his major to History. “[David Vaughan] would beat me up every day about changing my major to history. I was like, man, I don’t want to do history, are you crazy? I don’t even like history like that, I just like you, that’s why I got in your class,” he said, laughing.

According to Norful’s plan, history would be an easy way to help him reach his goal of becoming a lawyer. While in the program, he and fellow history colleague turned best friend, Brandon Dorsey, took all of their classes together, pledged the same fraternity, and interviewed and toured the same law schools around the country. Dorsey, who also served as Student Government Association President during their graduation year, later became an attorney and eventually one of the lawyers that represent Norful today. Professor Vaughan was like a big brother and friend to Norful, and Vaughn happened to also be a member of his father’s church. Now a history major, he fell in love with the program and was exposed to the incredible teaching given to him by Vaughan, Dr. Buford Satcher and Dr. Dana Mazique. “In my mind, this couldn’t get any better, this was awesome,” Norful said.

PIANO PRODIGY He remembers the first song he sang, We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder. He and his family were living in Oklahoma at the time in a house that had a screened in back porch with an old upright piano that had real ivory keys and a mirror on the top. It was on its way out, but Norful had an interest in playing. His love for music was cultivated by his mother Teresa who used to go to the public library to check out records for him to listen to. The signature song to the Disney movie Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang was one of his favorites. Determined, he decided to mess around with it and try to learn it by ear. He went to the back porch and started playing. He was doing so well that his mother thought someone was on the porch with him. She busted through the door wondering what was going on. She looked and it was him – he’d taught himself to play piano. He worked at it and continued to improve. Two to three years later, he was enrolled in piano class.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

FALL 2015

Photo from Norful’s album, Forever Yours



He was also amazed at how Dr. Satcher was able to bring relevancy and life to the history they were studying. “[Dr. Satcher’s] theories and postulates made you think and challenged you,” Norful said. “I will never forget when he gave us the whole concept of Adam and Eve – what if the apple wasn’t an actual apple? He would get theological…what if it was sex? He was radical and off the chart. He would leave you sitting there like, What? What do you mean? I’ve never heard of this.” In Norful’s reflection about Dr. Dana Mazique, he said she was one of a kind. “She was very raw, uncut, in your face and got your attention in a way that let you know life is real,” Norful said. While discussing his memories about these venerable professors, he began to think about his oldest child who graduated from a predominantly white institution and pointed out a distinct difference in an HBCU experience - the relationship between professors and students. “They were almost [like] uncles and aunts to us in addition to being our professors,” Norful said. “They took a very personal interest in our lives and the roles they played allowed us to endear ourselves to one another. They would in turn coach us, rebuke us, love us, help us and it was more than just ‘You’re coming to class, I’m getting a check,’ ‘You get it if you get it,’ ‘You pass this test and you go on.’ It was very personal, very relational.” The relationship he had with his professors at UAPB impacted his learning in a very real way. It helped him to understand that everything they told him was meant for his good and his benefit. Another lasting lesson he learned came from Dr. Satcher during a class taken in his junior year. In fact, he said he and Dorsey talk about it often. Satcher had this saying he would repeat all the time and they didn’t get it until they graduated from UAPB, walked across the stage and received their degrees.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Above: Norful tells the story behind one of his songs during the release concert for his album Forever Yours

“He would always talk about the morning after - he preached that. He really drilled that into us. It was a message to help us understand that we were going to graduate, but then what?” Norful said Satcher’s message was one that was distinct and focused on the importance of thriving in life instead of just matriculation through college. While thinking of that, Norful also remembered his counselor Florence Caine, who helped him make sure he was on track for graduation. “[UAPB] was a phenomenal experience both in the educational pursuit and what I got from the teachers, but it was also a great experience having my close friend in that track with me.” THE MORNING AFTER While attending UAPB, Norful was already substitute teaching in the Pine Bluff School District and had worked for five years in the district, splitting his tenure between Jack Robey Junior High School and Pine Bluff High School, respectively. He had a continued desire to pursue a law degree but found himself falling in love with teaching also. “It was great to transform minds and see the impact you have on their lives. It was fresh for me – I looked like the kids being at a smaller weight,” he said with a laugh. “I was 21 years old [teaching] in the classroom, knew the language, listened to the same music and experienced some of the same things.”

Above: Norful accepting a Grammy award for Best Song/Performance of the Year (2015), No Greater Love. He received his first Grammy in 2005 for Contemporary Soul Gospel Album of the Year for his CD Nothing Without You

Norful said he was amazed at the fact that he was teaching alongside some of the same people that taught him while he was in junior high and high school. His youth worked in his favor, giving him the ability to counsel and relate to his students in a way the other teachers couldn’t. If one of his students was getting out of line, he said his teachers would come to get him before getting the principal. It wasn’t uncommon to find his students eating dinner with his family, and staying over to go to church the next morning. Some of his students still keep in contact with him to this day. They call him on the phone and refer to him as Mr. Norful – not Smokie, not Pastor Norful, but the Mr. Norful they know as the passionate, loving teacher that took them under his wing many years ago.

