Entry Category: Education

Arkansas State University Mid-South

aka: Mid-South Community College
Arkansas State University Mid-South (ASU Mid-South), formerly Mid-South Community College (MSCC), is a two-year public institution located in West Memphis (Crittenden County) and serving Crittenden County and the surrounding area. It is part of the Arkansas State University System. ASU Mid-South focuses upon developing the workforce necessary to attract new business and industry to the east Arkansas Delta area. ASU Mid-South offers a variety of programs including an associate of arts degree in general education, an associate of arts in teaching, an associate of applied science in business technology, an associate of applied science in information system technology, and an associate of applied sciences in aviation maintenance technology. In late 1978, at the request of state representative Lloyd McCuiston and state senator …

Arkansas State University System

The Arkansas State University System, which has its headquarters in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is a group of institutions of higher education operating in the state. The system comprises seven separate institutions, many with multiple campuses, including one in Mexico. The system originated with the founding of the First District Agricultural School in Jonesboro (Craighead County) through the passage of Act 100 of 1909, which also authorized district agricultural schools at Magnolia (Columbia County), Monticello (Drew County), and Russellville (Pope County). What would later become Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro opened the next year and educated students from northeastern Arkansas. The school added junior college coursework during World War I to allow students to participate in the Student Army …

Arkansas State University Three Rivers (ASU Three Rivers)

Arkansas State University Three Rivers (ASU Three Rivers) in Malvern (Hot Spring County) is a comprehensive two-year college in south-central Arkansas and is part of the Arkansas State University System. In addition, the college oversees the Ouachita Area Career Center (OACC), post-secondary programs in cosmetology and nursing, the Ouachita Area Adult Education Center (OAAEC), and the Workforce Center. ASU Three Rivers is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The college began as a vocational school. In 1969, the State Board of Education established Ouachita Vocational Technical School (OVTS) to offer occupational and technical training for Clark, Dallas, Grant, Hot Spring, and Saline counties, and the school …

Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe)

aka: ASU–Beebe
Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe) is the oldest two-year institution of higher learning in the state. Located in east-central Arkansas along Highway 67/167 in Beebe (White County), it serves students from the Delta, the Ozark foothills, and the Little Rock (Pulaski County) metropolitan area. ASU–Beebe’s chief mission is to provide recent high school graduates and non-traditional students opportunities to obtain skills and training useful for immediate employment, and to take advanced coursework leading to an associate’s degree or transfer credit to a four-year institution. It was one of the first two-year schools to become a branch within a state university system, the Arkansas State University System. Except for Arkansas State University–Newport (ASU-Newport), ASU–Beebe remains the only two-year institution in Arkansas with …

Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH)

Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH) is a two-year community college serving predominately the residents of Baxter and Marion counties, as well as neighboring counties in Missouri. ASUMH continues the long tradition of education in Mountain Home dating back to the Male and Female Academy of the 1850s. The origins of ASUMH can be traced back to several evening classes offered by North Arkansas Community College (NACC)—now North Arkansas College—at the Mountain Home (Baxter County) high school in 1974. These classes were offered in the wake of the defeat of a five-mill tax for the construction of a community college in Mountain Home in 1973. By 1976, NACC expanded the classes to include an Adult Basic Education program. As enrollment grew, …

Arkansas State University–Newport (ASU–Newport)

Arkansas State University–Newport (ASUN) is a comprehensive, two-year accredited college providing college transfer and career and technical education to students throughout northeast Arkansas. ASUN’s mission is to “provide integrity of programs and services; affordable life-long learning; and enhanced quality of life in the diverse community we serve.” It is part of the Arkansas State University System. Funded by Act 227 of 1973, ASUN was originally named White River Vocational-Technical School and was established to provide technical training and educational opportunities to the residents of Jackson County and surrounding areas. In 1991, the legislature passed Act 1244, converting vocational-technical schools into two-year colleges. White River Vocational-Technical School therefore became White River Technical College. The following year, it became a satellite of …

Arkansas Synodical College

The Arkansas Synodical College, chartered shortly before the Civil War, was one of several abortive attempts by Arkansas Presbyterians to establish an institution of higher learning. At a meeting of the Synod of Arkansas in October 1859, those attending decided to locate the proposed Arkansas Synodical College in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Trustees had already been appointed, and some funds had been raised to support the effort. A committee was named to procure a charter from the state. This charter was granted by the state legislature on December 31, 1860. The college was to be under the care of the Old School Presbyterian Church of the United States and was to be under the direct supervision of the Synod of Arkansas. …

Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA)

The Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA) was an organization that strove for racial equality in education for young African Americans. From 1898 to 1969, it was instrumental in equalizing salaries for black teachers across the state, integrating schools during the desegregation era, and fighting teacher displacement. In 1898, a group of fewer than a dozen teachers in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) created the State Teachers Association of Arkansas, which later became the Arkansas Teachers Association. The teachers—including the association’s first president, Joseph Carter Corbin—wanted to increase the value of black children’s education, ensure better health for the black community, improve school buildings and equipment, and provide better preparation for teachers. No written records are available on the association until the 1928 …

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University is a public, coeducational, regional university located in Russellville (Pope County). The university offers programs at both baccalaureate and graduate levels. The institution that became Arkansas Tech University had its origins in an early twentieth-century program known as the Country Life Movement. Designed to reverse the decline in rural life in America, the movement was part of the larger Progressive movement. The driving force for the establishment of agricultural schools in the state was the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union, a more moderate heir to the Populists and associated agrarian organizations of the late nineteenth century. Spurred on by the Farmers’ Union, the Arkansas legislature in 1909 passed Act 100 to establish a “State Agricultural School” in …

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus

Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus is a two-year college in Ozark (Franklin County) that serves as a satellite location of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County). The institution was established in 1965 as Arkansas Valley Vocational Technical School. Regional vocational and technical schools were established across the state in the 1960s to offer alternative educational programs to those offered by public universities. In 1975, the school became the first in the state to receive state accreditation from the Arkansas State Board of Education/Vocational Education. The name of the institution was changed in 1991 to Arkansas Valley Technical Institute in order to better separate the institute from secondary schools offering similar programs. On July 1, 2003, the institute merged with Arkansas Tech …

Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities

Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities (AICU) represents the state’s eleven accredited private institutions of higher education. The organization operates from offices in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), specializing in governmental and public relations for private higher education. As of 2019, the members of AICU are Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas Colleges of Health Education in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Central Baptist College in Conway (Faulkner County), Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould (Greene County), Harding University in Searcy (White County), Hendrix College in Conway, John Brown University (JBU) in Siloam Springs (Benton County), Lyon College in Batesville (Independence County), Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County), Philander Smith College in Little Rock, the University of the …

Atkinson, James Harris (J. H.)

James Harris (J. H.) Atkinson was an educator, author, and historian who, through his leadership in state and local historical organizations, significantly advanced the preservation and awareness of Arkansas’s history, earning him the nickname “Mr. Arkansas History.” He helped organize and subsequently served as president of both the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) and the Pulaski County Historical Society (PCHS), wrote numerous articles for each of their publications, served as chairman of the Arkansas History Commission (now called the Arkansas State Archives), and co-authored Historic Arkansas, a text for teaching Arkansas history. J. H. Atkinson was born on June 7, 1888, in a farmhouse near the community of College Hill in northern Columbia County, the son of Gracie Ella Finley and …

Atkinson, Richard Bernard

Richard B. Atkinson was the tenth dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County). While serving as an administrator, he continued to teach classes as a member of the law school faculty, consistently being ranked by peers and students as one of the most popular and highly rated professors. In addition, Atkinson was a longtime member of the board of directors of Washington Regional Medical Center and was a founding board member of the Northwest Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute (NARTI), as well as being an active patron of the arts. Richard Bernard Atkinson was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 3, 1946, to Richard Jasper Atkinson, who had a career in the tractor sales business, …

Babbie, Earl Robert

Earl Robert Babbie of Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties) is an acclaimed sociologist best known for his book The Practice of Social Research, which has been reprinted in fifteen editions and is acknowledged to be a standard text in the field of social research. In addition to social research, his other textbooks deal with communications, criminal justice, and social work and, like his social research texts, are reprinted in foreign language editions around the world. He is also known for the Earl Babbie Research Center, which was established in his name at Chapman University in California. In addition, he is recognized for his online project, “Solutions Without Problems,” for which he coined the term “SoluProbs.” Earl Babbie was …

Baby of Arts Degree

After World War II ended, large numbers of veterans were headed to college on the GI Bill, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. The GI Bill provided economic assistance to veterans so they could receive a college education or vocational training. Enrollment at colleges and universities had dropped dramatically during the war, as high school graduates put college education on hold for four or five years so they could serve in World War II. Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC), now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), had an enrollment of 764 students for the 1940–41 school year. But by the 1943–44 school year, enrollment had dropped to 289 students. After the war was over, the student enrollment …

Baerg, William J.

