Santa Claus is coming to town -- and University of Arkansas - Fort Smith faculty, staff and students are already making out their wish lists in anticipation of his arrival on Christmas Eve.
Jennifer Jennings Davis of Van Buren, director of the Western Arkansas Education Renewal Zone, has a selfless wish directed towards those in the community.
“If I could have just one thing from Santa, it would be that every kid in the River Valley has a good book in his or her hands -- one so good they want to jump right into it,” she said.
Shelbie Dyer of Muldrow, Okla., an organizational leadership student, shares Davis’ penchant for helping others but would also like to add a little enjoyment of her own.
“I would want to ride an elephant, preferably in Africa, while doing mission work,” she said.
Coldplay is the favorite band of graphic design student Brooke Cagle of Fort Smith, and she would use her one wish to meet lead singer Chris Martin.
“I really want to meet him,” she said. “Coldplay has been my favorite band since seventh grade, so if Santa could make that happen, that would be the best thing ever.”
Dr. Dennis Siler of Van Buren, associate professor of English and director of the Honors International Studies Program, wants Santa to take students, friends and family to the United Kingdom “for a huge celebration.”
“We would fill the Globe Theatre in London, see a great performance of a play, then have a holiday feast and sing Christmas carols,” he said. “It would be epic.”
Dr. Becky Timmons of Fort Smith, director of academic assessment and accountability, has a pragmatic wish that she said would make the perfect gift.
“If I could have just one thing, it would be a clothing gift card,” she said. “It goes with everything, and it never goes out of style.”
In addition to seeing his team be successful, head men’s basketball coach Josh Newman of Fort Smith hopes for his family’s continued health and safety throughout the year.
“And let’s not forget, I’d also love to win our third Heartland Conference Championship and punch our ticket to the NCAA tournament,” he added.
Dr. Lynn Lisk of Greenwood, program director and assistant professor in the Legal Assistance/Paralegal Program, echoed Newman’s sentiment for family health.
“If I could have just one thing, it would be the ability to ensure the safety, security and liberty of my children throughout their lives,” he said.
Administrative Specialist Kerstie McEntire of Van Buren wishes for family togetherness.
“Health, happiness and togetherness are all I need for Christmas,” she said. “I just want to be with my family and enjoy their company.”
A white grand piano would be the wish of psychology student Megan Redwine of Spiro, Okla., because of its quality and loveliness.
“The sound quality is the best you can get, and it’s a beautiful instrument,” she said.
Sherry Card of Fort Smith, director of campus and community events, would use her wish to change the world.
“I would ask Santa to bestow the gift of compassion to all mankind so we can put an end to animal abuse and neglect,” she said. “As an advocate for animal rights, I try to speak for those who don’t have a voice. If they could speak, I know they would want nothing more than a little love, a full tummy, a warm bed and a present under the tree at Christmas time.”
Dr. Kevin Jones of Fort Smith, assistant professor of English education, also has a world-altering wish.
"If I could have just one thing, it would be peace on Earth and goodwill toward all,” he said.
Dr. Bob Willoughby of Fort Smith, who heads the history department, would choose to meet a future historical figure.
“My wish would be to meet in person the future George VII and his parents,” he said.
Grant Dorsey of Fort Smith, who is a candidate to graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in December, would love nothing more than to be granted his diploma.
“I’ve worked so hard in the last eight years to get it. And in December, I hope to walk across the stage and receive it,” he said. “It would mean the world to me.”
Graphic design student Ashley Barr of Scranton would like Santa to make her life on UAFS campus a little easier.
“I want Santa to give me a better parking spot,” she joked.
Kayla Barr of Scranton, a psychology student who is Ashley’s twin, has four things she hopes Santa will bring her.
“Dear Santa, I would like an iTunes gift card, clothes, jewelry and $50,000,” she said.
And Taylor Fulenwider of Alma, a biology student, has a simple wish that he hopes will better everyone’s holiday season.
“My wish would be for everyone else’s wishes to come true,” he said.