Funds are presented by El Dorado Jaycees President Ken Bridges, third from left, to South Arkansas Community College Foundation Board President Clara Jones recently for the El Dorado Jaycees Endowed Scholarship. With the two are, from left, Joe McFadden and Lindsey Perry of the Jaycees, and SouthArk president Dr. Barbara Jones. The $250 scholarship is awarded annually to a SouthArk student.

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Jane James, center, is a new director on the South Arkansas Community College Foundation Board. With James are, from left, Foundation Treasurer Pete Parks, Foundation executive director Cynthia Reyna, Foundation President Clara Jones and college president Barbara Jones.



HOT SPRINGS—South Arkansas Community College 2009 Academic All-Star Marla Benson of Norphlet, along with the All-Stars from the 21 other two-year colleges in Arkansas, recently learned that she will receive a full scholarship to the four-year university of her choice, which will enable her to complete an undergraduate degree.
The announcement came during an awards brunch, part of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges annual conference here, and was made by AATYC executive director Dr. Ed Franklin. Representatives of all the state universities were also on hand to begin the recruiting process.
Arkansas Speaker of the House Robbie Wills was the keynote speaker for the brunch.
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PHOTO: SouthArk Academic All-Star Marla Benson of Norphlet, right, accepts the award from Arkansas Speaker of the House Robbie Wills.

Student accepts scholarship

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South Arkansas Community College student Tanya Rice, left, recently accepted the Charles E. Cowger Endowed Scholarship. She stands with Betty Cowger.

The Alpha Xi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International will sell raffle tickets for an original watercolor painting donated by local artist Gail Peppers during the month of September.

The painting will be exhibited at the Alpha Xi booth at the South Arkansas Community College Outdoor Expo on Sept. 12, where tickets may be purchased for $5. All of the proceeds from the raffle will benefit the SouthArk Foundation Alpha Xi Endowed Scholarship.
The 36-inch-by-36-inch framed watercolor piece was custom-framed at Hampton Frame and Art in Hampton.

Peppers is a respected local watercolor artist who said that she “likes to paint the things I see around me with photographic clarity.” Some of her past works include paintings in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission calendar, and poster artist for the World Championship Duck Calling Contest as well as private collections.

Peppers said “Working on the ‘Sunflowers’ painting gave me great pleasure in knowing it is a way to help our community and ESA.”
Epsilon Sigma Alpha is a leadership service organization with approximately 10,000 members and 1,200 chapters in the United States and abroad. It offers its members leadership training, education and fellowship to assist and enhance their local and national philanthropic work.
“Our chapter members like to have fun in raising money for the various charities we support. Some of the projects we raise money for are St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, El Dorado Boys and Girls Club, UCAPS, Turning Point Violence Intervention, Life Touch Hospice, Salvation Army, Hope Landing, Easter Seals, Hannah Medical Center, Habitat for Humanity and many others,” Alpha Xi member Ann Southall said.” “Our endowed scholarship for SouthArk students is one of our philanthropic projects and we are proud that we can support students who want to get their education close to home.”
The $5 raffle tickets  may be purchased during the month of September from any Alpha Xi member, at Cook's Jewelry or Anthony Forest, or at the Alpha Xi booth at Outdoor Expo. The drawing will be on Sept. 30.

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For more information, contact Ann Southall at (870) 814.9024 or asouthall@southark.edu.

DuPont El Dorado Plant manager Don Kuhlmann, center, presents a check for $2,500 to SouthArk Foundation executive director Cynthia Reyna, left, and South Arkansas Community College president Dr. Barbara Jones on Monday from the DuPont Community Fund. The grant will be used to help fund the SouthArk Outdoor Expo on Sept. 12. The Foundation, which provides scholarships for SouthArk students, hosts the Expo.

South Arkansas Community College student Tanya Rice, left, recently accepted the Charles E. Cowger Endowed Scholarship. She stands with Betty Cowger.

