Commencement Calls for Strong Finish
In the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to represent UAFS at several meaningful events that I hope will pay dividends for our university.
- Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce Washington D.C. Fly-In: Annually, community leaders, elected officials, and organizational leaders fly to Washington, D.C., and meet with our federal delegation. In our case, we met with Senators Boozman and Cotton and Congressman Womack as well as meeting with a number of other individuals who have been instrumental in securing the F-16 and F-35 Foreign Military Sales project for Fort Smith. During these meetings, I had an opportunity to talk about career readiness and workforce development, and I advocated for funding for equipment desperately need for some of our programs. I spent time with Brigadier General Simon Lee from Singapore who emphasized their excitement about the families who will move to Fort Smith for training.
- Celebration of Inclusion Dinner: It was an honor to speak at the annual Celebration of Inclusion dinner where members of IDEAL Women and Men of Excellence acknowledged the outstanding leadership of their organizations and gave individual awards to members who went “above and beyond” the call of duty to demonstrate the values of inclusion on campus and in our community. I extend my thanks to IDEAL Women President Jasmine Rosa and Men of Excellence President Johnathan Brewer for hosting this amazing event.
- OG&E Scholarship Announcement: Numa, Mr. Randy Kent, and I were delighted to join in the celebration when Emma Smith, a student enrolled at both UAFS (WATC) and Southside High School, won the OG&E Positive Energy Scholarship. This scholarship provides $60,000 for tuition, fees, room, and board over four years. Emma will join UA-Fort Smith full time this fall.
- SelectUSA Summit and Announcement of $1 million gift from ABB: It was my honor to attend the SelectUSA Investment Summit, the top event in the country to encourage foreign investment in companies and organizations in the United States. During the event, ABB President Jesse Henson and I announced a gift of $1 million to the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith to create a Center of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing. I am incredibly humbled by the trust ABB and other manufacturing companies in our area have placed in our university to create high quality educational experiences which prepare our students for careers in the River Valley.
- Foreign Military Sales Project Briefing and Celebration: On Friday, I joined elected officials, military personnel, and community leaders for a briefing on the Foreign Military Sales project which will bring in families from Singapore, Germany, Finland, Poland, etc. to Fort Smith for training on the F-16 and F-35 aircraft.
Throughout this week, I am privileged to join graduates for pinning ceremonies in the College of Health, Education, and Human Sciences. On Friday evening, we will host our Senior Send-Off event for graduates in the Windgate Lobby from 7-9 p.m. This is an opportunity to say congratulations to our students and welcome them into the UAFS Alumni Association. Of course, the best days of the year are commencement days, and May 13 is a day that will be significant for hundreds of Lions. We will host three commencement ceremonies: College of Health, Education, and Human Sciences at 10 a.m., College of Arts and Sciences at 1 p.m., and College of Business and Industry at 4 p.m. I want to extend my thanks to everyone who works so hard to make commencement a special and joyful event. Today, UAFS student athletes pitched in to help with the setup of the Gayle Kaundart Arena in the Stubblefield Center. Thanks, athletes, for continuing to give back and for celebrating your friends who walk across the stage on Saturday.
I appreciate all of you working hard in this home stretch of final exams week, commencement, and posting of final grades. The light at the end of this semester’s tunnel is in sight. Hang in there, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, and do your best.
As always, I remain honored to serve as your chancellor.
- Chancellor's Messages