AICU seeking applications for President and CEO

The council of Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities (AICU) was founded in March 1954 as the Arkansas foundation of Associated Colleges. The AICU began as an organization to provide funding for the state’s private colleges and universities, but has evolved to provide public policy advocacy to support legislative policy for the independent sector. The President is the chief executive officer of the corporation and provides professional leadership, and, with the support of the Board of Directors, executes the mission of AICU. The President is the chief spokesperson for the public value of private education in Arkansas. The President serves as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors. The President oversees all employees, contracts for administrative, statistical and other services, and provides for all necessary assistance for the corporation’s Board of Directors.

The AICU is seeking a President whose collaborative and strong leadership will enhance the contributions that Arkansas’s private colleges and universities make to a broad set of stakeholders that include the citizens of Arkansas, students, and alumni of the member campuses.

View the job description and learn how to apply here.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® Presents Philander Smith College with First Installment of $100,000 Endowment

Over $1.6 Million Distributed to HBCUs During Black History Month

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA), in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF), has pledged an endowment in the amount of $100,000 to Philander Smith College as a part of the organization’s AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund.


 On February 28, 2019, Philander Smith College president, Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr.,  joined 31 other presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at the Alpha Kappa Alpha International Headquarters in Chicago to accept the first installment of their institution’s award.  

 “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has implemented the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund with the goal of investing in the future of our young people and the sustainability of our treasured HBCUs,” said Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International President, Dr. Glenda Glover. “Our organization has pledged to donate a total of $10 million dollars towards the endowment, and we are honored to provide Philander Smith College the first $50,000 during our February event as we celebrate Black History Month and the legacies of all HBCUs.”

 “Philander Smith College is immensely grateful to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for its strong display of commitment to the future of HBCUs through its AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. Moreover, our gratitude is heightened even further that Philander Smith is a beneficiary of this extraordinary investment,” said PSC President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr.

 The historic event gathered presidents from HBCUs across the nation and featured remarks from Dr. Glenda Glover as well as a tour of the iconic and recently renovated Ivy Center International Headquarters in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

“This endowment will aid our scholars who face financial challenges as they strive to complete their education. So it is especially poignant to conclude Black History Month by attending the HBCU President’s Reception to receive the first installment of this generously charitable act,” President Smothers remarked.

‘Opportunity and Progress’: U.S. Rep French Hill and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott Visit Philander Smith College

Two members of the United States Congress visited Philander Smith College (PSC) today to discuss the vision  for federal tax breaks in distressed areas, now known as “Opportunity Zones.”

 U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) visited with PSC President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. and a student representative of the College’s newly re-instated Community Development Corporation, junior Russell Williams III. On a rainy afternoon, the group pored over a map detailing where the College’s properties sit which are designated as an “Opportunity Zone” and discussed potential strategies to attract investors and businesses to benefit not only them but also the community adjacent to the institution.

 Sen. Scott, who was raised in a single-parent household in North Charleston, South Carolina, that he says was “mired in poverty,” has been traveling across the country to bring attention to his anti-poverty initiative.

As the author of the Opportunity Zone portion of the 2017 tax reform bill, Scott’s vision is to drive jobs and economic growth which would breathe life into struggling, low-income areas. 

 Economic revitalization is a key component of Philander Smith College’s social justice-driven mission and its ‘Forward Initiatives’ created to ensure the vitality of the institution and the community in which it is located. 

Announcing the 2019 Living Legends Honorees

Philander Smith College has announced the honorees for the Annual Living Legends Banquet which will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 21, 2019 in the Nugent Conference Room at the Harry R. Kendall Health and Science Mission Center on the college’s campus.

 In its twelfth year, the Living Legends Banquet seeks to honor individuals who have made a lasting impact on the community and the campus. This year’s Living Legends honorees include: PSC alumna and long-time professor Dr. Lillian Ross; former Little Rock Vice-Mayor and Community Leader Kathy Webb; retired educator and long-time PSC supporter Janet Davis-Tate; PSC Executive Vice President Dr. Darnell Williams; Little Rock pastor Dr. C. Dennis Edwards; PSC alumnus and religious leader Rev. Mark Norman; PSC Professor of Criminal Justice, Dr. Carmen Hardin; Director of Professional Development and Student Engagement, Dr. Vernita Bowens, and current PSC student athlete Tierra Bell.

 The Living Legends Banquet serves as the culmination of Philander Smith College’s annual Religious Emphasis Week (February 16-23, 2019), which engages students, faculty, staff and the community in activities and programming designed to provide opportunity for intellectual and spiritual growth. This year’s theme “The Micah Mandate” focuses on justice, kindness and humility as keys to successful living. Through the Living Legends Banquet, the College strives to give distinction to individuals who are serving God by serving the community. Honorees are comprised of community leaders, Philander Smith College faculty, staff, alumni and a PSC current student.

