Women’s Giving Circle

In UCA’s formative years, three women were among the first nine faculty members employed by the school. To acknowledge the importance of the role of women in the history of the university, a philanthropic group has been formed to help further efforts benefiting women on this campus.

The UCA Women’s Giving Circle was formed this year as a way of honoring that history as well as providing a framework for the future. The Circle is a group of alumnae, faculty, staff and friends who have pledged to award grants to campus and community programs benefiting women.

The group celebrated its charter members with a brunch in the Little Rock home of UCA trustee Shelia Vaught, co-hosted by Melissa Courtway and Nan Snow. Trustees Kay Hinkle and Elizabeth Farris were also in attendance.

Circle members will have sole responsibility for allocating grant awards, which encourage unique learning and leadership opportunities. These grants will be determined by the members through an online grant selection process. No formal meetings will be held, but awards will be announced at an annual fall event. This not only creates new giving opportunities for women, but also establishes a bond among its members through their mutual philanthropic efforts.

To join as a founding member, women may pledge $500 annually for five
years. Those who join after this inaugural year will contribute an annual $1,000 membership fee. UCA faculty and staff may participate through a $500 annual gift (payroll deduction permitted). A junior membership of $250 annually is available for new graduates 25-35 years of age. All contributions may be set up on a monthly installment basis if desired. Credit card payments are accepted. Men may be a part of the Circle’s mission by giving honor gifts in the names of women or women’s organizations.

To become a founding member, contact Jan Davis, Director of Planned Giving at UCA at (501)-450-3740 or jdavis@uca.edu.

Anthony has helped make a difference during long career

TommyAnthonyOf the many awards Tommie Sue Anthony has brought home, earning the University of Central Arkansas Distinguished Alumna Award has touched her heart the most.

“This is one of the nicest things that’s happened to me,” Anthony said. “This may be the greatest award I’ve ever received because this one came from my university.”

The award from UCA means more because her peers recognized her accomplishments, Anthony said. When Anthony received the call announcing the award, she was stunned.

Friends nominated Anthony, who retired in October as president of the Arkansas Advanced Initiative in Mathematics and Science, Inc., last year. The nonprofit group provides Advanced Placement training and incentives to 44 Arkansas schools this school year.

Last year, Anthony’s organization worked with 38 schools, 253 Advanced Placement teachers, 10,519 students and trained another 780 Pre-Advanced Placement teachers statewide, according to her nomination letter.

Anthony led the initiative that tripled on average the number of students scoring a three or higher on Advanced Placement English, science and mathematics exams over a six year period. The highest score students can earn on the Advanced Placement exams is a five.

As a child, Anthony could see the glow of lights from the UCA football field from her Conway home on Bruce and Mitchell streets. She took organ and piano lessons on campus. She said she “grew up in the shadow of UCA.”

“UCA seemed like an extension of home,” Anthony said.

So, it was no surprise that Anthony attended UCA and earned her bachelor’s of science in English in 1963. She earned her master’s from UCA 10 years later.

The experiences and education Anthony received at UCA gave her the foundation to succeed and kindled a passion for education that remains strong.

She was president of the Arkansas Advanced Initiative in Mathematics and Science, Inc., from 2007 to 2013. Between 1998 and 2007, Anthony served as program coordinator for the Arkansas Advanced Placement Professional Development Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She was director of the Talented and Gifted Programs for the Pulaski County Special School District from 1983 to 1998. She taught English at Jacksonville High School from 1963 to 1983.

Anthony has served on legislative committees and was the subject of the National Association for Gifted Children’s study on effective advocacy. She wrote a Pre-Advanced Placement workshop for school administrators for the College Board that has been used nationwide. She helped write rules and regulations for Arkansas’s gifted programs.

According to her nomination letter, Anthony “had great influence in gifted education and AP programming” in Arkansas.

Arkansans for Gifted & Talented Education gave her three of its highest awards between 1998 and 2008. In 2008, Anthony took home the Martha Ann Jones-Norton Award. She has been a presenter for the organization’s state conference nearly every year. The group advocates for gifted and talented education.

