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

SPRING 2016

TORII HUNTER HOMETOWN HERO


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RECAP

JayShaun Wise receives Second Lieutenant rank during the commissioning ceremony at Fall 2015 Commencement exercises. The keynote speaker, Dr. Bernice King, admonished graduates to make their lives matter.

Richard Redus


CONTENTS 5 6 34 52 54

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

Features 40 COVER STORY

HOMETOWN HERO

TORII HUNTER

by Donna Mooney Photography by Niguel Valley From stick ball to the major league, Pine Bluff native Torii Hunter has seen it all and works to help others–on and off the field.

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36 Torii Hunter is photographed in the dugout of the baseball and softball complex that bears his name at UAPB.

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SIGHT AND SOUND

Built to foster creativity, the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building continues to inspire the minds of tomorrow

WELL SUITED

How a seasonal opportunity at a men’s clothing store created a seamless transition to entrepreneurship

LESSONS FROM AN NFL COUPLE From the NFL, to newlyweds to nearly divorced, they put it all on the table– and in a book

Niguel Valley


Volume 3 No. 1 Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander, J.D., Ph.D. Director of University Relations and Development, and Title II Programs Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall Program Director for Public Information/Editor

Tisha D. Arnold Copy Editor

Donna Mooney Creative Director

Brian T. Williams Contributing Writers

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

Brad Mayhugh Richard Redus Niguel Valley 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

ULTIMATE HONOR

The Athletics Department retired the jerseys of Harold Blevins and Jesse Mason for their outstanding performance in basketball during their tenure at the institution. Read more on page 32

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

Richard Redus

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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CHANCELLOR'S LETTER

It has been a great year at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff! We continue to celebrate new achievements inside and outside the classroom. From the 400 plus new Golden Lion alumni who received their degrees (including our first Ph.D. graduate) this past year to accolades for our student-athletes, we remain committed to our number one priority, student success. We are making great progress in every corner of the campus in improving on the return on investment in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). As you read through this issue of the UAPB Magazine, I hope you will enjoy reliving some of the year’s highs. Enrollment has increased and has created a new sense of pride. We have experienced 30% growth in student applications and continue in our efforts to grow “Dear Mother.” Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released its report indicating that our university continues to increase in academic performance rates across the board. In addition, as we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Second Morrill Act and the creation of 1890 land grant institutions, UAPB was among the universities nationally-recognized by U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, and numerous other officials during the celebration in Washington D.C.

“The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was created by the Second Morrill Act and is an accomplished leader in agriculture innovation,” Sen. Boozman stated. Rep. Westerman credited UAPB with being one of the nation’s premier HBCUs and also congratulated Sidney Smith, a 2016 computer science graduate, for being selected as one of 83 HBCU All-Stars. Our cover story features a hometown hero who went from a young boy with a dream and very little means to a prominent figure in Major League Baseball, in his community, and in the nation. Despite his circumstances, Torii Hunter never gave up on his dream, and he worked hard to become the man he is today, making a difference and impacting lives across the nation. Along with his wife, Katrina Hunter, he is an avid supporter of the university and the community through his contributions to the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex, projects at local high schools, and much more. In addition, you will read about two alumni, former NFL player, Dante Wesley, and his wife, Renetta, who have co-authored the book, FACTS In a Professional Sports Marriage: Uncensored. The book reviews the pressures of a professional sports marriage and how their marriage survived despite the obstacles they faced. Our successful supporters and alumni encourage our current students to continue to pursue their own goals. It is refreshing that we have individuals both on campus and off campus who are connected with the university and making an impact on our students. The generous gifts of John E. Smith and Herbert and Maretha Hertz illustrate the value of the educational experience our alumni and friends are continuing to support. We thank you for your unwavering support of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. It is our sincere hope that you join us in continuing our legacy, cheering on our ongoing endeavors, and applauding those who continue to uplift us to new heights. Sincerely,

Chancellor

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NEWS AND EVENTS

GOLDEN TIMES Homecoming 2015 was a time to reconnect, recollect, and replenish your pride in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. With the theme, “Golden,” a host of events were held throughout the week for alumni, students, and the community-at-large.

At right: Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr,. is joined by Ed Perkins during the Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament

Photos by Richard Redus

At right: Students from the UAPB Child Development Center show their school spirit during the Black and Gold Assembly.

Above: Jackey Cason, president of the Chicago Alumni Chapter, makes a presentation to his alma mater during the Alumni Assembly. At left: Brianna Allen is crowned during the coronation ceremony by Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander and assisted by the 85th Miss UAPB Michel’la Martin as the 86th Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Above: The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4) leads festivities for the annual Homecoming Parade in downtown Pine Bluff. At left: UAPB’s first lady, Mrs. Veronica Alexander, waves to the crowd atop a yellow convertible during the annual Homecoming Parade.

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NEWS AND EVENTS

John E. Smith gives $300,000 for Vesper Choir endowment fund Before the Christmas season began, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir received a very special gift-a $300,000 donation to establish the John E. Smith and Charlene Smith-Gaines Vesper Choir Fund. Donated by Mr. John E. Smith, a 1961 graduate of AM&N College (now UAPB), the fund will assist in taking the choir to all corners of the state of Arkansas and the nation through a variety of outreach activities. “We are very much grateful for the incredible generosity of Mr. John E. Smith,” UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander said. “His remarkable contribution will have a profound and sustained impact on our university and, more specifically, our internationally-renowned Vesper Choir through the establishment of the fund.” Dr. Michael Bates, director of the ensemble and interim chair of the music department said members of the Vesper Choir present and past are overwhelmed and overjoyed at the gift by Mr. Smith to the Vesper Choir Endowment Fund. “Knowing that this gift will enable the Vesper Choir to have the capability of addressing needs in the future that we don’t have any idea of today is exciting,” Dr. Bates said. “This is a lesson to current students in the Vesper Choir, to choir alumni and to all alumni of the importance of giving back to the future of “Dear Mother”. This gift is a blessing that we are enormously grateful for. We thank Mr. Smith for his generosity and we want him to know that he has planted “seed” in fertile ground. God is good and He continues to bless the Vesper Choir and our mission of service in so many ways.” During a recent gathering of Vesper Choir alumni, Smith reflected on his experience at UAPB and the trailblazers of the music program at UAPB.

Gaines

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

He joined the Vesper Choir in 1957, his freshman year, and performed throughout his matriculation at AM&N until his graduation in 1961. “I always had the desire to give back,” Smith said. “I was fortunate enough in the last few years of my career to earn a couple of extra nickels and chose to share it with [my alma mater] and one of my favorite organizations, the Vesper Choir.” He also encouraged current members of the ensemble to remember from whence they came and make it a point to give back as well. “Mr. Smith has given our choir something to sing about!” Director of Development Dr. Margaret MartinHall exclaimed. “His generosity will afford them opportunities that may have otherwise been unattainable. It will benefit our students for many generations to come.” Organized in 1946 by Ariel M. Lovelace, the Vesper Choir is a service organization that has performed for significant campus and community events, schools, churches, and community organizations around the state of Arkansas and internationally. With a mission that is cultural, artistic and educational, the group has produced a long line of distinguished singers, performers and professionals in other work fields and academics including Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, prominent theologian, pastor and author; Smokie Norful, Grammy award-winning contemporary gospel artist and pastor; and the late James McKissic, internationally renowned concert pianist.

Happ

The Office Of University R

Smith


Marether and Herbert Herts

HBCU supporters bequest $200,000 estate gift to UAPB for memorial scholarship The union of the late Herbert and Marether Herts resulted in an appreciation and support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Although neither of them attended UAPB, they both came from small towns in the South and understood the importance of being able to extend an opportunity to those that came behind them. Having died in 1992 and 2013 respectively, their estate bequeathed $209,272.81 to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to establish the Herbert, Marether, and George Herts Scholarship.

A Korean War veteran, Herbert Herts was born in Spearsville, Louisiana. Because there weren’t any close schools in the area, he went to a laboratory school at Tuskegee University which gave him a great foundation and taste of HBCU atmosphere in the 1950s. Mrs. Herts was born in Baxter, Arkansas, and moved when she was a one year old. Having both enjoyed a fruitful career with the Department of Defense, they met in California where Herbert was stationed and the rest is history. Dr. George Herts, brother of Herbert Herts and interim dean of the division of continuing education and graduate studies at UAPB said he was surprised by the donation. He recalled conversations at family reunions where they would talk about the lack of support for HBCUs, but had no idea it would result in such a generous gift. He and his brother both graduated from Grambling State University. “I never thought about the impact those conversations would have,” Herts said. “This scholarship represents a continued and meaningful investment in the university’s quality education and the impact that will be felt by our students and the surrounding community for decades to come,” UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander said. “The true benefits of this gift are immense and will have a lasting effect. The recipients of this scholarship will become tomorrow’s leaders as they will develop new businesses and become entrepreneurs, discover cures and treatments for diseases, advance technology, and create innovative ways to strengthen and enhance the society.” The details of the scholarship will particularly help African-American students who are economically disadvantaged and in need of such assistance or those who are the first or second generation in their family to attend an institution of higher education. “This gift is an excellent example of the level of commitment UAPB employees have for the students we educate,” Dr. Margaret MartinHall, director of development and Title III said. “Dr. George Herts is a graduate of an HBCU that has a mission similar to UAPB; however, he encouraged his brother and sister-in-law to make their legacy gift to us—that’s dedication and commitment in action!”

Spring 2016 9


NEWS AND EVENTS

(L-R) Leonardo Vieira, Xavier Graves, Adrian Thompson, Jr., Tiffany Howell, Chirone Gamble, Robin Ghosh, Javaughn Love, and Dr. Karl Walker.

Students, faculty discuss black males at international colloquium in Jamaica Six students and two faculty members at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) were among attendees at the fourth International Colloquium on Black Males in Education held recently in Kingston, Jamaica. Creating Opportunity Through Education: ReEngineering the Social Ecosystem for Black Males was the theme for the event. With leadership from faculty members Dr. Karl Walker and Mr. Robin Ghosh, UAPB students Adrian Thompson, Jr., Javaughn Love, Tiffany Howell, Xavier Graves, Chirone Gamble, and Leonardo Vieira were presenters at a panel board discussion during the event. Their project proposal entitled, Mathematics Personal Learning Environments, Leveraging Social Media and Self-Regulated Learning, combines mathematics with the social media platform Twitter© to achieve a better overall learning environment for students.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The project is specifically aimed at improving math scores for incoming freshmen. The overarching goal of this exploratory research project is to enhance learning outcomes for mathematics using socio-cultural cognition theory to teach incoming freshmen, first-generation, and minority college students how to develop personal learning environments (PLE), leverage social media tools, and use extended learning communities to enhance their mathematics knowledge. At the conference, the students also had opportunities to attend the Graduate School Academy (GSA) which conducted workshops centered on relevant topics including: “Is Graduate School the Right Choice for Me?”; “The Graduate and Professional School Application Process”; “Choosing the Right Institution and Alternatives”; and a round table discussion “Exploring Sustainable Strategies for Black Males in Higher Education.”

The conference originated from Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, in collaboration with the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male at The Ohio State University. According to conference materials, the Colloquium provided a forum for top educators, high-impact researchers, policy makers, funders, and students from universities across the Caribbean and throughout the world to share their knowledge and perspectives, as well as to learn from global research strategies that inform education policies and programs.


