Arkansas Alumni Association Announces Distinguished Alumni and Faculty Awards


An ESPN analyst, a retired chief architect for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the chair of First Security Bancorp are among those who will be honored during the 68th annual Arkansas Alumni Association Awards Celebration in November.

“We are honored to celebrate the breadth of achievements these alumni and faculty have accomplished,” said Graham G. Stewart, associate vice chancellor for alumni and executive director of the Arkansas Alumni Association. “These awardees exemplify the university’s tradition of excellence through teaching, service and leadership. I’m proud to have such esteemed alumni representing the University of Arkansas.”

Three alumni will receive the Citation of Distinguished Alumni for exceptional professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in a chosen field. The honorees include:

  • Jimmy Dykes B.A.’85, Springdale. Dykes, who is entering his 15th year with ESPN,  announces more than 60 basketball games from across the country each year and provides weekly studio analysis.
  • Chris Hinton-Lee B.Arch.’75, Atlanta. Hinton-Lee is the retired chief architect for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the first African-American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Arkansas.
  • Reynie Rutledge Sr. B.S.I.E.’72, M.B.A.’73, Searcy. Rutledge is the chair of First Security Bancorp with more than 39 years of experience in banking.

Other alumni award recipients who will be honored during the celebration include:

  • Charles E. Scharlau III LL.B.’51, Fayetteville, of counsel at Conner and Winters LLP, who will receive the Andrew J. Lucas Community Service Award. Scharlau worked at Southwestern Energy Co. for 47 years until he retired as chief executive officer in 1998, continuing as a consultant until 2005. His community service has included serving as president of the Arkansas Alumni Association board of directors, chair of the U of A board of trustees, vice chair of the Campaign for the 21st Century, president of the U of A Foundation, chair of the mineral law section of the Arkansas Bar Association, president of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.
  • Maj. Gen. William P. Bowden Jr. B.S.A.’54, Oklahoma City, Okla., a retired major general, U.S. Air Force, will be presented the Community Service Award. He served 35 years as a navigator-bombardier on B-52 bombers, staff officer and leader of many organizations at 12 Air Force bases, including the Pentagon. Active in his community, he has served on the boards of the Arkansas Alumni Association, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Fair, United Way, Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the YMCA and the Downtown Rotary Club of Oklahoma City.
  • Paul R. Noland, Fayetteville, professor emeritus, animal science department, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, who will receive the Honorary Alumni Award. After joining the U of A faculty in 1951, he assisted the minister of agriculture in Panama in developing a research program in animal nutrition and management that has been credited with stimulating the growth of the nation’s agriculture and strengthening academic ties with Panamanian students.
  • Charles L. Welch B.A.’95, Jonesboro, president of the Arkansas State University System, will be honored with the Young Alumni Award. He previously served as president of Henderson State University, chancellor of the U of A Community College at Hope, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Arkansas State University-Beebe and dean of university studies at Pulaski Technical College.

Three U of A faculty also will receive awards during the celebration. In 1997, the Charles and Nadine Baum Foundation began supporting an award for the recognition of outstanding teaching. This year, the Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award will be given to:

  • Molly Inhofe Rapert B.S.B.A.’85, M.B.A.’87, associate professor, department of marketing and logistics, Sam M. Walton College. Rapert incorporates the unique approach of a readings-based, seminar-style undergraduate course designed in collaboration with an advisory board she developed composed of 20 industry executives.

Two professors will receive the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award:

  • Gary Ritter, director of the Office for Education Policy and endowed chair for educational policy, department of education reform, College of Education and Health Professions. Receiving the award for service, his primary outreach involves the Office for Education Policy, whose website and blog serve as a tool for lawmakers and educators.
  • Viswanath Venkatesh, Distinguished Professor and George and Boyce Billingsley Chair in information systems, Sam M. Walton College of Business. He will receive the award for his research, which focuses on understanding the diffusion of technologies in organizations and society, such as studying the impact of Internet kiosks among poor farmers in India.

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