By Jerry D. Carlton Sr. B.S.B.A.’63
Arkansas Alumni Association Golden Annual Member
My first trip to the University of Arkansas campus and to Fayetteville was in 1957 to attend a football game with Texas A&M. This visit was arranged by my football and basketball coach at Sheridan High School with the anticipation of receiving a basketball scholarship offer from Coach Glen Rose to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Football coach Charles Johnson, who played for the Hogs in 1943 and 1944, provided the long drive from Sheridan to Fayetteville. Seems it took us all day to make the trip so I was wondering if my decision was wise to
attend a college so far away from home and in a place I had never been. Would I like the place and would I ever have any reason to return to the campus and Fayetteville after my school days? Well, the scholarship offer was extended to play basketball for the team of my
dreams and one who would win the Southwest Conference Championship that same school year. This small town youngster from the community of East End gladly accepted the opportunity of his lifetime. A chance to play basketball and baseball for the largest school
in Arkansas as well as earn a college degree in Business Administration.
My second trip to the University of Arkansas campus was in the fall of 1958. Once again I made the long journey from central Arkansas. My parents did not make the trip so this nervous youngster was now on his own. However, the excitement of becoming a Razorback and hopefully an alumnus of the greatest school in the state helped calm my nerves. My residence for the next four years would be the Wilson Sharp athletic dorm. Many changes, challenges and opportunities were to be in my future as I continued to mature. The change from high school to college and the responsibilities of decision making for a youngster just leaving the security of home with parents seemed almost too
much to comprehend. It was now time to grow up!
Well, things seemed to work out, and I had a successful basketball and baseball experience and met many new friends in the classrooms. In just two shorts years I met a lovely young lady from northeast Arkansas who was a member of the Razorback Marching Band. Two years after that, we were happily married and have remained the best of friends for these past 55 years. As you could imagine, these 55 years together also offered many changes, challenges and opportunities for the both of us.
My wife and I have been blessed with three children and six grandchildren who are all Razorbacks at heart. All three of our children attended the University of Arkansas. A son-in-law and a daughter-in-law attended the University and we presently have a granddaughter and grandson enrolled. Our immediate family holds five degrees from the University of Arkansas and one daughter is on staff teaching in the Education Department. To top it all, after all these years, our entire family now resides in Fayetteville.
Who could have ever imagined that a first visit to the University of Arkansas campus in 1957 by a young high school student, in search of playing sports and achieving a college degree, could lead to such family ties to our great University of Arkansas and Fayetteville.