A CALLING AND A DISCOVERY Smokie Norful hit a stride in the educational arena in 1996, but stopped working in the school district to take on a different assignment – managing a huge mass choir. Most of his students from the schools he taught at were a part of the community based choir. Things were going well with the burgeoning ensemble when he’d made another lifechanging decision; he accepted his call to preach. He preached his first sermon in 1997. Afterwards, Norful’s father encouraged him to attend seminary school because Rev. Norful, Sr., was a firm believer in a minister being properly trained and equipped. Off he went to Chicago to attend Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary while enduring a grueling schedule of traveling back and forth to Pine Bluff, bringing his then fiancé Carla (1997 alumna) back with him on the weekends. He was working in the music department at a church in Chicago where he worked with youth. His world changed the day the church member and widow of Gospel Legend Milton Brunson heard him sing.

Norful was an anomaly in the music industry; his first song on his first album took him around the world. “She was working their last CD and she asked me if I would sing on it,” Norful said. “I said to her, only if you let me write it.” Prior to this inquiry, his reputation was building and he was already singing at different churches around the community and the State. This was a pivotal moment – being in music was something he grew up in and enjoyed doing and knew he would go far (Norful said he remembers signing every yearbook in junior high and high school imploring his friends to keep up with it, because it would be worth something someday) His response to Mrs. Brunson was based on his understanding of publishing and the value of being a songwriter in the music industry. “I have made more money and accomplished more with my pen than I have my voice,” Norful said. “Most people want to be the star or the famous person, which certainly has its privileges, but most of the income and resources I have made have been from my songwriting.”

THE NEED FOR I NEED YOU NOW It was a tumultuous time in his life and tragedies seemed to be compounding out of control over a number of years. His grandmother was dealing with diabetes and facing a possible leg amputation. She avoided amputation, recovered and lived many years, however, she unfortunately passed away. His father then became ill and had open heart surgery, a life moment that prompted him to withdraw from seminary to help his mother with care because the prognosis was looking bleak. His father was on the road to recovery and Norful returned to seminary. Before he knew it, his wife became ill and was enduring the process of having tumors for the second time. This time around, the doctors said the tumors were larger, and possibly cancerous – they were told at this point to consider other forms of childbearing or possibly adoption. If the doctors took her to surgery and found that the tumors were worse than they thought, the possibility of having children naturally would be slim to none. Thankfully, Norful and his wife made it through that trying time only to have to endure another obstacle. His mother was dealing with a case of paralysis on the right side of her body. The case was so severe that it attracted the attention of the Mayo Clinic. He recalls his father having to tape her eyes shut at night so her cornea wouldn’t dry out. “I felt like I was going crazy, I really did,” he said. “I was secretly flipping through phone books trying to find a psychologist or psychiatrist.” He had a lot on him. Norful was always the person that worked hard to meet everyone else’s needs, but now, he was at his breaking point.

Norful has done exceptionally well as a songwriter having created pieces for the likes of Marvin Sapp, Dottie Peoples, Colorado Mass Choir, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. After singing on Milton Brunson’s project, he spent a small amount of time teaching in Chicago before his career began to skyrocket. A NEW COMPOSITION Norful said that he wrote the song, I Need You Now, with Yolanda Adams in mind as the performer because he knew she could sell CDs. He had every intention of placing the song with Yolanda Adams until a usually quiet voice spoke loud and clear – his mother’s. “My mother [Teresa] who never, ever takes an interest other than being proud of [her] baby, begged me to not give that song away,” Norful said. “She said no, not this one. This is your song.”

He sat down at the piano, and without a thought, simply said, ‘God I need you now.’ That phrase flourished into deeply touching prose that painted the picture of what he was feeling. It was a form of release for him and a healing, encouraging song for all that heard it. The first day he sang it on television was at the Stellar Awards in 2003 – it was also the day his father first broke the news to him about his mother’s paralysis. He wanted to come home to Pine Bluff to see about her; he was literally on his way to the airport, until his father reminded him of a bigger picture. He assured him that his mother would be fine and implored him to stay there because this was his moment. It was only a year ago that he and his father were at the Stellar Awards sitting in the nosebleed section. Now, he was front and center, had been nominated for three awards, and was scheduled to perform. “I was literally in tears,” Norful said. “You’re telling me that my mama is sick and paralyzed?!” His father didn’t want to worry him. He wanted him to enjoy his first Stellar Awards performance as an artist and convinced him to stay. He performed the song on the show and it went global. His mother has since made a full recovery from her paralysis. Norful and his wife have defied medical odds and had two children, Tre’ (W.R. Norful, III) who is 14 and Ashton, who is 12 and was the inspiration behind the To view the Stellar Awards song, God is Able. performance of I Need You Now, scan the QR code with your mobile or hand-held device

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Following his mom’s advice, he began shopping it, with Motown Gospel (formerly EMI Gospel) being the first stop on his list of labels. The label President, Ken Pennell heard it along with Norful’s demo reel, liked Norful’s personality and a great working relationship began. After having met with Motown Gospel, Norful said that he didn’t go to any other promotional meetings. He said he has been blessed to enjoy a great relationship and friendship with Pennell. His children would go to Pennell when they were babies. If Norful’s father wasn’t able to attend his performances, his children would be sitting with Pennell. In June 2002, his single, I Need You Now was released and he began touring all over the country. He got his big break when he performed the song at the Stellar Awards in 2003. The song climbed its highest in 2004 and was a global success. He was an anomaly; his first song on his first album took him around the world.