Jeanie Baker, a registered nursing major at South Arkansas Community College, has accepted the Employee Club Scholarship to attend SouthArk this fall.

Baker is the daughter of Bertha Mitchell and Ira Baker Jr. and is a 2006 graduate of El Dorado High School.

Georgeanna Jeanette Dickens, a 1972 graduate of El Dorado High School, has accepted the James M. Moore Jr. Endowed Scholarship to attend South Arkansas Community College. Dickens, of El Dorado, is an education major at SouthArk.

Noah Eugene Moses III, a radiologic technology major at South Arkansas Community College, has accepted the Employee Club Scholarship to attend SouthArk this fall.

Moses is the daughter of Melanie and Noah Moses of El Dorado.

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Former SouthArk administrator Dr. Kermit Parks presents the inaugural G. Thomas Baumgardner Award

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The G. Thomas Baumgardner Students’ Choice Award was awarded to Donna Hendricks, business and computer instructor.

Established in honor of former SouthArk Board Trustee G. Thomas Baumgardner, this award will be given annually to a faculty member teaching at least three semester hours during the academic year. The award is determined by students’ votes.  The winner will receive award money to be used for faculty development activities such as purchase of material to enhance classroom teaching and attending conferences or seminars.

Mr. Baumgardner, a long-time resident of El Dorado, retired from Con-Agra Foods in 1992.  Active in community affairs, he has served on numerous boards, including the South Arkansas Regional Health Center, Campfire Girls, South Arkansas Arts Center, Union County Community Foundation, El Dorado Airport Commission, El Dorado Civil Service Commission, YWCA and the El Dorado Little Theater.  In addition to serving as a SouthArk Trustee, Mr. Baumgardner taught classes at the college from 1981 to 1995.

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Dr. Val Cantu, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Student Services, congratulates Charlie Hazelwood, who was named the South Arkansas Community College Alumnus of the Year during a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees.

February 11, 2009

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News-Times/Larry Singer Check presentation Chris Hegi, from left, Steve Cameron, chief executive officer of First Financial Bank, Dr. Steve Smart, John Milam, Bob Merkle, Dr. Mickey Murfee, Knox White, Gary Sewell, Margy Niel and Dr. Alan Rasco take part in the presentation of a donation of $100,000 from First Financial to South Arkansas Community College to help fund the construction of the new Health and Natural Sciences building. The presentation was made Tuesday morning at SouthArk.

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Simmons First of El Dorado recently made a very generous donation to The South Arkansas Community College Foundation, Inc., according to Cynthia Reyna, Executive Director of the Foundation.  The $50,000 gift was bestowed for the purpose of supporting and expanding learning opportunities of SouthArk students.

John Dews, Chairman and CEO of Simmons First Bank, said “Simmons First is committed to education and the difference it can make in the future of our community and its citizens.  We are proud of our partnership with SouthArk and its commitment to bringing affordable and convenient educational opportunities to our community.  This gift moves Simmons First’s investment in SouthArk over the $100,000 level and reconfirms our commitment to the college and its leadership.” 

 “SouthArk Trustees and Foundation Directors acknowledge Simmons First Bank‘s generous support of education in South Arkansas over many years.  In addition to providing a fully endowed scholarship for students, Simmons First has sponsored numerous student fine arts exhibits and concerts, including the Madrigal Feaste and Outdoor Expo, and they have fully equipped a classroom with a computerized teaching piano lab” said Dr. Alan Rasco, South Arkansas Community College President.  “We are proud to have Simmons First as a collaborative partner in providing educational support and other valuable learning opportunities to the citizens of South Arkansas.” 

Seated (l to r) John Dews, Chairman and CEO Simmons First, Dr. Alan, South Arkansas Community College President,

Standing (l to r) Scott Fife, President Simmons First, Clara Jones, SouthArk Foundation board president and Charles Thomas, SouthArk Foundation board member.

lottery2Tiffanie Perry of Camden, a non-traditional student at South Arkansas Community College, was among the first-day buyers of tickets in the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery on Monday.