 “We are always delighted to take this opportunity each year to recognize those in our community who leave a lasting legacy of leadership and service,” says Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow, Philander Smith College Chaplain and Dean of Religious Life and Campus Culture. “It is the dedication and sacrifice of these individuals who have helped to uplift our communities.”

Fishers’ Gift to Support Music, Religious Studies Programs

University of the Ozarks has received a gift commitment from John and Sue Fisher of Broken Arrow, Okla., and their daughter, Jennifer of Bixby, Okla., to benefit the music and religious studies programs

The gift was made in honor of Jennifer, a 1993 U of O graduate, and will be used to fund faculty chair endowments for the music and religious studies programs as well as to help fund student scholarships.

Jennifer was a general studies major and also sang in the University choir.

John and Sue Fisher said the gift is a testament of their love for their daughter and for the role that U of O has played in Jennifer’s life.

The gift agreement read: “Jennifer has a great love for University of the Ozarks and the life she had while a student on campus. What she took away from her experience at Ozarks will remain with her always. Singing in the choir was a wonderful memory for Jennifer and she continues to sing with the campus choir during Homecoming and alumni choir events.”

The gift is part of the University’s current five-year, $55 million CLIMB HIGHER Campaign that was launched in 2014.  The campaign has raised nearly $44 million for scholarships and facilities.

“A strong America depends on an educated community to make informed decisions concerning its governance,” said John Fisher. “University of the Ozarks has demonstrated its ability as a leader in higher education, where students are infused with the understanding that the actions of conscience will stand the test of time. The University has been highly successful in equipping students armed with the skills and tools to function in a challenging world. We support the programs, the philosophy and the goals of University of the Ozarks and we are proud to have a part in providing for its continued presence in the academic community, where bigger is not always better.”

John Fisher is retired from a business career where he held major positions with a Fortune 500 company in Chicago. Later in his career he owned a retail home center in Broken Arrow and served as a national bank director for 26 years. He remains active in his community. Sue has been involved in various church ministries and currently serves as the director of Healing Hats, a city-wide ministry in Tulsa, Okla.

After graduating from Ozarks, Jennifer went on to earn a master’s degree in Christian education from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. She has been involved in Masonic affiliated activities since the early 1980s and is a member of the International Order of Rainbow Girls and the Order of the Eastern Stars. She also serves as the director of the Green Country Puppeteers, a Christian ministry for young children. Jennifer has served on the U of O Alumni Association Board of Directors and received the University’s Young Alumni Award in 2001. She is employed in the retail field.

MacLean Hall Undergoing $10 Million Renovation

University of the Ozarks’ MacLean Hall is currently undergoing a $10 million renovation, the most extensive refurbishment project in the building’s 92-year history.

Construction began in December on the stately “H” shaped, three-story student residence hall that was completed in 1927 and sits on the east side of College Avenue. The current project is expected to be completed in early August, in time for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.

The renovation will include a fire sprinkler system, new central heat and air systems, an elevator, and all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing components. The student housing capacity will increase from 170 to 220 and additional common areas and laundry facilities will be created.

Most of the work this semester is being performed on the lower level after approximately 40 students who resided there in the fall were accommodated in other campus housing. The remainder of the renovations will take place during the summer break.

“This is a full renovation of MacLean Hall,” said Jeff Scaccia, vice president for finance and administration. “Basically we’re taking all the deferred maintenance out of the building and putting in new systems and components that are more modern and energy efficient. And, in many ways we’re restoring the building to its historic look.”

One example of reverting to the original look will be at the front of the building. With the inclusion of the fire sprinkler system, the external staircases that were added in the early 2000s are no longer needed and will be taken down.

The addition of an elevator to the historic building, as well as an ADA entrance door on the east side, will make MacLean Hall much more accessible.

The renovation project will also include new bathrooms, LED lightning and furnishings throughout the building. The large second-floor ballroom will also be renovated and a gas fireplace added. A courtyard will be created in the back of the building and new landscaping will be incorporated.

MacLean Hall was constructed in 1926-27 at a cost of $150,000. It was named in honor of Marie MacLean of Atlantic City, N.J., who was inspired to donate $60,000 for the project after hearing then-Ozarks President Dr. Wiley Lin Hurie speak at her church. Much of the original design and construction was completed by Ozarks’ faculty and students.

MacLean has undergone major renovations in 1968, 1976, 1988 and the early 2000s.

The current project’s construction company is Nabholz Corp., and Credo Design Architects is the architectural firm.

Arkansas Valley Electric Continues Scholarship Support

Representatives from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation (MyEnergyAVECC) made a $3,500 donation to the University of the Ozarks’ Wallace M. Milton Scholarship Fund on Jan. 30.

Those attending the presentation included (from left), Sam Davis, AVECC board member; Brandon Fisher, IT/GIS manager and interim member services manager for AVECC; alumnus Kevin Baskin ‘85, AVECC member services representative; Richard Dunsworth, U of O president; Nathaneal Rankin, student ambassador; alumnus Philip Taylor ’85, AVECC board member; and Rebecca Lester, director of major grants at U of O.