UAPB Experiences 30% Growth in Student Applications Boozman

Westerman

Boozman, Westerman tout UAPB,1890 HBCUs Culminating a year-long celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Second Morrill Act and the creation of the nation’s 19 historically black land-grant universities (the 1890s), the U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Sen. John Boozman that designates August 30, 2015, as “1890 Land-Grant Institutions Quasquicentennial Recognition Day.” 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. Today, these universities continue their mission of providing educational access to all through research and Extension. “The contributions of 1890 land-grant universities to scientific research are changing the world,” Sen. Boozman said. “Their mission is still as relevant today as we seek advanced methods to improve our food sources and offer all students an opportunity to realize their dream of a college education. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was created by the Second Morrill Act and is an accomplished leader in agriculture innovation. I am proud to recognize UAPB and all 1890 land-grant universities.” At a September 25 speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Bruce Westerman credited UAPB with being one of the nation’s premier historically black colleges and universities. He also congratulated Sidney Smith, a senior computer science major at UAPB, for being named one of 83 HBCU AllStars. The White House Initiative on HBCUs started the program to recognize the academic achievements, leadership and civic engagement of top students. “I congratulate Sidney and tip my hat to all HBCUs for the work they are doing in communities across America,” he said. “You are giving generations of young people a brighter future and helping them to make America what they dream it to be.”

Students apply from U.S., Middle East, India, Europe, Central and South America Applications for fall 2016 admission have increased by more than 30% over the same time period in 2015 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). The Office of Admissions had received more than 5,200 applications as of February 29, 2016, three months earlier than the 5,200-plus applications it had received by June 2015. During the month February, there were 31% more applications received compared to February 2015. “UAPB has always delivered a wonderful education and produced exceptional graduates; now, we are telling a much better story about the experiences students have on our campus,” said Dr. Linda Okiror, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “We are also committed to helping make college affordable by offering a myriad of academic and need-based scholarships.” Fall 2016 student applicants, through the end of February, represent 39 states including nearly 1,898 applicants from Arkansas. Students have applied for admission from 23 countries in Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean with the largest number of students coming from Nigeria. Last fall, first-time freshmen enrollment increased by 38.1%, with 685 students enrolled. Overall student enrollment, including graduate students, increased by 6.1 percent, with a student population at 2,666. Several academic enhancements have occurred over the last two years, including: the return of the generic prelicensure nursing degree program; completion and opening of the STEM Center; expanded opportunity for students in the summer LIONS program.

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NEWS AND EVENTS

DR. JESSIE J. WALKER SELECTED AS AN ARKANSAS RESEARCH ALLIANCE FELLOW

UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, ARA fellow Dr. Jessie Walker are pictured with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson at the State Capitol

Dr. Jessie J. Walker, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at UAPB, was named an Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA)Fellow in acknowledgment of his research on cyberinfrastructure and defense super computers. Fellows are nominated by the chancellor of their affiliated university and receive a $75,000 grant paid over three years. The Fellows program was created to advance the mission of ARA by supporting world-class scholars whose work helps strengthen the competitiveness of the state through university-based research. Members of last year’s inaugural Fellows class focus on innovations in biomedical engineering, plant biochemistry and nutritional improvements, electronics research for transportation and the electric power grid, as well as testing to help diagnose liver injury related to acetaminophen.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “Arkansas Research Alliance continues to help fuel economic growth in our state. By investing in distinguished researchers and nurturing innovation, they’re helping us more aggressively advance our economy and position us for the future.” Founded in 2008, ARA is a 501(c)3 organization governed by a board of trustees comprised of chancellors from Arkansas research universities and CEOs from across the state. The Arkansas Research Alliance is dedicated to elevating the fundamental belief that research matters. Operating as a public-private partnership, ARA invests in research that stimulates innovation, encourages collaboration and strengthens economic opportunity in areas in which Arkansas possesses core competency.


Dr. Steve Lochmann receives American Fisheries Society Arkansas Chapter Award Dr. Steve Lochmann, professor of aquaculture and fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was recently awarded the Joe Hogan Award for Individual Achievement at the annual meeting of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas. The award recognizes those with a strong commitment to Arkansas’ fisheries and aquatic resources. Steve Dr. Lochmann, a member of the AFS for Lochmann 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 its website, the Arkansas Chapter of the AFS was formed in 1987 to serve fisheries professionals in the state of Arkansas by promoting the wise management, conservation and use of fisheries and aquatic resources, facilitating the exchange of information among industry professionals and increasing the public’s awareness of fisheries-related issues and projects.

Dr. Brenda Martin named to education accreditation council

Dr. Brenda Martin, chair of the Department of Human Sciences, was recently appointed to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Volunteer Corps as a site visitor. As a member of the CAEP Volunteer Corps, Dr. Martin will be responsible for evaluating teacher licensure programs at selected universities according to CAEP standards. She will make one to two site visits Brenda Martin per semester and work with a team of other education professionals to review the universities’ accreditation documentation and make recommendations to the accreditation council. According to CAEP, its mission is to advance excellence in educator preparation through evidence‐based accreditation that assures quality and continuous improvement in student learning. More than 900 educator preparation providers, including higher education institutions and residency programs, participate in the CAEP accreditation system.

PROFESSOR DANNY CAMPBELL’S ART FEATURED AT MOSAIC TEMPLARS

Danny Campbell

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center recently acquired two mixed media sculptures by Danny Campbell, professor and chairperson of the Department of Art at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The works titled, “Overcoming the Challenges of Dehumanization” and “A Hopeful Journey to Freedom’s End” examine the spirit of Arkansas natives Maya Angelou, Wiley Austin Branton, Silas Hunt, John Johnson, and Edith Irby Jones. These portraits serve as iconographic images from the ancestral landscapes of Africa to Arkansas. The artist combines abandoned tire treads and automobile parts collected from alongside the highways. “I want my works to uplift the AfricanAmerican race and share our mental and physical toughness by using recycled auto and tire remnants,” Campbell said. “These works are symbolic and show our ability to bounce back and get back on course regardless of what we have been faced with throughout history.” Campbell also stated that he chose to feature these notable Arkansans in works because they have contributed tremendously to society over the years. “Their service has made our world a better place. I am very thankful for their generosity to our nation and this is my way to show an appreciation and immortalize their significant contribution.” Campbell is a native of Dumas, Arkansas, and has taught art at many institutions including Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta Metropolitan State College in Atlanta, Georgia. He has traveled around the country exhibiting his work in galleries and museums.

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Dr. Sederick Rice appointed to State of Arkansas minority health commission Sederick Rice

Dr. Sederick Rice, assistant professor of Biology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), has been appointed by Governor Hutchinson to the Arkansas Minority Health Commission (AMHC). The goal of the commission is to ensure all minority Arkansans have access to health care that is equal to the care provided to other citizens of the state, seek ways to provide education, address issues and prevent diseases and conditions that are prevalent among minority populations. “I was surprised and extremely excited to get a call from Governor Hutchinson’s office,” said Rice. “I am blessed and honored to have this opportunity and look forward to sharing important information I learn with citizens of the City of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, and Southeast Arkansas.”

A 1994 UAPB graduate, Dr. Rice also earned a Master’s Degree in Biology from Delaware State University in 1996, and a Ph.D. in Cell/Molecular Biology from the University of Vermont, College of Medicine in 2003. Following his doctoral studies, he worked for the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) in Washington, D.C., as part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and then became a K9-12 science teacher at Bowie High School in Bowie, Maryland, from 2006-2010. He returned to Arkansas in 2010 to work at UAPB and is now a tenured assistant professor of biology that conducts research in student learning styles, 3-D spatial visualization training techniques, and 3-D printing and additive manufacturing. Dr. Rice was awarded a $176,000 grant from the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (Arkansas INBRE),

for a project entitled Generating Enhanced Teaching through Science Education and Technology (GET-SET), to purchase a lowcost turn-key 3-D visualization system and 3-D printer. Since that time, Dr. Rice has collaborated with the UAPB Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholars Academy and the Arts and Science Center of Southeast Arkansas to develop programs in 3-D spatial visualization with applications in spatial orientation, data interpretation, abstract reasoning and spatial visualization. His work has led to increased interest in the development of innovative engineering designs and fabrication models, with applications in biotechnology and nanosciences by Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) faculty and professionals, graduate, undergraduate, and K-16 students.

English Department receives award from Sigma Tau Delta for 40 years of service The Department of English received an award for its 40 years of service to Sigma Tau Delta. Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society was inaugurated at UAPB in the spring semester of 1975 when the first group of initiates was inducted into the Zeta Nu Chapter of the organization. The first sponsors were Dr. J. Marie Torrence, Dr. Carolyn Blakely, Ms. Alice Hines and Dr. Bettye Williams. The chapter’s current sponsors are Dr. Paul Lorenz and Professor Kevin Sanders. Sanders also attended several workshops on diversity in the class room, fundraising, networking and sponsorship. Sigma Tau Delta was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University. The Society strives to: Confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies; Provide, through its local 14

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

chapters, cultural stimulation on college campuses; and promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities; Foster all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing; Promote exemplary character and good fellowship among its members; Exhibit high standards of academic excellence; and Serve society by fostering literacy. The Society is the proud sponsor of The National English Honor Society (NEHS). NEHS, a program of Sigma Tau Delta, serves students and faculty in high schools throughout the country and provides an outreach to thousands of students and faculty who share a commitment to excellence in English language arts.


Dr. Henry English honored at History Month Observance for work with small farm families

Dr. Henry English, head of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, received an award from Carpenter’s Produce at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National African American History Month Observance. Dr. English was one of four individuals honored. He received the award for his more than 20 years of working with the Carpenter family. The Carpenter family was one of the original small farm families served by the UAPB Cooperative Extension Program. Carpenter’s Produce began as a one-acre experiment by Abraham Carpenter Sr.’s wife Katie. Since then, Henry Carpenter’s Produce has become English the largest fresh market vegetable producers in Arkansas with nearly 1,500 acres in production. Abraham Carpenter Jr. of Carpenter’s Produce, presented the award to Dr. English. At UAPB, Dr. English works with Socially Disadvantaged Farmers (SDFs) and small farmers in Eastern and Southwest Arkansas. He and the Small Farm Program staff provide training and technical assistance to producers in the areas of crop and livestock production, financial planning, record keeping, marketing, using USDA programs and loan application completion. Special emphasis is placed on helping SDFs add alternative enterprises (such as fruits, vegetables, rabbits and goats) to help increase their farm income. The Carpenters work closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the UAPB Cooperative Extension Program, and Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation. Dr. English is the recipient of many awards including the Outstanding Service Award, Arkansas Chapter of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalist Association; Community Service Awards from Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation; the Golden Eagle Award from Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS); and a Service Award from USDA for extraordinary service rendered in providing outreach, training and technical assistance to small and minority farmers in Arkansas. He serves on the state technical committee for NRCS, the Jefferson County Conservation District and USDA’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. His publications have covered such topics as commercial fresh market Southern pea production, commercial okra production, Bermuda grass, soybeans and risk management. Under Dr. English’s leadership, the Small Farm Program has produced three African American County Farmers of the Year, and two African American National Small Farmers of the Year.