FEATURED DISCOGRAPHY Norful is a multiple Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified platinum-selling artist, a multiple Stellar, Dove awards winner, and has earned Grammy® Soul Train, and NAACP Image award nominations. Norful has also contributed to five platinum selling compilations and has written songs for several major Gospel recording artists. His notable performances include appearances on The Trumpet Awards, Save Africa’s Children Event in Soweto, the BET Awards, the Stellar Awards, Soul Train, hosting and performing on the Dove Awards, the Parade of Stars, the Essence Music Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Festival and numerous other festivals, events, concert halls, and tours. The featured discography includes I Need You Now (2002), Nothing Without You (2004), Life Changing (2006), Live (2009), Once In a Lifetime (2012), and Forever Yours (2014).


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“I woke up every day not wanting to get up. I didn’t understand because everything I dreamt of and asked God for and worked for, I had.” FROM PIANIST TO PASTOR Norful’s success as a recording artist was moving so fast that it began to take a toll on him. He was a highly sought-after artist and was experiencing a level of celebrity some would dream of, but for Norful, something was missing. He said he worked hard to climb to the top of the charts only to find it unfulfilling. He was the number one gospel artist in the world for two years in a row and wasn’t able to enjoy it. His family was healthy now (his father, mother and wife had experienced health challenges over the years), and life was good. Publicly, he was appearing before thousands of people and looked accomplished. However, privately, he was depressed, had no peace or joy and had gotten to the point where he stopped attending church altogether - unless he was booked to perform in one, he didn’t go.

“I woke up every day not wanting to get up,” Norful said. “I didn’t understand because everything I dreamt of and asked God for and worked for, I had.” He realized that in spite of having things outwardly, he was lacking something internally. He knew he needed to take his ministry it to another level, but he saw himself going down a path he didn’t think he would ever approach – the call to Pastor. After his stint of avoiding church attendance, Norful found a large, predominantly Caucasian church where he thought he would go unnoticed. Service was short and he could park far back in the parking lot thinking no one would see him. “I could tell my Mama I’d gone to church,” Norful said. “I didn’t get much out of it, but at least I went.”

This church was different. Parking was open and the pastor didn’t use a designated spot. One day, he’s in the back of the parking lot of this huge church of at least 5,000 people. He and his wife are getting out of the car and find that the pastor was parked right next to them. The pastor noticed his Ford Navigator. “How do you like this thing?” asked the church Pastor. Norful responds with rave reviews about how much he loved the vehicle and how he rented one for almost an entire year just so he could keep driving it. The pastor proceeds to ask, “How’s the music industry going?” As much as he tried, his quest to remain inconspicuous wasn’t working. “I said ok God, I’m done playing with you,” Norful said, thinking he was anonymous there. “At that point I realized, I can’t hide from God.” With a seminary degree in hand and a background in serving in pastoral roles, Norful said that he started seeking God. Norful decided to start a bible study instead.

His path was made clear during conversations with Bishop T.D. Jakes, however, the pivotal moment occurred during a conversation with friend, mentor and fellow recording artist Donnie McClurkin. Norful called McClurkin, excited about the Bible study he was planning to start. He didn’t realize McClurkin would question his decision and confirm his call to pastorship. Despite the excuses Norful tried to make, his friend wore him out with examples of biblical characters that shared the same shortcomings Norful thought he had. “I was in tears. I completely yielded and said ‘God I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” He wrote a song that day called I’ll Say Yes. He started the Bible study with six to seven people that grew to twelve and then one hundred. The ministry continued to grow and developed into what is now the Victory Cathedral Worship Center in Chicago, Ilinois. Pastoring changed him in a positive way. He saw a difference in his music because he is now writing from a front line experience and talking about what he is seeing in songs like Dear God (2012).

Above: Norful in his pastoral role during worship service at Victory Cathedral Worship Center

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Norful is pictured with his Mother Teresa, Father Reverend W.R. Norful, Sr., sons Tre’’ (W.R. Norful, III) and Ashton, wife Carla and daughter Ashley (far right) at Victory Cathedral Worship Center

FAITH AND FAMILY Norful said he is thankful for his success and is careful to make time for his family. He and wife Carla have two sons, Tre’ (W.R. Norful, III) who is 14 and Ashton, who is 12. He also has a daughter, Ashley who is 27. He and his wife adopted her when she was 13. Being her youth pastor at the time, he knew Ashley’s mother well and was aware that her father passed away two years prior. She clung to him after enduring that tragedy. Ashley’s mother was raising five girls in a tough part of town and working long hours, and Ashley’s mother consented to allowing the Norfuls to help raise her. A very personable and humble man, he jokingly adds that he is only famous to people outside of his house. When he comes home, he’s a husband and a father. “It’s not Mister, it’s not Pastor and nobody in here wants my autograph. Working and serving my family first is a large part of what keeps me humble.” His father has retired from pastoring in the AME church and serves alongside him at Victory Cathedral. His mother worked for 30 years in banking and finance, so she heads up the finance department at the church. Now ten years old, Victory Cathedral employs nearly 60 people with a main campus in Bolingbrook, Illinois, two satellite locations and a third one underway. The ministry has a heavy community service component and an aggressive expansion plan.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Coined Give Yourself Away, each member commits at least 40 hours per year to community service. Ever the servant at heart, Norful plans to continue create housing and other opportunities in Chicago to service the disadvantaged in the area. With all that he has going on as a husband, father, pastor and artist, the soul of Smokie Norful is based on hope, healing and empowerment. He realized that every song he’s ever written has been centered on those tenets. In the midst of it all, he realizes that his success has a purpose. He doesn’t believe God has accelerated his progress for the sake of success – he knows and understands now that his life can serve as a testimony and an open book so he can grow and groom others to achieve even more. This is the first time in 15 years that he hasn’t had a record or deal or published – and that is just fine with him. He is liberated now to do things that are more apt to what he knows he is called to do. Norful said that if he does another album, it will be because he wants to. He has always wanted to do a Christmas CD and hinted at recording one in 2016 along with releasing other artists he’s currently cultivating. For now, he said he will use every God-given gift he has to continue to give hope, healing and empowerment to everyone he encounters. Donna M. Mooney contributed to this story

