Entry Category: Education

University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES)

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES), an arm of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, offers non-traditional education, bringing university research to Arkansans to help improve their lives. The UACES disseminates information on agricultural production, protection of natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, rural community development, and public issues education. With offices in every county, the UACES provides easy access to information that has practical and immediate application. The UACES state headquarters is in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on land that borders the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Three federal legislative acts, passed during the mid- to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created the national Agricultural Extension Service …

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is Arkansas’s premier research hospital. UAMS provides the state with a solid foundation of higher learning and financial support. It has a long history of serving the public by providing the indigent with quality healthcare and is one of the largest employers in Arkansas, providing almost 9,000 jobs, many of them professional. To some extent, the history of UAMS is the history of medicine in Arkansas. The Arkansas State Medical Association, formed in 1870, pressed the legislature to allow the legal dissection of cadavers—a major milestone in medical research and education. After the legislature’s approval in 1873, the state’s first dissection, performed by Drs. Lenow and Vickery, …

University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT)

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) is a fully accredited, comprehensive community college that provides the first two years of a traditional college education transferable to four-year colleges and universities, as well as multiple technical and industrial programs. Programs include bachelor’s and master’s degrees through distance education and numerous community service and continuing education opportunities. UAHT was founded as Red River Vocational-Technical School in Hope (Hempstead County) in 1965. In 1991, as part of a statewide movement to transform Arkansas’s technical schools into community colleges, the vocational-technical school was placed under the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) and renamed Red River Technical College. In 1995, the Arkansas General Assembly approved legislation that provided for the merger of two-year colleges …

University of Arkansas Rich Mountain

aka: Rich Mountain Community College
What became the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain (UA Rich Mountain) in 2017 is a public, two-year comprehensive community college located in Mena (Polk County). Its service area includes Polk, Scott, and Montgomery counties as well as portions of Sevier County and LeFlore County, Oklahoma. The college, known at that time as Rich Mountain Community College, was accredited in 1990 through the North Central Association for Colleges and Universities. The college was funded by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1973 under the auspices of the Arkansas Department of Vocational Education. The first classes began in the fall of 1975. At the time, the campus consisted of a single vocational-technical building. In 1983, the Arkansas legislature approved combining Rich Mountain Vocational-Technical …

University of Arkansas School of Law

Located in Fayetteville (Washington County), the University of Arkansas School of Law is part of the flagship campus at the University of Arkansas (UA). It is part of the University of Arkansas System. The school provides a three-year graduate law degree for students with four years of pre-law coursework. With a 25.9 percent minority enrollment, the school was recently ranked one of the most diverse in the nation by U.S News and World Report. It is also home to the National Agricultural Law Center and offers the nation’s only Master of Law degree in agricultural law. The school offers a student-run free legal clinic, publishes the Arkansas Law Review, and is home to the Young Law Library, the largest collection …

University of Arkansas Senior Walk

The Senior Walk at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) is one of the oldest and most distinctive traditions maintained by the university. The walk, which contains the inscribed names of over 200,000 seniors and graduates, snakes through the campus for several miles and includes the names of famous athletes, architects, poets, heads of state, a Miss America, and some honorary names including Bill and Hillary Clinton. The university claims it to be the only one of its kind in the United States. It is believed that the origin of the walk lies in a request by the Class of 1905 to inscribe the names of class members on a campus sidewalk. Once permission was given, the …

University of Arkansas System

Comprising multiple institutions of higher education and other divisions spread across Arkansas, the University of Arkansas System enrolls more students than any other system in the state. Growing from a single land grant institution into an organization that has a presence in every county in Arkansas, the system included twenty separate institutions and divisions by 2021. The system originated with the establishment of Arkansas Industrial University in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1871. Serving as the state’s land grant institution as well as the only public institution of higher education in Arkansas, the university began its first session in 1872. The following year, Branch Normal School was established in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Founded as part of the university to educate …

University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College

aka: Pulaski Technical College
The University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College (UA-Pulaski Tech) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a comprehensive two-year college offering technical programs, a university-transfer program, and specialized programs for business and industry. The college’s mission is to provide access to high-quality education that promotes student learning, to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential, and to support the economic development of the state. The college’s history dates back to October 1945, when it was established as the Little Rock Vocational School under the supervision of the Little Rock Public Schools. Until January 1976, the school met in a building at the corner of 14th Street and Scott Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In October 1969, administration of the …