TEKI WINSTON TO DIRECT 4-H YOUTH PROGRAMS AT UAPB

Teki Winston

Teki Winston has been appointed Extension Specialist/Director of 4-H/ Youth Programs and Recruitment for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS). In this position, she is responsible for establishing and supporting 4-H clubs in middle and high schools. Also, she is serving as the SAFHS contact to the Office of Enrollment Management, and she will manage the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture SAFHS capacity building grant and serve as co-advisor of the UAPB collegiate 4-H club. Prior to this position, Winston has served UAPB as assistant to the SAFHS dean, an instructor in the Department of Human Sciences where she continues to teach and as a Spanish teacher in the UAPB Upward Bound Program. No stranger to Extension, Winston has more than 15 years of experience in education which includes being a special education teacher trainer in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic; a developmental therapist with Jenkins Memorial Center, Pine Bluff; and reading instructor. She has a master’s degree in special education from the University of Georgia, Athens; and a bachelor’s degree in child development from Spelman College, Atlanta. “Teki knows both the UAPB and Pine Bluff communities well. Her history of community service and involvement should prove an asset in her new position,” said Dr. Edmund Buckner, interim dean/director, 1890 Research and Extension program. Spring 2016 15


SAVE THE DATE

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UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT PINE BLUFF

AND

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THURSDAY,

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 7:00 PM

WILLIAM J. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER

1200 PRESIDENTIAL CLINTON AVENUE LITTLE ROCK, AR

jAY NOVACEK

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MONTE COLEMAN

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) Know when to reboot, movtivational speaker tells student assembly

Omar Karim, founder and president of Banneker Ventures in Washington, D.C., served as the speaker for the annual Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) assembly. After expressing his gratitude, he related how honored he was to be invited to speak at a historically black college. Speaking on the theme, “Control, Alt, Delete,” he implored the audience to reboot or restart their lives when circumstances try to detour them. One of six children, he grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and endured his share of hard times. From living in public housing, eating commodity cheese and eggs from a bag, and the absence of running water to dealing with gang fights and burning homes, he’s seen it all. Although they didn’t have much, they did have love, parents who cared for them, and the knowledge that they were capable of doing great things. “It was in the inner city of Detroit where my mother, me and my five siblings that we were going to be scientists and engineers,” Karim said. His mother’s affirmations were encouraging; however, he wondered how he was going to obtain that goal when he didn’t know any engineers. “The only people I ever saw were liquor store owners, bus drivers, a few teachers and folks that worked at the auto plant, grocery store clerks and drug dealers.” Although his mother passed when he was 12 years old, she instilled the dream in them and they didn’t waver from it. Now an adult, he was proud to share with the audience that he and three other siblings were engineers and four of them are also lawyers. Karim recapped the turn of events that occurred following his mother’s death that included relocation to Memphis, Tennesse,e and how he became extremely focused while in high school. He was determined to go to college and dedicated himself to study.

Omar Karim

“You don’t have to succumb to the [negative environment] that may be around you,” Karim said. “I want you to Control, Alt, Delete [negative messages] and recreate yourself.” Quoting a verse from the rapper Nas, “I know I can, be what I want to be. If I work hard at it, I”ll be where I want to be,” he recounted the discouragement he experienced when telling his counselor of his plans to attend Howard University to study engineering. Being told blatantly that he wouldn’t succeed, he ignored the negative message and achieved his goal. Days after his high school graduation, he was headed to D.C. He didn’t have any money for clothes or housing, but was fortunate in being accepted to the summer engineering program at Howard. With the impending opportunity at hand, he continued to face challenges because he had no way of getting to D.C. and didn’t own any luggage. Refusing to let his circumstances deter him, he went to the local Piggly Wiggly and was given three empty boxes used for diapers that would serve as his luggage. He also used the few dollars he had saved from his job at Burger King to buy a Greyhound ticket to D.C. Karim applied himself and met life-long friends. On the last day of the program, the participants of the program were asked to write the name of person that impacted them most during the program. To his amazement, Karim’s name was mentioned the most. This resulted in him being awarded a full scholarship to attend Howard University. While at Howard, he remained focused on his goal, read a lot of books, became enamored with Black History, pledged Kappa Alpha Psi, and ultimately graduated with his engineering degree. He also graduated from Law School. He worked for a prestigious firm in New York, but decided to pursue his own passion that resulted in Banneker Ventures. In spite of his environment and influences around him that dictated his becoming another statistic, he ignored it and surmounted his roadblocks. “Difficult situations happen to everyone, the key is what you do while in the situation.”

Spring 2016 17


NEWS AND EVENTS

Energy Security Partners signs land lease for Jefferson County fuel plant by Kyle Massey | Courtesy of Arkansas Business

A site near Pine Bluff has won the competition to become home to a multibillion­dollar plant for turning natural gas into liquid fuel, economic development officials say. The project, by Energy Security Partners LLC of Little Rock, would convert natural gas into liquid diesel and jet fuel and has been touted as the largest economic development endeavor in Arkansas history. The Economic Development Corp. for Jefferson County bought nearly 1,100 acres for the project on March 30 and has signed an agreement to lease the land to ESP, which in February identified Jefferson County as a serious contender for the project. The first phase alone is a $3·7 billion construction effort, according to ESP, led by CEO Roger Williams, a lawyer, engineer and former Exxon executive. Other top management figures are former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, both Arkansans. The plant would produce 33,000 barrels of fuel per day, ESP officials have said, providing 225 permanent production jobs . It would be the first gas-to-liquid production facility in the United States. George Makris, chairman of the Economic Development Corporation and Chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corporation of Pine Bluff, wrote in an email on Friday that the lease agreement represents a public commitment by ESP to place the project in Jefferson County. "I do believe the signing of the lease agreement confirms ESP's commitment to establish their plant in Jefferson County," wrote Makris, who signed papers closing the deal on the site, which is near the National Center for Toxicological Research in northern Jefferson County. 18

The Development Corporation, known locally as the tax board, paid $2.8 million for the land, which was bought from multiple sellers, according to Lou Ann Nisbett, president and CEO of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County. Tax board officials said the sale price was in line with property assessments in the area. At a meeting in February, the board approved $3.9 million in incentives for the project, including up to $3 million for land acquisition. With no dissent, the board authorized Makris to sign the landsale documents and documents to lease the land to ESP. The incentives were available under the terms of Jefferson County's sales tax, a three-eighths cent levy approved by voters in 2011 for economic development and administered by the tax board. Several calls seeking comment from Energy Security Partners were not immediately successful. However, Williams spoke to Rotary Club members in Pine Bluff on March 15, saying that Jefferson County was an ideal location for the plant. The site has several advantages for ESP, according to tax board officials, including access to rail lines, highways and the Arkansas River.

At right: Photo of an existing Gas-to-Liquids plant Provided courtesy of the Pine Bluff Regional UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce

The river is important, Williams has said, because much of the $1billion worth of equipment for the plant is so heavy it can be transported only by barge. He also noted natural gas pipelines in the vicinity. In addition to the long-term benefits of the production facility, the county is expecting a significant boon as a result of construction, which officials say could create or support 5,000 jobs in Arkansas over nearly a decade, and add $333 million in annual labor income statewide. "I believe this is the biggest deal the state has ever experienced," Nisbett said from her office in Pine Bluff . "This will mean 2,500 jobs in construction, and that will last a decade, because there are three phases planned. Phase 1 alone is a $3.7 billion project. We're excited. This is good in so many ways. Jefferson County really needs this kind of shot in the arm, and ESP has been a great group to work with." Nisbett said Energy Security Partners has begun the process of getting permits for all phases of construction, an effort that she said might take two years. "As soon as all those permits are acquired, we expect construction to begin," she said.


Dr. Yathish Ramena unlocks the potentials of non-genetically modified soybeans by William Hehemann

Yathish Ramena, a doctoral candidate of aquaculture/fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and visiting scientist at the USDA/Agricultural Research Service (ARS) – Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center, recently completed a study that examined nongenetically modified (GMO) soybean meal as a healthy and cost-effective substitute for fish meal in the diets of hybrid striped bass. “The production of hybrid striped bass is an expanding aquaculture industry across the nation,” Ramena said. “As carnivorous fish, striped bass require a higher amount of protein in their diet. However, the price of fish meal has drastically increased in the last 20 years, from $450 to $2,300 per ton.” Soybean meal is thought of as the best alternative to fish meal, as it has a dense protein profile, he said. Currently, most of the soybeans produced in the U.S. are genetically altered for higher production and disease resistance. “In some fish, conventional soy products have been shown to cause adverse effects on growth and health performance that are linked to anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) in the processed soybean meal,” Ramena said. “These effects include lower digestibility and nutrient absorption rates.” Ramena’s research focused on whether the use of traditionally bred soybeans reduces the negative impacts on hybrid striped bass. He used non-GMO soy varieties produced by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, which were specifically bred to contain fewer ANFs. Genetically modified (GMO) soybeans can also be produced to contain fewer ANFs, but negative perceptions of GMO-based feeds have stimulated more research on conventionally bred soybean varieties for use in the diets of farmed animals, he said.

Yathish Ramena

Digestibility trials indicated that hybrid striped bass fed with non-GMO soybean meal had a significantly higher rate of protein absorption than fish fed other meals. In the growth trial, Ramena replaced 100 percent fish meal with 100 percent non-GMO soybean meal. The results were positive, Ramena said. Not only were the fish as healthy as fish fed with regular fish meal, but they also had higher immune capabilities for survival in unfavorable conditions. This research provides new insight into the effects of improved strains of soybeans for bass diets,” Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, interim chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries and Ramena’s research advisor, said. “Bass are not vegetarians, so the ability to use cheaper plant meals in diets instead of fish meal while maintaining fish growth and health is a significant economic advance.” Dr. Steve Rawles, Ramena’s USDA/ARS project mentor, said, “There is a lot of interest in increasing the use of soy products in carnivorous fish diets. Mr. Ramena’s work is an important contribution to that endeavor.” Dr. Muthusamy Manoharan, interim assistant dean for research & Extension, UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries & Human Sciences, said the potential use of non-GMO soybeans in the diets of carnivorous fish adds to the industry’s sustainability.

Spring 2016 19


NEWS AND EVENTS

Nikki Giovanni speaks to the crowd during Women’s Day

Women’s Day Celebration

Award-winning author Nikki Giovanni tells students that knowing they are significant is an important life lesson The capacity crowd at the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building was in for an exciting evening during the annual Women’s Day Celebration at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. They were about to enjoy the musings and the mind of award-winning author Nikki Giovanni. She spent a considerable amount of time at the beginning of her speech discussing the plight of slaves and how they endured deplorable conditions aboard ships as they were transported from Africa to America. She spoke at length about the ritual of bringing them from the bottom of the ship to the top to drench them with seawater to remove the smell of human waste. Amidst the nature in which Africans arrived, she was amazed at how resilient they were when they came to this land; not knowing the language but finding a way to communicate so they could comfort one another and remain joyful. “This is the history we have - we are great people,” Giovanni said. “You have to remember what it is and who it is that got us here.”

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Giovanni related to the crowd that our ancestors’ arrival to America created a new people that called the land home. “Whatever America is, we have made it what it is.” Continuing on her literary journey, she told the audience that they are a part of greatness and implored them to weed out persons with negative outlooks on life. “You have to find a way to be joyful,” she said. “There’s something you can cling to, some place you can go. [You should] look into the mirror everyday and say to yourself, ‘I look pretty good’. If you never look good to yourself, you won’t look good to anyone else.” Her raw and in-your-face speech caused many audible reactions, laughs, and applauses as she touched on everything from politics and gun violence to abortion and teen pregnancy. Among the anecdotes she shared, there were a few common threads: to know that you are loved and to continue to move forward.


LaShanna

can’t reach her full potential

without you!

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

Over 90% of students attending UAPB

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

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

Spring 2016 21


NEWS AND EVENTS

L-R: UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander is pictured with Benefit honorees Dr. Calvin Johnson, Mrs. Mattie P. Collins and Charles “Chuck” Morgan

Chancellor’s Benefit for the Arts honors community service by Shedelle Davis | Courtesy of The Pine Bluff Commercial

In continuance of 29 years of tradition, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff held its annual Chancellor’s Benefit for the Arts. The university honored three individuals who Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander, Ph.D., said exemplified pride and leadership through their selfless acts to mankind. Before each honoree took the stage to thank and essentially honor the people that were instrumental in their journey, there was food, drinks and the arts. Those being honored were Mattie P. Collins, a retired educator; Calvin Johnson, retired higher education administrator and former Arkansas legislator; and Charles G. Morgan, president and CEO of Relyance Bank. Along with thanking their supporters, each honoree shared a story about how the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has impacted their lives. 22

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Collins is a graduate and former Miss “A” State of Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College, now UAPB. Collins is retired after dedicating 39 years of service to education as a high school teacher. Although she is retired, she continues to reach the youth through various avenues, including the Ivy Center for Education Inc., a youth mentoring program she co-founded with her sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. While giving his acceptance speech, Morgan said that Collins works even harder now than she did when she was teaching. The chancellor presented Collins with the award, thanking her for her commitment and dedication to the community and the university. Collins accepted the award and thanked Alexander for the work he is doing at the university in conjunction with the Ivy Center for Education.