“Most people that aspire to be artists forget what they’re supposed to be doing and make the music more important than the ministry. Serving in a church is absolutely necessary because it keeps people’s issues and challenges on the forefront of your thought so you don’t lose perspective of how blessed you are, how fortunate you are, and how much the people around you need your gift, your grace and anointing.”

Norful shares a special moment with the audience during the release concert for his album, Forever Yours

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

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

Elaine, AR History, ‘15

Edlun gives back and encourages other to do so as well. To give online, visit 48

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Southfield, MI Chemistry, ‘18

university of arkansas at pine bluff

Dorothy Magett Fiddmont New Millennium Leaders

This special section is a tribute to six 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.

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eddie lamar harris Platinum Mr. Eddie Lamar Harris was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. During the 90s, Mr. Harris saw Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. at his daughter’s graduation from Jackson State University. He introduced himself to Dr. Davis as a former student at Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff--UAPB), where he had spent two years of his college education. In addition, his sister and daughter are graduates of UAPB. Mr. Harris, though not a graduate of UAPB, has always felt a close bond and obligation to the school. It was that conversation with Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., that reminded him of the importance of giving someone a “start” toward their future success. Though Mr. Harris received his Bachelor’s degree from Madonna College in Livonia, Michigan, and his Master’s degree from the University of Detroit, it was Dr. Davis’ observation that UAPB had given him the foundation and “start” he needed to become successful.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Mr. Harris presently serves as an Administrative Director of support services at the Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan. He has served as Executive Director of Facilities Maintenance for the Detroit Public Schools, Director of Building Services for the Henry Ford Health Systems and Director of Support Services for Southwest Detroit Hospital. In addition, he is a member of the National Association of Health Services Executives. In Mr. Harris’ years of experience, he has had the opportunity to work with multi support services/facility departments in a school and hospitals. He has had oversight of as many as 2,000 employees and up to $150M budgets. He is a Healthcare Administrator and business consultant. Mr. Harris is married to Michele Reid Harris, MD, and he is the father of Yasmine Harris-Straw, RN, BSN. He currently resides in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

colonel (retired) jesse p. newborn Platinum Born “cross the river” (Manchester, Arkansas) on November 20, 1949, by a midwife, Jesse P. Newborn has the distinction of paying only a few dollars to receive his college education by utilizing every available resource that was available in the late sixties (60s) and seventies (70s) which allowed him to receive his education debt free. The son of Paul and Sophie Newborn, he was raised in the Dalark, Manchester, and the Arkadelphia communities. He was educated at AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) where he graduated in three and a half years by going to school one summer. After graduating, he attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, School of Social Work, and completed the two year social work program in eighteen months. At the age of 22, he received a direct commission in Army Social Work and entered the Army on July 9, 1972. At that time, he was the youngest social worker to receive a direct commission as a First Lieutenant. When he was selected to full Colonel he was also the youngest social worker to obtain that rank. Newborn served 27 years and 7 months in the Army, and retired on February 1, 2000. Since leaving the Army, Colonel (Ret) Newborn established a counseling and consulting services in San Antonio, Texas. He received military decorations/awards: Legion Of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (4th Award), Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), Army Achievement Medal/National

Defense Service Medal (2nd Award)/Army Service Ribbon/ Overseas Service Ribbon, Order Of Military Medical Merit, Fisher House Foundation Angel Award, Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program Lifetime Achievement Award, and Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award. Newborn received numerous community involvement awards: Board of Directors and Past President of The Bexar Kiwanis Club, Former Board Member and Past Vice Chairperson of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives and the establishment of the Thomas Cleaver Scholarship Fund. Recipient of the Kiwanis Distinguished President Award, Texas-Oklahoma Kiwanis Foundation C.T. Bush Award and Kiwanis Hixson Award. He also holds several credentials: Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board Certified Diplomate in Social Work, Board Certified Diplomate in the American Psychotherapy Association, and Certified Behavioral Therapist with Domestic Violence Counselor endorsement, NOVA (National Organization of Victim Assistance) Certification and Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Certification. He is married to the former Patsy Richardson, a college professor, of Rison, Arkansas. His family includes daughter Kerri, a high school principal, son-in-law Nathan, senior level network architect, and granddaughter Parker.

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bill wilder Platinum “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem,” is a profound statement that has been one of the guiding principles of Bill Wilder’s life. When faced with hard decisions, he always solved them by applying that simple principle. Wilder was born and lived in St. Charles (Arkansas County), Arkansas. During his sophomore year at Immanuel High School in Almyra, his family moved to DeWitt. Bill graduated from Immanuel High School in 1964 and entered Arkansas AM&N College that same year. During his tenure there, he chose to major in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. In 1968, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, graduated with honors, and started his career in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1975, he returned to Arkansas and continued working in the information processing field at a local bank in Little Rock.


UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Bill was employed for 25 years as a computer programmer, classroom instructor, and business analyst with a global financial services company based in Little Rock. During his employment, he traveled to many major U.S. cities as well as South Korea, Trinidad, and Norway. Bill began working as a Business Analyst Contractor in 2007. Bill has served on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Emergency Systems (MEMS), which serves Little Rock and the Central Arkansas area. He is an active member of the Pulaski County UAPB/AM&N Alumni Chapter. He is and has always been a die-hard Golden Lion fan. One of the many ways he supports his university is by making annual contributions to its fundraising campaigns. Bill is a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, and the proud parent of a son, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

james r. bell, ph.d. Bronze Dr. James R. Bell, a native of Helena, Arkansas, graduated from Arkansas AM&N College in 1957. He later attended Boston University where he received his Masters and Specialist degrees. Shortly thereafter, he was called by his alma mater to teach. He taught basic health topics and the advance course, Kinesiology for six years. He later decided to change his academic discipline and took leave to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. He successfully retrained by doing hours equivalent to the master’s degree and the required hours for the terminal degree with emphasis in educational technology. While serving his alma mater, he held significant roles in the community and state: First full time UAPB Title III Coordinator; Director of Planning Management and Evaluation; and Founder of the Bell Learning Resources Center; He published a featured article “A Historical Overview of Educational Media in Higher Education” in the Audio Visual Instruction, now known

as the Journal of Educational Technology (January 1975, vol.20, no. 1 Winter 1975, pp. 11-13). Other professional activities, memberships and awards include: Director of Development; Vice President Board of Directors of Southeast Arkansas Developmental Disabilities Board; State Health Coordinating Council, member; White Hall Planning Commission; Life Achievement Award Southwest Provincial of Kappa Alpha Psi; Media Consultant to Watson Chapel Public Schools; Graduate School professor; University of Arkansas School of Continuing Education; member of the committee for reconstructing Graduate Programs in the University System; member Board of Governors Jefferson Hospital; Zeta Phi Beta Educational Achievement Award; Visiting Professor Southern University; Kennedy Foundation Fellowship; Southern Methodist University; President Southeast Arkansas Audiovisual Association; and President of the Pine Bluff Citizens Boys Club. Dr. Bell initiated the Charter effort to legitimate Little League baseball in Pine Bluff.

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gladys turner-finney Platinum Gladys Turner Finney, has spent her life and career transforming lives and making a difference at an institutional and community level. The daughter of Willis and Mary Bluford Turner, Dr. Finney was born in Tamo, Arkansas, during the middle of the Great Depression. When her parents moved to Pine Bluff to seek employment at the Pine Bluff Arsenal during WWII, she initially attended Main Street School and was a student at St. Peter’s Catholic School from the fourth through the tenth grade. After attending J. C. Corbin High School (Arkansas AM&N College campus) for two years, she graduated in 1953 as salutatorian of the class. This was the last graduating class of J. C. Corbin High School. The fall of 1953, she entered Arkansas AM&N College, earning a bachelors’ degree in sociology in 1957. That same year, with an Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Grant, she was admitted to Atlanta University School of Social Work and graduated with a master of social work degree in 1959. After nearly four decades of practice as a clinician, administrator, manager, field work instructor, in health and mental health settings, she retired in 1997. She has contributed to the early development of four major institutions in Dayton, Ohio: The Children’s Medical Center, Day-Mont West Community Mental Health Center, Wright State University, and the Learning Tree Farm. She has worked with others to address issues of peace and social justice, school desegregation, discriminatory hiring practices, redlining. She has served on community boards supporting social welfare services. 54

UAPB MAGAZINE • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

As a member of the board of the non-profit corporation, West Dayton Neighbors for Education, and a grant from the City of Dayton, nearly two hundred west Dayton neighborhood students were offered full scholarships to receive an associate degree at Sinclair Community College. She is an Elder at College Hill Community Church (Presbyterian, USA) where she serves as chair of the Seniors Ministry and longtime member of the Peace & Social Justice Ministry. She is a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her honors and awards include: Social Worker of the Year (1978) Miami Valley Chapter NASW; Distinguished Alumni, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1985) by National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO); NASW Outstanding Service Award, Ohio Chapter, (2001); NASW Outstanding Service Award, NASW Region VII, (2001); NASW Lifetime Achievement Award (1997), Ohio Chapter, Region VII; Mary Scott Legacy Award, (2006); Cardinal Bernardin Community Service Award (2008); Chancellor’s Award, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2009); Prestigious Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (her alma mater); and inducted into Wright State University Wright Brothers Society (2014). She was married to the late Frederick Marshall Finney, a social economist and national numismatics writer for 36 years.