William J. Baerg was a naturalist, entomologist, and teacher who served as head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for thirty-one years. His research on black widow spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, and other arthropods led to descriptions of their behavior, biology, and natural history that had previously been largely ignored by biologists and entomologists. William Baerg was born in Hillsboro, Kansas, to Johann and Magaretha (Hildebrand) Baerg on September 24, 1885. His parents, who had left Russia in 1874, worked as field hands on a Kansas wheat farm. The family later acquired a small piece of land for their own. Baerg was the sixth of seven children. Baerg began school at age seven. At …

Baker, Virgil Lyle

Virgil Lyle Baker was an author, playwright, director, and educator who served as a faculty member and department head in the Department of Speech and Dramatic Art at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He was instrumental in creating the drama program at UA. Virgil Baker was born in Prescott, Iowa, on August 18, 1896, into the farming family of James Baker and Ida Baker. He had a younger brother, Ralph L. Baker, and younger sister, Elsie M. Baker. Baker spent his childhood in various towns in Muskingum County, Ohio. He attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, graduating with a BA in 1922. Baker attended graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he …

Bales, James David

aka: J. D. Bales
From 1944 to 1980, James David Bales was a professor of Bible and theology at Harding University (formerly Harding College) in Searcy (White County). Both in public and in print, Bales earned a national reputation as a fearsome debater of theological issues and political ideologies, becoming especially well known for his anti-communism stance. J. D. Bales was born on November 5, 1915, in Tacoma, Washington, the fifth of eight children. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Albany, Georgia. Bales was eleven when a train struck and killed his parents. Bales went to live with his paternal grandparents in Fitzgerald, Georgia, until 1930 when he enrolled in the Georgia Military Academy (now Woodward Academy) in College Park, Georgia, where …

Banks, James Albert

James Albert Banks is an educator who has been called the “father of multicultural education,” a discipline that seeks to develop awareness and skills in teachers and students for living in a culturally diverse United States and world. Growing up as an African-American youth in the Arkansas Delta during the Jim Crow years, Banks developed a commitment to social justice. Banks became the first black professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle and was also founding director of UW’s Center for Multicultural Education, which was renamed the Banks Center for Educational Justice when Banks retired from UW in 2019. James Banks was born on September 24, 1941, near Marianna (Lee County) to Matthew …

Baptist Health College Little Rock

Baptist Health College Little Rock (BHCLR), a part of Baptist Health Medical Center–Little Rock, focuses on healthcare education as guided by the workforce needs in the central Arkansas region. BHCLR offers a Christian campus environment and a long history of medical training that goes back to the earliest days of the Baptist Health system. Established in 1920 in Little Rock (Pulaski County), what was then the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing was based in the Baptist State Hospital, which itself was founded that year when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention purchased the old Battle Creek Sanatorium for $58,350. In 1921, the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing graduated five students. There were no graduates in 1922, but in 1923 …

Bartell, Fred Wallace

Frederick Wallace Bartell was a Siloam Springs (Benton County) merchant, church leader, and Circuit Chautauqua manager. He organized Associated Chautauquas, which was among the first “tent” or “traveling” Chautauqua circuits. Fred W. Bartell was born in Milford, Kansas, on October 12, 1872, to immigrant parents. His father, Edward Charles Bartell, was from Germany; his mother, Louesa (or Louise), Edward’s second wife, was from France. He was the fourth of their five children. There also were six children from Edward’s first marriage to Catharine Branscom, who died in 1860. Louesa died in 1878. Edward Bartell and other family members migrated to Siloam Springs sometime before May 1892, when Fred Bartell arrived. Bartell said of his arrival, “I came with the flood,” …

Barton, Dorothy Yarnell

Dorothy Yarnell Barton was a dedicated educator who taught at the secondary level and later as a professor at schools in Arkansas and Louisiana. She was also a prolific writer and wrote on subjects such as education theory, family history, and travel. Dorothy Atwood Yarnell was born on May 6, 1900, in Searcy (White County) to local salesman James S. Yarnell and his wife, Margaret Yarnell. She had one sibling, a brother named James who was born in 1903. She was also first cousin once removed to Ray Yarnell (1896–1974), who began the Yarnell Ice Cream Company in 1933. Dorothy Yarnell spent her childhood and young adult life in Searcy and attended Galloway Women’s College, graduating with a BA in …

