Hendrix to Host Pulitzer Prize Winner Douglas Blackmon ’86 in September for Conversation on Dismantling Racism

Hendrix College welcomes alumnus, writer, and filmmaker Douglas A. Blackmon for “Dismantling Racism: Embracing a New Tomorrow,” Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in the Student Life and Technology Center on the Hendrix campus. The event is free to all, with in-person attendance available to the on-campus Hendrix community and remote participation open to the public. Reservations are required for both in-person and remote attendees.

Blackmon’s keynote address begins at 10 a.m. and is followed by a Q&A session; both the talk and the Q&A will be available to those participating remotely. 

Blackmon is a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and filmmaker. 

His first book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2009, became a New York Times bestseller and has been reprinted more than a dozen times. He was co-executive producer of the acclaimed documentary film version of Slavery by Another Name, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and attracted more than five million viewers in its first broadcasts on PBS. It has been rebroadcast thousands of times by PBS and local public television stations across the U.S.

Currently, he is completing production of The Harvest, a new film examining the breakdown of racial progress since the 1960s as seen over 50 years through eyes of a group of children, including himself, born in one small Mississippi town in 1964.

He is also co-authoring a forthcoming new book with former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and serves as a Professor of Practice in the Creative Media Institute and director of the Narrating Justice Project at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

From 2012 until 2018, Blackmon was a member of the faculty and a senior fellow in presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, and host of American Forum, a 30-minute television interview program seen on more than 250 public television stations across the U.S.

Blackmon’s activities during his visit to Hendrix will include meeting with students and faculty to discuss issues related to race in the United States.

To RSVP for the Sept. 11 keynote and Q&A, email Lori Mulhearn (mulhearn@hendrix.edu) and specify the in-person or remote option. Due to pandemic protocols, in-person is open only to current members of the Hendrix student body, faculty, and staff, with a registration deadline of Friday, Sept. 3, at 5 p.m.; remote participation is open to all, with a registration deadline of Friday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. CDT. 

The event is hosted by the Hendrix College Office of Religious Life and supported by an Innovation Grant through the Central District of the Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church. 

Hendrix Receives $500,000 Grant for Residence Hall Renewal Project

Hendrix College has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kansas. The grant will support the College’s Residence Hall Renewal Project, which includes the renovation of Martin Hall and Veasey Hall, two historic residence halls at the core of campus. 

“We are deeply grateful to the Sunderland Foundation for its generous support of the College over the years,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. “Their investment in the academic and student experience has enabled Hendrix to fulfill its ongoing mission as a national liberal arts college.” 

The Residence Hall Renewal Project is a major priority of A Time to Lead: The Campaign for Today and Tomorrow, the College’s $150 million capital campaign. The campaign was announced in fall 2020 after Hendrix received a $15 million grant from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in the College’s history. 

The Sunderland Foundation grant will help Hendrix meet a $2 million challenge grant from the Mabee Foundationthat the College received in April. To date, Hendrix has raised $8,407,764 in gifts and pledges for the project, which began in May 2021. Renovations will be completed in summer 2022.

“The Hendrix residential experience is distinctive and unique, and Veasey and Martin Halls are two of the most iconic residence halls on our campus,” Arnold said. “This project will allow both buildings to continue their historic traditions and provide a positive living experience and life-long memories for our students.”    

Martin Hall (37,340 sq. ft.) opened in 1918, and Veasey Hall (31,200 sq. ft.) opened in 1967. Aesthetic improvements will balance historic and modern design while improving function. Most of the upgrades will be interior. Among the renovations will be new HVAC systems to address air quality, humidity, and moisture concerns; new plumbing to streamline maintenance; new layouts for bathrooms to increase privacy; reconfigured laundry areas and study/lounge spaces to promote interaction among residents; ADA-compliant entries and living arrangements; LED lighting upgrades; stronger wireless connectivity; and new doors and flooring throughout both buildings. 

To learn more about the Residence Hall Renewal Project or to make a gift to support the renovations of Martin or Veasey Halls, visit www.hendrix.edu/giving/residencehallrenewal or contact Ginny McMurray, Associate Vice President for Development, at mcmurray@hendrix.edu.

Hendrix Politics Professor Emeritus Honored with Odyssey Endowment

 Friends and former students have established an endowment in honor of Hendrix College politics professor emeritus Dr. Jay Barth ’87. 

