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M A G A Z I N E Fall/Winter 2010 | Volume 103, Issue 2


Parking? FALL/WINTER 2010


EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Crain Buick GMC of Conway and the Crain Family for loaning UCA Magazine the car for the cover photo.




Fall/Winter 2010 | Volume 103, Issue 2




12 Laney roof grows green

14 No Parking?

18 Check out this bicycle

21 Pomp & Circumstance

25 When language falls silent



Editor’s Message


Work & Play


Around UCA

27 Alumni News 29 Class Notes




’ll admit it … I don’t have a musical bone in my body, but in late July, when the university announced it was taking on a commitment to become an All-Steinway School, I was beyond proud. My fundraiser pal, Pat Otto, gave me a copy of a book she had picked up when she toured the Steinway plant in New York. The book is called “Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand,” and was written by James Barron a staff writer for The New York Times. As I began reading about the time and care that goes into handcrafting a Steinway piano and the unique personality that evolves from a year of construction, I became more excited that UCA was not only getting one Steinway, but many Steinways – 45 all total. Currently, there are only 118 All-Steinway Schools across the globe. UCA has the opportunity to join the likes of The Julliard School, Oberlin College Conservatory and Yale School of Music. Achieving this new level of prestige would not only put a new feather in UCA’s cap, but more importantly, it would give our students and faculty a valuable opportunity. Once UCA becomes an All-Steinway School, it means all of our music students and faculty – not just piano majors – will have the opportunity to perform on or with a Steinway piano. So, what makes a Steinway so special? I recently asked this question to our Steinway representative, Bryan Elmore, who said, “As you might expect, the answer is complex, but not complicated. “For more than 150 years, Steinway & Sons has remained the benchmark by which all other pianos are measured,” he continued. “Steinway pianos are crafted by hand, involving more than 12,000 specific parts assembled by 450 people. Steinway builds around 3,000 grand pianos and 600 upright pianos a year. Nothing is hurried. They remain dedicated to the idea of making each individual piano the finest in the world.” The idea that UCA will be outfitted with the finest pianos in the world is truly exciting, but this won’t happen without our help. While UCA is committed to making this happen, administrators also recognize that this effort is best done through private fundraising via the UCA Foundation. Whether you are interested in music or simply are interested in helping UCA provide the best opportunities for our students and faculty, contact the UCA Foundation and see how you can help the university become an All-Steinway School.

editor’s message


Fall/Winter 2010

Vol. 103, Issue 2 Editor

Jennifer Boyett ‘01 Art Direction

Dianna K. Winters ‘95 Photography

Mike Kemp Contributors

Venita Jenkins UCA Sports Information Director of Publications and Creative Services

Russ Hancock President

Dr. Allen C. Meadors ‘69 Vice President of UCA Advancement

Shelley Mehl UCA Magazine is published two times annually by UCA Advancement, UCA Box 4986, Conway, AR 72035. Phone: (501) 450-3197, Fax: (501) 450-5293, Email: Please send address corrections to Database Administrator, University of Central Arkansas, UCA Box 4986, Conway, AR 72035. Opinions expressed in UCA Magazine are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or the university administration. Copyright ©2010, University of Central Arkansas



A New Level of Prestige The University of Central Arkansas has committed to become an All-Steinway School – a level of prestige attained by fewer than 120 schools across the globe. Steinway pianos are the instrument of choice preferred by the world’s best concert pianists. As an all-Steinway school, UCA’s music students will have the opportunity to perform on the finest pianos. To learn how you can help UCA become an All-Steinway School, contact the UCA Foundation at 501-450-5288.





AROUND Catherine Swift’s love of horses that began at an early age has manifested itself into one of the most unique clubs at UCA. Swift, who is the residential master in State Hall and a University College instructor in transitional reading, is working to establish an equestrian club, which would allow students of all levels of experience to compete against other schools in both traditional Western and English competitions.

What sparked your interest in horses? I am one of those people who was born with a passion for animals and horses. One of my earliest memories is of a family visit to the horse farms of Kentucky when I was 4 years old. As an adult, I was fortunate enough to live next to an expert trainer who took 10 horses to compete in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. We bought our first mare, a granddaughter of the triple crown winner Secretariat from him. We still have her and she is 22 years old now.

How did the club get started at UCA? I was the founding president and later faculty advisor for the Equestrian Club at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi when I was in graduate school. We partnered with a large private barn on the Chapman Ranch and established group lessons and rides for university students. I even designed and taught an accredited course in “Basic Horsemanship and Equitation” for the university. I also coached the university’s competition team in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), so it was natural that when I came to UCA, I would pursue building an equestrian program here. We received endorsement as a registered student organization last spring, and will expand this year to include competition in the IHSA.

Who would the club compete against? This fall, UCA will compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Region 7, which includes 14 public and private colleges and universities in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

What are your ultimate goals for the club? My immediate goal is to cultivate a diverse membership in the club, to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to learn more about horses and riding. My ultimate goal is to have a team of highly qualified riders who will represent UCA in IHSA competition.  MIKE KEMP

Catherine Swift poses with her two horses, Megan and Porsche, at her Conway residence. FALL/WINTER 2010



UCA gains full D-I membership

UCA athletics was notified over the summer by the NCAA that the school has achieved Division I Active Membership. The notice from the NCAA concludes a five-year transition process for UCA’s administration, players coaches and fans. All UCA athletic teams will now be eligible for postseason play in both the Southland Conference and on the national level. “We are thrilled and relieved to receive the news of our approval of active membership status at the NCAA Division I level,” said Dr. Brad Teague, UCA Director of Athletics. “This has been a long process which has strengthened our awareness and implementation of Division

I rules on governance, academics, diversity and student-athlete well-being. These are all key principles of D-I athletics. “There are so many responsible for our successful reclassification from Division II to Division I. Certainly our athletics administrative staff was heavily involved in the process, our coaches had to overcome many issues in dealing with the four years of transition, and our campus was extremely supportive.” UCA, which became a member of the Southland Conference at the beginning of its transition, received congratulations from league commissioner Tom Burnett. “This is a great moment for the University

of Central Arkansas, its athletic program, and everyone involved in the university community,” said Burnett. “When the Southland Conference began reviewing membership possibilities with UCA in 2005, our presidents quickly realized the university’s obvious potential as a strong, competitive Division I program. Now, we are very pleased that the NCAA has seen the same qualities we discovered five years ago. The Bears and Sugar Bears have already tasted success at the Division I level. UCA’s football team finished in first place in the league with a 6-1 record in 2008 but was ineligible for postseason play. The Bears nearly knocked off Hawaii in the season opener last fall and then recorded its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in Western Kentucky. UCA’s volleyball team went a perfect 16-0 in Southland play last fall, after going 12-4 in 2008. The baseball Bears own wins over traditional powers Wichita State and Ole Miss in the past three seasons.  UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