“As president of the Ivy Center for Education, we are extremely happy to partner with UAPB,” Collins said. “Dr. Alexander, you along with your staff have created an environment on this campus that is drawing the best and the brightest students to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.” Collins thanked not only her family and friends but also acknowledged colleagues and several community organizations for their efforts in making a difference in the lives of the youth in the community. “May God continue to bless our outstanding youth because they all belong to us,” Collins said. “They are so smart, and with our help, they will be successful. May God bless the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.” When presenting Johnson with the award, Alexander referred to him as “the man that handed over the keys to me when I arrived.” Johnson served as interim chancellor at UAPB from May 2012 to July 2013 after he retired as dean of the School of Education in 2011. He also served the public as an Arkansas House of Representatives legislator. He graduated from AM&N College. Johnson arrived at AM&N College in 1959 from Jerome, Arkansas, a town he described as full of motivation with a population of 85 people. Johnson gave the credit of his accomplishments to the many people that helped him upon his arrival at the university. He said he recognized that he couldn’t do it by himself and there were professors and mentors that were willing and wanting to help. “I owe a lot to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” Johnson said. “I could not have been a teacher. I could not have been a counselor. I could not have been a department chair. I could not have been a dean. I could not have been a legislator. I could not have been a father. I could not have been a lot of things had it not been for the support of the people I came in contact with at the university and other friends throughout this county.” Morgan serves as the president and CEO of Relyance Bank, a position he has held since 2006.

He got his start with Relyance Bank, formerly known as Pine Bluff National Bank, in 1988. His connection to the university is a bit different from the other nominees, as he isn’t a graduate of the university. Morgan said that he has known and admired four chancellors at the university. Like Johnson, Morgan wanted to honor the university for its achievements, but rather than give a list of ways the university has impacted the community and him personally, he told those attending what Pine Bluff would be like without UAPB. He began his speech by breaking down the economic impact. “As a banker, the first thing you think of is money and where would we be without the tremendous payroll that rolls through this community? Every time one hits in this community, it rolls through our community probably five or six times,” Morgan said. “Where would we be without the hundreds of households provided by the faculty and staff? How many houses and how many cars would not have been sold? How many goods and services would not have been sold with those households?” The Chancellor’s Benefit of the Arts has grown since its start in 1987. In years past proceeds have gone toward the support of art exhibits, theatrical productions, the choir and band. Alexander said the benefit has enabled the institution to broaden the learning experiences of its students beyond the formal classroom. “It is essential that we continue to support the arts because they are fundamental to our humanity,” Alexander said. “They enable and inspire us. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion or age while building stronger communities and promoting economic prosperity.” Entertainment for the evening was provided by the UAPB Jazz Ensemble, members of the Golden Girls, and the John McLinn Ross players from the theater department.

Above: Members of the Golden Girls perform during the dinner and awards ceremony

Above: A Benefit for the Arts attendee admires one the more than 30 art pieces available during the reception and silent auction At right: Members of the John McLinn Ross players perform an oratorical for the audience during the dinner and awards ceremony


NEWS AND EVENTS

NĪ HĂO

China Initiative shows students the value of studying abroad by William Hehemann

A well-planned educational opportunity abroad is nothing short of transformative, Dr. Pamela Moore, associate dean for global engagement, Office of International Programs at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said. This understanding was part of her motivation when she started to assemble what would become the UAPB China Initiative, a program that sent five UAPB students to China for different study abroad sessions. Dr. Moore and other faculty formed a steering committee responsible for establishing relationships with several Chinese universities to develop faculty and student exchange and research opportunities. Additionally, the committee created an introductory course on Chinese language and culture, which was required for all students interested in traveling to China during the summer of 2015. Five UAPB students enrolled in different universities and programs of study in China thanks to over $25,000 secured in scholarships, grants, donations and tuition and lodging waivers, she said. In addition to completing a diverse range of studies, the students were able to explore some of China’s cultural landmarks. Though the study abroad program was only three weeks long, Jonathan Howard, a sophomore computer science major from Searcy, Arkansas, said everything he experienced at Sias International University in China’s central Henan province profoundly affected his vision of the world. Howard says his biggest takeaway from the experience abroad was a feeling of connectedness with other people from other places. One of his favorite memories from the trip occurred when he visited a piano store in Beijing.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The owner went out of her way to greet him in English, invited him to play the piano for a while and gave him a music book and a traditional woodwind instrument when he left. Sydney Reed, a junior chemistry major from Pine Bluff, said not only was the trip to China her first time to travel abroad, it was her first time to board an airplane. On the ground in Shanghai, Reed felt a little overwhelmed as she struggled to be understood in the Mandarin language, much less cope with the crowds in one of the world’s largest cities. Soon, however, she remembered a valuable lesson learned from her experience in chemistry labs. “You’re never going to everything exactly right on the first try,” she said. “Just like a chemistry experiment, you have to slow down and take the time to practice getting things correct.” With this logic in mind, Reed comfortably settled in to her daily Chinese language and history courses at Fudan University in downtown Shanghai. She was even able to use some of her newfound resolve and language skills outside the classroom. Anthony Priyo Gomes, a junior computer science major from Dhaka, Bangladesh, says he enjoyed Shanghai’s modern conveniences, including the affordable, efficient transportation options that he used to explore the city. Gomes’ intensive curriculum at Fudan University focused heavily on business, as he used the coursework to substitute for some of his business credits at UAPB.


“The study abroad experience was really one of the first times I was out on my own and had to rely on myself,” Gomes said. “I feel like the sense of self-dependence that studying abroad instills is very important.” Andrea S. Carpenter, a senior biology/pre-medicine major from Tyronza, Arkansas, thinks the study abroad experience adds to students’ marketability in a competitive, global society. During her two-week program at Hainan University’s International College of Cultural Exchange, she felt she was part of a dynamic, global culture. “I believe it’s essential for UAPB to have a study abroad program so our students can add to global diversity,” Carpenter said. “The experience helps students garner a global competency that can only be obtained by studying outside the country.”

Precious Taylor, a senior regulatory science and agriculture major from St. Louis, Missouri, said the experience abroad was an exercise in self-dependence. In addition to the stress of missing a connecting flight on her trip to China, she found some tasks such as catching a taxi or purchasing food at a market initially difficult. “When you’re studying abroad for the first time, you might be put in situations where you feel a little overwhelmed at first,” Taylor said. “In my case, each challenge helped me learn a lot about myself and appreciate the experience.” In addition to studying economics for two weeks at Hainan University, Taylor toured several aquaculture labs at Shanghai Ocean University.

At left: Precious Taylor, senior regulatory science and agriculture major, Dr. Yong Suhk-Wui, professor of business administration and economics and member of the UAPB China Initiative steering committee, and Andrea S. Carpenter, senior biology/pre-medicine major are photographed in front of Hainan University in Haikou, Hainan province.

Student participants of the UAPB China Initiative: from left, Andrea S. Carpenter, senior biology/pre-medicine major, Sydney Reed, junior chemistry major, Anthony Priyo Gomes, junior computer science major, Jonathan Howard, sophomore computer science major, and Precious Taylor, senior regulatory science and agriculture major.

Above: Johnathan Howard (second from left) is joined by other summer institute classmates near the Great Wall of China. At left: Sydney Reed (far left) and Anthony Priyo Gomes (center, kneeling) pose for a photo with fellow summer institute classmates at the closing ceremony of the program.

Spring 2016 25


NEWS AND EVENTS

Black History Month Actor and Author Hill Harper tells students to be passionate and courageous by Shedelle Davis Courtesy of The Pine Bluff Commercial Author and actor Hill Harper told UAPB students that the future belongs to those who can successfully blend passion, reasoning and courage. Harper spoke at a Black History Month celebration held at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff where he was the keynote speaker. His message was inspirational and motivational as he told the gathered students, faculty and staff that there were three important concepts that are needed in order to induce a positive change in society and also be successful. Harper then used physics students from the audience to explain the meaning of Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity in order to illustrate the correlation between passion and energy and how high energy is needed in order to create change and solve problems. According to Einstein, matter and energy are related, meaning that the amount of energy that is required to move an object is equal to the size of the object. “I will suggest to you that if we look at problems in our community, if we look at problems in our university, if we look at problems in our families, communities, and our state, our cities, these problems tend to be large problems,” Harper said. “Yet I will suggest to you that we may not be applying enough energy to actually move these problems.” Harper pulled examples from the Super Bowl game to reach the crowd and explain how awareness of energy levels are especially important when things aren’t going well. “What I’m about to say isn’t necessarily a critique or knock on Cam Newton, but what I saw yesterday was when things started going wrong, his energy levels started going down,” Harper said. “He got caught up in things not going well rather than going up. What’s interesting about that is that when he scores a touchdown, he’s got a lot of energy, but when he needs even more energy to be a true leader that’s when he fumbles the ball.” Harper is a Harvard Law School graduate, who, instead of accepting the positions that were offered to him after graduation, followed his heart and worked toward his true passion: acting. Although, he didn’t use his degree per se, he used the knowledge and skills obtained while studying law and applied them to his passion. The skill he highlighted in his speech was reasoning and critical thinking. 26

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


“I will not allow fear to stop me from making the choices that I know I should make. Instead, I will act with my heart. I will win in my life and in so doing, give others permission to win as well.”

Above: UAPB student and former American Idol contestant performed a song for the event At right: Harper was hands on with the audience and asked questions during his speech. At left: Actor and Author Hill Harper addresses the audience during the annual Black History Month Celebration in the Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr. HPER Complex arena.

He was taught to argue either side of the case, so after reading the facts of the case he could be the prosecutor or the defense. “In this case I will suggest that the client is you - you are your own client, and I hope that you would use your critical thinking skills or your reasoning skills to honestly analyze your life and where you are,” Harper said. “Number one, what level of energy are you bringing to the table. Number two, are you doing something you love or you’re passionate about. Are you actually engaging and surrounding yourself with people that are lifting you up or are they keeping you and holding you back?” Harper said that sometimes parents project fear onto their children and stop them from making choices that could lead to them taking more risks. In order to take risk you have to have courage, he said, adding that he believes in order to be successful and make a positive change in our surroundings one has to have courage.