Anthony also worked beside lawmakers, including senators Jodie Mahony, Joyce Elliott and Jim Argue, and helped bring change that put Advanced Placement programming in every Arkansas school district.

She has served as a College Board consultant in 25 states and as an Advanced Placement national trainer. She was picked as one of 100 College Board consultants in the U.S. to work with new consultants as a mentor and evaluator.

Other awards Anthony garnered include top awards from the Southwest Region of the College Board.

Anthony has been successful because her education at UCA was top-notch, she said. The university gave her an educational foundation that is on the same level as Ivy League schools.

When Anthony first began teaching Advanced Placement in Jacksonville and was sent to her first out-of-state professional development workshop, she was nervous. The workshop was at a private girls’ school where oil paintings hung on the walls, students drove expensive cars, and teachers had degrees from prestigious universities.

Then, Anthony heard the presentations and compared what her students were writing and learning with what was presented at the workshop. She realized her own education from UCA was as good as teachers with degrees from top-tier institutions.

“I wouldn’t have had that knowledge and expertise if it hadn’t been for UCA,” Anthony said. “I’m very passionate about the university.”

Anthony also learned values at UCA that helped shape her as an educator, she said.

As a college sophomore, Anthony struggled with a mathematics course and went to talk to her teacher, Virginia Bonds, assistant professor of mathematics. Bonds told Anthony she understood Anthony’s strong suit wasn’t in math.

“Good teachers respect the strengths and weaknesses of their students, and they understand that not everyone will excel in the course they are teaching,” Bonds said.

That meeting was a pivotal moment for Anthony.

“We have to recognize and respect differences,” Anthony said. “It’s OK not to be great at everything.”

At UCA, Anthony learned teaching is a noble profession and is about the giving of yourself. She also learned from a UCA professor to strive for improvement.

After she had already earned her master’s degree, Anthony returned to UCA to take a course from English professor Ralph Behrens. Behrens was a tough teacher who demanded excellence and warned his student against becoming accustomed to mediocrity, Anthony said.

When Behrens gave Anthony a B++ on a paper, she asked him about it.

“Yes, I found one little thing,” Behrens told Anthony. “You know, no matter how good we are, we could always be better.”

He and Anthony laughed, but Anthony also realized a lesson — Arkansans sometimes sell themselves short. Students should shoot for excellence no matter what.

“We cannot accept mediocrity. We can’t say ‘We are poor; we are rural, and we can’t achieve the same as more affluent states.’”

Anthony, who turns 72 just days after the Night of Distinction gala planned for May 10, was inducted into UCA’s Half-Century Club this past October.

“The event was exciting because I saw friends I had not seen in 50 years,” Anthony said .

In the nomination letter, Anthony is described as tenacious. She “enhances the reputation of UCA,” the nomination said.

A day after she retired, Anthony said she plans to stay involved with educational issues, particularly the education of gifted students. Gov. Mike Beebe recently appointed Anthony to a three-year term on the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children.

“Always make a difference — a positive difference,” Anthony said.


Supreme Court Judge “Humbled” To Receive Award

CliffHoofmanArkansas Supreme Court Justice Cliff Hoofman, (‘68) of Enola, believes the University of Central Arkansas laid the foundation on which he has built his astounding career.

“I learned to study; I learned about the world; I really discovered myself at that school,” Hoofman said.

The university recently named Hoofman one of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni, a prestigious honor that recognizes his long and distinguished career in law, the justice system, public service, and politics. Hoofman plans to attend the Night of Distinction gala on May 10 with his wife, Debbie, and family, he said.

The Arkansas native earned his bachelor’s degree from State College of Arkansas in 1968, now UCA. It was Arkansas State Teachers College when he enrolled in 1963.  During his college time, Hoofman stayed active at UCA. He was in the Math Club, president of the Student Senate, a member and President of both Phi Lambda Chi Fraternity and the Inter-fraternity Council.  He was also a member of Royal Rooters.

He said his time at UCA had many moments where he realized how important his education from the school was. One of those moments happened when he first arrived at the college as a student. When he finally registered for the first time, reality set in for Hoofman, who had served in the U.S. Army before becoming a student.

