Last year, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff celebrated 25 years of the Chancellor’s Benefit For The Arts, a black-tie event that honors those who contribute to the Pine Bluff and UAPB community.
This year, the tradition continues with the 26th annual Chancellor’s Benefit For The Arts, set for Feb. 16 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The benefit will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a reception and silent art auction featuring original art works by UAPB faculty, students, alumni and other Arkansas artists. Also available will be an assortment of framed art prints by regionally and nationally renowned artists. Dinner is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., with live entertainment, followed by the recognition of this year’s honorees.
The year 2012 represents major milestones in the lives of three individuals who have made significant contributions to the continued success of the UAPB athletic programs, and to the well-being of the university and the Pine Bluff community. This year’s theme, “In the Year of the Lion”, pays tribute to three such individuals. They are Lawrence A. Davis Jr., who announced his retirement in May 2012 after 21 years of service at the helm of the institution; J. Thomas May, chairman and chief executive officer at Simmons First National Corporation and Bank, who recently retired after many years of distinguished service with Simmons; and Monte Coleman, the current head football coach of the UAPB Golden Lion football team.
Davis, a native of Pine Bluff, received his formal education at the Arkansas AM&N Laboratory and Merrill schools. A true believer in education, Davis attended Arkansas AM&N, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and completed his doctorate degree at Iowa State University. Originally a teacher of mathematics and physics, Davis worked across the United States, from the halls of Mississippi Valley State University to the halls of NASA, before returning to his hometown to become a professor at UAPB. In 1991, Davis was named chancellor of the university by B. Alan Sugg, the former president of the U of A System.
Davis made UAPB athletics one of his many platforms during his tenure with the university, and made many strides in the advancement and promotion of the various athletic programs the university operates. During his tenure, the football stadium and adjoining field house were contracted and completed, as well as the baseball complex and the UAPB Soccer Field. He led the university through a period of academic growth and spearheaded the accreditation and reaccreditation of various academic programs throughout the university. He also spearheaded the construction of three new academic buildings in the center of campus, as well as the renovation and construction of on-campus housing.
May graduated from El Dorado High School and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a bachelor of science in business administration degree and an master of business administration degree. He is also a graduate of the National Commercial Lending School and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. An avid supporter of UAPB athletics, May personally assisted in raising the funds for the field house that bares his name. May is often seen in attendance at UAPB events, from the Chancellor’s Benefit for the Arts to football games.
Coleman is now the face of the Golden Lion football team. In 2012, Coleman and his staff reached the ultimate goal and won the SWAC Football Championship in an overtime victory against Jackson State University. This victory was UAPB’s first outright SWAC football win in the history of the school. A native of Pine Bluff, Coleman walked on to play college football for the UCA Bears and cemented his place in UCA history as the first member of the Bear ball club to be drafted to the NFL. After more than two decades and three Super Bowl rings, Coleman joined the football staff of the Golden Lions in 2003. After coaching the linebackers during his first three seasons on the Golden Lions’ staff, Coleman spent the last two years serving as the defensive coordinator. Under his tutelage, the Golden Lions defense has become one of the most feared units in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. In 2007, Coleman became the 19th head football coach in Arkansas-Pine Bluff history and immediately began working to return the Golden Lions football program to the upper echelon of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Individual tickets are $100 and sponsorships from each level are as follows:
• Platinum — $3,000 Reserved seating for 16 (two tables); listing as platinum sponsor and full-page full color ad in the souvenir program; listing as a contributing sponsor in promotional materials; and eight reserved parking passes.
• Gold — $1,750 Reserved seating for eight (one table); listing as a gold sponsor and full-page black and white ad in the souvenir program; listing as a contributing sponsor in promotional materials; and four reserved parking passes.
• Silver — $1,200 Reserved seating for six; listing as a silver sponsor and half-page black and white ad in the souvenir program; listing as a contributing sponsor in promotional materials; and three reserved parking passes.
• Bronze — $600 Reserved seating for two; listing as a bronze sponsor and quarter-page black and white ad in the souvenir program; and one reserved parking pass.
Advertisements congratulating the honorees may be purchased. For additional information regarding tickets, sponsorships, advertisements and reservations, contact the Office of University Relations and Development at 870-575-8701 or the University Museum and Cultural Center 870-575-8234.