UAPB announces plans for 26th annual Chancellor’s Benefit

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has finalized plans for its 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 Chancellor’s Benefit offers the university an excellent opportunity to give recognition to some of the many individuals who have worked tirelessly to help make UAPB the institution it is today, as well as provide support to UAPB’s students in the arts,” said Calvin Johnson, interim chancellor.

With the theme, “In The Year of The Lion”, this year’s gala black-tie event will give recognition to three individuals who have played a most significant role in rebuilding the Golden Lion football program, leading to UAPB winning the 2012 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Football Championship. This year’s honorees include:

• Lawrence A. Davis Jr., former UAPB chancellor. Davis, who announced his retirement in 2012 after 21 years at the helm, saw the renovation and expansion of campus facilities; the construction of new buildings including Golden Lion Stadium; the addition of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a doctoral degree in aqua-cultural and fisheries and the accreditation and reaccreditation of various academic programs. Davis reinstated the football program in 1991 after it had been given the “death penalty” two years earlier during a previous administration.

• J. Thomas May, former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Simmons First National Bank. May understood the impact a successful football program would have on the Pine Bluff community. He spearheaded a fund drive for the construction of the Golden Lion Stadium. An avid supporter of the university, May is often seen in attendance at many UAPB functions, including the Chancellor’s Benefit. May recently announced his retirement from Simmons, which was effective Dec. 31, 2012.

• Monte Coleman, UAPB head football coach. Coleman lead the Golden Lion Football team to victory over Jackson State University in the 2012 SWAC Championship game, which was the first outright championship in the history of this university. In 1966, UAPB, formerly AM&N College, shared the title with two other teams.

Individual tickets for the benefit will increase from $75 to $100, according to Henri Linton, chairman of the Chancellor’s Benefit steering committee.

“This represents the first increase in the price of tickets in over 15 years. The cost of presenting a gala black-tie affair like the benefit has continued to increase each year. We are at the point of increasing the cost of the tickets or discontinuing the event. We believe this “town gown” event is too important to the university and community to discontinue it now. We invite everyone out to help us pay tribute to the three individuals listed for their outstanding contributions to the university, community and the state,” Linton said.

Margaret Martin-Hall, director of University Relations and Development, will serve as the university co-chair of the steering committee. Other members of the committees include Al Lowry, Alonzo Pettigrew, Andrea McBeth, Brenda Jones, Brian T. Williams, Carla Martin, Charlene Gaines, Courtney Cegars, Danny Campbell, Darryl Evans, Delois Johnson, Florence Caine, Fran Dalton, Huey Davis, Husny Dahlan, James E. Gaines, Josephine Bell, Julia Lamb, Kittilea “Kitti” Jackson, Lawrence Fikes, Letha Hobbs, Libra Roulac, Magnolia Green, Mary Flowers, Mary Jones, Michael Bates, Monique Benford, Patricia Johnson, Robert Dill, Shirley Jacobs, Stephanie Sims, Thedora Trammell, Tisha Arnold, and Vera Lang Brown.

These corporate/group/individual sponsorship levels are available:

• Platinum ($2,500) – Reserved seating for 16 (two tables), listing as platinum sponsor in the souvenir program, listing as a contributing sponsor in promotional materials and eight reserved parking passes.

• Gold ($1,500) – Reserved seating for eight (one table), listing as a gold sponsor in the souvenir program, listing as a contributing sponsor in promotional materials and four reserved parking passes.

• Silver ($1,000) – Reserved seating for six, listing as a silver sponsor in the souvenir program, listing as a contributing sponsor in promotional materials, and three reserved parking passes.

          • Bronze ($500) – Reserved seating for two, listing as a bronze sponsor 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.

          Proceeds from the benefit have been used to support the University Museum and Cultural Center and various other arts activities, including exhibits, concerts/recitals, scholarships, museum and gallery tours for art students, the Vesper Choir and other musical and theatrical groups.