To commemorate the place where they met. To memorialize a dear brother. To encourage current and potential students. To give their name a place to live forever.
These are just a few reasons that alumni have purchased bricks for the UCA Legacy Walk, located in the heart of the campus in front of the student center near Old Main and Ferguson Chapel.
Each 4- by 8-inch brick is stamped with more than a name or graduation year. Pride in an alma mater is pressed into each step on the walk.
The UCA Legacy Walk is a timeless tradition, according to Haley Fowler, assistant director of Alumni Services.
“It represents alumni that have walked on this campus beginning with the first graduating class of 1909,” she said. “It represents our school’s history with four name changes: Normal School, Arkansas State Teachers College, State College of Arkansas and the University of Central Arkansas.”
Fowler said the brick she purchased helps create school pride, spirit and tradition.
“I’d known that the university was going to build something like this and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Darrell Horton, class of 1971, who purchased a brick with his wife, Karen. “I thought it was important for students of all ages to realize that others have come before and have that sense of history.”
The Hortons, who have lived and taught music in Anchorage, Alaska, for the past 20 years, put inspiring quotes along with their names and graduation years. One says “Music is Eternal,” and the other “Music Lives Forever.” The Hortons are retiring at the end of this school year and plan to return to the central Arkansas area.
On their list of things to do is visit the site of their bricks.
“The UCA Legacy Walk is a good way to have your name remembered,” Horton said. “If alumni were music majors or in orchestra or band, it is a really good way to encourage younger students if you put something musical on the brick. We hope to become more involved in concerts and student activities at UCA after we retire.”
Kyle and Kristin Basham now live in Knoxville, Tenn., while Kyle, who recently finished medical school, works on his residency and Kristin teaches. While they have wonderful memories of their time at UCA, Kristin said it means the most to her because it is where they met.
“It was where we began our lives together and we are proud to be alumni,” Kristin said. She and her husband purchased bricks for themselves, with words meaningful to them. It was one of the first times Dr. Kyle Basham, class of ’07, used M.D. after his name, having almost finished medical school when he purchased the brick. Kristin says simply “Class of ‘09” and “Go Bears.”
“We were really excited UCA did this,” said Kristin, who has been encouraging her brother, also an alumnus, to purchase a piece of the Legacy Walk, “because it stays forever.”
Kyle added that they also wished to support the foundation and the alumni association. “No one else will have a brick like yours,” he said. “It is a good way to be a part of history.”
Jay Hefner, class of ’81, first thought of purchasing a brick to honor his brother, Ron, who died from cancer in 1994. Ron was an alumnus, having graduated in 1971, and meant a lot to his family, especially his little brother.
“Originally I had just wanted to get one for him,” Hefner said. “Then I got to thinking about it and we’ve got several people in our family who have graduated from UCA and I thought it was a good idea to celebrate the fact that we had all graduated from UCA.”
The purchase of one brick led to the purchase of five more – for Hefner, his wife, his two daughters and one son-in-law.
Hefner said his brother would have loved to have had a brick in the walk, explaining that Ron was 10 years older, and they shared a love of sports. Hefner now officiates football and his brother umpired softball and baseball. Hefner explained that his brother was an Arkansas and UCA fan, especially when he lived in Texas.
“I would encourage others to purchase bricks. UCA has been very good for my family,” he said. “We’ve gotten a good education there and I’m very pleased with what they are doing now educationally and in the sports program.” He also praised Tom Courtway’s leadership as university president.
Fowler encouraged alumni to add their distinctive bricks to the walk and visit the walk in the future.
“This is a great opportunity for alumni to come back to campus and see how it has grown,” she said.
UCA graduates may still purchase a personalized brick to be placed with other classmates’ bricks around the amphitheater. For more information about the Legacy Walk, visit uca.edu/legacywalk.