“We think courage is the antithesis of fear, but what courage really is, is can you bring your heart to the table,” Harper said. “Are you willing to be vulnerable enough to bring your whole heart to something. Are you willing to say, ‘I’m going to go for this not because it makes logical sense, not because it’s going to make me money, not because it’s going to do this, this, and this, but because my heart said this is what I should do?’” Harper encouraged his audience members to examine their lives and the three areas he spoke about, energy levels, reasoning, and courage. He ended his speech with a positive affirmation that he encouraged the crowd to participate in by repeating after him. “I will not allow fear to stop me from making the choices that I know I should make. Instead I will act with my heart. I will win in my life and in so doing, give others permission to win as well,” he said. Spring 2016 27


THEN & NOW

Sight and Sound

BUILT TO FOSTER CREATIVITY, THE HATHAWAY-HOWARD FINE ARTS BUILDING CONTINUES TO INSPIRE THE MINDS OF TOMORROW

by Donna Mooney

Photographs provided courtesy of the University Museum and Cultural Center

N

amed for the late Isaac S. Hathaway and John M. Howard, the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center was completed in 1968 as an investment dedicated to developing the arts and talents of students at a burgeoning institution. Faculty and students moved in during the fall of 1969. Today, it still continues as the birthing place of creativity and a blank canvass for displaying the artistic talents of students and faculty alike. Hathaway was a renowned African-American sculptor who came to Pine Bluff in 1915 and taught drawing and ceramics in the Home Economics Department at Branch Normal College. He later taught English and elocution at Merrill High School before leaving to join the faculty at Tuskegee Institute. His sculptures of Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass and other prominent Americans are exhibited throughout the nation. Also, he designed the first fifty cent coins dedicated to Washington and Carver in the 1940s. A collection of his works can be seen at the University Museum and Cultural Center. In 1994, the building was renamed to include recognition of John M. Howard who was the founder and chairman of the Art Department. He also served the University as the director of public relations, the yearbook adviser, and chairman of the Faculty Retreat. Howard was asked by the late President Lawrence A. Davis, Sr. to oversee the committee to plan and design the new building. The Art Department has had only three chairmen to date – Howard, Henri Linton and Danny Campbell. Linton joined the faculty as an art instructor in 1969, and served as chairman and building manager of the Art Department from 1980 to 2014, when he retired and became the full-time director of the University Museum and Cultural Center. Campbell joined the Art faculty in 2012 and became chairman and building manager in 2014. A 1992 graduate, he also holds master’s degrees from Howard University and Charleston Southern University. 28

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Long before the corner of University Drive and Reeker Street became the center for artistic happenings and performing arts at the University, the Lion’s Den was the hub of all social interaction on campus. According to Linton, the Lion’s Den was the equivalent of today’s Student Union, where students and faculty met, ate and socialized. According to Museum records, then university president, John B. Watson, built the Den for the students in 1939. The Den was managed by Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Mazique, both Branch Normal College graduates. Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts has been the place for music, theater and arts for more than 49 years. The art wing was designed by Howard with assistance from the late Dr. John McLinn Ross, chairman of the theater wing, and the late Dr. Grace Wiley, chairperson of the music wing. Dr. Ross, nicknamed “Boss Ross,” was a playwright, author and director of educational theater. He organized the first dramatic arts program at AM&N College. Also, he was one of the first African Americans to receive a Master of Fine Arts Degree in theater from Yale University. Ariel Lovelace, a former Music Department chair, organized the Vesper Choir in 1946. In 1960, Dr. Wiley became chairperson of the Department of Music, and it was under her leadership that the department received full accreditation from the National Association for Schools of Music. The Fine Arts Gallery is named after the late Leedell Moorehead-Graham, an alumna and faithful supporter of the Art Department for 40 years. She was an Arkansas native and former art student who was dedicated to the growth and furtherance of the arts at AM&N/UAPB, according to Linton. Original floor plans for Hathaway-Howard included a proscenium stage, a museum, an art gallery, an outdoor patio for sculptures, painting and ceramics, as well as classrooms, office space and practice rooms. Before the Fine Arts Center was built, each of the art components was in separate buildings.


For example, records show that the Fine Arts Department was located upstairs in the J.B. Watson Library space, and the Music and Theater Departments were housed in small buildings off Reeker Street. In 2010, the Ariel Lovelace, Grace Wiley and Harold Strong Music Wing located in the Fine Arts, received a $3.3M renovation funded by Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965, under the U. S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program. Linton said improvements included a larger Band Room with spacious storage facilities for instruments and uniforms; a fully renovated Choir Room featuring new risers and an attached conference room; modular practice rooms and a Music Library with new cabinets that will house scores, texts, recordings, and ensemble music. The second floor of the music wing holds new classrooms, a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) teaching lab, and a state-of-the-art recording studio.

Recently, the building received another upgrade to add to its appeal and more improvements are coming. According to Campbell, the building’s lobby floor has been replaced and the new logo design has been installed on the floor. Also, the Department of Art will be installing a new Raku Kiln in the ceramics area this summer. Future plans are in the works to renovate the Mass Communications Department. “The future of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center is to be a central hub in the community,” Campbell said. “Our goal is to promote the appreciation of the arts and to invite the community to all fine art events and performances, public speaking engagements, workshops, and a host of multicultural events for all stakeholders to enjoy!” (Information for this article was contributed by the University Museum and Cultural Center.)

At top left: Circa 1976 photo of John Howard working on a painting

Above: Branch Normal Collee ceramic class circa 1915 led by Issac Scott Hathaway. At far right: L to R - Circa 1978 photo of Earnest Davidson, Jr., ceramic professor; Henri Linton, Sr., chair of the art department; and Dr. Ernest Walker, professor industrial technology examine a piece of the sculpture that now stands in front of the Fine Arts Building. At right: The most recent renovations to the building included the expansion of the Music Wing and enhancements to the decor, like the custom flooring in the lobby area.

Spring 2016 29


RECAP

Make it Count

DR. BERNICE KING ENCOURAGES UAPB GRADUATES TO SERVE OTHERS, BE PEOPLE OF CHARACTER by David Hutter

Courtesy of the Pine Bluff Commercial

U

niversity of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students graduated in a ceremony at the Pine Bluff Convention Center and were advised to be people of character and compassion. The Rev. Bernice King, a daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the late Coretta Scott King, gave the keynote address. She advised students to celebrate their accomplishments, use their education to serve other people and fight against injustice. “You cannot control two things: your birth and death,” King said. “You control that dash in between birth and death. Make your life matter.” Citing her father, King cautioned against putting hope in achievements and accolades. She said her father taught that education alone is not enough to make a lasting impact. Instead she advised the graduates to make a lasting impact by fighting injustice in all its kinds. “Where is the richest place in the world?” King asked. “The cemetery because so many people took dreams and inventions to their grave. God put you here on earth.” She told the students that they are capable of making great contributions in the world. She said the world is often self-centered but they need to stand up for moral rightness. “The world needs your character and compassion,” she said. “Destiny is calling you. How will you answer?” King distinguished between having an occupation versus having a calling, urging students to pursue the latter. King told graduates they will encounter people who stand in their way. “You need courage to make decisions,” King said. Graduates and guests recognized King with a standing ovation. King also received an honorary doctorate from UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander and UAPB Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Jacquelyn McCray. Alexander welcomed graduates and guests, saying “it is a pleasure and honor to share this day with you.” He also called for a moment of silence to remember the late UAPB student Keith Wilbert Jr. and faculty members who died this semester. 30

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Wilbert was shot at his house in September. “We extend our deepest sympathies to their loved ones,” Alexander said. Alexander recognized Ganesh Kumar, the first Ph.D. graduate in the history of UAPB. Kumar thanked his professors and classmates. “Indeed this is a historic moment, yet I am very humbled,” Kumar said. “The journey I made is not mine alone.” Donald Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, congratulated people for overcoming illnesses, family commitments and financial struggles to earn a degree. “You are prepared to face the future,” Bobbitt said. Stephen Broughton, a trustee of the University of Arkansas System, praised the graduates and instructed them to “never stop achieving.” “You have reached your goal but it is only your first goal,” Broughton said. “If I did not believe in [historically black colleges and universities] I would not have sent my children to a [historically black college or university.]”


“You cannot control two things: your birth and death...You control that dash in between birth and death. Make your life matter.”

Dr. Bernice King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers the keynote address to the Fall 2015 class of UAPB graduates.

Above: Graduates eagerly wait to walk into the arena of the Pine Bluff Convention Center for Fall 2015 Commencement exercises. A total of 187 degrees were conferred

Above: UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander (center) is pictured with Chancellor’s Medallion recipients (lr) Monica Arcos, James Storey, Trais Marshall, Elizabeth Andrews, Tomeika Moore, and Delano Henry At left: Ganesh Kumar Karunakaran, doctoral student of aquaculture/fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, became the university’s first Ph.D. graduate


GOLDEN LIONS ATHLETICS

Blevins’, Mason’s jerseys retired Golden Lions greats Harold Blevins and Jesse Mason enjoyed the ultimate honor of having their jerseys retired at a ceremony held at the Pine Bluff Country Club. Lauded as having a combined scoring record that led the nation during their respective tenures, the honorees were joined by a capacity crowd to commemorate their incredible achievements. Harold Blevins is regarded as one of the premiere scorers on any level of competition. A four-year starter for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (then AM&N College) between 1961-65, Blevins averaged 25.5 points a game as a junior and nearly 30 points a game as a senior. His heroics on the court made him a three-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American and an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference honoree throughout his college career. A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Blevins, a shooting guard, helped make the Golden Lions’ backcourt one of college basketball’s most feared backcourts of the time. On the NCAA Division II level, UAPB led the nation in scoring with nearly 100 points a contest during the 1963-64 season. Blevins was the catalyst, scoring 47 points himself in one game that season. Upon finishing his career, Blevins became UAPB’s first player drafted into the NBA when the New York Knicks selected him in the second round of the 1965 draft. Despite never playing football in college, he signed a free agent

At right: Jesse Mason is escorted into the room by his wife Dr. Gail Reede Jones

\

At right: Harold Blevins is escorted into the room by his wife Yvonne Blevins

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

contract with the Dallas Cowboys that same year. Blevins never got to play in either the NBA or the NFL, however, due to being drafted into the US Army in 1966 and serving a two-year stint in Vietnam. Blevins returned to his alma mater following his military stint and after two junior college coaching tenures to coach the UAPB men’s basketball team from 1995 to 2001. In 2005, he was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame. Jesse Mason is revered as one of the top five basketball players in the history of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas AM&N College), having honed his skills on the court between 1956-60. A phenomenal shooting guard, he earned AllSouthwestern Athletic Conference honors in 1958, 1959 and 1960. A US Air Force veteran, Mason’s top season came in 195960, when he led the Golden Lions and the SWAC in scoring, averaging 25.2 points a game. The six-foot guard amassed 656 points in 26 games that season, 20 years before the three-point field goal rule was adopted by the NCAA (1980). He surged past Prairie View A&M University star Zelmo Beaty to win the nation’s scoring title that year. So dominating was Mason as a basketball player that he was an easy choice for SWAC Hall of Fame consideration. In December 2011, he was rightfully inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame, four years after induction into the UAPB Sports Hall of Fame and one year after induction into the UAPB Alumni Hall of Fame.


Above: Harold Blevins and Jesse Mason pause for a photo next to their commemorative jersey retirement plaques At far left: Supporters, family, fans and community leaders mingle before the jersey retirement celebration begins. At left: Director of Athletics Lonza Hardy (center) is pictured with Harold Blevins and Jesse Mason

Spring 2016 33


Friday, March 4, 2016save the date

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2016

S TAT E

H O U S E

C O N V E N T I O N

C E N T E R

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

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

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

www.uapb.edu/heroes


GOLDEN LIONS ATHLETICS

NCAA report shows continued increase in UAPB academic performance rate The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has just made its public release of Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores for all of its Division I members, and the report indicates that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff continues to show improvements across the board. All 16 of UAPB’s teams met or exceeded their previous year’s scores while two teams, men’s tennis and women’s tennis, posted perfect 1000 scores. The women’s tennis team posted a perfect score for the second consecutive year. Additionally, for the second straight year, none of UAPB’s teams are subjected to postseason bans due to failing to meet established national academic benchmarks. “We are not surprised by our teams’ scores in the report, in fact, we expected to have a great report,” said Lonza Hardy Jr., UAPB’s Director of Athletics. “Keeping the ‘student’ in ‘studentathlete’ is always our focus. Our student-athletes, our coaches, our support staff and our administration have worked religiously and collaboratively to provide the support services necessary to ensure the success of our student-athletes, both in the classroom as well as in athletic competition. Everyone is to be commended for contributing to the success of our students.” Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB’s Chancellor, echoed Hardy’s sentiments. “Our student-athletes annually are pacesetters on our campus in terms of graduation success rates,” noted Chancellor Alexander. “We are always well-represented on our conference’s All-Academic Team as well as in the number of our student-athletes inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society (Chi Alpha Sigma). We have put programs in place on our campus to give all of our students, including those competing on our athletics teams, fair opportunities to succeed. We are witnessing the fruits of our labor.” Over the past two years alone, a total of 115 students who competed on various teams have been awarded their degrees during UAPB’s spring and fall Commencement Exercises. Additionally, 14 of UAPB’s 16 teams have cumulative team grade point averages of 3.0 or higher while 124 Golden Lion studentathletes made the SWAC All-Academic Team during the past academic year.