Kennedy Center President Visits UCA Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, gave local nonprofit organizations advice on how to keep their arts programs profitable and exciting during tough economic times. Kaiser participated in a question and answer session recently in the Reynolds Performance Hall. He addressed the challenges facing nonprofit performing arts organizations such areas as fundraising, building more effective boards of trustees, budgeting and marketing. His visit was part of the Arts In Crisis Tour. Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative helps art organizations remain viable. Kaiser



started the initiative in February 2009. “So many arts organizations responded to the economic crash in 2008 by cutting programming and marketing,” Kaiser said. “When you start cutting ... you think you can save your way to health. You can’t. My belief is that what is going to keep art programs viable, particularly during this economic environment, is to keep the work vibrant. Donors have less money to give and donors are making choices. They are going to give to the organization that seems important, exciting and doing interesting work rather than the organization that is getting smaller and sicker.”  VENITA JENKINS

UCA Receives Grant to Plan Restoration of Old Main The University of Central Arkansas has been awarded a $64,500 grant by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council to create a master plan for the restoration of Old Main, the university’s oldest remaining building. Built in 1919 as an administrative and academic building for the campus, Old Main is one of UCA’s most recognizable symbols. Even the university’s logo was inspired by Old Main’s distinctive arched windows. “Architecturally, Old Main is a stunOld Main ning example of the Colonial Revival Memories style,” said Gayle Seymour, associate We want to preserve dean of the College of Fine Arts and your special memories of Communication. “Its stone and glazed events and activities at terracotta entrance details, boasting Old Main over the years. tobacco-leaf capitals and pilasters, Share your memories of would be almost impossible to repliOld Main by emailing cate today.” UCA President Allen Meadors, a or mailing them to: 1969 graduate of the university, said Old Main Memories, Old Main played a significant role in UCA Box 4986, Conway, AR 72035. his as well as fellow alumni’s college experience. “As a student, I remember attending many events in that building including academic presentations and student events, guest speakers and concerts,” he said. Many of these events took place in Old Main’s Ida Waldran Auditorium, which for more than 70 years has been the host location of significant people and events including the opening ceremonies of the Women’s Army Corps Branch No. 3 in 1943, a vocal concert by President Truman’s daughter, Margaret, and presentations by TV journalists Peter Jennings and Sam Donaldson as well as Presidents Ford and Clinton. Due to years of budget constraints, the condition of Old Main and Ida Waldran Auditorium has deteriorated, and while preliminary architectural assessments indicate Old Main is structurally sound, the building fails to reach its full potential. The building’s condition has also forced academic and social events to move to more functional buildings

located on the periphery of campus. After completion of the campus master plan, the university will seek funding for the renovation of the building and its auditorium. Restoration of Old Main will help define the public face of the campus and provide an inspiring formal entrance and first impression for visitors and prospective students. A restored Ida Waldran Auditorium will provide the city of Conway with a venue for community performing arts. “This grant will provide us an opportunity to gain a full understanding of what’s needed to restore Old Main and Ida Waldran Auditorium,” said Shelley Mehl, vice president of advancement. “This will result in a responsible and comprehensive plan to return both back to their full potential in time for the 100th anniversary of the construction of Old Main in 2019.”  JENNIFER BOYETT

Runge Appointed CNSM Dean Dr. Steven Runge has been appointed the new Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Runge, who first came to UCA in 1991 as an assistant professor, has served as interim dean of the college for the past year and has served as professor and chair of the biology department for the previous six years. “Dr. Runge is the ideal person to lead the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics,” said Dr. Lance Grahn, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has secured thousands of dollars in grants for the college, promoted undergraduate research and has been instrumental in the planning of the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-

ematics (STEM) Residential College scheduled to open this fall. He is also helping to establish UCA’s reputation as a scientifically researchactive university.” Runge’s first priority as dean is to make sure the new STEM Residential College, which opened in Arkansas Hall in August, gets off to a solid start. “It is our job to implement the planned programs such that our students are even more successful in the future than they are currently,” Runge said. “This is going to be a bit of challenge because our students are already very successful, but I know we can do it.” Outside of the STEM Residential College, the College faculty and staff have established

a number of goals that include longterm preservation of the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve, raising funds for construction of an iSMEC (Inte- Dr. Steven Runge grated Science and Mathematics Education Center), inclusion of expanded spaces for departments within the college in the University Master Plan, and the development of innovative ways to deliver the very best science, mathematics, computer science, math education and science education programs.  VENITA JENKINS




Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre Festival The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre Festival, hosted each summer at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall, presented “Shakespeare with a Bite” for 2010. The line-up included performances of “Dracula” and “Alice in Wonderland” in addition to “Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors” and “Henry V.”

Vaudevillian Joseph Carlson of Richmond, Va., juggles during the beginning of “A Comedy of Errors.” Several songs provided a musical interlude to open the play.

Matt Chiorini pauses during a dress rehearsal of “Henry V” at Reynolds Performance Hall. Chiorini not only played the lead role in the play, but also directed the play with Mark Cabus and has been the festival’s producing artistic director since its inception.

Ben West and Georgina McKee are silhouetted while waiting to begin a rehearsal for “Henry V” during the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival.

The forces of King Henry V take part in battle against the French military in a scene from “Henry V.”

Dan Matisa of New York applies stage makeup while preparing for a dress rehearsal of “A Comedy of Errors.” Matisa said this was his fourth year to perform in the festival, and was very happy to return. “I love it here,” he said. 10


University of Central Arkansas senior Jackie Rivera makes last-minute alterations to a dress prior to a dress rehearsal of “Comedy of Errors” in Reynolds Performance Hall. She is a costume and acting intern for the festival.

Mehl Named VP for Advancement Shelley Mehl was named the new vice for advancement at UCA in May. She had served as interim vice president since January 2009. One of the missions of the advancement division is to Shelley Mehl build support for the university among alumni, the community, and the state, as well as students, faculty and staff. “UCA is in an excellent position to reach out to tens of thousands of alums and friends of the university as well as the corporate community,” said UCA President Allen C. Meadors. “I know Ms. Mehl will put together an outstanding team to move the University of Central Arkansas to exceptional levels of fundraising over the next few years.” As interim vice president, Mehl secured more than $1.75 million in new commitments in 2009 and completed the first comprehensive campaign with $36.5 million in commitments. Mehl served as assistant vice president for institutional advancement from December 2006 to December 2008. During her tenure as assistant vice president, Mehl directed the internal and external fund raising operations of UCA’s advancement division. Mehl was associate vice president for advancement and director of development at Hendrix College before coming to UCA. She also has served as executive director of the United Way of Faulkner County, and was the executive director of the Community Foundation of Faulkner County. Mehl also served as the business manager of Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program. Mehl holds a master of business administration and a bachelor of business administration from Ohio University. “I am honored to be selected by President Meadors as UCA’s vice president for advancement and will continue my work with the talented and dedicated staff in our division and across campus,” Mehl said. “My hope is to continue the strong growth in fund raising and alumni engagement to help meet UCA’s increasing need for private support.”