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative has been supporting scholarships at U of O for more than 40 years. The Wallace M. Milton Scholarship was established in the late 1970s in memory of the former corporation manager. It is awarded to a University of the Ozarks student from the AVECC region.

Philander Smith College Announces New Choral Director

Philander Smith College is pleased to announce that the renowned Philander Smith Collegiate Choir is now under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Hayes who previously led the choir from 1985-1993.


A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Hayes is a respected and noted choral director with over 33 years of experience in higher education. He has led the choirs at a number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) including Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Alabama), Lemoyne-Owen College (Memphis, Tennessee) and most recently at Wiley College (Marshall, Texas).

Dr. Hayes’ tenure as a choral director boasts several noteworthy accomplishments. Under his leadership, the Wiley College Choir recorded movie soundtracks for notable films such as The Great Debaters (2007), The Good Fight: James Farmer Remembers the Civil Rights Movement (2009) and The Birth of a Nation (2016). Additionally, he has directed both Wiley College and Tuskegee University in concert at the White House.

The Philander Smith Collegiate Choir gained national acclaim during Dr. Hayes’ previous tenure, traveling frequently to perform at the request of then-President Bill Clinton, including being a highlight of his 1993 Presidential Inauguration—becoming the first HBCU choir to do so. Dr. Hayes also led the choir in appearances with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Jennifer Holliday and Michael Bolton.

“We are so thrilled for the return of Dr. Stephen Hayes to Little Rock and Philander Smith College,” said President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. “His long-standing career and success with HBCU choirs speaks for itself. Our Collegiate Choir is a jewel of the institution and Dr. Hayes’ return is a critical step in helping move the choir forward to its next level of excellence.”

Frizzell Named Registrar at University of the Ozarks

Monica Frizzell has been named the new registrar at University of the Ozarks, effective Jan. 2.

A 2002 graduate of Ozarks, Frizzell has served in the Registrar’s Office for more than 15 years, including 11 years as assistant registrar.

“I am very excited about Monica stepping into the role of registrar,” said Jeff Scaccia, vice president for finance and administration. “She brings considerable experience working in the Registrar’s Office and is very familiar with the requirements and responsibilities of the position.  Her background will also give her insight into where improvements may be made to better the student experience and to continue improving operational efficiency for the office and how it interacts with the rest of the campus.”

Frizzell worked in the Registrar’s Office from 2001 to 2005 and served as assistant registrar from 2005 to 2014 before leaving the University in 2014. She returned in 2017 as assistant registrar. She also previously worked as the office manager in the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts from 2000 to 2001.

She replaces Wilma Harris, who retired in December.

“I have had the pleasure of serving students, faculty and staff at Ozarks for many years in the Registrar’s Office and I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the campus as registrar,” Frizzell said. “I look forward to continuing to help students achieve their degrees and to see them succeed.”

The Registrar’s Office maintains the official repository of student enrollment, registration and academic records of current and formerly enrolled students. It is responsible for registering U of O students, reporting grade information and maintaining academic records. The office is responsible for maintaining an accurate schedule of courses and provides assistance to students with name and address changes, enrollment certifications, registration, schedule adjustments after the drop/add period and graduation.

Three Join University of the Ozarks Board

Nathaniel “Nat” Raggette of Missouri City, Texas; Denton Tumbleson of Clarksville, Ark., and Buck Hill of Idabel, Okla.; have been appointed to the University of the Ozarks Board of Trustees, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The three were unanimously approved by the board to serve three-year terms during the board’s annual fall meeting in October.

Raggette is managing director and senior oil and gas banker of Natixis, a French investment company with corporate headquarters in Paris. He has more than 20 years of financial services experience and previously worked at RBC Capital Markets, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bright Horizon Resources. He earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Tumbleson is community president for Simmons Bank in Clarksville. A 1974 graduate of U of O, he is a past president of the University’s Alumni Association and previously served as a trustee from 1994-97 and from 2002-2014. He and his wife, Jane, have three daughters, Jennifer, Ashley and Lauren.

Hill is the owner and president of SETCO Solid Tire & Rim Assembly Company, a manufacturer and international distributor of solid tires for all makes and models of equipment used in off-road applications. Hill and his wife, Natalie, established the Dylan Giles Hill Memorial Scholarship in memory of their son, Dylan, a 2015 Ozarks graduate. The Hills have a daughter, Brennan; son-in-law, Mitchell; and a grand-daughter, Giles.

Also during the October meeting, several board members were re-elected for three-year terms: Rev. Tasha Blackburn of Fort Smith, Ark.; Allyn Donaubauer of Fort Smith; Catherine Lowry of Little Rock, Ark.; and Dr. Sherilyn Poole of Park Forrest, Ill.

In addition, Dr. Jim Bruning of Fort Smith was elected as the board’s new chair, Poole was selected as chair-elect, and Chris Allen of Clarksville was chosen as secretary.