Multi-year APR numbers for each of UAPB’s 16-sponsored sports for the past two years: TEAM

2014-15

2013-14 DIFFERENCE

Baseball

935

935

Remained the same

Men’s Basketball

951

949

Increased by 2

Men’s Cross Country

954

918

Increased by 36

Football

923

919

Increased by 4

Men’s Golf

873

795

Increased by 78

Men’s Tennis

1000

981

Increased by 19

Men’s Track-Indoor

944

907

Increased by 37

Men’s Track-Outdoor

945

909

Increased by 36

Women’s Basketball

981

966

Increased by 15

Women’s Cross Country

969

913

Increased by 56

Women’s Soccer

983

977

Increased by 6

Softball

966

954

Increased by 12

Women’s Tennis

1000

1000

Remained the same

Women’s Track-Indoor

982

938

Increased by 44

Women’s Track-Outdoor

986

944

Increased by 42

Women’s Volleyball

966

943

Increased by 23

Spring 2016 35


PROFILES

Well Suited

HOW A SEASONAL OPPORTUNITY AT A MEN’S CLOTHING STORE CREATED A SEAMLESS TRANSITION TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP by Donna Mooney

Photograph by Brian Williams

“Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.” – Arthur Ashe

D

avid Maddox, owner of Fathers and Sons Clothier in Pine Bluff, has made a successful business of “improving the appearance” of men in Southeast Arkansas for 18 years. He has supplied men with suits for business attire, reunions and banquets, and tuxedos for proms, weddings, and galas. In an age of rapidly growing Internet shopping, this men’s clothing store has maintained a steady flow of customers who prefer personal assistance over an impersonal on-line shopping spree. At the end of prom season and before wedding season crests, Maddox makes time for visitors in his recently renovated space. While the stylish up-to-date suits, bowties, and neckties fill the center of the store, treasured antiques line the wall and help create an atmosphere well-suited for gentlemen’s attire. The mint green vintage Schwinn bicycle that sits on a shelf, across from a turn-of-the-century fivedrawer wardrobe, speaks volumes about Maddox’s sense of style and his appreciation for those things that never go out of style. Fathers and Sons Clothier opened in June 1997, as a premier men’s store with a tuxedo rental operation. It began in the Pines Mall and remained there until relocating to Jefferson Square Shopping Center in 2007. In addition to men’s suits, accessories and formal wear, the store offers tailoring for men’s clothing. A recent expansion includes a separate rental area and additional dressing rooms. Other noticeable changes to the decor include chandelier lighting, spotlights, retro drink machines, and hand-picked antiques from Maddox’s personal collection. Maddox is a Camden transplant who came to Pine Bluff as a University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff student. Attending college really wasn’t on his radar, but Maddox said he was recruited by an AM&N alumnus. “Ms. June Cochran went to my church, and one day she asked me what was I going to do after I graduated from Camden High School,’’ Maddox said. 36

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“I told her that I really didn’t know and had no plans. She told me she wanted me to attend UAPB. She was like a recruiter. I visited the campus; tried out for the band under Mr. Odie Burris; got a $500 scholarship; and started school that fall.” As a trumpet player in the marching band, Maddox said he was doing fine. He pledged Kappa Kappa Psi in 1985, and he was a business management major. Then in 1989, he left UAPB to work. Church’s Chicken was his first job, and he knew immediately that he would not stay there. “I hated that job (at Church’s),” he said. “I was a cutter making $3.35 an hour. Back then all of the chickens were delivered whole and had to be cut up by hand. Eventually I got moved up to being a cook.” KG Men’s store in the Pines Mall gave Maddox the move that whet his appetite for the clothing business. “My friend, Kenneth Fisher worked at KG’s and he told me they needed some help,” Maddox said. “Even though it was seasonal work, I quit Church’s and took the job. I had always wanted to work retail and be in business management. “ Good sales and a gift for customer service earned Maddox a permanent position with KG’s after the holidays. He stayed there until an opportunity for management opened at Stage Department Store in the Mall. “My wife saw the ad in the paper and encouraged me to apply,” he said. “The Mall manager even asked if I was interested, but I didn’t take it seriously. After one interview, I was hired for the job. The first year Stage opened, we had the highest percentage of increase in sales.”

My First Business

While still managing Stage, Maddox started a small business in the Mall. “One Father’s Day, I came up with a Father’s Day t-shirt and set up a kiosk in the Mall to sell them,” Maddox said. “I sold out! I realized I had worked from open to close and there was no stress. I was my own boss.”


Dave Maddox poses for a photo in his store located in Jefferson Square in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Not long afterward, he opened Fathers and Sons Clothier and Tuxedo Rental. Although the store’s name hints of family employees, Maddox says he and his wife, Angela, are the only two family members who work there. Their children chose different careers. His son is an engineer, and his daughter is in the medical profession. “My wife and I wanted a name that would be generational. This will be a place to dress the son, and the son becomes a father and dresses his son, and so forth. My wife is the backbone to this business. She handles the behind the scenes aspect with the bookkeeping. She pushes me every single day, and I am blessed. She’s my inspiration.”

Customer Service

The men’s clothing business has changed over the years, and Maddox says he has to change to stay relevant in the industry. His most recent adjustment is his delivery service. “I had to adjust to the times in fashion, style and access,” he said. “There aren’t that many traditional men’s stores anymore, but there is still the need.” Maddox says he has learned to listen to his customers – they dictate the fashions. “When customers start asking for an item over and over, I know I need to act. They will tell you what’s hot. Like right now, the slim fit is in.”

“I’m able to maintain my business because of my faith in God, and staying humble...A lot of businesses lose sight of customer service. I’m old school. It costs nothing to say ‘Good Morning,’ ‘How are you doing?” In addition to customer requests, Maddox travels to clothing shows in Atlanta to meet with manufacturers and suppliers from all over the U.S. Recently, Fathers and Sons has added the Steve Harvey collection to its line of men’s suits. “Steve has redesigned his suits, and they aren’t the wide leg anymore.” “I’m able to maintain my business because of my faith in God, and staying humble,” he said. “A lot of businesses lose sight of customer service. I’m old school. It costs nothing to say ‘Good Morning,’ ‘How are you doing?’ My slogan is ‘Our success is in our service.’” About six years ago, Maddox realized a need for his tuxedo services in rural areas like Start City, Stuttgart and Rison. On this particular bright spring day, Maddox is delivering tuxedos and suits to Star City. “My rural areas needed services, and I knew they didn’t have access to suits for proms, so I travel to the high schools and allow the students to place orders for suits. Then, I deliver the suits, and come back to pick them up. It’s a service of convenience.” Long range, Maddox hopes to open a small chain of Fathers and Sons stores throughout the state duplicating what he does now. Spring 2016 37


PROFILES

Lessons from an NFL couple FROM THE NFL, TO NEWLYWEDS TO NEARLY DIVORCED, THEY PUT IT ALL ON THE TABLE - AND IN A BOOK by Tisha D. Arnold

T

hey were polar opposites – he describes her as a country girl that didn’t go out much and he was the ultimate extrovert who wasn’t enjoyed a full social life. Meet Dante Wesley and Renetta Murry from 16 years ago. Fast forward to today and you have the Wesleys - wiser individually and as a married couple. He’s a retired National Football League (NFL) player that played Cornerback and Dimeback for the Carolina Panthers, and she is a teacher by profession. Using wisdom gained from trying times, this pair of UAPB alums have co-authored a book about the pressures of a professional sports marriage and how they stayed together through all of the challenges.

Through the Looking Glass

The Wesleys have been through a lot in their marriage and decided to tell their story candidly. In their book, “FACTS In a Professional Sports Marriage: Uncensored,” they talk about their life as a power couple in the NFL and the journey they made from newlyweds to nearly divorced. They didn’t know it in the beginning, but they began to discover that their lives could be an open book for others to learn from. Renetta recalled attending a bible study with Dante for team members and their spouses. The other couples talked some, but she could tell they withheld just as much. Their (Renetta and Dante) candid talks on different subjects allowed other couples to open up about their relationships. 38

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The discussions they were sharing in the group sessions caused the other couples to beg them to continue to come back. They wanted to know how the Wesleys arrived at that level of communication. “Most people don’t understand the ups and downs that [sports] marriages go through,” Dante said. “Here you are…an NFL player with many women coming at you and you have to still try to stay with your wife. The objective of these other women is to get you.” When mentioning the 75% NFL divorce rate, Dante noted that it happens because many of the relationships are not based on genuine love. “A lot of guys get these girls when they have money and don’t realize [the girls are] only with them because [of it],’ Dante said. “Once the money is gone or you don’t have the same fame, then they’re gone to the next player.”

From the Beginning

When they met by chance a decade-and-a half ago, it was Dante’s junior year and he was in class in Corbin Hall. Half asleep, he happened to see this pretty girl walking down the hall. He jumped up and darted out the door, running to catch her and find out who she was.


He asked her name – Renetta Murry - she muttered, in a nonchalant tone. Although she initially wasn’t interested in him, she eventually gave in and surrendered her pager number only. This way, Dante would have to page her in order to get a phone call. From Pine Bluff and Gould, Arkansas, respectively, Dante and Renetta began their relationship while students at UAPB. “When she met me it was kind of a good girl meeting a bad boy,” he quipped. “I opened the door to a lot of things that she didn’t know anything about.” Dante was playing football for the Golden Lions and Renetta wasn’t very familiar with it – Gould only had basketball teams. He was doing well as a player and impressed agents who attended Pro Day at UAPB. Renetta attended one of the days and watched him run and do drills. She was unaware of what he was accomplishing and was there to support him. That same year, a pep rally was held for the team and Renetta surprised him by wearing a shirt that read, ‘Dante’s Girlfriend.’ “It didn’t really dawn on me until then that she supported me so much,” Dante said. Renetta’s support of Dante continued. She progressed in her studies as an elementary education major while he pursued a business management degree, and making a name for himself on the football field. Eventually, Renetta began teaching at Dermott Middle School and got the news that Dante’s dream was coming true – he was being drafted to the NFL as a member of the Carolina Panthers. “I knew that I was going to continue teaching and that his dream was going to take him to another place,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking that he was going to ask me to come and go with him.” They’d only been dating a few months before then, so she figured they would go their separate ways and remain friends. Instead, he surprised her and asked her to be his wife and join him in North Carolina.

“l just think about where we are now and where we’ve come from...We can help someone through [learning from] our experiences.”

Play by Play

In the book, Dante and Renetta break down the tenets they discovered and adopted to make their relationship work. It is represented in each letter of the acronym, FACTS, which stands for Faith, Attraction, Communication, Trust, and Sex. To the Wesleys, their concept of marriage is that it’s an institution ordained by God to be able to satisfy every need between two people. Their hope for the book is that those who consume the nuggets of wisdom within its pages would be encouraged to work on their relationships. “l just think about where we are now and where we’ve come from,” Renetta said. “We can help someone through [learning from] our experiences.” While the book paints a very honest picture from the inside of a professional sports marriage, it also provides strategies for overcoming the difficulties that can arise. Their book, FACTS In a Professional Sports Marriage: Uncensored can be purchased at all major online bookstores or on their website at www.factsuncensored.com.

