Entries - Time Period: Modern Era (1968 - the Present) - Starting with U

UA Little Rock Benton Campus

aka: Benton Learning Center
aka: Benton Center
aka: UALR Benton
The former UA Little Rock Benton Campus was located in Benton (Saline County) at 410 River Street near the Benton Commercial Historic District. It began operations in 1994 as the Benton Center, and in 2016, its name was changed to reflect its status as a full branch of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (once known as UALR, then UA Little Rock). By 2018, the UA Little Rock Benton Campus offered three four-year programs and three two-year programs in addition to several nursing prerequisites. Due in part to a substantial decrease in student enrollment, however, it was closed in June 2020. UA Little Rock held night classes at Benton High School beginning in 1975. In 1991, Benton native and …

Under Siege

The television movie Under Siege was first broadcast over two nights in February 1986. It was filmed in and around Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1985, with the Arkansas State Capitol standing in for the nation’s capitol building in Washington DC. Today, the movie is notable for its prescient storyline of a suicide terrorist attack by Arab nationals against the U.S. mainland, an idea considered improbable at the time. This movie should not be confused with a 1992 Steven Seagal martial-arts movie of the same title. The 136-minute film—which, with commercials, filled two ninety-minute showings on two evenings—was billed as a “Special Event Miniseries” on the NBC network. Under Siege was directed by Roger Young, who also directed the movies …

Underwood, Sheryl

Comedian and actress Sheryl P. Underwood has gained national recognition in comedy, television, politics, and philanthropy. She is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Sheryl Underwood was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) at St. Vincent Infirmary on October 28, 1963, to Cleo Underwood and Joyce Evelyn Underwood. She and her twin sister were premature and placed in an incubator shortly after birth; her twin died soon afterward. Underwood experienced domestic violence between her parents and spoke about it during her first episode as one of the hosts of The Talk, a CBS talk show, in 2011, revealing that she carries her twin’s birth certificate with her. Underwood has two other siblings: her brother Michael and her …

United States v. Burch

The court case of United States v. Burch centered upon Chris Burch’s opposition to Bill Barnes’s expansion of his private resort community, Mountain Harbor Resort, farther into the Ouachita National Forest in western Arkansas. Chris Burch had lived around the forest since 1977 and enjoyed its natural beauty. Bill Barnes’s father had leased lands from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1955, and Barnes was continuing his father’s work: to develop the land to meet the public’s needs as was dictated by the lease. Burch’s family, who owned and operated a small motel and general store, was friendly with—and even referred customers to—Barnes, who frequently returned the favor. Burch, however, was troubled when Barnes requested a new lease over …

University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS)

The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) is a state-supported liberal arts institution of higher education with its main campus located near Interstate 540 in the north-central part of the city. The 164-acre campus is a local landmark highly prized by Fort Smith (Sebastian County) area citizenry for its well-kept beauty. Founded in 1928 by the local school board as an extension of the high school, Fort Smith Junior College (FSJC) had thirty-four students in its first class. Financed in the beginning out of the high school budget, the college was established during a national educational movement toward two-year colleges. In 1937, FSJC students moved out of the high school itself into their own classrooms, which had been built …

University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service

aka: Clinton School
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (UACS, or Clinton School), which is the only school in the United States offering a master’s degree in public service (MPS), has the mission of preparing graduates for careers in nonprofit, governmental, volunteer, or private-sector service work. The school is situated in the historic Choctaw Station of the Rock Island Railroad, which is part of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Additional offices and classrooms are in the Arkansas Studies Institute, located in the River Market District of Little Rock. The Clinton School was established by the board of trustees of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) on January 29, 2004, …

University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB)

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) “is a comprehensive community college committed to providing learning experiences that improve the lives of those we serve.” It is one of the fastest-growing community colleges in Arkansas. UACCB was founded in Batesville (Independence County) in 1975 as Gateway Vocational-Technical School, created to provide hands-on technical training and educational opportunities to the residents of Independence County and the surrounding area. According to state Senator Bill Walmsley, the name “Gateway” was chosen “not only because Batesville is the gateway to the White River Basin, but because this school was to be the gateway to education and a better quality of life for people in this area.” Don Tomlinson was the institution’s first …

