I am always excited to introduce a new issue of UCA Magazine, but this one is special as it helps to introduce the public phase of our comprehensive capital campaign — UCA Now: Impact Arkansas and Beyond.
The launch of the public phase of this campaign is the culmination of four years of meeting, research, and planning to ready this campus, and our community, for the largest capital campaign in university history. The UCA Now narrative and call to action was years in the making, and we wanted to share some of those back stories in UCA Magazine.
Our first feature is a recap of the launch of the campaign on April 8, 2021. The goal of this campaign is ambitious — $100 million. It raises the bar for our university and places us in special company relative to peer institutions’ campaign goals. And it also declares that our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the work of this great university belongs in select company in American public higher education. In addition to the campaign announcement, we also showcase in this issue our annual fundraising event, Laurels and Stripes, which was held on April 9, 2021. For both events, you will see images of students, faculty, staff, and friends all together safely celebrating these momentous occasions.
As you read this issue, you will notice that each story illuminates the four campaign pillars — success, culture, wellness, and excellence. One of those stories highlights the life of Ludie McIntosh ’60 who, although residing in California, made sure to maintain her connection to the university through her giving and engagement. In these pages, you will also learn of another alumna living in California who is head of design at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Jessica Harden ’03. Her story is a true testament to the quality of an art education, particularly at UCA. What’s more, Harden’s photo shoot was styled and photographed by Los Angeles-based alumni Marko Monroe ’12 and Grant Vanderbilt ’11.
Undaunted by COVID-19, the School of Nursing has been an outstanding community partner during this pandemic. From donating personal protection equipment to volunteering at vaccination clinics at Conway Regional Health System and Baptist Health-Conway, faculty, staff, and students developed countless new opportunities to demonstrate success through experiential learning. And when it comes to our nursing alumni, one started his own social media campaign to encourage African Americans to take a COVID-19 vaccine. You can read Michael Murry’s ’99 story of why he began the campaign and its success, as well as his continued commitment to UCA.
This is a small preview of the incredible stories in this special edition of UCA Magazine. We hope that you enjoy reading and learning about how you can be a part of UCA Now: Arkansas and Beyond.
Dr. Houston D. Davis