“When I realized, while standing in front of the old, concrete bear at Old Main, I was a student — it was an emotional moment for me,” Hoofman said. “And it was more important than I knew.”

Hoofman went on to graduate with degrees in math and history.  He then earned his law degree from the University of Arkansas in 1972. He practiced law in North Little Rock for more than 30 years. He served as a state representative from 1975 to 1982 and was in the state senate from 1983 to 2002. Hoofman was Arkansas Assistant Attorney General from 2003 to 2006. He served as a state Highway Commissioner from 2007 to 2011. In January 2011 he was appointed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals where he served through the end of 2012.

During his time as a legislator, Hoofman was Joint Budget Committee chairman and chairman of the Legislative Council. He also spent two years as the city attorney for North Little Rock, starting in 1973.

In 2012, Gov. Mike Beebe, who had served in the senate with Hoofman, appointed Hoofman to the Supreme Court. His appointment expires Dec. 31, 2014. Hoofman has served in all three branches of state government.

His awards include the Distinguished Service Award in 1975 from the Arkansas Municipal League. He is a lifetime board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Pulaski County, was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Surface Transportation Research Council in 1993 and served on the Commission for Arkansas’s Future from 1993 to 1996.

While an undergraduate student, Hoofman was selected as “Mr. Courtesy” and was listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Hoofman was inducted into the Searcy Education Foundation Ninth Annual Hall of Honor in 2012. He was also inducted into Maumelle’s “Honorary Navy” for his contributions to the city.

During his 28 years as a lawmaker, Hoofman said he did what he could to support UCA. The university opened doors for him, he said. His education at the school created the foundation for his career and helped him get where he is today, Hoofman said.

UCA President Tom Courtway praised Hoofman as a leader, his service to Arkansas and his support of UCA.

“He has always been a friend of UCA and a faithful and consistent supporter of all endeavors at UCA,” Courtway said. “His life and his work show what higher education means to our state.”

Hoofman is a practical man. He is a cattle farmer, who likes to ride a mule over mountainous terrain because mules are so surefooted. When asked, he struggled to articulate how much the university means to him, but he said he never considered going to another school. It was always “ASTC for me,” he said.

When Courtway called to tell Hoofman he had been named the Distinguished Alumnus, Hoofman was so surprised that he asked Courtway to repeat himself.

“The truth is that I’m very humbled by the award,” Hoofman said. “But at the same time, I couldn’t be more honored.”


Dedication to UCA earns service award for Joe Walthall

JoeWalthallDr. Joe E. Walthall (‘62) fell in love with the school that became the University of Central Arkansas while he was still a high school student. When the Magnolia native moved to Conway with his family in 1956, Walthall, a senior in high school, frequently ventured onto the college campus to watch athletic events and “girl-watch.”

When it was time for Walthall to choose a college, UCA, then known as Arkansas State Teachers College, was the obvious choice, he said. Walthall enrolled with a band scholarship in 1957 and joined the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

“Since that time, UCA has been a big part of my life,” Walthall said. “I think this university is a great place to be.”

Walthall graduated from the college in January 1962, but his love affair with UCA never stopped, even after he left Conway.

Walthall spent two years, from 1962 to 1964, working as a technical Illustrator for Martin Marietta Corp., a California-based company building missile silos in Arkansas. He drew missile parts and had a top-level security clearance.

Also in 1962, he joined the 100th Airborne Division of the U.S. Army Reserves and went to basic training at Ft. Chaffee in Fort Smith.

After the missile project ended, Walthall joined the Arkansas Children’s Colony, now called the Human Development College, as the administrative assistant to the director from 1965 to 1967. He left that job and became the administrative assistant to the director at the Southwest Regional Diagnostic Center in Magnolia from 1967 to 1968.

He went on to further his education and earned a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 1971. While in Oklahoma, he worked as a rehabilitation counselor and helped rehabilitate young American Indians, many of whom suffered from alcohol-related problems.

When a UCA teaching position opened the same year he earned his master’s degree, Walthall jumped at the chance to move back to Conway and to UCA. He joined the university as a special education instructor in the Early Childhood and Special Education Department. Walthall stayed with UCA for 30 years.