CNSM Students Study in New Zealand

Thirty UCA students and two faculty members explored active volcanoes and toured a cloning lab as part of a study abroad trip to New Zealand. The trip, led by biology faculty member and New Zealand native Dr. J .D. Swanson, focused on the impact humans have on their environment. The group left for New Zealand May 8 for the 24-day study abroad trip. This was UCA’s first trip to the South Pacific and the first College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics faculty led study abroad trip to a foreign country. “New Zealand is an ideal study system as it is one of the last countries in the world to be populated by humans and has very unique flora and fauna,” said Swanson. New Zealand is thought to have separated from Gondwanaland before the evolution of mammals, and thus birds, insects and some lizards were the predominant animals. “The country has a rich geological history and unique landscape. Modern New Zealand is a great microcosm as it is a sum of its history and has had the foresight and opportunity to protect its biology from introduced species,” Swanson said. The group’s travels also took them to a penguin breeding colony and to the University of Waikato and Rurakura (a Crown Research Institute), where they learned about the medicinal uses of Manuka Honey and organisms living around deep water vents. The students also visited a wildlife center and met local conservationists. Students received three credits toward their degree in biology, geography, sociology, or honors. They were required to keep daily journals of their thoughts and observations, read course materials, submit to a blog and take part in all activities and discussions.  VENITA JENKINS




grows green

niversity of Central Arkansas officials are taking green efforts to a higher level – the roof top. About 2,000 square-foot of sedum, a drought tolerant plant material that grows about six inches tall, was planted on the roof of Laney Hall last spring. The test area will help officials determine green roof benefits and how it functions. Laney Hall was selected because its roof was structurally able to support the weight associated with the installation of a green roof. A green roof protects the roof membrane resulting in longer material life span. Also, the soil material acts as an insulator resulting in energy savings. A green roof also slows water runoff, which allows drainage systems to better handle rainwater. Other benefits of a green roof are the potential for grants related to energy efficiencies and a green roof reduces re-roofing wastes in landfills. UCA officials used money from the 2007 bond and stimulus money to pay for the project. î Ž VENITA JENKINS






PARKING? The quest for truth in a world of rumors BY JENNIFER BOYETT ‘01

When Dr. Donna Bowman’s Honors College Core II class had to decide on a service project for the semester, she asked each of her 17 students take an anonymous online survey that was designed to find an issue of social welfare, ignorance or need that the students would like to tackle in Conway or at UCA. Some of the submitted ideas were environment/ sustainability and poverty/class distinctions but when Bowman saw that one student had listed parking as their greatest concern, she was flabbergasted.



DID YOU KNOW? The walk from BrewerHegeman Conference Center to the HPER Center takes about 8 minutes. The walk from the baseball field parking lot to Alumni Circle takes about 7 minutes. This data was taken by actual students making their way across campus. These parking lots are rarely filled.


was actually mad at this student, because at first I thought it seemed unserious and small-minded,” she said. “Then, it hit me … This was no different than the other topics that had been offered like sustainability and community governance. People complain about parking all the time.” Bowman’s students began discussing rumors and complaints they had heard about parking on campus and the class decided to take on the project as a quest for truth. Sophomore Travis Alexander forgot about the survey until a few minutes before class, so as he scrambled to complete it, he came up with an idea he thought the class could do more effectively – something on a smaller scale. “Obviously, world hunger, global warming, etc. are major problems that we could have helped with,” he said. “I wish I could say that I had all the ideas in mind that GOYA now represents, but sadly, I cannot.”

“Obviously, we have enough parking spaces, it just came down to an issue of awareness before we could move toward improvement.” – TRAVIS ALEXANDER UNIVERSITIES IN THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE ARE TAKING STEPS TOWARD A GREENER FUTURE. Let’s encourage growth in greening our campus with such ideas as:

} Utilizing the recycling bins

provided on campus

} Taking the shuttles that run through campus

} Protecting the Jewel Moore

Nature Reserve

} Taking only food you know

you will consume in the dining halls

GOYA, an acronym for Get Off Your Asphalt, is the name of the semester-long project which took a comprehensive look at parking on the UCA campus including logistics, policies, procedures and costs, shuttle routes, alternative transportation and the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve. An informational campaign was also developed to share the class’ findings. Alexander said he did think parking was a problem when he made the suggestion, but his complaint not the typical claim that UCA doesn’t have enough parking. “It’s too congested and not enough people ride their bikes or walk to class,” he said. “Obviously, we have enough parking spaces, it just came down to an issue of awareness before we could move toward improvement.” His initial concern was that the university no longer needed to expand the number of parking lots outward and risk taking over the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve. Instead, he thought that expanding upward through the construction of a parking garage would be a better solution and would help ensure pavement would not replace important campus landmarks.

} Turning off lights when you leave your room



When classmate Emily Trower heard that the class’ semester-long project would be about campus parking, she was surprised. “I had assumed we would help an already established organization, not start our own,” she said. Trower said her parking experiences at UCA have largely been positive. “I have never had to walk more than 10 minutes from a lot to my destination,” she said. The only complaint she has is the lack of meter-free parking at Farris Hall. “I believe that there should be no metered spots in a residential hall parking lot. It is frustrating to walk 10 minutes from the band’s practicing lot and then see a person walk 30 feet from their car to the HPER Center. It is ironic that the people who utilize the exercise facility walk the shortest distance from their parking spaces,” she said. As Bowman outlined the project to the students, small teams were formed to examine various aspects of campus parking including reviewing the history of campus parking; parking policies; the financial and environmental aspects of adding new parking lots and parking decks; and



shuttle routes, bicycle programs and other forms of alternative transportation. Teams even spent time at perimeter parking lots interviewing students about their parking experiences and timing how long it takes to walk from the most outlying lots. What students learned during the course of their semester-long study of parking on campus is that there is not a shortage of campus parking spaces, but rather a shortage of convenient parking. In their final report, the class wrote, “Spreadsheet data of the parking spots on campus shows that UCA has an acceptable ratio of the number of spaces to frequently driving students. The real problem lies instudents’ unrealistic beliefs and desires to park at the front door of every class.”

“I have never had to walk more than 10 minutes from a lot to my destination.” – EMILY TROWER UCA President Allen Meadors agreed with the students findings. “Parking is a complaint at nearly every university campus,” he said. “We looked at the feasibility of building parking decks at the two universities I worked at before, but parking decks cost so much more. Parking is not the problem, it’s convenience.”

