Dr. Maria Markham, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, will serve as the guest speaker for the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s fall commencement ceremony held at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Stubblefield Center on UAFS campus.
Markham assumed her current position in fall 2016, but she boasts more than a decade of experience in higher education, having worked in nearly every facet of the college environment, from work study student to full-time faculty member to chief academic officer.
In her role as ADHE director, she oversees the carrying out of policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board and to develop funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities. In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $150 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school.
In addition to her work at ADHE, Markham also is a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Arkansas Workforce Cabinet, the Blue Ribbon Commission for Data Analytics, the Arkansas Career Education and Workforce Development Board, the Arkansas 529 board and the Arkansas Economic Development Council Division of Science and Technology Board, as well as serving on several other state boards and task forces.
She is an alumna of Henderson State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business administration before earning a Ph.D. in business with a specialization in organizational leadership from North Central University.
“Dr. Markham is one of the leading champions for higher education in the state and head of an institution that is making strides in refocusing higher education toward the fruitful goals of serving and graduating underserved populations,” said Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor. “She is an honored colleague in Little Rock and brings a unique perspective to our commencement ceremony. I look forward to hearing her share her wisdom with our graduates."
The fall commencement ceremony will honor more than 400 students completing graduation requirements during the second summer and fall semesters.
Dr. Don Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, and Tommy Boyer, member of the U of A Board of Trustees, will also be in attendance.
In addition to Chancellor Beran, UAFS administrators presenting candidates are Dr. Georgia Hale, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs; Dr. Ken Warden, dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology; Dr. Ashok Subramanian, dean of the College of Business; Dr. Carolyn Mosley, dean of the College of Health Sciences; Dr. Paul Hankins, dean of the College of Communication, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences; Dr. Ron Darbeau, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Dr. Norm Dennis, senior associate dean for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville; and Wayne Womack, registrar.
Rick Goins, director of alumni affairs, will also provide a welcome from the Alumni Association. Dr. Larry Faulk, chief marshal and bearer of the mace, will give a call to order and adjournment. Music will be provided by the UAFS Symphonic Band, and music student Kody Goad will serve as vocalist with the band on the National Anthem and the alma mater. Dr. Stephen Husarik, head carillonneur, will provide pre-ceremony music and post-recessional bell peal on the Donald W. Reynolds Bell Tower carillon.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Small class sizes, dedicated faculty and staff, affordable tuition rates, and a diverse on-campus culture allow UAFS students to fully explore their areas of interest in ways that prepare them for post-graduate success academically, professionally, and personally. To find out what makes UAFS just right for you, go to www.uafs.edu.