While a professor at UCA, Walthall took a sabbatical and picked up his doctorate in special education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1975. He also began writing textbooks.

Walthall co-authored  and published “Habilitation of the Mentally Retarded Individual” with Dr. Harold Love in 1974. Three years later, the authors published another textbook, “A Handbook of Medical, Educational, and Psychological Information for Teachers of Physically Handicapped Children.”

For his service to and support of UCA, Walthall, 74, of Wooster, was awarded this year’s UCA Alumni Service Award. The award, established in 2007, goes to a person or couple who has shown dedication to the UCA Alumni Association. The award will be presented at the fourth annual Night of Distinction awards gala on May 10.

After his retirement in 1999, Walthall continued to focus on improving UCA. He joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2002 to 2008.

Walthall helped build up the Alumni Association by bridging relationships between students and alumni. He served on several alumni association committees, was president of the association board from 2003 to 2005 and helped secure the location and construction for the Crafton Alumni Pavilion.

Under his leadership, the association evolved into an interactive community that reaches out to alumni and students.

“It gives you a lot of positive feelings that the work you are doing is providing help to students and graduates,” Walthall said.

People who know Walthall say his leadership was good for the Alumni Association board. “He was a knowledgeable and steady leader,” said Mickey Prince, of Conway, who served on the association board with Walthall.

“Some people are just a good anchor for the group, and he was a good, strong leader during his term,” Prince said.

He didn’t stop with being a leader in the association. Walthall served UCA on many levels — he was on the Class of 1962 Reunion Committee, was inducted into the Half-Century Club in 2012 and started a scholarship fund that became fully endowed.

The Dr. Joe and Charlene Walthall Scholarship Fund is for students pursuing a degree in early childhood education or special education. Walthall helped incoming students choose UCA over other institutions, he reached out to alumni who lost touch with the school and he created camaraderie among the Alumni Association’s membership to develop a greater focus on improving UCA’s image.

Walthall and his wife, Charlene, who is a UCA alumna, remain active Alumni Association members. The couple, who wed in 1962 and have one son, Brooks, are sponsoring members of the Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA Purple Circle members and “general fans of the university,” Walthall said. They visit the campus once or twice a week.

“I’ve stayed active with the university for so long that it’s become a big part of my life and always will be,” Walthall said.

Walthall is proud of what the association has accomplished and sees more and more alumni who choose to remain connected and loyal to the university. Those connections can make powerful, positive changes that touch the lives of individual students and create a stronger, more educated community, he said.

“If all alumni contribute a little, great things can be accomplished,” Walthall said.

Together Alumni can create opportunities for UCA and students, he said. An endowed scholarship, for example, can make the difference in whether a student goes to college, Walthall said.

“I truly hope that the University of Central Arkansas Alumni Association will continue to instill in students a relationship that doesn’t necessarily end when they graduate, but becomes a continuing part of their lives,” Walthall said.

Longtime donors see benefits in giving back to UCA

John and Liz EllisWhen John and Liz Ellis graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in the spring of 1981, giving back was not something easily accomplished by the young couple.

John had received a BS with a major in physics and a minor in math, while Liz had completed a BSE in social studies with a concentration in history and a minor in health education. They were headed to Knoxville so that John could continue his studies at the University of Tennessee.

But, they began giving and never stopped. The couple has the honor of being among the longest continuous givers in UCA’s records, which indicates they began giving annually to the UCA Fund in 1989 and never stopped.

“Frankly, I was shocked” when told of the fact, John said. “First of all because it had been that many years (it seems like just yesterday we were students at UCA) and second that someone hasn’t been continuously giving longer than us.”

The two met in college at a Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity rush party and dated throughout their college career, getting married two weeks after graduation in 1981.

John currently is the deputy chief of the Flight Test Infrastructure Division of the Missile Defense Agency, while Liz is pursuing her RN certification and is expected to graduate in May of this year.

John and Liz EllisThe couple has three children, Morgaine Ellis Kim, Marshall Ellis and Ross Ellis, and while their children did not attend UCA, several of their relatives did, including John’s mother, brother and sister-in-law and two nephews along with several nieces and nephews on Liz’ side.