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY UCA DOES NOT INVEST IN A PARKING DECK? } Consider the following: The university already has nearly 8,000 parking spaces, as well as a shuttle service that carries students from the edges of campus to the center of campus. } Building a parking deck on campus could easily cost between $12 million and $14 million. Each space in a parking deck of only 600 spaces would cost between $15,000 and $17,000. Alexander said the class discovered after timing the walk from outlying parking lots is that “it doesn’t actually take that long to get around … at least not as long as we seem to convey at times.” Bowman said that by midterm the class had done enough research to come to the consensus that the campus does not have a parking problem. Trower agreed, saying the most surprising thing she learned through the project was how unaware UCA students are of the true parking situation. “There are lots completely left empty every day, yet students say there is not enough parking. Students and faculty simply do not acknowledge parking spaces they consider too far from their destination. Whether it is a conscious decision or not, to say there is not enough parking at UCA is false.” Once the class agreed that parking was not a real problem, they decided to begin an informational campaign to get the word out. That is how GOYA came to be. Bowman said the idea of GOYA is not about being antitransportation or anti-car, but to empower students with information and to support alternative transportation options such as the campus shuttle and the bike-share program. Alexander said he hopes GOYA will encourage students and faculty to use alternative means of transportation and help the new bike-share program to grow in popularity. He also hopes those who are interested or have complaints about campus parking will look at GOYA’s official report

or look into it for themselves. “They would soon realize that most of their complains are because of a lack of awareness or an improper utilization of resources, and they could do quite a bit to help.”

“The real problem lies in students’ unrealistic beliefs and desires to park at the front door of every class.” – GOYA REPORT Trower admitted she had doubts at first as to whether a group of college teens could accomplish something worthwhile. “My skepticism quickly left when I saw how driven and creative my classmates were,” she said. “It was great to participate in a project that benefits the UCA community; I was able to see the outcome of our efforts firsthand, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment.” Bowman said she was surprised at how many of her students did not want this semester-long project to end with a grade. Many want to remain involved and build on what’s been started. “The scholarly apparatus at a college campus doesn’t have to be about the abstract. It can be used to find out what they really want to know. Whatever their burning desires are, they can go find out the truth.”



Check out



this bicycle BY JENNIFER BOYETT ‘01


hen a group of local bicycling advocates with a garage full of repairable bikes partnered with UCA students and administrators, the result was a bike share program that allows students to check out bicycles to get to wherever they want to go. In the summer of 2008, Chad Files, a local cycling enthusiast thought it would be nice to get a few old bikes and fix them up for children. “A few bikes turned into a garage full, many of which were in dire need of repair,” Files said. A year later, officers of the sophomore class began expressing interest in establishing a bike share program at UCA. “We had seen it done at other schools and knew it would be of great benefit to the students,” said 2009-10 Sophomore Class President Jessica Gambill. “Not everyone can afford a nice bike, but this program would offer one to students in need.” The used bike collection that Files and fellow cyclists, who would come to charter the non-profit group, Conway Advocates for Bicycling (CAB), had gathered continued to grow, and the small storage unit that had been rented to store the bikes in offered no space for repair work to be done. In 2009, UCA employees who were charter organizers of CAB approached UCA Physical Plant Director Larry Lawrence about locating space for on-campus storage and repair of bicycles in exchange for working with students to establish a bike share program. “Larry said he thought he had some locations on campus that might work for us. When he took us to the garage and shed located on College, we clearly saw potential,” said Peter Mehl, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and charter president of CAB. Mehl and a team of volunteers fixed up the garage and shed and replaced its leaky roof, in exchange Lawrence agreed to contribute to the bike share pilot by donating the materials for the building repairs and painting the donated bicycle frames UCA purple. “Larry has been a great help in getting this project started,” Mehl added. Soon, the Student Government Association heard about the agreement and officers of the sophomore class offered to become involved. They worked out an agreement with the HPER Center director to have bikes from the bike share issued through the HPER Center. The SGA agreed to fund a permanent location for the bikes to be stored just outside the HPER Center and they funded the parts and sandblasting of the frames for 25 bikes, which would serve as the pilot program. Acording to CAB members, the bike share program has three goals: to provide a free, environmentally sustainable, and fun mode of transportation for the entire UCA community; to collect old bikes that would have been trashed, and rehabilitate them into service; and to educate the community in basic and advanced bicycle mechanics, safe riding practices, and the legal obligations of cyclists with regard to traffic.

Not everyone can afford a nice bike, but this program would offer one to students in need. Jessica Gambill



Dr. Sujith Kumar, a former visiting professor in the department of political science and a charter member of CAB, served as the first bike share coordinator. He said, “Checking out a bicycle from the UCA bike share is much like checking out a book from the library or like checking out other athletic equipment from the HPER Center.” Gambill said utilizing the HPER Center as the hub of the program made sense. “We saw at other schools that their bike programs were run out of their workout facilities, so we tried for the same thing. We believe that running the program through the HPER is the easiest way to reach as many people as possible,” she said. Last spring the bike share program was launched as a part of UCA’s Green Week festivities. “This bike share program benefits UCA in many ways,” Gambill continued. “The main benefit of this program is that it shows incoming and current students that there are resources available to them free of charge. College is expensive, so it’s nice to see things without a price tag attached. If they can’t afford a healthy and green way of transportation, we can provide that for them. Gambill said many students see the importance of encouraging UCA to be a green campus. “UCA has been doing a lot already with recycling bins and cutting down on waste in the dining facilities to promote being green on campus, and we thought that this program would help that cause even more. We hope it will inspire students to live healthier lives and to cut down on car exhaust. Rather than drive your car to the store or across campus, why don’t you check out one of these nice purple bikes and get exercise while saving the environment?” All bike-share bicycles will be loaned with a lock and lights. “The understanding is that the borrower has full responsibility,” Kumar said. However, he acknowledges basic maintenance will be required such as repairs to tires and chains. Bikes in need of repair will go to the CAB garage where they can be left for servicing or students can work on the bikes themselves, under the supervision of one of the bike share staff



Bicycling is the solution to so many problems facing urban communitites.

members and volunteers, some of whom are UCA students. “In the future, I imagine that the program will become so successful that the fleet of rehabilitated bicycles will need to be supplemented with new Dr. Sujith Kumar bicycles,” Kumar said. “For example, Fuji Bikes has a program where they partner with universities to provide simple, ‘utility’ bikes at a discounted price for this sort of use. Many universities around the country have such programs in place, and all seem to be highly successful.” While Kumar’s visiting professorship at UCA ended last spring, he remains interested in the success of UCA’s bike share program. “Bicycling is the solution to so many problems facing urban communities, and college campuses all over the world,” he said. “I am convinced that it will become the norm in the near future.” Gambill said the sophomore class wanted to instill an interest in healthy living. “These bikes are one way for students to travel, exercise, and save the environment simultaneously,” she said. “We want them to take advantage of the program and the free bikes and maintenance being done to them.” Mehl said he hopes the pilot program at UCA will lead to a successful bike share program that is available city wide, sort of a bike library for Conway. “I see this project as central to CAB’s mission of advocacy for the bicycle as alternative and sustainable form of transportation. Bicycling is not only an enjoyable healthy activity but a viable alternative to the automobile,” he said.

Students are silhouetted while waiting outside of the Farris Center prior to the second graduation ceremony. In total, 1,200 students received their degrees during three ceremonies in May.


Petra Keilova shows her excitement after graduating with summa cum laude honors. A resident of the Czech Republic, she is one of a growing number of international students who are finding their way to UCA.