The Dr. Jay Barth Odyssey Endowment will support student engaged learning experiences that highlight the values of public service and community, helping students live the values of public service and community, which Dr. Barth proudly displayed every day during his career at Hendrix. 

“Beyond his reputation for excellence in the classroom and his passion for teaching, Jay is synonymous with engaged citizenship and engaged learning at Hendrix,” said President Ellis Arnold. “I am excited that there will be a lasting tribute to his legacy, and we are grateful to the donors who made this possible.”

Barth, who joined the Department of Politics at Hendrix in 1994 after completing his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, retired in 2020 as the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Professor of Politics. He is currently the inaugural Chief Education Officer for the City of Little Rock, coordinating the City’s work to support education from birth through higher education in Little Rock. 

At Hendrix, Barth championed programs that enhanced interdisciplinarity and engaged learning. He led the task force that envisioned the Odyssey Program, which he directed for three years, and he collaborated with the team of faculty that developed and implemented The Engaged Citizen first-semester course.

Former Barth student Peter Butler ’17, an interdisciplinary politics, economics, and philosophy major from Naperville, Illinois, was one of the lead organizers of the effort to create the Barth Odyssey Endowment.  

“Jay recognized my passion for politics and guided me as I began to really figure out where I wanted to go in life to contribute to the greater good,” said Butler, who currently works for Minnesota Management and Budget. “He exemplified what it meant to be an engaged citizen. Whether it was knocking on doors for political campaigns, discussing elections after class, or working on a policy report, I wouldn’t have been in those positions without Jay’s selfless support for his students and every citizen of Arkansas.”

The College received gifts from 127 donors to create the endowment. To contribute to endowed funds and scholarships, visit www.hendrix.edu/giving/endowment.

“It’s a testament to Jay’s tireless work as a teacher, scholar, and mentor that so many people gave to a fund in his honor,” said Nigel Halliday ’16, a politics major from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. Now an attorney living in North Bergen, New Jersey, Halliday is one of the fund’s co-organizers. “I’m happy that the fund will help further Jay’s legacy at Hendrix by supporting students committed to public service.”

Other Highlights for Dr. Jay Barth

  • 2007 Arkansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
  • 2014 Southern Political Science Association’s Diane Blair Award for Outstanding Achievement in Politics and Government
  • 2018 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Arkansas Political Science Association
  • 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Boards of Education
  • 2012 to 2019 Arkansas State Board of Education member, chairing that body for two years
  • Five-time recipient of the Hendrix senior class’s Faculty Appreciation Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has shown “excellence in instruction and concern for the welfare of Hendrix students”
  • Chaired the Boards of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, National Association of State Boards of Education, Just Communities of Arkansas, the ACLU of Arkansas, the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County, and was a 12-year member of the board of the National ACLU 
  • Presently serves as Vice-Chair of the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation and as a member of the board of the ACLU of Arkansas and Planned Parenthood Great Plains

Hendrix College Regional Director of Admission Named to Colleges That Change Lives Board of Directors

Beverly Henry Wheeler, regional director of admission for Hendrix College, is one of four college admission professionals named to the 2021-2024 class of the board of directors for Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL), a nonprofit organization that is a leading advocate on the subject of higher education access and college choice. Wheeler will begin her term on the Board in September, immediately following the CTCL Members’ Meeting at the National Association for College Admission Counseling conference.

Beverly Henry Wheeler

A native of Palestine, Texas, Wheeler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Arts in Developmental and Adult Education from Texas State University. She has worked in college recruiting for 35 years, beginning her work covering the state of Texas for Hendrix in 2016. She has served as president of both the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling (TACAC) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling organization (NACAC). She received the TACAC Founder’s Award in 2016, and in 2018 received the TACAC Honorary Lifetime Member Award in recognition of her devotion to students and exemplary contributions to the admissions profession. Her expertise includes an extensive knowledge of enrollment management, relationship building and professional ethics, and she has traveled across the country speaking on various topics related to the college admission process.

“Beverly’s impressive work over the years makes her an excellent choice for helping CTCL advance its mission,” said Ryan Cassell, vice president of enrollment and dean of admission at Hendrix. “We are proud to have her on the Hendrix team, and we’re grateful that she will continue to share her expertise with us and with CTCL in the coming years. Her willingness to serve in this way makes the College’s affiliation with CTCL even stronger.”