jackey e. cason Bronze Jackey E. Cason’s love for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is quite evident to anyone observing his actions or has purchased fundraising tickets from him. Born and raised in Crossett, Arkansas, he started his career in education over 50 years ago. Jackey Cason was destined for great things. As a natural born leader, he has built a reputation as someone who is committed and dedicated to higher learning—he always gives a “thumbs up” to education! An early source of inspiration for him came from his high school teacher, Roosevelt Early, who took Cason under his wing and mentored him. This experience would establish Jackey Cason as a “bridge builder.” His ignited passion has touched the lives of so many in the areas of education, Greek organizations and most notably the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Throughout Mr. Cason’s life, he dedicated his time and resources to educating the youth by serving as a committee member of the UNCF. Under his direction, Fenger Academy for African-

American Studies collected over $326,000 in donations for the UNCF, resulting in the Academy becoming the leading high school to collect the most money from 1980 to 2000. He has paved the way for many students to attend UNCF schools, and has been recognized and honored for many laudable accomplishments, including the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Alumni King in 2007-2008, and 20112012. Cason spent over thirty-seven years in the classroom molding leaders of today and is an accomplished member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity. He strives to increase the Chicago Alumni Chapter’s membership, While in college, he fell in love in with Alice Bronson, whom he married and later would follow to Chicago from Arkansas. Their marriage produced two children, five grandchildren and a life of faith and values. In 2013, after forty-eight years together, Alice made her transition and is deeply missed.

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Kymara Seals'94 has been appointed

the new Policy Director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel. Seals’ role is to help grassroots communities build stronger coalitions and campaigns to improve economic and educational opportunities, address environmental and social justice needs and work on other priorities chosen by leaders.

Seals is a 1988 honor graduate and Lion Scholar of Hamburg High School and a 1994 honor graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. An Arkansas native, Seals comes with a strong political background and experience building successful campaigns in the Natural State, including a successful statewide grassroots voter empowerment campaign for the NAACP National Voter Fund. For twelve years she served as Deputy State Director for US Senator Mark Pryor where she worked on various policy issues with her D.C. counterparts and supervised a team of caseworkers that helped constituents navigate through federal bureaucracy. She also supervised a team of field staff who traveled the state of Arkansas where they developed and maintained relationships with elected officials, major business and industry, chamber of commerce directors, community leaders, universities, colleges, community college officials, governmental relations liaisons, public relations directors, county project coordinators, and grant administrators. In addition, Kymara attended and

participated in local and regional economic development meetings, governmental and political meetings. She will focus on strengthening the advocacy capacity, political engagement, and other strategic missions of the Panel and the Citizens First Congress. “I’ve been involved in politics for more than two decades, and it is exciting to join an organization that is successfully engaging people and communities in the process,” Seals said. “The Panel has laid a strong foundation of leaders who understand the importance of working together for the greater good. I look forward to building on that groundwork to make sure these groups can be even more effective in their communities and statewide.” The Panel’s Executive Director, Bill Kopsky said “Kymara knows the state of Arkansas and the many issues we face here. Her professional and life experiences provide a valuable set of tools that will help the Panel and Citizens First Congress achieve real progress and empower grassroots groups to create a better state for all of us.”

Cidni LaRue Bolden Sanders'97 has been named the internal communications program director

at the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Indiana. A former Whirlpool Corp. senior communications manager, Sanders’ new responsibilities are overseeing the internal communications department at Notre Dame, including production of NDWorks, the monthly faculty/staff newspaper; TheWeek@ND, the weekly events and announcements email communication; the campus news page on news.nd.edu; and the university online calendar. A 1993 graduate of Pine Bluff High School, Sanders received a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1997. Sanders is the daughter of Charlie and Virginia Bolden of Pine Bluff. She and her husband, Ebon Sanders, reside in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and have two children. Sanders

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from caption to the rank of battalion chief. Clark, a 15-year veteran, is a 1992 graduate of Watson Chapel High School. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and an Associate of Applied Science degree in fire science from Southeast Arkansas College. Clark is a recent graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2015 Citizens Academy and is currently in his final year of the four-year Carl Holmes’ Executive Development Institute Program at Dillard University in New Orleans.

Clark is a certified emergency medical technician instructor, hazardous materials technician, CPR instructor, training instructor, fire instructor, fire investigator and a certified specialized law enforcement officer. He is a recipient of the 2008 Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services Life Saving Award and a member of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce, Fraternal Order of Firefighters, Arkansas State Firefighters Association, The International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., NAACP, Jefferson County Drug Court and Toastmasters International. He is married to Tierra Clark and they have five children.

Rance Dukes'02 was promoted from

engineer to the rank of lieutenant. Dukes, an 11-year veteran, is a 1995 graduate of Watson Chapel High School. Dukes has a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology with a minor in mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and is a nationally certified emergency medical technician. He is married to Andrea S. Dukes and they have one child.

Dr. André Smith has been appointed the new principal of Jack E. Singley Academy. Smith was

most recently the principal at Duncanville High School. With 20 years in the educational field, Smith started his career in Duncanville ISD as a special education instructional aide at Hardin Intermediate School. He taught at Duncanville High and moved into leadership positions there as a dean of students, assistant principal and associate principal before moving to Reed Middle as principal in 2004. Smith then left Duncanville to serve as principal at North Crowley High School for four years before returning to become principal at Duncanville High School in 2012. Smith earned his doctorate in educational leadership and development from Texas Christian University, a master’s degree in educational administration/mid-management from Texas Woman’s University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He also holds superintendent certification from the University of Texas at Arlington. Smith

Joyce Craft was one of three people inducted into the

Henderson State University Academy of Scholars.The Academy is comprised of Henderson graduates who have gained distinction in their professional fields. Craft is currently transitioning from superintendent of the Hot Springs School District to retirement. She began her educational career with the Hot Springs School District as a classroom teacher and went on to become an assistant principal, interim principal, interim director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences, and assistant superintendent. She was named superintendent in 2007.