Above: As a cornerback/dimeback for the Carolina Panthers, Dante Wesley walks on the field during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Bank of America on October 5, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Spring 2016 39


Torii Hunter visits the dugout of the baseball and softball complex at UAPB that bears his name.

40 UAPB by Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Photographs Niguel Valley


COVER STORY

HOMETOWN

HERO From stick ball to the major league, Pine Bluff native TORII HUNTER has seen it all and works to help others—on and off the field. By Donna Mooney

Ten years after Torii Hunter agreed to promote a new University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff baseball complex, the retired Major League Baseball (MLB) player finally strolled across the field that carries his name. Hunter is friendly, lighthearted, and good –natured, laughing with the coaches, and taking it all in. The UAPB and Texas Southern baseball teams warming up for an afternoon competition started off stealing glances at the icon, before openly glaring at the lean, well-dressed, former Minnesota Twins outfielder who was standing a pitch away from them. “It feels great to finally be in this field,” Hunter said. “It’s like a testament of the hard work I’ve put in over the years. I’ve seen this field while driving down the highway, but I’ve never been inside it before.” Consequently, Hunter says this is the first time in 22 years that he hasn’t been at the League spring season practice. “I miss my friends and the comradery, but not the daily grind of it. When we weren’t playing, we practiced 12 hours a day, six days a week, for eight months out of the year. That’s a lot of wear and tear on the body. I miss the chemistry of the Clubhouse, though.” From 1997 to 2015, Hunter played in the MLB for the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers. Spring 2016 41


COVER STORY

Hunter played a major role in the drive to build the UAPB baseball stadium. “I received a call from Louis ‘Skip’ Perkins (former UAPB Athletic Director) 10 years ago saying that the University had the opportunity to buy some land and build a baseball stadium but needed financial support, and I agreed to help,” Hunter said. “I thought it was a good deal. This wasn’t just helping the University, this was helping our city. A University baseball field would bring revenue to the city of Pine bluff through hotel use, restaurants, gas stations – I was looking at the whole picture. Tournaments could be played here, and high schools could have access to it. ” Hunter donated $500,000 toward the $9 million baseball complex built by the University. When fully completed, the complex will include a baseball stadium, a Little League field and an indoor training facility. The land, valued at $100,000, was donated by Delta Natural Kraft of Pine Bluff, and is located on a 12-acre plot adjacent to the university’s football stadium.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

A CAN, A STICK AND A BALL A native son, Torii Hunter says he began playing baseball at seven-years-old in a lot right off from the swinging Sunbeam Girl on Main Street in downtown Pine Bluff, and around the corner from the Sherwin Williams paint store. He said it was just a game and not an ambition. He was playing what could be referred to as “stick ball” because he had no bat – just the handle off an old broom, and most times there was no real baseball – just a small ball that was wrapped in newspaper and tape. It did the job. The object was to have fun and play with his friends. Hit a home run. Let the next player make it to the base, even if first, second and third bases happened to be a smashed Coke can, a brick and an old torn t-shirt. Looking back since his recent retirement from Major League Baseball, Hunter said he’s noticed a pattern of God always having a man there to help steer him in the right direction. “There were many people involved in making me the man I am today and I thank God for it,” Hunter said. Hunter and his wife, Katrina, recently visited R.C. Childress Hall, where he explained how he arrived where he is today, and the people who helped him. Katrina may not have been the first to help him learn the sport, but he says she is his first and foremost supporter. Tastefully dressed in a slimming peach shift, with a matching jacket and modest accessories, Katrina (a selfproclaimed introvert), lets Torii explain their encounter. “I was in the 5th grade when I told her mother (Thelma Hall) I was going to marry her daughter,” Hunter continued with a grin. “Her mother was my teacher and she had Katrina’s photo on her desk, and I guess I kind of fell in love with the picture. Mrs. Hall pinched my ear and told me, ‘You are not going to marry my daughter young man!’ She knew my family background and she was not having it.” Although the young couple never started dating, in high school, they managed to communicate through secret handwritten letters passed to each other in the school hallways during brief conversations. Katrina, one year Torii’s senior, graduated from high school and attended the University of Arkansas Fayetteville, so the budding relationship faltered. A chance reunion at a Razorback recruiting visit in Fayetteville started them talking again, only this time, more seriously. In 1996, Torii had already been drafted by the Twins when they married. They have three sons – Darius, 21; Torii Jr., 20; and Monshadrik “Money,” 20; and two granddaughters. Hunter’s favorite pastime is playing golf, but in the months to come, his new pastime will include traveling to his sons’ football and baseball games.


“There were many people involved in making me the man I am today, and I thank God for it.�

Torii Hunter standing on the porch of his childhood home in Pine Bluff

Spring 2016 43


COVER STORY

“[My grandfather] taught me a craft that would one day help me take care of my family, and I had a chance to thank him and tell him that before he died.”

Hunter at Taylor Field, the place his baseball career began

44

UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Darius plays slot receiver (football) at Riverside City College; Torii Jr. is a two-sport athlete, playing wide/slot receiver and outfielder (baseball) for Notre Dame; and Monshadrik “Money” plays safety (football) at Arkansas State University. FROM STICKBALL TO BASEBALL – MEN ON A MISSION According to Hunter, Lloyd Bobo was the first man to introduce Hunter to the competitive edge of baseball. Bobo invited Hunter to play on a neighborhood baseball team after watching him play “stick ball” with his friends on the lot. “We noticed this man watching us play, but we didn’t pay him any attention. Then one day, he came over and asked me to play with his team.” Bobo was white and Hunter was the only black child on the team, and for the next four years, Hunter played for and traveled with that team. “I believe God planned this whole thing way back then,” Hunter said. “He knows what’s around the corner and over the mountain. When I think that I was the only black kid on this Little League Team, and I got to travel to New Mexico to play in the Jr. Babe Ruth World Series, I am amazed.” Hunter said that one trip at the age of 13 exposed him to a different environment by giving him his first airplane ride, allowing him to travel and introducing him to a different culture. “I feel like playing baseball as a child helped develop my social skills too,” Hunter said. “Playing baseball taught me how to use my imagination. I had to communicate and problem-solve, and I learned how to interact with others.” Hunter’s grandfather, George Cobbs, was the next man to help Hunter develop a preference for baseball. “I had to stay with my granddaddy after school because my Mom worked in Dumas as a teacher,” Hunter said. “So, one day he made me watch a Cub’s baseball game on TV, and I didn’t like it until I started noticing that this particular player – a black guy named Aundre Dawson - hit home runs every time he played.”

After that, Hunter said his grandfather taught him how to stand and hold a bat. “He taught me a craft that would one day help me take care of my family, and I had a chance to thank him and tell him that before he died.” Before baseball became his permanent sport of choice, Hunter considered himself a football man. “My father (Theotis Hunter) played football, and I always thought I would play football,” Hunter said. “I played quarterback for the Jack Robey Football Team. For a while, I played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. The coach pulled me out of basketball in high school, and I started to focus more on baseball.” From 15-18 years of age, Hunter said he faced adversities as a child and as a teenager that taught him valuable life lessons. “I knew my father was on drugs when I was seven-years-old,” Hunter said. “Because of that, I saw things that could have led me down the wrong path. Sometimes the lights were off and we had no food, and I wanted to help, but I learned that you can’t make decisions based on your emotions. I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve learned.” The scouts pounced on Hunter with offers to join the MLB before he graduated from high school. That’s when Pine Bluff High School Coach Billy Bock stepped in and became the next man to steer Hunter towards improving the skills that would change his life forever. “Coach Bock kind of slowed me down, and he sent me to the University of Arkansas baseball camp to learn more about this game,” Hunter said. “My craft got better because somebody was there to help me get ahead. Coach Bock made sure I got to camp, even when my family couldn’t afford it.” Hunter tells about the day 30 baseball scouts came to watch his best friend, Basil Shabazz, play ball at Pine Bluff High School. “I was a freshman starting on the varsity baseball team, and got noticed by the scouts,” Hunter said. Shabazz was the forerunner to Hunter. In 1991, Shabazz was a senior athlete at Pine Bluff High School with the most talked about averages in football, baseball, basketball and track.

He was Mr. All American sports guy with an undeniable future on the national level. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, and later, Hunter was drafted by the Minnesota Twins. An unfortunate arrest for both young men not long after, ended without charges. The Cardinals took Shabazz off their roster, and a football injury, a few years after that, completely sidelined his sports career. Today, Shabazz lives in Texas and works with young adults. Shabazz and Hunter have been friends since 1991, and Hunter says they remain close friends today. “We talk almost every day,” Hunter said. “Shabazz has always been my supporter and my sounding board. Over the years when I wanted to give up, he motivated me to keep going. Like I said, God has a plan for everything.”

Above: Torii Hunter poses for a photo with his wife, Katrina

Spring 2016 45


COVER STORY

LESSONS ABOUT MONEY In 1993, Hunter had already signed to play with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks when he was drafted in the first round, 20th pick, to play for the Minnesota Twins. Since he had committed to the Razorbacks, the Twins bought out his scholarship. The MLB contract paid the 17-year-old rookie $500,000. “That’s a lot of money to give to a kid fresh out of high school, and I learned that you cannot help and save everybody.” Hunter said he’s always been a giver, so he freely gave away most of his money to family, friends, and the less fortunate. “I had to learn how to be a giver because nobody ever taught me about money,” Hunter said. That lack of financial knowledge left the 17-year-old Hunter broke within two years of receiving $500,000. “No one told me that taxes on that much money was about half of it, so by the time I realized I had to pay taxes, that was about how much I had left,” Hunter said. “The worst part of it was when it came time for me to travel with the team four years later and get my own apartment, I was broke. I had to sleep in the backseat of a rented Neo Spectrum for two weeks before I got my next check and could rent an apartment.” After that major break down in money management, Hunter said he vowed that “if the Lord blessed him with anymore money,” he would be a better steward over it. From then on, with the help of his wife Katrina, Torii said he learned to budget and save. A JOB WELL DONE In July 2016, Torii will be inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. He is a five-time Major League All-Star and the recipient of nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his accomplishments on the diamond. Additional awards Hunter received from 2001 through 2013 include Defensive Player of the Year, Player of the Year, Player of the Month, Player of the Week, Marvin Miller Man of the Year, the Silver Slugger Award, and the Heart and Hustle Award. A very special award was bestowed upon him from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2015 when he was given an honorary doctorate during the annual Homeruns and Heroes fundraising event. Retirement appears to agree with Hunter who resides in Texas now. He said new doors are opening for him so offers have come in the form of television sports casting, working in the Minnesota Twins office, or even the Major League Baseball office. Also, Hunter is part-owner of a venture capital company called Clubhouse Investment Club that teaches celebrities and athletes how to start a business. “When I started out there was no one to teach me about how to handle money and how to do something with wealth other than wear it or buy cars,” Hunter said. “It wasn’t my agent’s fault or my families’ fault. We just didn’t know about money management. This company will teach people how to save money and make money the right way.”

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


“I thought it was a good deal. This wasn’t just helping the University, this was helping our city. A University baseball field would bring revenue to the city of Pine bluff through hotel use, restaurants, gas stations – I was looking at the whole picture. Tournaments could be played here, and high schools could have access to it. ”

Spring 2016 47


CLASS NOTES

THIS IS YOUR DAY Dr. Sherwin Aaron Allen, Sr.’64 was honored by the mayor of El Dorado, Arkansas, for his service to the city and to education. By proclamation, Mayor Frank Harsh declared June 9 Dr. Sherwin Aaron Allen Day in El Dorado. Allen serves as chief executive officer and superintendent of Children First Academy with campuses in Dallas and Houston, Texas. The schools have consistently earned exemplary status for more than 15 years and have strong parental and community support.

