As part of homecoming festivities at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, the Alumni Association will make three awards on Feb. 29.
The Alumni Reunion Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 29 in the Reynolds Room in the Smith Pendergraft Campus Center. Those interested in attending the dinner and supporting the award winners may register here.
Annually, the Alumni Advisory Council, working with Alumni Director Rick Goins, identifies two graduates – a senior leader and a more recent graduate – who have shown a heart for service and leadership acumen. Beginning last year, the Alumni Association added a third award: one for someone who supports the university who is not a graduate of the school.
This year, the council determined The Honorary Alumni Award will be made to the late Chancellor Joel Stubblefield. The Young Alumni Award will be presented to Brittany Slamons, graduate of the class of 2009, and the Diligence to Victory Award will go to Judy I. and Larry D. Loux, members of the Fort Smith Junior College class of 1960.
“We are honored to recognize these alumni and friends as a way to show their continued impact on the university and community,” Goins said. “We are proud of the university’s continuity in the community, which they represent.”
Honorary Alumni Award
To honor friends and supporters of the university who are not alumni, the Alumni Advisory Council established the Honorary Alumni Award in 2018. Recipients are individuals who demonstrate their outstanding support of the university through service or monetary gifts showing they are Lions at heart.
Joel Stubblefield was the sixth president and first chancellor of the institution that today is UAFS. He was named president of Westark Community College in 1983, and he oversaw the college’s growth and development through the establishment of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. His vision, persistence, and determination are credited with transforming a community college into a four-year-degree granting member of the University of Arkansas System.
“I think it is fair to say no one more significantly altered the trajectory of the university than Joel Stubblefield,” Goins said. “His connections to business leaders of the day and his successes with the Legislature certainly helped to create today’s university, but more than that, it was his evolving vision that a community college could become a university that brings us to this point in our history.”
Bill Hanna, the CEO and chairman of the board of Hanna Oil and Gas, last year’s winner, will present the Honorary Alumni Award to Marilyn Patterson, Stubblefield’s sister, who will accept it on behalf of the family.