Hendrix has been associated with the Colleges That Change Lives organization since its inception in 1998, after being named one of the 40 “Colleges that Change Lives” in the 1996 Loren Pope book by that name.

Hendrix College Names Four New Board of Trustees Members

Four new members have been named to the Hendrix College Board of Trustees: Dr. John C. Byrd ’87, Latoya M. Goree ’01, Eric Jackson ’72, and Dr. Marquita Norman ’97. These individuals will begin their six-year terms at the Board’s October meeting.

“This group of new Trustees exemplifies the excellence that our graduates are capable of achieving, and a commitment to advancing our mission,” said Hendrix College President Ellis Arnold III ’79. “I am delighted that John, Latoya, Eric, and Marquita are serving our alma mater in such an important way, and I am excited about the new ways they will use their talents and expertise to serve Hendrix and its students.” 

Byrd, who majored in chemistry at Hendrix, is the Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Professor and Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He holds membership in the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, and the American College of Physicians. At a national level, he co-chairs the Leukemia Committee and Leukemia Correlative Science Committee in the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and is a member of the NCI Leukemia Steering Committee. His many honors include being named a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Stohlman Scholar, a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, receiving The Ohio State University Distinguished Scholar Award, recognition among the Top 10 Clinical Research Achievements for 2014 in the U.S., and the Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research. He also has received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as well as a Hendrix Odyssey Medal for Research in 2015. 

Goree, a history major while at Hendrix, now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she works for Clarkson Construction as executive director and ombudsman of the KCI Terminal Workforce Enhancement Programs – Edgemoor & Clark Weitz Clarkson joint venture. In that role she manages the Terminal Workforce Enhancement Programs supporting the development of the new Kansas City International Airport, focusing on minority businesses’ involvement in the new airport’s construction. As an educator before transitioning to a career in the private sector, she was founder and executive director of Little Rock Preparatory Academy and the Ewing Marion Kauffman School in Kansas City, Missouri, and continues serving as an educational consultant. Before her current position she was executive director of the Center for Economic Education and Office of Financial Literacy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and interim executive director of the Missouri Council on Economic Education.

Jackson, who majored in business and economics at Hendrix, is senior vice president and a member of the board of directors for Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. He lives in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he has served on the Hot Springs and state chambers of commerce and was on the Governor’s Task Force on Hot Springs National Park, as well as the Downtown Hot Springs Revitalization and Garland County Industrial Development committees. He also serves on the board and executive committee for CHI St. Vincent of Arkansas. Jackson has received numerous honors for his volunteerism and his work in economic development, including the Arkansas Tourism Person of the Year; the Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen Award; the Governor’s Volunteer Excellence Award; and the Desoto Award for lifetime contribution to economic development in Hot Springs.

Norman, who graduated from Hendrix as a chemistry major with a minor in gender studies, is an associate professor of emergency medicine and assistant dean for student inclusion and diversity at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and is affiliated with the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity. She attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine, completed her internship at Howard University, and residency training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 2020 she received the Michigan Emergency Medicine Alumni Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Norman worked at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) from 2008-2018 and completed her MBA from the Collat School of Business at UAB. In 2019 she transitioned to her current roles and now lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is a member of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), National Medical Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, and American Academy of Emergency Medicine. She also serves as immediate past president of the SAEM Academy for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Medicine (ADIEM) and chairs the SAEM Equity and Inclusion Committee. Her professional and community interests include communication skills; diversity, equity and inclusion; education, pre-health education, K-16 healthcare pathways, and healthcare disparities.

“It is a tremendous responsibility, as well as an honor and a privilege, to lead an institution like Hendrix College in this day and time in American higher education,” said Jo Ann Biggs ’80, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We look forward to the leadership and perspective that our new board members will bring to the College.”

Hendrix Professors and Students Study Coral Reefs in Belize

After commencement, Hendrix biology faculty members Dr. Jenn Dearolf and Dr. Adam Schneider traveled with 16 students from Dearolf’s Marine Biology class on a 10-day trip to San Pedro, Belize, on the island of Ambergris Caye.

The group spent eight days on the water, snorkeling various sites on the Belize Barrier Reef, the longest barrier reef in the Caribbean. 