University of Central Arkansas (UCA)

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) has been one of Arkansas’s leading institutions of higher education for more than 100 years. Beginning as a normal school (teacher’s training institution) with approximately 100 students in 1908, UCA has become a comprehensive PhD-granting institution with 11,350 students in 2017. UCA was created by the passage of Act 317 of 1907 as Arkansas State Normal School, the only institution of higher learning in the state created for the sole purpose of teacher training. On May 15, 1907, acting governor X. O. Pindall appointed the first board of trustees. Several cities submitted bids for the school, including Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Benton (Saline County), Quitman (Cleburne County), Russellville (Pope County), and Conway (Faulkner County). The …

University of the Ozarks

The University of the Ozarks is a fully accredited, private four-year college that offers baccalaureate degrees in twenty-seven liberal arts and pre-professional programs. Enrollment in the twenty-first century has ranged between 600 and 650 students, primarily from Arkansas, but with significant numbers from Texas, Oklahoma, and Central America. Students participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities and organizations. Men’s and women’s varsity athletic teams, the Eagles, compete in six different sports in the American Southwest Conference of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. Located on a thirty-acre campus in Clarksville (Johnson County) and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the university builds on a longstanding mission of social inclusiveness, academic rigor, and spiritual edification. The origins of the …

Van Buren Schools, Desegregation of

The desegregation of Van Buren (Crawford County) schools produced several national headlines and is one of Arkansas’s most intriguing episodes of compliance with—and defiance against—the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas school desegregation decision. In 1954, the Van Buren School District had 2,634 white students and eighty-seven African-American students. Black students attended a segregated elementary school, and after graduation they were bussed over the Arkansas River to the segregated Lincoln High School of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). After Brown, with assistance from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), nineteen parents sued for the entry of twenty-four black students into Van Buren’s white high school, the first case of its kind …

Vance, Rupert Bayliss

Rupert Bayliss Vance was a sociologist on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), who, along with fellow sociology faculty member Howard Odum, established the field of “regional sociology”—in their case, an extensive study of the South. The two helped provide a progressive counterweight at UNC in the 1930s to the conservative agrarian philosophy centered with the faculty at Vanderbilt University and expressed in their collection of essays I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930). Rupert B. Vance was born on March 15, 1899, in Plumerville (Conway County), the oldest of four children of Walter Vance and Mary Bayliss Vance. Walter Vance owned a general store, though the Vances lived on …

Velvatex College of Beauty Culture

In 1926, M. E. Patterson of Little Rock (Pulaski County) incorporated Velvatex College of Beauty Culture, then known as Velvatex Beauty College, which was the state’s only approved beauty school for people of color. (A history produced by the school, however, lists its beginning operation year as 1929.) The school was founded after Patterson, who had often done hairdressing in her home kitchen, chose to teach others the skills of the trade in a more formal educational setting—and to help men and women become entrepreneurs. Patterson dubbed the school “Velvatex” because she believed African-American hair emulated the feel of velvet. By the height of the Great Depression, many black-owned industries had taken a hit, but beauty salons were plentiful throughout …

W. F. Branch High School

Located in west Newport (Jackson County) on Arrington Avenue, W. F. Branch High School served as the town’s high school for black students until its closure in 1970. After the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision in 1954, some school districts in Arkansas, such as Charleston (Franklin County), Hoxie (Lawrence County), and Fayetteville (Washington County), desegregated successfully. In 1957, the attention of the nation focused on desegregation at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The federal government allowed school districts to utilize the Freedom of Choice plan, which allowed for more gradual integration. In Newport, for example, the all-black Branch High School and the all-white Newport High School operated separately within the same district. In …

Wair, Thelma Jean Mothershed

Thelma Jean Mothershed Wair made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the African-American students involved in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. Mothershed was a junior when she entered Central. Despite the fact that she had a cardiac condition since birth, she had a near perfect record for attendance. Thelma Mothershed was born on November 29, 1940, in Bloomberg, Texas, to Arlevis Leander Mothershed and Hosanna Claire Moore Mothershed. Her father was a psychiatric aide at the Veterans Hospital, and her mother was a homemaker. She has three sisters and two brothers. …