Carrying on a tradition from other siblings’ graduations, Rachel Acosta’s mortarboard features a detailed painting. “My sister painted this for me. It’s kind of tradition; she paints graduation caps for all of our family.” Rachel gave her some patterns as guideline, and then let her sister’s creativity take over. FALL/WINTER 2010


Elyse Speckels gets a congratulatory kiss from her husband Sean prior to the afternoon ceremony. Elyse said her biggest challenge was sacrificing social time for studies. “For me, as a graduate, it means it’s a big day of relief. It means I’m going to go to grad school at the end of August. Lots of years of work have actually paid off, and it’s kind of surreal that I’m here today graduating from college,” she said.

While being recognized by the UCA Alumni Association, graduates who purchased class rings were encouraged to turn them so that the letters faced those they would be greeting. Eric Fulton admires his ring after turning it the proper direction.

Using a cell phone for a last-minute look at her hair, Whitney Spencer prepares for her big moment. “This day means the beginning of something very, very special,” she said. “I want to do some research internships, and get into the cosmetic industry. Cosmetic research, that’s my plan.” 22


Reflecting his father’s Hawaiian heritage, Zach Kimo Stine wears a lei along with his regalia. “My dad’s side is native Hawaiian and it’s a tradition at things like wedding and graduation to wear a lei,” he said. “This is a big accomplishment. This is a nice little ritual to top it off.”

Continuing a service he has offered for several years, UCA alumnus David Lamberson interprets the speakers for graduation. Lamberson has provided the service for every commencement since 1995.



A member of the Sigma Nu fraternity shows his pride by decorating the top of his mortarboard with the fraternity’s Greek letters.

Hayden Vaughn gets a hug from Haley Fowler, assistant director of alumni services, after receiving his degree. All graduates were recognized by the alumni association and were given information about joining the UCA Alumni Association.

Kayla Whitley gets congratulations from family members after receiving her degree. “I’m very excited, but I’m going back to school, so I’m not done yet,” she said.





or more than a decade, Tim Thornes has worked with members of the Burns Paiute Tribe to revive its language for future generations. Thornes, assistant professor of linguistics in the Department of Writing, has interviewed elders from various tribal communities in an effort to document and preserve the Northern Paiute language. Northern Paiute is an endangered Native American language spoken by just a few hundred people with most of its active fluent native speakers over the age of 50. The tribe resides mainly in northern Nevada and eastern Oregon. “So much cultural knowledge is lost with the loss of the language, whether it be the medicinal uses of certain plants, relationships to places and environments, or philosophies, spiritual practices and world views,” Thornes said. “How much less rich will our world be without the expression of that knowledge? And languages are disappearing at an alarming rate – one every two weeks, by current estimates. That’s an unprecedented global heritage crisis, in my view.” The project’s focus is the publication of oral literature of various genres– traditional stories, ethno-histories, autobiographies, procedural narratives, legends, and conversation – in the Northern Paiute language. The final product will include literature printed in both the original language, using a writing system developed for the language with members of the community, and its English translation. The project also includes CDs containing the original recordings in Northern Paiute, a brief grammatical sketch of the language, and a glossary of terms that appear in the narratives.


Ruth Lewis, a Burns Paiute elder, serves a translator for the project. She assists Thornes in recording the stories of the tribe’s elders that have been passed down by their parents and grandparents. “I think that a lot of tribes are losing their language,” Lewis said. “Most of our people speak English all the time. It is hard for the young people who have grown up and do not understand any of the Paiute language. We used to have a summer program where I helped the children ages 6 through 12. They closed the program on account of the budget. The university is recording the stories and doing everything that needs to be done to preserve the language.” These publications and recordings will serve primarily the Northern Paiute communities by providing materials in the heritage language for cultural and historical education. “I hope this project will be just one of many dedicated to helping preserve and disseminate information regarding the history and culture of a group of people whose lives have dramatically changed as the result of the conquest and settlement of the country,” Thornes said. For many, their language is tied to their identity as Northern Paiute people. “Many see the loss of the language as a loss of identity at the level of, say, the loss of a set of religious beliefs or practices,” he explained. “Imagine if everyone around you stopped speaking the language you knew as a child– the language you learned to tell stories, sing, and pray in– and you might have a slight understanding of the personal aspect of what is lost when a language falls silent.”




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alumninews Three elected to Alumni Board of Directors alumni association president’s message Anne Wallace Crighton

As I begin my third and final year as president of the UCA Alumni Association, this 2010-11 year is gearing up to be the most ambitious one yet. In January, the association will kick off the 100th anniversary of the founding of our organization. We have decided to use this opportunity not only to celebrate 100 years of connecting alumni back to their alma mater, but also to help future generations of alumni while they are still in school. The Alumni 100 campaign was kicked off as a way to endow all of our alumni scholarships that have not yet reached the $25,000 endowment level. Once a scholarship reaches this level, the interest earned from the fund can be used to support student scholarships. The good news is that we have already made it over halfway to our goal of raising $100,000. But we still need your help. If you have not taken the opportunity to pledge your commitment to the Alumni 100 Fund, please don’t delay! While you may have received a letter suggesting some levels of giving that go along with our founding year of 1911, please know that any amount you can give is very much appreciated and will help provide scholarships to deserving students. The easiest way to give is to make an online donation. Simply visit go/alumni100 and complete the form. It’s safe, secure and easy!

Three alumni association members were elected to serve three year terms on the Alumni Association Board of Directors over the summer. A new vice president and secretary were also elected for 2010-11. The three new board members include: Mark Fowler ’81, ’83 of Mayflower, a regional accounts manager with Tecumseh Products Company. Fowler has been a volunteer with the association for several years and is a member of the Lettermen’s Club. “I want to help promote the Bear Pride I have in my alma mater and participate in any way I can to grow membership in the alumni association and the enrollment of new students at UCA,” he said. Mark Fowler Wale Mohammed ’06 of Conway is an application developer for Acxiom Corp. He is a charter member of the Association of Future Alumni and currently serves on the UCA International Advisory Board. Mohammed has been a volunteer with the association since graduating. “As a former AFA member and international student, I wish to serve as a role model for that pool of current and former students and further instill volunteerism to other alumni, board members and non-members.” John David Pittman ’04 of North Little Rock works for Capstone Digital in North Little Rock and serves on the UCA Young Alumni Wale Mohammed Leaders Council. “I cannot think of a greater honor than having the opportunity to share my pride and passion for UCA on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. My goal is to work toward building a larger alumni community that shares the same passion and pride for UCA.” William E. “Bill” Ott, II ’72 was elected vice president of the board of directors. Ott is a resident of Eureka Springs, Ark. He has served one year on the board of directors and serves on the association’s development committee. “It has always been my philosophy that one should lead by example,” he said. “As vice president, I am up to the task and I pledge that my ef- John David Pittman fort will match the honor.” Richard “Aaron” Brooks ’05 was elected secretary of the board of directors. He is a resident of Little Rock. In 2010, he served as a alumni association representative on the UCA Vice President of Advancement Search Committee. He is a member of the UCA Band Alumni and the UCA Honors College Alumni chapters as well as the Harvard Club of Arkansas. “I will work hard to ensure that the Alumni Association has convenient access to its records and all other relevant information, so that we can fulfill our mission and achieve our goals.” Anne Wallace Crighton ’69, ’73 of Middleton, Tenn., was elected to serve a third term as president. Crighton is a life member of the alumni association and she and her husband are members of the UCA Foundation President’s Club and the athletics Purple Circle Club. Crighton said, “The Alumni Association is in the unique position to do our first ever fundraising effort [with the Alumni 100 campaign] and I want to help lead that effort and be a part of its success.”