Because of the pandemic, very few people had visited the reef for more than a year. As a result, Dearolf, Schneider, and the students saw an abundance of animals, including three manatees and a pod of seven dolphins, which hung out with them for over 30 minutes.

Sadly, they also observed the skeletons of pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindricus), a unique type of coral. There were two large stands of this coral directly in front of San Pedro. Both stands were thriving in March 2020, when the directors of Belize Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC), the facility at which Dr. Dearolf’s group stayed, had to leave the island because of covid-19. When they returned this May and visited the site with her group, the coral was dead. Currently, it is unclear why this coral died, but it has been struggling throughout the Caribbean and on the Florida reefs.

To help preserve corals, Dr. Dearolf and her students are studying environmental conditions conducive to the growth of elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), another important coral species in the Caribbean. Elkhorn and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) are the major reef builders in this region. 

For their study, Dr. Dearolf’s students measured the height and width of coral stands at sites where this coral is abundant and where it is not. They also recorded environmental parameters (e.g., light levels, current speeds, and water temperature) and collected water samples. The water samples are analyzed for the concentrations of ions that are important for the growth of the coral.

Each of the students in the Marine Biology class will write up the results of their experiment in the form of a scientific journal article and submit it to complete their work for the class. In addition, a subset of the students who traveled to Belize will also earn Global Awareness (GA) Odyssey credit by writing a paper reflecting on their experiences in Belize and snorkeling on the barrier reef.

Hendrix Receives $2 Million Challenge Grant from Mabee Foundation

Hendrix College has been awarded a $2 million challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation.

The Mabee Foundation grant will support the launch of the College’s Residence Hall Renewal Project, which includes the renovation of historic Martin and Veasey Halls in the core of the Hendrix campus. 

“We are so grateful to the Mabee Foundation for its longtime support. This challenge grant will be a critical catalyst for completing the renovation of two historic residence halls that hold a special place in the hearts of Hendrix alumni and are absolutely integral to the campus experience of our students,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. “We are honored by the confidence and support of the Mabee Foundation. Throughout the years, their generosity has enhanced the academic and residence life experience for every student at Hendrix.”

The $9.2 million Residence Hall Renewal Project, which will begin in late May, is part of A Time to Lead, the College’s $150 million campaign. To complete the Mabee Challenge, Hendrix must raise $1.7 million by April 15, 2022.

Last fall, Hendrix announced that it had surpassed its original $110 million campaign goal more than a year ahead of schedule. In November, Hendrix received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundationand expanded its campaign goal to $150 million. The campaign now stands at $133 million and will extend to 2023. 

About the Mabee Foundation

The Mabee Foundation was formed in 1948 by John and Lottie Mabee. Hard workers, innovative entrepreneurs, and shrewd investors, they built an impressive business and were gracious and generous as they shared their financial blessings with others through various forms of philanthropy.  Since its inception, the Mabee Foundation has grown to a value of over $1 billion and has made grants totaling over $1.2 billion. Mabee Foundation Challenge Grants have enabled many organizations to finish projects in a timely fashion and, in the process, to build their bases of support in such a way as to help ensure the health of the organizations for the long-term. Learn more at www.mabeefoundation.com

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit  www.hendrix.edu.

Hendrix College Receives Largest Outright Gift in College History

Hendrix College has received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in Hendrix’s history.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation,” said Hendrix President W. Ellis Arnold III. “More than ever, it is critical that we continue moving forward, to meet today’s challenges and to continue to be a leader in higher education in the future.”

[This $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation surpassed the previous largest non-estate gift of $11 million, making it the second largest gift overall. The $26 million gift from the estate of Mary Ann Dawkins in 2015 remains the largest gift of any nature in the College’s history.]

This year, the College surpassed its $110 million campaign goal a year ahead of schedule with $114 million in gifts and pledges. The campaign, which was scheduled to end in 2021, will be expanded to $150 million and will extend to 2023. The campaign now stands at $129 million.

“During this campaign, thanks to the support of alumni and friends of the College, we have strengthened the academic and student life experience with new programs and initiatives,” said Arnold. “We have added new facilities that celebrate the residential experience and support student recruitment, and we have continued to make Hendrix more affordable and accessible for students and families.”

This spring, as part of the campaign expansion, Hendrix will launch a multimillion-dollar Residence Hall Renewal Project, beginning with renovations of Veasey Hall. Fundraising efforts for the project will also support renovations of historic Martin Hall.