Waldron School Historic District

The Waldron School Historic District is located at the corner of West 5th and Cedar streets in Waldron (Scott County). Within the campus are two contributing buildings: the C. E. Forrester Building (Home Economics Building) and the Vocational Agriculture Building. Both buildings were constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s and maintain a high level of integrity in the twenty-first century. The buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 19, 2019. One of the most significant figures in the development of the Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics buildings was Charlie Edward (C. E.) Forrester. Forrester was born in Parks (Scott County) in 1871. After his mother died, he moved to Waldron …

Warner, Myra Cordelia McAlmont

Myra Cordelia McAlmont Warner was a pioneer and noted educator of Arkansas youth who was integral to the creation and operation of the Arkansas Female College in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Myra McAlmont was born on July 4, 1832, at Hornell, New York, to Daniel McAlmont and Samantha Durham McAlmont. When she was about twenty, she came to Arkansas with her brother, Dr. John J. McAlmont, and his family. They settled first in Benton (Saline County), and she started a small private school. After about two years, her brother moved to Little Rock and opened a drugstore. She returned to New York. While in New York, she attended Albert University and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She married Truman …

Washburn, Cephas

Cephas Washburn was a Presbyterian missionary who helped found Dwight Mission to serve the Cherokee. Washburn, who struggled along with his colleagues to bring Christianity to Native Americans on the territorial Arkansas frontier, served as an educator and minister for four decades. Cephas Washburn was born on July 25, 1793, in Randolph, Vermont, to Josiah Washburn and Phebe Cushman Washburn, who were farmers. Washburn turned from farming to education when he feared he might be disabled permanently from a broken leg. While teaching in Groton, Massachusetts, in the winter of 1814–1815 to raise money for further education, he became a Congregationalist and soon decided he wanted to be a missionary to the Indians. After graduating from Vermont University in 1817, …

Watkins, Claibourne

Claibourne Watkins was one of three native Arkansan founders of the Medical Department of the Arkansas Industrial University, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Watkins was born on March 3, 1844, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the second son of George Claibourne Watkins and Mary Crease Watkins. His father was state attorney general and chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. He had two brothers: Colonel Anderson Watkins, who was killed at Atlanta during the Civil War, and Captain Walton Watkins. Watkins was educated in a number of institutions, both private and public. The Civil War broke out just prior to his completing his undergraduate degree at St. Timothy’s Hall in Cantonsville, Maryland. A Southerner by birth and …

Watson, Edomae Boone

Edomae Boone Watson was a prominent African-American civic and education leader in Jonesboro (Craighead County). In addition to being an educator in Jonesboro’s segregated and then integrated school system, she also played a pivotal role in developing the Head Start program in Jonesboro. She served in state and national organizations to secure funding to provide early-childhood education opportunities for low-income children in Jonesboro. Edomae Boone was born on April 2, 1907, near Augusta (Woodruff County). She obtained a high school diploma from Shorter College, then in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of the few places in Arkansas that provided diplomas to black students. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal School in Pine …

Watson, Hattie Rutherford

aka: Harriet Louise Gertrude Rutherford Watson
Harriet Louise Gertrude (Hattie) Rutherford Watson was an educator, librarian, and prominent member of the social and education communities in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). She and her husband, John Brown Watson, were activists for the African-American community during the early twentieth century. Hattie Rutherford was born November 23, 1885, in Rome, Georgia, as part of the black elite in the post-bellum era. She was the elder daughter of Samuel W. and Mary Anne Lemon Rutherford. Her father founded the National Benefit Life Insurance Company in 1898. Rutherford acquired an elementary education in the public schools of Atlanta and a high school diploma at Spelman Seminary. She completed her college work at Spelman College and was the only graduate from that …

Watson, John Brown

John Brown Watson was president of Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College (AM&N), now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), from 1928 until his death in 1942. Watson was a member of the first generation of black Americans born after the Civil War and representative of that demographic among his cohorts, identified as what Professor Willard B. Gatewood Jr. called “aristocrats of color.” Watson was born near Tyler, Texas, on December 28, 1869, to Crystal and Frank Watson; he was named for the antebellum abolitionist John Brown. Educated near his home, Watson passed the county teacher examination in 1887 and taught  for two years. He entered Bishop College at Marshall, Texas, in 1891 at the seventh grade level and …