Neither said they made a conscious decision to begin giving, but did feel compelled to give back once they were able.

“When I was in grad school at UT, we didn’t have much money and really feel like we couldn’t afford to give anything. I felt bad about that,” John said. “We started giving regularly after graduation and getting a “real” job. What really got us started was a call from a student at UCA during one of UCA’s annual giving drives. The student was very cheerful and seemed really dedicated to the university. We talked for some time and I ended up committing to a small amount, maybe $10, but it didn’t seem so small at the time. Over time we’ve increased the amount, but I always love hearing from the UCA students when they call.”

“I was the recipient of financial aid and felt it was important to pay it forward,” Liz added. “I was the first in my family of 6 children to graduate with a 4 year degree; both of my parents never finished high school & were children of the Great Depression.

“Economic hardship often is the only reason preventing intelligent individuals from receiving an education and I hope contributing to a university scholarship fund can help other Arkansans achieve financial independence through education & career preparation.”

“I strongly believe in the value of a higher education,” John said. “And I want everyone that is capable to have a chance at it. I also believe strongly in the educational value smaller state schools like UCA provide (though UCA isn’t all that small anymore), where faculty are much more free to focus on educating and training students instead of being totally focused on research.

“My experience at larger schools is that faculty are almost completely evaluated on their research success (mainly on bringing research dollars) and almost no emphasis is given to excellence in teaching. I found the complete opposite at UCA, where faculty members seemed very dedicated to teaching, mentoring, and molding students into successful graduates. I must assume this is due to a university philosophy that does but great emphasis on teaching, while still maintaining a health research program.

Greek Village taking shape in campus plan

Greek VillageNearly a century after its first fraternity was founded, the University of Central Arkansas will break ground this spring on the Greek Village.

The first phase will include five new two-story sorority houses on the north side of campus, according to Dean of Students Dr. Gary Roberts.

The Greek Village will be the newest addition to the university’s living/learning communities, which – like the Jefferson D. Farris Jr. Honors Hall for the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College – connect residence life with academic programs, extracurricular activities, and programs for character and leadership development.

Each 10,400-sq.-ft. residence in the Greek Village will house approximately 32 students in 13 double rooms and six single rooms, Roberts said. When the first phase is complete in fall 2015, the new sorority residences should house more than 160 students.

This spring, the Board of Trustees approved a $13.8 million bond issue to finance the project.

Plans for the initial phase also include a portion of a proposed Greek community center that will provide public space for all Greek organizations, as well as four meeting rooms for UCA’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) sororities.

The Greek Village is an idea that has been 10 years in the making, Roberts said. During that time, students and staff visited Arkansas State University, Bowling Green State University, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Toledo, and West Georgia University to study Greek communities on those campuses, and the university hired national Greek consultants to review its needs and options.

The project was initially planned for the south corner of campus, but that site lacked adequate utility infrastructure and building up the flood-prone area wasn’t feasible, Roberts said.

With red brick Colonial Georgian architecture consistent with the rest of campus, the new location will create an attractive gateway to the northeast corner of campus.

“It will literally change the face of this institution,” said Roberts, adding that the Greek Village will complement the university’s proposed Donaghey Corridor mixed-use development project that was announced in November.

The time to build the Greek Village is now, Roberts said.

Existing facilities are outdated and can’t accommodate growth in Greek organizations. Less than a dozen Greek groups have chapter meeting rooms in residence halls, while others lease or own houses near campus. The Greek Village will free up critical space in campus residence halls and provide much-needed modern living and meeting space for students active in more than 20 Greek student organizations at an equitable cost to all groups.

Jordan Frederking, who serves as president of the UCA Panhellenic Council, agrees.

“The biggest impact of building the Greek Village will really be shown through the building of sorority houses. Previously, we have all held our chapter meetings in chapter suites in Carmichael Hall. With the growth of women deciding to go Greek, we are being displaced to anywhere on campus that will fit the growing chapter sizes,” said Frederking, a junior public administration and pre-law student from Bentonville, Ark. “Having sorority houses and new fraternity houses will increase the amount of students wanting to go Greek on our campus.”