In addition, the expanded campaign will seek additional funds for the College’s endowment. $10 million of the Windgate gift will provide endowed scholarships for Hendrix students.

“These priorities – the Residence Hall Renewal Project and increasing the College’s endowment – will support student recruitment and retention,” said Arnold. “They will keep Hendrix accessible and affordable to students and families, and they will ensure that Hendrix remains one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, innovation, and value.”

The expanded Hendrix campaign will be called A Time to Lead: The Campaign for Today and Tomorrow.

“The time for Hendrix to lead is now. We know that many students and families are concerned by the cost of higher education today,” said Arnold. “That is why we recently announced a tuition reset and lowered our tuition by 32% for new students.”

“We also know that our current students’ residential experience at Hendrix was disrupted by COVID-19,” he said. “That is why – in addition to our tuition reset for new students – we developed a tuition-free fifth year program for current students to provide the opportunity to have a complete residential student experience at Hendrix.”

Arnold added that these recent offerings are just two examples of how Hendrix is leading today. “We must continue to lead in quality, innovation, and value,” he said. “The Residence Hall Renewal Project will reinforce the vital role of the residential campus experience at Hendrix and growing our endowment will strengthen the College’s financial position to support students today and tomorrow.”

Hendrix Students Explore Research Careers and Career Paths through EPROACH

The pandemic may have changed how we interact with each other, but it did not stop Hendrix students from engaging in meaningful professional activities this past summer. During the break, 12 undergraduate science majors participated in a special Odyssey project titled Experiences in Professional Research Organizations and Atmospheric Chemistry at Hendrix (EPROACH). 

In 2014, Professor and Chair of Chemistry Dr. Courtney D. Hatch ’00 developed the EPROACH program with the support of the Morris and Ann Henry Odyssey Professorship. Now supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, EPROACH provides Hendrix science students the opportunity to gain engaged learning credit through the Hendrix Odyssey Program while exploring their interests in pursuing research careers in the sciences, with a focus on atmospheric chemistry. 

EPROACH participants this past summer included Eric Horan ’21, Adam De Groodt ’21, Catherine Mariza ’23, Kameron Molloy ’21, Kyle Bounds ’23, Tyler Odell ’21, Grace Bryant ’22, Jennifer Wu ’23, Miles Johnson ’21, Madelyn Klinkerman ’21, Linh Phung ’23, and Julia Dick ’23. Hatch served as their faculty mentor while guiding them through a variety of professional development and networking activities, including:

  • designing personal learning goals to guide reflection of program activities
  • attending the virtual American Chemical Society Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference
  • attending virtual research seminars with leading scientists in the academic, government, industry, and non-profit sectors
  • networking with graduate students and research professionals
  • exploring STEM research careers
  • reflecting on vocational purpose and professional aspirations.

“This year has thrown a wrench in many students’ opportunities to participate in undergraduate research, so what better time to learn about new fields of research and reflect on vocational interests and aspirations?” Hatch says. While the program was initially designed as an intensive two-week experience in Colorado, the pandemic required the program to pivot to a virtual platform.

Despite the remote nature of EPROACH for the summer of 2020, it remained successful as it continued to “spark the curiosity of student interests, encourage self-reflection and understanding, provide mentorship for aspiring scientists, and support ‘engagement that links the classroom to the world’ (Hendrix College Statement of Purpose).”

“While some students find the EPROACH experience helps solidify their career aspirations, others find new scientific interests they haven’t had the opportunity to explore,” says Hatch. Linh Phung, who is pursuing a B.A. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (BCMB) agrees: “My experience in this program has significantly aided in the transformation of my career aspirations,” Phung said.

Julia Dick, a computer science major, also found inclusion “amongst a sub-community of Chemistry and BCMB majors.”

“It was surprisingly easy for me to find a career path into a major research lab where someone from my discipline could potentially fit,” she said. “Making these realizations was the most exciting part of each meeting.”

“Every year, but particularly during the pandemic, the level of personal growth and professional awareness that the students achieve by participating in EPROACH is amazing to watch in real-time,” Hatch says. As Madelyn Klinkerman, a senior Murphy Scholar double majoring in chemistry and Spanish, prepares for her own post-Hendrix career, she confides that she will “definitely rely on what I’ve learned from my time with EPROACH.”