Wells, Ira James Kohath

A pioneer in education and journalism, Ira James Kohath Wells was a gifted scholar, businessman, and humanitarian with humble rural beginnings. Ira J. K. Wells was born in Tamo (Jefferson County) on July 1, 1898, to William James Wells and Emma Brown Wells. When he was young, half of his leg was amputated after he injured it trying to hop on to a moving freight train. For the rest of his life, he had a wooden prosthetic leg. He finished his secondary education at Branch Normal College in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)—now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)—and then went on to earn a degree in business from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1923. Even as a student, …

West, Dan Carlos

Dr. Dan Carlos West served as president of Arkansas College, now Lyon College, from 1972 to 1988. As stated in Brooks Blevins’s history of the college, the physical and curricular changes, along with West’s administrative style, made his presidency “the most turbulent, the most exciting, the most confusing, [and] the most successful” time in the school’s history up to that point. Dan C. West was born on May 29, 1939, in Galveston, Texas, one of four children of Embry Carlos West and Mildred Louise Junker West. The family later moved to Dallas, Texas, where West attended Woodrow Wilson High School, graduating in 1957. He attended the University of Texas for a year and then went on to the U.S. Naval …

Westside School Shooting

In the early afternoon of March 24, 1998, two students from Westside Middle School, located approximately two miles west of Jonesboro (Craighead County), conducted an armed ambush on teachers and students, which resulted in five dead and ten others injured. The shooters, Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson, were arrested and prosecuted for the crime. The incident was one of two school shootings in Arkansas and one of several school shootings across the nation that adjusted school administrators’ and law enforcement officers’ concepts on school security and response plans to violent incidents at schools. The students and teachers had returned from spring break the day before the shooting. Fifth period was just starting at 12:35 p.m. when a fire alarm caused …

White, Delores Brumfield

Delores Brumfield (Dee) White began playing in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) as a young teenager in the post–World War II years, helping take the Fort Wayne Daisies to two league championships. She later taught physical education and was a coach at Henderson State University (HSU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Dee Brumfield was born on May 26, 1932, in Prichard, Alabama, to Earl Henry Brumfield and Miriam McKay Turner Brumfield. She had a younger brother and sister. Her father was an auto mechanic. Her mother was a homemaker until World War II, when she started as an office worker, eventually becoming an office manager for an insurance firm. Brumfield was an athletic girl who played in sandlot games …

Williams Baptist University

Williams Baptist University is a comprehensive liberal arts institution owned and operated by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Founded in Pocahontas (Randolph County) in 1941, the college was moved to Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) in 1946. The university is one of two institutions of higher education affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the other institution being Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). The impetus for the establishment of the university was first provided by Dr. Henry E. Watters, former president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, who had hoped to revive Jonesboro Baptist College, an institution that had failed during the early years of the Great Depression. During the mid-1930s, Watters attempted to enlist support for the …

Williams, Hubert Ethridge (H. E.)

Hubert Etheridge Williams was a twentieth-century religious, educational, and civic leader. He founded what is now Williams Baptist University and made an unsuccessful race for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1960. In 1941, he became the youngest college president in the nation. Hubert Etheridge (H. E.) Williams was born on April 8, 1913, in Casa (Perry County) to Robert L. Williams and Anna Emma Williams. Robert Williams, who was a Baptist deacon, had progressive leanings, which he instilled in his son. Williams graduated from Casa High School and enrolled at Arkansas Polytechnic College—which later became Arkansas Tech University—in Russellville (Pope County). He also attended Ouachita Baptist College—which later became Ouachita Baptist University—in Arkadelphia (Clark County), and the George Peabody …

Williams, John Gilbert

A champion of the modern approach to architectural design, John Gilbert Williams was an architect, landscape architect, and the founding faculty member of the Department of Architecture at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). John G. Williams was born on April 30, 1915, in Van Buren (Crawford County) to Vera Jane Wallace Williams and Charles Bunyan Williams; he had one older brother. He studied engineering at Arkansas Polytechnic College (now Arkansas Tech University) in Russellville (Pope County) before pursuing his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Oklahoma State University). After graduating in 1940, he returned to Russellville to teach drawing and math at Arkansas Polytechnic College for two years. While in Russellville, he …