Craft holds a master’s degree from Henderson State, and Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She continued graduate studies at Memphis State University, UALR, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Ouachita Baptist University. Craft is active in many community and civic organizations, as well as state level professional organizations.

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departed this life on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at UAMS Hospital in Little Rock, AR. He was 65 years old. Branch was born January 11, 1950 to Willie & Marvell Branch, the firstborn of nine children, in Dumas, AR. He was a very studious as a young man and graduated from Wolf Project High School as valedictorian Branch in 1966. He attended AM&N College (UAPB) graduating with honors in 1969. He continued his educational goals by attending Arkansas State University to complete his masters and Ed.D in 1976. He spent 42 years in the educational system in Blytheville, AR as a teacher and principal. He retired in 2011. He was a minister of the gospel for over 20 years & pastored Unity Evangelistic Ministries in Blytheville, AR.


was born March 27, 1957 in Saginaw, Michigan to the late Claud and Louise Grays (Gentry) Grays. After a lengthy illness, she passed away Monday, July 13, 2015. Growing up Claudine loved to dance, roller skate, shop, cook tacos, and spend time with family and friends. In 1975, Claudine graduated from Buena Vista High School. She continued her education at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and received a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration in 1983. During Claudine’s life she has held positions at Sears, Wicks, Toys R Us, and Michigan State University.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Jeremiah Branch. Jack is survived by his wife of 46 years, Electa Branch; one son, Willie (Rita) Branch III of Moundville, AL; four grandchildren: Tiffany Branch, Willie Branch IV, VaShaun Wiggins and Jareah Branch; two great-grandchildren: Ja’Niya Branch and Takayla McClendon; his parents, Willie & Marvell Branch; seven siblings: Marvia (Thomas) Lackey of Ft. Worth, TX; Victor (LaVerne) Branch of Jackson, MS; Dr. Vye Branch-Watson of Jonesboro, AR; Kenneth (Dana) Branch of Ivanhoe, IL; Dwayne (Anita) Branch of Springfield, VA; Darrell Branch of Watson, AR; David (Geraldine) Branch of Potomac, MD. He also leaves a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends all around the world.

Claudine accepted Christ and was baptized at an early age at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. There she attended Sunday school, was a member of the youth choir, and usher board. Upon relocating to Lansing, MI and later Indianapolis, IN, Claudine continued her faith journey by joining a local church. When Claudine returned to Saginaw her health failed but not her faith. Although she didn’t connect with another church, her connection to and belief in God remained. Claudine will be remembered for her smile and laughter. She was the big sister who was always protective of her younger siblings.

She leaves to cherish her memory, two sisters, Joyce Adrow and Brenda (Phillip) Holley; two brothers, Guy Grays and Daryl Grays; two nephews, Jordan Holley and Jamal Holley; one great niece, Tamara Halverson; seven aunts, Annie B. Banks, Travestine Butler, Clintontine (Robert) Fitz, Yvonne Gentry, Allean Junious, Maggie Erwin, Ida Stuckey and Virginia Grays; five uncles, Clinton (Verda) Gentry, Thomas (Cynthia) Gentry, Y.T. (Barbara) Gray, McKinley (Mary) Grays and O.D. Grays; and a host of special cousins and friends. Claudine was preceded in death by her parents, Claud and Louise Grays; a sister, Loretta Harris; and a nephew, Markel Perkins.

KEITH EDWIN WILBERT, JR., 21, of Little Rock, Arkansas passed away Wednesday, September 23, 2015.


He touched so many lives in his precious 21 years of earthly life. Keith loved sports and played basketball and football. He was a student at UAPB. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Herman L. Mitchell, Sr. and aunt, Wivolene Mitchell. He leaves to cherish his memory to his number one fan, mom, Sheila Mitchell Wilbert; father, Keith E. Wilbert, Sr. (Kenya); sisters, Shawnta, Kia, Keilah, Kierra and Kyndall; his brother's keepers, Kelton, Nicholas, AB and Kyron; loving grandparents, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. A special friend, Katara Dooley to the moon and back.

MR. ROOSEVELT LOWE, JR., 66, of Pine Bluff, passed

Monday, September 21, 2015. He was born December 5, 1948 to Roosevelt Lowe, Sr. and Mary Taggart Lowe. Roosevelt attended Pine Bluff public schools and graduated from Southeast High School in 1966. He attended AM&N College, now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Roosevelt retired from General Motors in Flint, Mich. after 32 years of service. Survivors include son, Roosevelt Lowe, III of Lilburn, Ga.; daughter, Da’Janique Brewton; brother, Pastor Alvin C. Lowe; sisters, Ora Lee Butler and Sharon Lowe all of Pine Bluff; two grandchildren and two grandchildren. 58

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Willie Branch, Jr.'69 July 7, 2015 Blytheville, AR