UCA Alumni Association Officers

Board of Directors Jackie Arrison

Serena Jeffery


Dr. Herman Ellis

Wale Mohommed

Anne Wallace Crighton

Mark Fowler

Patsy Newton

Vice President

William “Trey” Hankins

John David Pittman

Harold Helton

Becky Rasnick

Jennifer Trafford Hines

John C. Reno

Bill Ott, II Secretary

Aaron Brooks

UCA Alumni Services Office UCA Box 4925 Conway, AR 72035 Email: Jan Newcomer, Director (501) 450-3130 Haley Crafton Fowler, Assistant Director (501) 852-7463




UCA Alumni Association honors Prince Conway resident Mickey Prince was recognized as the 2010 recipient of the University of Central Arkansas Alumni Service Award during the alumni association’s annual award dinner on Friday, July 23. The award is presented annually to an individual or couple who, through their deeds or actions, reflects the importance of the UCA Alumni Association and demonstrates extraordinary commitment, dedication, service and loyalty to the UCA Alumni Association. Prince, a 1975 graduate of UCA and vice president of Nabholz Construction, served on the association’s board of directors for six years, with four years on the executive council as vice president. He also has served on various committees as well as co-chairing the association’s events committee for five years. Prince also was instrumental in the construction of Crafton Alumni Pavilion, overseeing and supervising every aspect of the construction from concept to completion. “I congratulate Mickey for being honored by the UCA Alumni Association for his contribution on the Alumni Pavilion project,” said Charles Nabholz, chairman of the board for Nabholz Construction Services. “That was just another example of what Mickey does best ... Sharing his time and talent where his heart is.” Prince said he was humbled to receive the

See more photos from the Alumni Service Awards Dinner and other UCA events at

award. “I could not figure out why I would be the recipient when there were so many others deserving of this award,” he said. “I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to those who saw me as a potential recipient for this award. It’s good to know others appreciate your effort and time spent.” Director of Alumni Services Jan Newcomer said Prince was very deserving of the award. “His involvement in implementing the Alumni & Friends tailgate parties and his expertise in the successful construction of Crafton Alumni Pavilion serve as testaments to his dedication to the Alumni Association and his Bear pride.” Prince said he enjoys serving and supporting the alumni association because it allows him to keep in contact with fellow alumni and allows him to give back to his school in some small way. He hopes to inspire others to get involved too. “I’m always bugging people to get involved and join the association,” he said. “There is Mickey Prince ‘75 more power in numbers and the more people involved, the more that can be done to further the university and its mission.”

Alumni 100 Campaign In

2011, the

Alumni Association will celebrate its



Be a part of the celebration today!

Visit 28





Wanda Roe ’54 and her daughter visited

Dr. Rebecca Cogwell Anderson ’72, ‘76 was

Spain, Portugal and London over the sum-

appointed to the Wisconsin Psychology Exam-

mer. Wanda is currently serving, by the

ining Board by the Wisconsin State Senate to

Governor’s appointment, on the Arkansas

serve a four year term. She is a professor in the

make a note

Humanities Council.

departments of surgery, psychiatry and epide-

Mary Gentry ’59 of Searcy received the

where she is also the director of psychological

Keeping in touch with former

2010 State Master Gardener of the Year

services for transplant surgery and associate

classmates is easy. Send your class


director of surgery education.


Dr. Wesley Burks ’76 has been recognized as


Carolyn Burkett Chapman ’64 has traveled

hypersensitivity. His research goals focus on

to all continents, as well as the north pole

understanding the mechanism of food allergy,


and south pole. She has three grown grand-

improving the diagnosis of food allergies in chil-

sons and one daughter who is back in the

dren, and developing an immune therapy

states after spending years abroad in Namibia

for food allergies.

received through August 15.

notes on professional or volunteer work, awards, honors, marriages and births to:

(501) 450-5293


UCA Alumni Services

UCA Box 4925

Conway, AR 72035

In Memory

miology at the Medical College of Wisconsin

and South Africa. Patsy Cornelius ’78 is pursuing a doctorate Samuel J. Nalley ‘65 retired in December

in nursing education while working as an as-

2008 from Chattanooga State University

sistant professor in the nursing program at the

after 38 years. He still teaches physics and

University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. She also

astronomy classes online.

welcomed a grandson in February.

John E. Hale ’67, July 22.

Michael B. Moore ’70, ‘73, April 3.

Berta F. “Cissie” Hazzard Hall ’61, ‘69,

Ruby A. Gillette Owen ‘47, April 7.

Dr. Don Birmingham ’70, Feb. 4.

July 31.

Monica O. Smith Bowers ‘85,

Frank A. Hancock ‘55, June 8.

Aug. 4.

one of the world’s leaders in the field of food

Edward Maxwell “Max” Harris ‘53,

Ralph L. Rainwater ‘51, Feb. 24. Iva Lee Webb Robertson ’63, ‘67, June 13.

Tori Dawn Brady ‘89, April 8.

May 24.

Robert B. Brazzel ’68, Feb. 24.

Lelva Hogan Huie ’53, April 12.

Alice Ann Buckman ’78, May 17.

Steven H. Jackson ’84, ‘85, April 13.

Nancy E. Burnett ’73, Nov. 11.

Bernice Adams Johnson ‘59, July 15.

David L. Burnley ‘60, April 8.

Mary Louise Jumper ’35, June 3.

Mary Diemer Cooper ‘50, May 24.

Jane Kinderman ’60, July 2.

L. Ken Davis ‘52, Feb. 4.

Lucille Leonard ‘65, June 17.

Virginia R. Dickinson ‘79, April 11.

Carroll Preston Lester ‘84, March 19.

Guy’lene Dwyer ’56, Jan. 19.

Charlsie Baldridge Little ’49, June 30.

Frieda Hauk Elcan ‘58, March 24.

James O. Martin ‘80, April 16.

Audley Ann Frijlink ’80, May 11.

Mary B. Mobley ‘65, March 25.

April 8.

Frederick Owen (Red) Gregory ’47,

Iris E. Craig Hollanger Moore ’62,

Mildred M. Dumboski Bawiec-Zaloudek,

Dec. 26.

July 30.

