The first day of the 140th Founders’ Celebration at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff featured a look back at school history as well as an afternoon of giving back to the wider community.
The L. A. Davis Sr. Student Union lounge was the venue at noon Wednesday for a vintage fashion show that featured the latest in student apparel between the years 1911 and 1991.
“I think it was a success,” UAPB public information director Tisha Arnold said. “The audience had a lot of fun with the ‘edu-tainment’ format that included students outfitted in the period fashions as well as commentary on what life was like during each decade both in the wider community as well as on campus. It was a hugely collaborative effort with faculty and staff working alongside the students.”
Arnold said that Sissy Jones, Trudy Redus and Phyllis Huddleston furnished the attire and accessories used in the show.
“We want to extend a special thank you to them for their support and to the staff of the UAPB Museum and Historical Center for providing the historical information used during the show,” Arnold said. “I hope the students came away learning something they didn’t know before.”
The organizers of this year’s Founders’ Celebration wanted to hold an event that allowed UAPB faculty, staff, students and alumni an opportunity to volunteer their time for the betterment of the community and determined that the Salvation Army on East 12th Avenue was the place to be.
“We wanted to do something to reach out to the community as part of the Founders’ Celebration activities,” said Carla Martin, UAPB Dean of the School of Business and Management. “I got in touch with Captain David Robinson of the Salvation Army here in Pine Bluff and asked if there was anything we at UAPB could do to help them out. He welcomed the offer and that led to us being here today.”
Martin and about 30 volunteers gathered in the Salvation Army gymnasium Wednesday afternoon to help sort through dozens of boxes of donations provided by SAJ Distributors in Pine Bluff.
“We are just glad to be a part of it and that they called us to see if we had anything available,” Robinson said. “The SAJ donation is made up of all types of food and drink items as well as pretty much all types of everything. We’ve had a couple of groups come to help in the past few weeks to help us and we’re really looking forward to the UAPB group helping us to get this knocked out.”
Margaret Thomas is a UAPB alumna who graduated from the nursing program in 1990.
“I saw that this was happening in the newspaper and wanted to help,” Thomas said. “I try to attend as many Founders’ events as I can. We take so many things for granted like food, clothing and shelter. The people who come here for help don’t have these things and it’s just so gratifying to be able to help.”
Hillary Jones and Monica Arnold are both members of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.
“We just wanted to help out as much as we can,” Jones said.
“As members of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority we try to help people by participating in community service events,” Arnold said. “We want to show that we are committed to helping out in the community.”
UAPB student and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity member Joshua Moore said that the men in his organization also did what they could to aid the community.
“We do this for the community,” Moore said. “We are here to lend a helping hand, to better ourselves and to be a role model to others.”
Brian Williams is a staff member in the UAPB Title III Program Administration department.
“I am on the Founders’ Committee and I am taking part here today because this is most definitely needed,” Williams said. “I am going to speak to the pastor of my church who is the leader of the Young Gentlemen’s Club and tell him that he should bring the boys here to volunteer.”
Nearly the entire north wall of the gymnasium was filled with cardboard boxes that were in turn filled with items including dried pasta, cookies, cereal, sports drinks and antacid tablets among many others. The task of the volunteers was to sort items so that everything was grouped together according to product type.
“They are doing six weeks of work in two and a half hours,” Robinson said of the UAPB volunteers. “We are very grateful for the help.”
The Founders’ Convocation will begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Kenneth L. Johnson Sr. Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex. The convocation speaker will be AM&N alumnus Charlie Nelms, former chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C. Nelms served as chancellor of NCCU from 2007 to 2012.
Nelms is launching a national initiative related to transforming Historically Black Colleges and Universities. President Barack Obama awarded him the MLK Drum Major for Service Award in 2012 for helping to address the most pressing needs of communities and the nation. Nelms was recently named a Senior Scholar with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In this role he is assisting Minority-Serving Institutions with increasing their retention and graduation rates.
A poetry slam will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the L. A. Davis Sr. Student Union Lounge.
A Bell Tower Gathering will be held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friday at the W. E. O’Bryant Bell Tower with historical reflections by retired Honors College Dean Carolyn Blakely.
A Founders’ Concert featuring saxophonist Benjamin “Skip” Pruitt will be held at 7 p.m. Friday in the J. M. Ross Auditorium of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Theater.
Saturday morning will see the National Alumni Association Walk-a-thon depart from Saracen Landing at 8 a.m.
Saturday afternoon the Black and Gold Game will kick off at 1 p.m. at Golden Lion Stadium.
A sunrise service will be held 6:30 a.m. Sunday in the Cross-Phipps Auditorium of Caldwell Hall with an alumni breakfast to be held immediately after in the L.A. Davis Sr. Student Union cafeteria.
For more information, call the UAPB Information Office at 575-8946 or go to www.uapb.edu.