Bates School House

The Bates School House is located in the unincorporated community of Bates (Scott County). The schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. On May 1, 1915, James and Rosa Haywood donated 5.3 acres to the Bates and Gipson Special School District to build the schoolhouse. The building is estimated to have been constructed between 1916 and 1917 by the Bates community. The school initially provided educational instruction for students from first grade through high school. First- through sixth-grade classes were located on the first floor, while seventh- through twelfth-grade classes were located on the second. In the 1950s, Scott County began consolidating school districts, which in turn led to the closure of the …

Bates, Daisy Lee Gatson

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was a mentor to the Little Rock Nine, the African American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. She and the Little Rock Nine gained national and international recognition for their courage and persistence during the desegregation of Central High when Governor Orval Faubus ordered members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the entry of black students. She and her husband, Lucious Christopher (L. C.) Bates, published the Arkansas State Press, a newspaper dealing primarily with civil rights and other issues in the black community. The identity of Daisy Gatson’s birth parents has not been conclusively established. Before the age of seven, she was taken in as a foster child by …

Beals, Melba Pattillo

Melba Pattillo Beals made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine 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. She later recounted this harrowing year in her book titled Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Desegregate Little Rock’s Central High School. Melba Pattillo was born on December 7, 1941, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Beals grew up surrounded by family members who knew the importance of an education. Her mother, Lois Marie Pattillo, PhD, was one of the first black graduates of the University of …

Beauvoir College

In 1897, John Jefferson Lee Spence established the Drew Normal Institute in the town of Wilmar (Drew County). On May 27, 1903, the school was “chartered with the privilege of conferring degrees” by the Arkansas Board of Education. Subsequently, the college was renamed Beauvoir College, after the Mississippi estate where Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, retired. The college was initially a success, but Spence, founder and the institution’s only president, was forced to close the college in 1907. Despite the brevity of its existence, Beauvoir College signaled a new trend in higher education, as the institution sought to meet the higher-educational needs of southeast Arkansas’s working-class and rural population. Educated at the University of Mississippi, Spence came …

Bell, Clarence Elmo

Clarence Elmo Bell was a prominent public school educator as well as a longtime, influential member of the Arkansas Senate. He announced his retirement just prior to the state’s adoption of constitutionally mandated term limits. Clarence Bell was born on February 1, 1912, in Camden (Ouachita County). The son of Joseph Dudley Bell and Dona Massengale Bell, he grew up in Camden and graduated from Camden High School, where he was a star athlete. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), where he continued to shine athletically. Graduating in 1934, he spent the following year working as assistant coach and Dean of Men at OBU. In 1935, Bell left Ouachita to …

Bennett, Henry Garland

Henry Garland Bennett was an Arkansas-born educator who played a transformative role in the development of the state of Oklahoma’s system of higher education. In addition, in his final years, he was appointed to help direct the U.S. State Department’s Point Four Program. He served from 1950 until his sudden death in a plane crash in December 1951. Henry G. Bennett was born on December 14, 1886, in Nevada County. The son of the Reverend Thomas Jefferson Bennett and Mary Elizabeth Bright Bennett, he had three sisters. The family moved from Arkansas to Texas before Bennett’s first birthday but settled in Arkadelphia (Clark County) before he started school. It was there that he grew up and received his early education. …

Benson, George Stuart

George Stuart Benson was the second president of Harding College (now Harding University) in Searcy (White County), but he is most remembered as a crusader against communism. He founded the National Education Program (NEP) at Harding to advocate for American values and the free enterprise system. George Benson, son of Stuart Felix Benson and Erma Rogers Benson, was born on his parents’ small Oklahoma farm in Dewey County on September 26, 1898. He attended several elementary and secondary schools in the area and then attended classes at Oklahoma A&M until transferring to Harper College in Harper, Kansas. In 1924, Harper College merged with Arkansas Christian College in Morrilton (Conway County) to form Harding College, a private school associated with the …

Bentley, Edwin

Edwin Bentley was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Edwin Bentley was born to George W. and Anne Williams Bentley on July 3, 1824, in New London, Connecticut. Bentley’s early education was in the local schools and under private tutors. He received, for the time, a quite thorough medical training at the New York City Medical College, the Twenty-third Street Medical College, the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and the medical department of the University of the City of New York, from which he received his doctor of medicine degree in 1849. Bentley then established a thriving general practice in Norwich, …