Kathryn Sue Rush ’81, August 8. Ara Baldridge Sanders ’36, May 18. Shelia R. Smith Shaw ‘83, June 28. Dallas E. Stricklin ‘80, April 5. Ryan Strong ‘93, July 4. Martin O. Swint ‘57, April 15. William H. Temple ’38, May 12. George E. Thompson, Jr. ’77, June 17. Betty M. Obenshain Tucker ’40, June 2. Clara C. Douglas Jameson Wilhite ‘50,

’56, April 3.




‘80s Dr. Alice Heikens ‘83 a professor of biol-

Jerry Fleenor ’94 is employed with Verizon

ogy was the recipient of the Franklin College

Wireless South Central Region as a data director.

Excellence in Scholarship Award. Heikens’ interest in rare plants was sparked during her

Laura Weatherly ’99 is employed with

undergraduate honors research on a federally

Pediatrics Plus Therapy Services in Conway as a

endangered species, Neviusia alabamensis, at

Speech-Language Pathologist.

UCA, and she continued researching the plant UCA. Heikens has continued researching en-


dangered species and plant communities since

Jennifer Winchell ’00 resides in Sherwood

moving to Indiana, and she works in conjunc-

where she recently bought her first home. She

tion with numerous agencies/organizations

has been a Little Rock firefighter for over three

including The Nature Conservancy, the Indiana


as she pursued her master’s in biology also at

Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.

Dr. Keegan Nichols ’01 married Jim Nichols on May 15 in Rockford, Ill. She completed her

Tab Townsell ’84 was awarded the 2010 Gov.

doctorate in adult and higher education from

Ben Laney Award from Sigma Tau Gamma

Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in May.

fraternity. The award has been given annu-

Her new position is vice president of student

ally since 2000 to a distinguished alumnus of

affairs at Colby Community College in Kansas.

Sigma Chapter at UCA. Townsell has served as mayor of Conway since 1999.

Gwendolyn Miller ‘02 accepted the position of execution branch chief for contracting


at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little

Shauna Martin ‘92 received the Dallas Busi-

after graduating, and has served in civilian

ness Journal Best Corporate Counsel Award for

positions in Colorado Springs, Colo. and

Community Service on Nov. 12, 2009.

Savannah, Ga.

Bear Babies

On April 14, Ashley (Watson) Gardner ‘07

On Jan. 25, Chelsey Boucher ’04 and Eric

Ryan Gardner.

Boucher welcomed Virginia Kate Boucher. On March 10, Cristin (Busby) Talley ’07 and Drew Talley ‘06 welcomed Kyleigh Blaire Talley. On March 18, Amy (Reed) Porter ’99, ’01 and Matt Porter ’08 welcomed Paisley Elisabeth Porter.


Rock District. She was recruited immediately

and Jeremy Gardner ‘01 welcomed Olivia

On June 1, Krista (Valentine) Tapp and David Tapp ‘00 welcomed Isabella Tapp. On June 2, Tiffany (Snow) Horton ’00 and Jared Horton welcomed Gabriel Snow Horton. On June 17, Robbie Nix ’05 and Megan (Bell) Nix ‘08 welcomed Cooper Nix.

On March 16, Katie (Hinkle) Henry ‘02

On July 20, Jamie Gates ‘00 and Melissa

and Shane Henry welcomed Cooper James

(Dunbar) Gates, welcomed Walker Lewis


and Annie Lee Gates.

On April 2, Matt Parker and Lindsay

On July 22, Haley (Crafton) Fowler ‘06

(Hunter) Parker ‘06 welcomed Hunter

and Michael Fowler ’10 welcomed Crafton

Boen Parker.

Lee Fowler.


UCA Alumna’s Trust to Aid University A Springfield, Colo. woman left half of the value of her trust valued at $1.5 million as a bequest to the University of Central Arkansas. The bequest came from the late Wylena Virginia “Billye” Abee Hayward ‘40. She was raised by her mother and grandparents in northeast Arkansas in the community of Swifton. While at UCA she was very active serving as President of Zeta Sigma and the Nature Study Club and member of the Art Club, Childhood Education Club and Y.W.C.A. She also was a Founder’s Day Maid, cheered on the Pep Squad and served on the Pan-Hellenic Council. After attending UCA and earning a bachelor’s of science in education degree in 1940, she enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She earned a master’s degree in elementary education there in 1961 and went on to teach school for 20 years in both Rawlins and Eugene, Ore. Hayward’s gift to UCA was unrestricted. The majority will be used to support areas of greatest need at the university and portion of the gift will be designated for academic scholarships in the 2010-11 academic year. “What a special gift to the university. This once again, shows the wonderful memories that graduates have about their college days at the University of Central Arkansas,” said President Allen C. Meadors. “This significant gift will be used to enhance the university and the students who attend it.” Estate gifts are one mechanism to make a major gift while still providing security during retirement. Over the last four years, UCA has received over $7.5 million in estate gifts and funded student scholarships, visiting lectureship, international programs and capital projects. “While Mrs. Hayward had not lived in Arkansas for many years, her gift is a testament to what UCA meant to her and the impact education had on her life,” said Shelley Mehl, vice president of advancement.

Kurt Stein ’03 earned a master of science

Tad Beene ‘05 has graduated from LSU dental

Chasse Conque ‘06 married Lisa McWilliams

degree in computational and applied math-

school and signed on with a dental practice in

on May 29. They reside in Little Rock where

ematics from Southern Methodist Univer-


he is director of athletic development at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and she

sity in 2009. He is working on his doctorate there now. He and his wife welcomed a son,

Josh Brown ‘05 graduated with a Ph.D. in

is a clinical lab scientist with the University of

Maximilian Stein, in 2008. Kurt also served in

medicinal chemistry from the University of

Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Operation Iraqi Freedom as a captain in the

Tennessee Health Science Center last May. He

U.S. Army from 2005 to 2006.

is currently employed as an assistant professor

Ginny Wiedower ‘06 was hired by Crews

of pharmaceutical science in the College of

& Associates, Inc., to work as the company’s

Pharmacy at Harding University.

communications coordinator. In her role,

Morgan David ’04 married Matthew Breck-

Wiedower will communicate the firm’s activi-

inridge in February and resides in El Dorado. Morgan is employed with Murphy Oil Melissa Nix ‘04 and Brad Edge were married

Courtney Cline ’05 graduated from the Uni-

ties, capabilities, and community involvement

versity of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville

among key local, regional and national publics.

in May, receiving her juris doctorate.

Wiedower will also focus on the firm’s internal communications infrastructure.

on May 1 in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Miranda Parks Crabtree ‘06 is employed with Bart Shaw ’04, ’07 was recently hired by the

the Alma School District as speech pathologist

Ben Willis ‘06 and wife, Austyn, graduated

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce as vice

and her husband, James, is employed with Citi-

from UAMS pharmacy school and live in

president of operations.

zen’s Bank in Van Buren. They reside in Alma.

