Ask an Alumnus


gearhart
Name: David Gearhart

Where did you get your undergrad degree at: Westminster College in Missouri.  Interesting fact, this is where Winston Churchill gave his “Iron Curtain” speech.

What was your Major? Political Science and Speech

Year Graduated: 1974

You went to the U of A Law School correct: Yes

Why did you choose U of A?  I thought I was going to practice law here or do public service here so it made sense to go to school where I wanted to live and work.

What year did you graduate law school: 1977

Do you have any other degrees from the U of A?  Degree in Higher Education and graduated in 1987

What were you involved in while enrolled at the University of Arkansas?  I was involved in Moot Court, legal aid clinic, and rule 12, which is a program that allows you to semi-practice law under the guidance of an already barred attorney.  I worked on juvenile law and one divorce.

As the Chancellor of our university what is your favorite part of your job?  My favorite part is the interaction with students and stay in close touch with student government, like Bo Renner.  Although I don’t get to do it as much as I would like, I enjoy working with young people.

What are some different things you are involved with or have worked at since graduating? –Job or community wise: Recently I have been working on the Dream Act, which helps undocumented students get in state tuition.  Currently they are being charged the out of state tuition, which is a barrier for them getting an education.  I also have been interested in higher education organizations and topics.  My wife and I have been involved with our church, Central United Methodist.  And in the past I have been involved some with the Boy Scouts.

What advice would you give to a current freshman on campus?  Study hard, enjoy your time but do not enjoy it to the detriment of your study.  Be curious, you will never have this opportunity again being surrounded by a fantastic library, brilliant professors and the opportunity to learn and take advantage of it all.  Be involved in campus life and experience all you can.

What advice would you give a current senior right now? Be proud of your soon to be Alma Mater and your University of Arkansas degree.  Be proud of your name on senior walk.  This is a great campus and when you graduate and go remember the U of A, remember the good things and be positive about the college.  Spread the word of the greatness of this campus.

What is your favorite U of A tradition?  It would be the Senior Walk, because I don’t think any other university does this and you get your name forever on the campus.  It is special.

After reading the Transforming the Flagship piece I was even more proud to go to this university but what are some of your goals for the U of A for the future?  By 2021, our 150th anniversary, we want to be considered one of the top 50 public research universities.  We also want to increase and grow our research capacity here.  We have a great physical plan, but we want to make it the best we can by improving and finishing what we need to.  Another goal is to increase salaries for faculty and staff, they have improved but they still can improve more.  We also want to grow the student body to 28,000.  We are already the 13th fastest growing university and we want to continue that.  Finally we want to also keep this a students’ first institution.

Final question, what do you feel is the students’ role is in alumni and advancement here at the U of A? There is a lot the students can do.  They can spread the word and communicate.  They can communicate more with alumni, who love students and meeting students.  Students can also help in fundraising.  Greek life and other groups on campus raise a lot of money and this is something they can continue to do and help do for the university.  The students can keep the administration alert and keeping the campus atmosphere what is needed.  Students can also represent the university at events, such as tour guides and ambassadors.  Students have a tremendous role on the campus.

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