The centralized Greek community will further increase inter-organization communication and cooperation, said UCA Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Wendy Holbrook.

“We have a very strong sense of community in terms of interaction and synergy and fierce alumni loyalty. We are UCA Greeks,” said Holbrook.

By designating a physical space for Greek organizations, “communication and relationships will improve,” said Rebekah Fincher, advisor and chapter collegiate director for the Delta Zeta sorority.

The level of interest in the Greek Village and Greek life is “through the roof,” Holbrook said, adding that registration for a new Pan Hellenic Preview Day event this spring for admitted students was filled almost immediately and the university has been contacted by other national Greek organizations that want to come to UCA.

The Greek Village will continue to attract prospective students to UCA and Greek life, Fincher said.


“Serving as a recruitment tool for UCA and the Greek organizations, the Greek Village will provide modern, up-to date-facilities that will help to enhance the University’s image as a major Division 1 institution,” said Fincher.

The Greek Village will be another way for alumni who were active in Greek organizations to stay connected to their alma mater, according to Matt Pace, chapter advisor for the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

“Everyone reserves a place in their heart for their alma mater … [but] Greeks are generally more active in campus activities as undergraduates and that generally translates into more activity after graduation,” he said.

With a physical place on the campus they can be proud to call their own, Pace thinks that Greek alumni are likely to be more eager to stay connected and serve as mentors to current students, offering another benefit for students in the Greek Village.

“Wise undergraduate members will anticipate, welcome, and discern how to capitalize on this new connection,” Pace said.

The inclusion of space for smaller, mostly African-American, NPHC groups also makes the Greek Village unique among Greek developments at other universities, Holbrook said.

“The focus of the UCA Greek Village is diversity,” she said. “Our language is inclusive. When we say Greek life, we mean every organization.”

The second phase of the Greek Village will include construction of fraternity houses for larger groups, as well as chapter meeting rooms for smaller fraternities with the completion of the Greek community center. No timeline for the second phase has been set, but it could begin a year or two after the first phase is completed.

Enhancing Greek life is an investment in the entire university, Roberts said.

“The more we grow our Greek community, it’s going to positively impact enrollment, retention, and graduation rates,” he said.

Greek students have a higher cumulative grade point average than non-Greek students and graduate at twice the rate as non-Greek students. Last year, UCA Greeks participated in more than 13,000 hours of community service and raised $30,000 for charity.

“The bottom line is there would be a huge void in student life at UCA without Greeks.”

Steve Campbell named head coach for Bears

Steve CampbellChristmas came early to the University of Central Arkansas football team when Steve Campbell was hired in December as the new head football coach for the UCA Bears.

Campbell replaces Clint Conque, who resigned this fall after 14 seasons at UCA. Campbell is only the fourth head coach at UCA in the last 24 years.

At UCA, Campbell will lead a program that has won two Southland Conference titles, made two FCS Playoff appearances and had three seasons of at least nine victories since moving to NCAA Division I in 2006.

When introducing Campbell to media and fans for the first time, UCA Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Teague presented him with a No. 4 UCA football jersey to signify the fourth national championship he is expected to win at UCA.

Campbell is no stranger to championship teams.

A Florida native, Campbell played at Southeastern Louisiana and Troy, winning an NCAA Division II national championship as the starting center at Troy in 1987.

He joins UCA after a successful 10-year tenure at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where his players regularly went on to BSC schools and the NFL. He currently has six former players on NFL rosters, and all six earned college degrees. Campbell’s teams at MGCCC won 87 games over 10 seasons, including the NJCAA national championship in 2007.

“Coach Campbell has a proven record as an outstanding coach and outstanding recruiter,” said Teague, who concluded the search for Conque’s replacement in less than a week. “He has three national championships to his credit and he has vast recruiting ties throughout the southeast and the country. He has been highly successful everywhere he has been as a player and as a coach. He’s never had a losing season at any level of coaching, which is pretty remarkable.”