Benton, AR. He is employed with Walgreens and she is with Saline Memorial hospital as a clinical pharmacist. Spencer Gordy ’07 is currently enrolled in dental school at LSU. He plans to graduate in 2013. Miu Ha ‘07 is president of the Houston CPA Society-Student Auxiliary and is also pursuing a master’s degree in accounting at the University of Houston. Stephen Roach ’07 resides in Little Rock and works for Millennium Payroll Solutions. Jon Anthes ’08 has accepted his first gig as a freelance art director at Publicis Modem in

Alum’s interest in sign language helps others abroad Beau Jones’ undergraduate interest in sign language has led him to become the first Peace Corps Volunteer to ever serve in a deaf secondary school. Jones’ two semester exposure to sign language in 2005 and 2006, along with his background in math, made him the perfect candidate to spearhead the new program.

San Francisco, Calif. He also attends Miami Ad School in San Francisco where he is finishing his advertising portfolio. Caleb Elsinger ’08 is employed with Nabholz Construction Services as an application analyst.

mathematics at the University of Arkansas. “I studied at the U of A for one year, and decided I needed a break,” he explained. “The math faculty said I could continue in the program after my break.” Jones’ break took him to Kilifi, Kenya where

Kristen Fox ’08 is attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a dual-degree student working on a doctorate in political science and a juris doctor from the law school. She received her master’s degree from the university last spring as part of her Ph.D. program.

he is teaching math and chemistry at an all deaf school. “Although I use Kenya Sign

LaBrenda McClinton ‘08 resides in Little Rock

After Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from UCA

Language on a daily basis, Jim Thurman’s

and received her master’s degree in social work

in math in 2006 and a master’s degree in math

sign language classes really helped expedite

from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock

in 2008, he enrolled in the doctoral program in

my learning of KSL,” he said.

in May.




Bonner named UCA Distinguished Alumnus Tom Bonner, a former local TV personality for KARK-TV in Little Rock and senior vice president at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the University of Central Arkansas Distinguished Alumnus Award. In August, the UCA Board of Trustees approved a resolution to recognize Bonner with the award. Bonner, a 1959 graduate, will be formally honored during UCA Homecoming Week, Oct. 24-30. The award recognizes alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to the university, community, state or society, who possess a reputation that enhances the university and serves as an example to students. Bonner was born in Memphis and lived with his parents and two younger brothers in Blackton, Ark. (Monroe County) until he was 17. At that time, he enrolled at Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway, now the University of Central Arkansas, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. In 1961, he joined KARK-TV in Little Rock where he was part of the all-time top rated news and weather teams for more than three decades. This culminated with his service as the station’s executive vice president and station manager. In 1997, he joined Arkansas Children’s Hospital as the director of

public affairs and started successful efforts leading to more national and international recognition of the important and groundbreaking medical services available. He is now senior vice president of administration and continues to be an innovative leader. The hospital is now a regular contributor of stories for the major national network news divisions as well as the Discovery Channel and Tom Bonner ‘59 other well-respected cable channels. Most recently, NBC’s Dateline news program featured Arkansas Children’s Hospital in January 2010 with follow-up coverage on the Today show and TLC Network. Bonner has also offered his talents to UCA in many ways including serving as master of ceremonies at the Reynolds Performance Hall opening, as a member of the James Bridges Scholarship committee and as a member of the College of Fine Arts and Communication Advisory Board.

Alumna lands job as U.S. diplomat Melissa Rhodes ’07 took a leap of faith and ended up with her dream career. After graduating from UCA in 2007 as an Honors College student double-majoring in history and French, she moved abroad to teach English in Spain. Then she worked for Heifer International as an AmeriCorps volunteer. “I was really trying to move forward with my career,” she said. “As much as I loved Arkansas, I couldn’t seem to find any real opportunities to begin a career.” While in high school, her mom suggested she consider becoming a career Foreign Services Officer. “A woman my mom worked with in Fort Smith had just gone through the process. My mom said, ‘Melissa, I feel like this is the perfect job for you! You should look into it.’” Foreign Services Officers are more commonly known as diplomats for the U.S. government. “We work for the Department of State,” Rhodes said. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is technically my boss. Most U.S. Ambassadors are career Foreign Service Officers, meaning they began in the same capacity I did.” Though only about two percent of those who begin the process to become a Foreign Service Officer actually achieve their goal, Rhodes did not let that stop her. “I was 22 and didn’t have anything to lose, so I signed up to take the written exam,” she said. “When I found out I passed, I was ecstatic! But, I had to wait to see if I would be invited to take part in the oral exam.” In the spring of 2009, she traveled to Washington, D.C. with family and spent 10 grueling hours being interviewed and tested along with 12



other applicants. At the end of the day, only she and two others passed. “It’s really quite amazing some of the people testing there that day had served in the military, could speak Arabic fluently, and had 30-plus professional years in the private sector,” she said. Following the oral exam, she went through more tests before beginning her training in the fall. During training, Rhodes had the opportunity to bid on her first assignment. The one that stood out most to her was a domestic assignment in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. “I began work there in October as a program officer covering refugees from Asia,” she said. “It is my responsibility to work to provide humanitarian assistance to this population and to help develop foreign policy. In my day-to-day work, I work with people from the UN and other major international organizations. Also, it gave me the opportunity to travel throughout Asia on behalf of the United States Government advocating for the protection of refugees and seeking new ways to expand assistance to them.” Next summer, Rhodes and her husband will be moving to San Jose, Costa Rica for a two year tour where she will work at the U.S. Embassy as a consular officer for one year and as a political/economic officer for the next year. “While it has been wonderful working in this bureau in Washington, I’m excited to get out into the field … to begin learning language and to begin a new life in who knows where,” she said. Rhodes said people in Washington are often interested to find out how she got there from Arkansas. “I think there is a belief here in Washington that you need a master’s degree from Georgetown to break into this, but it isn’t true. UCA more than prepared me for it. I had professors who truly invested their time in my education and who I still go to for questions and advice. UCA’s liberal arts and world languages programs and the Honors College are truly changing people’s lives and getting an education from UCA is worth the investment!”

How will you plan for your future?


Wills Planning Guide Please call 501-450-3470 or email for your FREE copy.

What happens in the future will impact your loved ones and your estate in countless ways. This is why careful planning is important to ensure that your loved ones are well cared for and your estate is not subjected to unnecessary and burdensome taxes. We would like to help you organize and plan for the future by offering you a FREE Wills Planning Guide. You can’t afford not to plan! Please click or call to receive your FREE Guide today. Buffalo Alumni Hall P. O. Box 4986 2490 Bruce Street Conway, AR 72035 501-450-3470 800-981-4426 FAX 501-450-5293 FALL/WINTER 2010







See page

University of Central Arkansas Institutional Advancement P.O. Box 4986 Conway, Arkansas 72035-4986

21 for more. A graduate shows off her

“Thinkin’ Cap” at the May commencement ceremony.



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UCA Magazine Fall/Winter 2010  

The magazine for the University of Central Arkansas.

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