Dr. Sherwin Aaron Allen (right) recieves a proclamation from El Dorado, Arkansas Mayor Frank Harsh

Shaun Marq Anderson’05 recently received a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from

West Virginia University. A native of Pine Bluff, he worked as janitor to pay his way through college and has now reached the pinnacle of educational pursuits. While a Ph.D. student, he was awarded the prestigious W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship. He plans to continue to work with the same vigor as DuBois and others as he begins his academic career as an assistant professor in Organizational Communication at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Danyelle Walker was named one of the Best Lawyers in Arkansas by Little Rock Soiree Magazine. Attorney Walker has practiced consumer bankruptcy for more than 19 years. She currently serves on the UALR Board of Visitors, VOCALS, Our House and the American Heart Association Boards. She is a member of the Arkansas Board of Governors, Harold Flowers Law Society, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Little Rock Chapter of the Links, Inc. For her pro bono service, she’s received Attorney of the Year Awards from Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership, VOCALS and the Bar Association’s Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award.

WE WANT TO KNOW *Photos and book covers must be 300 DPI in resolution and in pdf or jpeg format

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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


LaPorchia Chantell Davis’11,

Ph.D., formerly of Pine Bluff, received her doctorate and has been named assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in fashion merchandising. The daughter of Gloria Wilburn of Pine Bluff, Davis holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Science degree from Iowa State University. Davis completed her dissertation on “African American mother’s socialization of daughter’s dress and consumption of appearance related products.” Davis’ research explored connections with parental style and the mother’s influence on their daughter’s dress and appearance. Davis conducted additional research from her master thesis on “African American Women’s use of Cosmetics Products in Relation to their Attitudes and Self-Identity.”

She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in human sciences and a focus on fashion merchandising and textiles. She is also a 2007 graduate of Pine Bluff High School. Davis is the owner of LC Beauty Extensions and an independent handbag designer. She also has a first-hand, global view of consumer behavior, New York Fashion Week, fashion styling, design and marketing. She has traveled to Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou Wuhan, Beijing, Badaling, Shanghai, Suzhou, Paris, Amsterdam, Belgium and the Netherlands. Davis is a member of the Popular Culture/American Culture Association, International Textile and Apparel Association, Kappa Omicron Nu Honors Society and a spring 2009 initiate of the Alpha Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Davis hopes that her students will learn to embrace global thinking by becoming more aware of how others live and will view fashion beyond where they are born and raised.

Rodney G. Perry’87, formerly of Pine Bluff, has been named the new pastor of Central Baptist Church at Denver, Colorado. Perry is joined in his ministry by his wife of 27 years, Sheila D. Perry. They are the parents of one son, Rodney Perry Jr., a junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Perry was ordained in November 1989 by the Western States Baptist Convention, an auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. From October 1993 to March 2012, he was pastor of the Greater St. John Baptist Church. Following his time as supply pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church, Perry was an intern with the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains.

Paige Walker,14 released her first novel, “Transition”. Book one of a three-part series, Walker’s

novel is classified as young adult sci-fi fantasy and romance. A native of Little Rock, Walker earned a degree in biology from UAPB and planned to head immediately to medical school. Her father, one of many doctors in her family, inspired her to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer. Walker is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which supports literacy and the books of its members. Walker’s novel, “Transition,” depicts Nichole Roberts, a beautiful young woman excited about her 18th birthday celebration. A romantic evening with her boyfriend turns tragic and Nichole’s life takes a turn for the worse. Confused about what has happened to her, Nichole wakes up to find everything that she holds dear has been taken from her in a way she never knew existed. Will she ever come to terms with what she has become? Or, will she seek revenge against the one person that has wronged her? The book is available at PaigeWalkerAuthor.com.

Spring 2016 49


IN MEMORIAM

PEARLIE SYLVESTER REED’70, of Marion, died Friday, April 8, 2016 in Methodist University Hospital. Pearlie Sylvester Reed was born June 14, 1948, in Heth, Arkansas, one of eighteen children, to Floyd L. and Gennora Reed. Under the guidance of his parents, he accepted Christ as his personal savior at an early age. Pearlie S. Reed was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 for the position of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C., where he served until 2012.

There, Reed was responsible for all management functions of the USDA, including budget, financial management, human resources, contracting, procurement, information technology, security and strategic planning. In his role, he coordinated with members of Congress, the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, land-grants and other universities, and other federal, state and local organizations, as well as the public. Reed began his career at USDA as a student trainee with the Soil Conservation Service in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas in 1968. He worked in four states and headquarters during his career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Having served as state conservationist for Maryland and California, he was responsible for leading comprehensive soil, water and resource conservation and development programs in those states. After working as associate chief of the NRCS for several years, Reed was appointed chief in 1998 and served in that position until 2002. A leader on civil rights issues, Reed was appointed head of the USDA Civil Rights Action Team by former USDA secretary Dan Glickman. The team issued a report that made recommendations on improving civil rights both inside and outside of USDA.

President Bill Clinton issued an order that all 92 recommendations of the team be implemented. Over the course of his career, Reed received numerous awards and honors including the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award for demonstrating strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service. He also received the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame Award and the USDA Silver Plow Award. In 1991, Reed was instrumental in helping the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) acquire the Pearlie S. Reed-Robert L. Cole Small Farm Outreach Wetland Water Management Center in Lonoke, Arkansas, He currently serves as a private consultant, specializing in agriculture, conservation, economic development and management. A native of Heth, Arkansas, Reed graduated from Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) in 1970. He earned a master’s degree in public administration in finance from American University in Washington, D.C., and completed special studies at several other institutions including the USDA Graduate School and the John Hopkins University Center for Alternative Disputes and Resolutions.

BRUCE RAYMOND SWINTON SR.’72, of Little Rock died on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. He was born on November 22, 1949, in Guthrie, Oklahoma to the late legendary Coach Fred D. and Beverly Swinton. Bruce graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1967, where he excelled in academics and was quarterback and captain of the football team. He also was an excellent baseball player and one of the first to integrate American Legion Baseball in Arkansas. He continued his education after receiving an athletic scholarship at Ouachita Baptist College. After his first year, he transferred to Arkansas AM&N/UAPB. While there, he played quarterback for the Golden Lion football program, played baseball, enlisted in US Army ROTC and was an active member of the Gamma Sigma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Those of you, who were blessed to know Bruce, knew that he loved coaching, attending Bruce Jr.'s football games, watching his daughter run track at University of Arkansas, playing golf, and the New York Yankees. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Fred Doug Swinton, III.

CLYTIE WATKINS ‘36, died November 1, 2015. She was born November 18, 1916 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to the late Professor and Mrs. R.N. Chanay. The only girl in a family of three boys, Pine Bluff Public Schools was influential in shaping her destiny. Following her father’s footsteps, Mrs. Watkins served as an exemplary educator for over five decades within the same system. She received her undergraduate degree from AM&N College (now UAPB) in home economics and completed graduate studies at Colombia University and New York University to obtain a Master of Arts. She was very active in her faith and community and served on a myriad of boards, associations and organizations including the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association.

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


EVELYN BRYANT BURKETT’58, of Hot Springs, died December 26, 2015. She was born Feb.ruary 21, 1935, in Arkadelphia, the daughter of James Monroe and Savillo Jefferson Bryant. She attended Peake High School, graduating Salutatorian, class of 1954. Burkett attended AM&N College, now UAPB, and graduated in 1958 with honors, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business. She attended the University of Ohio in Athens, earning a master’s degree in economics. Burkett taught at AM&N and Texas Southern University in Houston. In Pine Bluff, she was a member of Mt. Pleasant AME Church, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and established Burkett Realtors.

ROSELLA M. BARDLEY’48 of Washington, D.C., died November 13, 2015, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law in Silver Spring, MD. She was preceded in death by her husband, John H. Bardley. ROSELLA M. BARDLEY was a 1944 graduate of Dunbar High School and a 1948 graduate of Arkansas AM&N College.

WILBUR COLEMAN’52, of North Little Rock, formerly of Holly Grove, AR, died Friday, March 4, 2016. A 1970 graduate of Arkansas AM&N College (UAPB), he also was a Vietnam Veteran and a retiree with the Arkansas Employment Security Division. His parents, Henry “Zeke” Coleman and Willie Estelle Coleman; two brothers, Henry Coleman and James Perry; two sisters, Blonzella Campbell, and Rebecca Fears; and one grandson, Brian Bell, preceded him in death.

HERMAN LEE FEASTER’52, died Saturday, November 21, 2015, at Baptist Health Hospital - Louisville, KY. He was born November 13, 1928, in Warren, Arkansas, the son of John Sullivan and Ethel Angeline (Ross) Feaster. He was the fourth of nine siblings. Herman attended Warren Public School System, graduating from Bradley County High School, "class of 1947.” After graduation he attended Shorter Jr. College in North Little Rock, Arkansas on an athletic scholarship. After his first year he transferred to Arkansas Mechanical & Normal College, now known as University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Herman majored in Agricultural Education; minoring in Biology. While at AM&N, he participated in various organizations, including his initiation into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., on November 9, 1949. Herman received his Bachelor of Science Degree on May 27, 1952. On January 27, 1953, he married his college sweetheart, Theresa Nunn of Brinkley, Arkansas. Upon graduating college, they moved to Flint where he was gainfully employed with Chevrolet Truck & Bus, a division of General Motors for 12 years. Herman attended GMI for training as a Tool & Dye Machinist. PAULINE FEASTER WALLACE ’47, of Warren, died Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the Inpatient Hospice of Little Rock. Born November 24, 1921, she was a daughter of the late Sullivan and Ethel A. Ross Feaster. She was a graduate of Bradley County High School class of 1942 where she was salutatorian. She received an associate degree from Shorter College and baccalaureate degree in elementary education with concentration in home economics from Arkansas AM&N College. She was a member of St. James AME Church in Warren, serving as Sunday School

He began his educational career teaching, Science at Jefferson Community School, while obtaining his certification at the Horace M. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. After he went on to serve as Community School Director at Jefferson. His work experiences lead him to work as a CSD & IMC Clerk at Roy I. Wilkins Elementary School, as well as a science Teacher. Herman received his Master of Arts in Administration from Eastern Michigan University on June 5, 1971. He retired from Flint Public Schools in 1995 as a Chapter One Social Services Field Worker at Brownell and Martin Elementary School. Herman was a member of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church and an active member on the Trustee and Usher Boards, Men's Fellowship Club, Laymen's Organization and served on the Security Ministry Team. Herman was involved in many community organizations including the NAACP, Urban League, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Flint, Eureka Lodge #16 FA&M, Saginaw Valley Consistory #71 Epsilon Upsilon Lamda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Life Member), and the UAPB Alumni Association.

teacher, assistant director of the senior choir, member of the trustee board, steward board, bereavement committee, prayer team, president of the matron club and chairman of remodeling the old church, also chairman of building the present sanctuary. She was also a member of the Order of Easter Star, Pride of Harrel Chapter, Lodge #247, Gladiola Flower Club, Education Club, Home Economics Club and the Delta Sigma Theta Club. She married J.T. Wallace on January 9, 1954, their union was blessed with two sons. She was a former teacher in the Warren School District, where she taught third and fourth grade for 34 years.


UAPB MAGAZINE

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

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UAPB Magazine • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

UAPB Magazine | Spring 2016  

From stick ball to the major league, Pine Bluff native Torii Hunter has seen it all and works to help others–on and off the field.

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