Campbell’s coaching credentials include experience in the Southland Conference (Nicholls State University), the Southeastern Conference (Auburn University, Mississippi State University) and at the NCAA Division II level (Delta State University). He began coaching in 1988-89 as a graduate assistant at Auburn University, where he received a master’s degree and worked under legendary coach Pat Dye, and then went to Delta State as offensive line coach and offensive coordinator from 1990-92. He was offensive coordinator at Nicholls State and then running backs coach and head coach at Southwest (Mississippi) Community College. In 1999, he became head coach for Delta State Statesmen, who went 27-8 during Campbell’s tenure, including a 14-1 national championship season in 2000. Delta State beat UCA 52-21 in Conway that year. Campbell was named the AFCA National Coach of the Year following that championship season.

After Delta State, Campbell was offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Middle Tennessee State and offensive line coach under Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State. In 2004, he took over at MGCCC and led the Bulldogs to seven straight postseason trips and three state junior college championships.

“Being successful is important here,” Campbell said. “I’m very, very excited about being a part of this. UCA is used to winning championships. A lot of places have never won a national championship. UCA has won national championships. That’s important. I want to go somewhere you have a chance to compete not only for conference championships, but for national championships. You can do that at UCA.”

Campbell is off to a great start. The Bears have already signed 26 players from 10 states, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, California, Florida and Tennessee. The group includes six defensive backs, five offensive linemen, five defensive linemen, two receivers, two tight ends, and one quarterback, punter, long snapper, linebacker, and running back.

“The atmosphere, attitude, and excitement at the stadium are unbelievable,” said UCA Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Steve East, adding that several UCA players have already expressed their excitement on social media. “Normally they don’t tweet about 6 a.m. workouts, so I know they’re definitely excited.”

“He’s put together a really good staff, and I think the players are going to love playing for them,” East added.

“Everybody I’ve talked to has said, ‘This is a good guy,’ and that’s going to make the transition a whole lot easier,” East said. “Good relationships between players, fans and other people on campus are critical, and they’re already enjoying working with him.”

“We have the facilities and the city behind us. People support it. It’s hard to bring people to campus and not get them,” East said. “We are one of the most successful new NCAA Division I programs. He can build on it and wants to build on that.”

UCA will open the 2014 season on Aug. 30 against Big 12 member Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.





Courtway highlights successes, encourages partnerships.

Recently, more than 150 students who received scholarships from the University of Central Arkansas Foundation met over 100 donors who helped fund those scholarships. It was energizing to see connections being made between donors and recipients.

UCA has its largest enrollment since 2009 with just over 11,500 students. In fact, it is one of only a few universities statewide to have an increase in enrollment. UCA remains among the top 30 best public institutions in the south according to U.S. News & World Report rankings that were released in September.

The University’s finances are stable. This year the administration provided equity funding to faculty and awarded a cost-of-living increase to faculty and staff. Currently, construction is underway to expand UCA’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center by 43,227 square feet; and, plans for a Greek Village and a renovation of Lewis Science Center are being considered. The University’s administration is also developing a comprehensive plan to make the corridor of Donaghey Avenue attractive for both the campus and community.

Educating the youth of this state and region begins with access to a higher education. Private scholarships are crucial in providing this opportunity to students. It is also important to provide support for faculty so they can be on the cutting-edge of their fields. UCA’s faculty, administration, and staff, give students the best educational opportunities, which enable them to have the greatest impact in the workforce.

UCA needs alumni and friends to be active participants as the University continues to achieve its mission of Academic Vitality, Integrity and Diversity (AVID). I am asking you to support this progressive institution of higher education. UCA’s exceptional legacy is what it is today because people believed in, engaged with and supported the University.

There has never been a better time to support UCA. I invite you to become an active partner in helping the University have a successful second century of providing a quality and affordable education to students. If you are interested, please contact UCA’s advancement team at advancement@uca.edu. We have much to accomplish but, with your participation, UCA will continue to be a successful institution of higher learning.

Tom Courtway

UCA gave local TV newscaster his start

By Scarlet Sims

Aaron NolanAaron Nolan, ’04, caught his big career break as a student at the University of Central Arkansas.

“UCA is where I started my career,” Nolan said.

The 33-year-old newscast anchor for “Arkansas Today” at KARK took time from his hectic schedule to talk about why UCA matters.