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 Press (UA Press)

Established in May 1980, the University of Arkansas Press (UA Press) serves as the publishing house of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for scholars in history, sciences, and creative writing. Over the years, the press has garnered a reputation for publishing the poetry of former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, as well as several books by former president Jimmy Carter. In December 1980, in an effort to provide a venue for scholars to publish their work, the press formally opened its doors at the renovated McIlroy House on the edge of campus; a stylized depiction of this house became the press’s logo. Founded by renowned Arkansas poet Miller Williams, along with noted historian and former UA …

University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center

The University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC), one of five research and extension centers in the University of Arkansas System’s statewide Division of Agriculture, is one of the best known and oldest rice research centers in the world. Arkansas produces almost half the rice grown in the United States, and the center has played a vital role in the success of the Arkansas rice industry. RREC is located nine miles east of Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on Highway 130. Originally called the Rice Branch Station, it was authorized by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1923, and work commenced on it in December 1926. The University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) made an earlier attempt at establishing a …

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. In September 2014, enrollment was 1,003 students. 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 …

USNS Gilliland (T-AKR-298)

The USNS Gilliland is a Gordon-class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ship originally built as a Danish cargo ship before being modified to join the U.S. Military Sealift Command. The vessel is named for Charles Gilliland of Yellville (Marion County), who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for valor during the Korean War. Charles Leon Gilliland joined the U.S. Army on his seventeenth birthday in 1950, just two months before the Korean War began. He was serving with Company I of the Seventh Infantry Regiment when his company position was attacked near Tongmang-ni, Korea, on April 25, 1951. Gilliland held the main attack at bay with his automatic rifle and, though wounded, volunteered to stay behind and cover his fellow soldiers’ …

USNS Sisler (T-AKR 311)

The USNS Sisler is a Watson-class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) launched in 1998 and named for George Kenton Sisler, a graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for valor during the Vietnam War. Dexter, Missouri, native George Kenton Sisler was born in 1937 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1964 shortly after his graduation from what is now Arkansas State University with an education degree. On February 7, 1967, while operating with a Special Forces unit and South Vietnamese troops deep behind enemy lines, Sisler and his comrades were attacked. Sisler carried wounded comrades into a defensive perimeter and fought off repeated enemy attacks before being mortally wounded while …

USNS Watkins (T-AKR-315)

The USNS Watkins is a Watson-class large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ship launched in 2000 and named for Travis E. Watkins, an Arkansas native who received a Medal of Honor for heroic actions during the Korean War. Travis E. Watkins was born in Waldo (Columbia County) on September 5, 1920, but moved to Texas with his mother and brothers after his parents divorced. He joined the U.S. Army in 1939 and earned a Bronze Star at Guadalcanal during World War II. Remaining in the army, he had risen to the rank of master sergeant by the time the Korean War began. On August 31, 1950, he and a group of thirty soldiers were cut off from the rest of their regiment …

USS Arkansas (CGN-41)

The USS Arkansas (CGN-41) was the fourth and last ship in the Virginia class of Nuclear Powered Guided Missile Cruisers. The cruiser was also the fourth ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after the state of Arkansas. The keel of the USS Arkansas was laid on January 17, 1977, at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. It was launched on October 21, 1978, and was commissioned on October 18, 1980, with Captain Dennis S. Read in command. The guided-missile cruiser spent the four months following its commissioning in the vicinity of Hampton Roads, Virginia. In March 1981, it completed contract trials and conducted a public relations call at Port Everglades, Florida. Until …

USS Little Rock (LCS-9)

The USS Little Rock is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship. The second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named for Little Rock (Pulaski County), the ship joined the fleet officially in 2017. The Freedom class is designed to operate close to shore in a multipurpose role. The ships measure 378 feet long and over fifty-seven feet wide. Constructed of aluminum and steel, the ships can reach a top speed of forty-seven knots. The ship is manned by a core crew of forty sailors, joined by an aviation crew and mission-specific crewmembers, keeping the total number under 100. The ship is armed with a fifty-seven-millimeter gun, a surface-to-air missile launcher, four .50 caliber machine guns, and two .30 caliber machine …