Perry bought two tickets at Missile Mart at the corner of West Avenue and 10th Street here, one of them for herself and one on behalf of SouthArk president Dr. Barbara Jones. The convenience store is one of many outlets that sell the tickets.

Proceeds from the state lottery go to support scholarships to Arkansas students in state colleges and universities.

Perry’s ticket broke even; she spent $5 and won $5 back, which she cashed immediately. Jones’ ticket did not win money back…at least not directly, she said.
“Each ticket sold in the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery supports higher-education objectives for students across our state...some of whom are right here in our area,” South Arkansas Community College president Dr. Jones said on Monday. “And truly, all of Arkansas’ citizens benefit when the shared goal is to improve education.”
Non-traditional students like Perry, as well as traditional students, stand to gain from the scholarship lottery.

PHOTO: SouthArk student Tiffanie Perry scratches off spaces on a lottery ticked for SouthArk president Dr. Barbara Jones on Monday


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South Arkansas Community College is a public, two-year institution with an open-door policy, providing educational programs, services, and resources for the residents of Union County and the surrounding area. With a philosophy that affirms the value of education, the importance of academic freedom for students and faculty, the worth and dignity of each individual, and an abiding belief in the ideals of a democratic society, the college encourages innovation, excellence, and leadership in its mission as a comprehensive community college.  

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April 17

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The SouthArk Singers perform the Mendelssohn oratorio “Elijah” at First Presbyterian Church.

March 19, 2009

Two long-time South Arkansas Community College leaders were honored by the college foundation on Thursday (March 19) with portraits by painter and SouthArk art instructor Dinah Van Hook.
Dr. Carolyn Langston, a faculty member who was the first employee hired at the college when it opened its doors as Southern Arkansas University-El Dorado Branch in 1975; and Charlie Thomas, a former SouthArk professor who is a member of the college’s board of trustees, each received a portrait in a ceremonial unveiling and reception at the home of Foundation Board member Steve Cameron.
Both recipients were deserving of the honor and have demonstrated exceptional support of SouthArk through many years, according to SouthArk Foundation executive director Cynthia Reyna.
“Dr. Langston has distinguished herself through her dedication to student learning, career achievements and professional development, which bring prestige and pride to the college. Mr. Thomas helped lead the campaign to merge Oil Belt and SAU-El Dorado into SouthArk and served as the first chair of the South Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees, where he continues to serve today,” Reyna said.
A 33-year SouthArk veteran in the business department, Langston was the first doctorate-holder on the college’s staff. Hired to teach, she nonetheless worked in a variety of capacities as the institution was being established, including hiring employees and enrolling students, according to Reyna.
Langston’s influence has extended into financial philanthropy as well, as she has established two different fully-endowed scholarships for student learning.

“From her role in the stark conditions of the early days of SouthArk, with a job description that read ‘whatever needs to be done’; to her long list of academic and professional credentials, I see a foundation carefully laid that would support a life and career committed to serving this college and its students,” Foundation Board member John Dews said on Thursday.

Thomas taught anthropology at the school in 1985-’97 and in addition to his SouthArk Board position, has had a lengthy term on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “I cannot think of South Arkansas Community College—the twig, the branch, or the full-grown tree—without conjuring up pictures of Charlie,” Foundation Board President Clara Jones said before Thomas’ portrait was revealed. “He's been here from the beginning, and I don't think it an exaggeration to say that he's one of a handful of people, along with Carolyn Langston, without whom this college would not exist.”

Van Hook, an art professor at the college for 25 years, worked on the painted portraits over recent months. She called it the high point of her career.  I was deeply honored to have the privilege of painting the portraits of these two outstanding benefactors,” Van Hook said. “Having known both Carolyn and Charlie for many years, I have seen the monumental impact each has had on education in south Arkansas.”

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