“Without UCA, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Nolan said.

Nolan has been in the news business for more than eight years.

The Maumelle native is a well-known news personality in Arkansas. In September, he became a co-anchor for Nexstar Broadcasting’s statewide newscast, making his way back to Central Arkansas after working at KOLZ in Springfield, Mo., in 2012.

He and his wife, Ashley Ketz, an evening anchor for KARK, are moving back to Little Rock, Nolan said.

Previously, he worked four years as a sports anchor and reporter for KARK’s “Razorback Nation.” He also worked for an NBC-affiliated television station in Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas River Valley.

Nolan’s first anchor position was for Channel 6 at UCA. Some stories he thought at the time were just “busy work,” ended up helping him learn skills that propelled him forward in his career, he said. Everything he learned while earning his degree in telecommunications helped, Nolan said.

Nolan continues to push himself to improve. He uses social media to reach new audiences and strives to “evolve” as a reporter, he said.

“It’s pushing yourself,” Nolan said.

That drive and ambition comes partly from Nolan’s UCA experience. He said he wishes he had been more focused and given 100 percent for every UCA assignment. He advised current students to take each assignment seriously.

“It’s all about how you do it, and how you embrace it,” Nolan said. “I wish I would have, for that assignment that seemed like busy work, just soaked it up. You’ve got to dive in. Whatever you are doing at UCA, make it worthwhile.”

The university and Central Arkansas helped Nolan develop his news style, he said. He strives for news that is entertaining and informative.

“I want to give people a reason to watch every single day,” Nolan said.

That outlook — working hard and having fun — is something UCA taught Nolan, he said.

“I think that’s what you take away from UCA is work hard, play hard,” Nolan said.

UCA’s first, official Black Alumni Chapter starts up

By Scarlet Sims

Black Alumni Chapter

University of Central Arkansas alumni smiled as they passed a purple pen among themselves and signed their names to a commemorative poster. The group recently made history — creating the university’s first, official Black Alumni Chapter.

“We are on the cusp of something great,” said Franklin Holbrook, ’86, a charter member.

At least eight founding members and several other alumni gathered Saturday, Sept. 21, at Buffalo Alumni Hall to share toasts, hug each other and consider new ways to reach out to black alumni. Holbrook said black alumni share a connective experience at UCA. He wants to see graduates from the 60s through the 2000s build relationships, find ways to fund student scholarships and strengthen ties to UCA.

The chapter joins seven others under the UCA Alumni Association.

Greg Hunt, ’03, said having the chapter creates new opportunities for students. Chapter members want to connect African Americans with jobs, he said.

Hunt is a charter member and organized the kick-off event. Members said he was instrumental in getting the chapter together.

Holbrook said the chapter aims to foster diversity and long-lasting connections at UCA. The group will create a sense of community, he said. In the past, black students felt disconnected from UCA, but Holbrook wants that to change. The chapter will act as a “bridge” for past, present and future students and alumni, he said.

With three generations of black alumni represented, Hunt said the fledgling chapter could easily reach about 1,000 black alumni for its base.

Starting the black chapter comes at a time when UCA is pushing to increase attention to diversity issues, Hunt and others said. UCA officials are working to implement a university-wide diversity plan. Hunt said his chapter is another piece that fits into UCA’s plans.

“We just thought it was a unique way, and a creative way, to reach out,” Hunt said.

As UCA grows, it’s important to embrace its diversity, said Karen Sullards, ’72/’75, UCA Alumni Association Board president. The kick-off event is a way to celebrate diversity at UCA, she said.

Kimberly Gardner, ‘99/’03, said the black chapter is a way for UCA alumni to give back to the university that helped them succeed.

“The purple and gray runs deep,” Gardner told chapter members. “We appreciate the University of Central Arkansas and want to give back to the next generation. We want you to give back in any way you can.”

Holbrook said he promotes UCA more now than when he was a football player. He sees the chapter as a team, one that will create greatness.

“It’s important that we approach this endeavor as something that’s going to be magnificent, as something that’s going to be wonderful,” Holbrook said. “We want to make UCA proud of what we’ve established.”