Frank Evans, Jr,'54 September 27, 2015 San Antonio, TX


DR. RENALDO JEREMIAH HEMPHILL'99 was born in Pine Bluff,

Arkansas on October 4, 1979 to the union of Calvin L. Sr. and Frankie L. Hemphill. He was the youngest of three siblings and the first to make the glorious transitions from his earthly home to become a member of God’s working angels. Dr. Hemphill professed a hope in Christ at Cherry St. Memorial AME Zion Church, Pine Bluff, Arkansas at an early age. He lived his life in the true Christian manner tirelessly and ceaselessly pursuing ways to helping his fellow man. AS A FIGHTER - For the past 31 years, Dr. Renaldo has had to fight for his life. Diagnosed with Leukemia at age 4, he was given a cancer curing bone marrow transplant as a child from his sister, Lillian. No one probably expected Renaldo to make it, but he proved that he was a survivor! He showed all of us that God is still in the healing and blessing business. It was God's amazing grace, mercy, and strength that gave him hope, faith and peace in spite of the circumstances that life provides him with. AS AN EDUCATOR - During his third grade year in elementary school, Dr. Hemphill made the third highest score on the standardized test for that grade even though he only attended class only one half day during that year (most of that year was spent in the hospital because of his illness).

During his eighth grade year at Watson Chapel Junior High school, he made the highest score on the standardized Math test, thus outscoring 7th, 8th and 9th graders too! He scored a 26 on the ACT Test at the beginning of his 10th grade year in high school, causing him to be recruited by every big name university in the country, including MIT. He graduated from Watson Chapel High School at the age of 16, completing the 11th AND 12th grade in one year with a grade point average of 3.78. This earned him enough scholarship money that paid for his college education and afforded him the opportunity to help other students by buying their books, school supplies or simply giving them money and asking nothing in return. He graduated from The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (BS in Mathematics) at the age of 19 with a grade point average of 3.7, this included completing 36 credits in one semester! He received his Master’s (Engineering) from The University of Arkansas at age 21, and his Ph.D. (Microphotonics/ Microelectronics) from the same institution at the age of 25. AS A POLITICIAN – Dr. Hemphill was Vice President of the Student Council at Watson Chapel Junior High school, and President of the student Council at Watson Chapel Senor High school. At the age of 17 he served as an intern for former US Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater. He also served as a two term member of the President’s Council of People with Disabilities under U.S. President George W. Bush. He helped write many of the laws for the United States that helps disabled individuals enjoy a better quality of life to this day. He also served as Vice President of the Faculty/Staff Senate at UAPB. AS A WRITER-Dr. Hemphill wrote several newspaper articles and Journals about Science and Mathematics that were published worldwide - some of which he presented in Sweden, and at Penn State University. He wrote the book, How to Go to College in Seven Easy Steps that was used as a major resource in the Adult Education Program for the State of Louisiana. AS AN INVENTOR - Dr. Hemphill designed a solar powered touch screen cell phone for his mother in 2003 simply because he did not like the flip phone she was using at that time. He also designed the Hero I and II (USB drive/MP2 player) that could be used as a recorder and play music as well. He also designed many usb drivers in many shapes. In 2009, he designed a cell phone watch with dual sim cards - 6 years before Apple invented the iWatch. AS AN INSPIRATION - His hard work earned him admiration and respect from acclaimed individuals from all walks of life. He was a speaker, innovator, writer, teacher, and an inspiration for all who knew him. Working as a Mathematics Professor, he focused his career on helping the students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, but, his passion was the uplifting of the people in the Arkansas Delta. In 2005, he created The Renaldo J. Hemphill Foundation for Empathy, Education, and Economic Development of the Arkansas Delta. He designed College Fairs, toured the state tirelessly, and met with statewide stakeholders to discuss the needs of the Arkansas Delta and its people. Dr. Hemphill leaves his legacy to his parents, Calvin, Sr. and Frankie Hemphill, his sister, Lillian and brother, Calvin, his grandparents, Leona and Lee Cason, Uncle Clyde and Aunt Carlean Hemphill, Aunt Bonnie (Apostle Lillian Hodges), Uncle BB ( James Rodgers), Aunt Peg (Bertha Thomas), Aunt Big (Velma Thomas) Aunt Bessie (Bessie Robinson), Uncle Lloyd Sr. and Aunt Evelyn Franklin, Uncle Joseph and Aunt Susie Bankhead,Aunt Helen Holmes, Aunt Mamie Luckett, Aunt Ethel Jean Andrews, and Uncle MacArthur Hemphill, six God Brothers and two God Sisters, a host of cousins and friends worldwide including “Cousins” Marvin and Hilda Rauls, the Tanner family and all the people of Cleveland and Jefferson Counties. The life that he lived will be remembered and his presence will be missed. He left a memory that we can all hold onto, especially when we think life has dealt us a tough hand of cards. We can remember Renaldo and play to win.


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

UPCOMING SPEAKERS Reverend Dr. Bernice King Fall Commencement December 11, 2015

Hill Harper

Black History Month February 2, 2016

Nikki Giovanni

An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment March 31, 2016

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill Men’s Day

April 12, 2016 60

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UAPB Magazine | Fall 2015  

The Fall issue features two–time Grammy® award-winning recording artist Smokie Norful. He has experienced more in 40 years than most do in a...

UAPB Magazine | Fall 2015  

The Fall issue features two–time Grammy® award-winning recording artist Smokie Norful. He has experienced more in 40 years than most do in a...

Profile for uapbmag