University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander literally put his money where his mouth is Friday morning at the annual Alumni Assembly when he publicly called upon his wife, Veronica, to use her smart phone to make a pledge of $2,400.10 on the first couple’s behalf to the school’s fundraising campaign.
“For the next 10 days, 24 hours per day, we will be accepting donations as part of UAPB’s 24/10 giving campaign,” Alexander said to an H. O. Clemmons Arena crowd that filled the bleachers on both sides of the Golden Lions basketball court. “We have an alumni base that is intensely loyal to their alma mater. They proudly wear their black and gold. While they are wearing that black and gold I know that they will break out a little green to bless dear mother.”
The audience laughed at the chancellor’s obvious reference to UAPB’s Alma Mater.
“I really love that line in the Alma Mater that goes, we cast all we have at thy glorified feet,” Alexander said to more laughter. “I really love that song.”
Alexander said that he was humbled to have been chosen as the ninth chancellor of the university.
“I am grateful, humbled and honored to be part of the pride at UAPB,” Alexander said. “I’m here because I believe in the mission of historically black colleges and universities. I have found that UAPB is a real gem in the University of Arkansas System. As a native of the Deep South I am keenly aware of the history of this institution and am also excited about this university’s potential.”
Alexander presented the alumni with a pair of challenges and asked for their help in achieving them.
“We need all of our alumni to help us achieve the next level of greatness,” Alexander said. “We seek to increase student enrollment to 4,000 within the next two years; from 2,600 now to 4,000 in two years.”
“Can we do it with the help of the alumni?” Alexander asked.
“Yes we can,” came the reply from many of the alumni.
“We also need our alumni to help us raise $2 million in the next two years,” Alexander said. “We need our alumni to help us identify the top students in their areas and encourage them to consider UAPB. We want UAPB to be a destination university.”
Alexander said that once he was told what the Alumni Assembly was all about he became excited.
“I got a little giddy,” Alexander said. “I was told that the assembly is where the alumni give the chancellor money. So I got a little giddy.”
Alexander said he was sincerely grateful to the alumni for all that they do to support the university.
“We depend on you all,” Alexander said. “From the bottom of my heart; thank you.”
UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Association President Calvin Booker responded affirmatively to Alexander’s request for alumni assistance.
“On behalf of the more than 19,000 alumni I want you to know that we are not afraid of that $2 million challenge,” Booker said to Alexander. “We are definitely not afraid of increasing enrollment to 4,000 students.”
Alexander deftly segued from his official remarks and took up his role as master of ceremonies of a rousing spectacle that included the UAPB cheerleaders performing a routine that incorporated elements of M. C. Hammer’s 1988 hit “Let’s Get It Started.”
Accompanied by the Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South, the cheer team ran through an energetic routine that in short order had the majority of the assembled alumni up on their feet and clapping to the beat.
“So, you will be able contribute to the 24/10 Campaign 24 hours a day for the next 10 days,” Alexander said as the cheerleaders left the floor and the audience took their seats. “You can use your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop … Hey, you can use your desktop if you can drag it in here. It is so easy to donate and you can start at $24.10. Remember; from whom much is given much is required.”
Alexander said those who have done well could donate $240.10; those who have done very well could donate $2,400.10 and those who have done very, very well could donate $24,000.10.
“Hey, the clapping has sure gone down,” Alexander said as he mentioned the high-end donation option. “We sure had a lot more clapping at $24.10. We are preparing to provide you with a tally during this assembly of how much we have received so take out your phones and make a donation.”
Alexander used the request to his wife to illustrate the ease with which financial donations can be made to the 2013 giving campaign.
“Do you have your smart phone, honey?” Alexander asked his wife, who was seated across the arena. “Good. Now if you will please go to the 24/10 campaign website and make a donation to the university from us for $2,400.10?”
Within short order four others had pledged to match the chancellor’s gift.
“In the past 45 minutes a total of $11,382 has been raised by the 24/10 campaign including the four checks for $2,400.10 apiece,” Alexander said.
Booker provided a report on notable alumni chapter giving from around the country.
“The Houston Chapter donated $10,573; the Kansas City Metro Chapter donated $10,157; the Atlanta Metro Chapter donated $7,400; the Pulaski County Chapter donated $6,836; the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter donated $2,173; the Dumas Chapter donated $1,500; and the Austin Chapter donated more than $600,” Booker said. “In total so far this year the National Alumni Association has raised $90,000 for UAPB.”