Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content
Students | UAFS MailbagNovember 17, 2023

UAFS Mailbag: What We're Thankful For

Written By: Ian Silvester

Welcome back to this special holiday edition of the UAFS Mailbag! This time of year is filled with holiday cheer and plans to visit with family and friends. Personally, I’m looking forward to spending time in Texas with my family and eating way more than I should.

However, the holidays are also a time for reflection. Whether looking at your year in review, planning goals for 2024, or acknowledging what you’re thankful for, it’s the season for it all.

Our office thought it would be a great time to share what we’re thankful for, and I even tracked down some students who wanted to share what they’re grateful for.

Without further ado, let’s get into what our Lion Pride is thankful for:

Starting with the leader of our pride, Dr. Riley, said she is “thankful for my career journey that brought me to the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. Each day, I make time to think about how much I appreciate the incredible faculty and staff of the university who make this the best place to work and learn and to remember the outstanding students who chose to make this place part of their educational pathway. I never take this place for granted, and I feel thankful for all the UAFS Lions.”

Kolby McGee, a sophomore studying history with teacher licensure, is thankful for “the opportunities to further my education and for those who have helped me overcome challenges.”

Senior business administration major Chloe Ezell said she is “thankful for UAFS being a place that has been so much fun to be at that it is difficult to leave.”

Sophomore media production and writing student Jacob Childers is thankful for “people taking a chance on me and allowing me to do my thing.”

Senior nursing student Caley Robles is thankful for her “family, friends, and nursing school.”

Junior communications major Johnathan Brewer said he “couldn’t be more thankful for my close circle of people this Thanksgiving and remembering all who have helped me become a better version of myself.”

Junior biology student Jasmine Rosa said she is “beyond thankful for all my relationships. All the people I love have made my year remarkable; that is something to celebrate this Thanksgiving.”

Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and Executive Director for the UAFS Foundation Blake Rickman said, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to raise my boys with my best friend, in my hometown, with grandparents and cousins that get to be regular parts of their lives. I also feel blessed to do this fulfilling and important work for a place that improves our community in many ways.”

Communications Director Rachel Putman said she is thankful for “the chance to continue a career I love so much at UAFS and all the opportunities this amazing place has provided me. Working with my amazing professional staff and student team is so fulfilling, and I am so grateful for every one of them. This time of year, I’m also so thankful to have such an incredible family – My husband Cory, my children Sara and Kyler, the very best brothers- and sisters-in-law in the world, Tristan and Stacey, Matt and Sara and Adam and Nina, and our multitude of nieces and nephews. Being a Putman is the coolest, and I love it when our whole giant family can be together and share good food and tons of laughs, especially now that my mom has moved to the River Valley and can join in on the excitement!”

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Marketing Chris Kelly shared that he is grateful for every day, no matter what it brings. He continued, “I am thankful for the ability to laugh and cry with family, share work and smiles with colleagues, and enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty – especially here in the Natural State. Living and working in such a special place alongside such accomplished Lions is a joy for which I will forever be grateful.”

Finally, I’d like to share with you what I’m thankful for: I’m thankful for my wife Shelby and our baby boy Teddy – my life is a blessing with them. I am also grateful for the opportunity to work at a place dedicated to its employees and students. But most of all, I’m thankful for you, the reader, for allowing me to bring you the stories of UAFS every week and for indulging in writing the UAFS Mailbag.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and time off before finals. Enjoy your time with family and friends, or just simply have a little break.

Until next time,


  • Tags:
  • UAFS Mailbag
  • Holidays
  • Thankful

Media Relations

The UAFS Office of Communications fields all media inquiries for the university. Email for more information.

Send an Email

Stay Up-to-Date

Sign up to receive news and updates.


Rachel Rodemann Putman

  • Director of Strategic Communications
  • 479-788-7132
Submit A News Tip