When providing advice to future University of Arkansas graduates, Mark Prescott reiterates, “You’re going to do a lot of growing up in your four years on campus.” In the four years he attended school on the Fayetteville campus, he remembers it was a time of great friends, personal and professional growth, and opportunities to succeed.
Setting a goal for himself of one day playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Prescott made that goal a reality when he enrolled at the University of Arkansas. “I remember attending my first Razorback football game in Little Rock and sitting in the crowd calling the Hogs. I was enamored with it all…it planted a seed for me,” he remembers.
Playing under the supervision of former coach Lou Holtz, he was a member of the team from 1977-81 and remembers the Razorbacks finishing in the top 10 three out of his four years on the team. “Being able to run through the ‘A’ at the beginning of the football games is probably my favorite U of A tradition,” he admits. Viewing his time on the field as a valuable and unforgettable experience, Prescott admits that the connections he made through other organizations such as Pi Kappa Alpha helped him in his post-college endeavors.
Having a “knack” for business, he pursued a degree in accounting and graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 1981. Moving to Houston, two of his fraternity brothers worked in a CPA firm and encouraged Prescott to apply for a job. “When I went in for the interview with the head partner, he asked where I was from. When I told him I was from Harrisburg, he said, ‘You must know where Weiner, Arkansas is then,’” he said.
Viewing the irony of how small the world really can be, he encourages students to make connections while in school and to not be afraid to tell people about receiving a degree at the U of A as it can be a “great talking point.”
Becoming a member and joining the Arkansas Alumni Association’s Houston Chapter allowed Prescott to mingle with fellow alumni and in turn, become an integral member of the board. “Becoming a part of the chapter allowed me to meet people with whom I have common interests,” he admits. Taking on the role of president in 1983, the chapter had watch parties, happy hours and various events for people to get involved. Believing there was more to chapter involvement than happy hours and events, a scholarship was started in the amount of $500. “We were cold calling people to donate money,” he said.
After a few years, the chapter decided that a golf tournament would be a valuable fundraising tool for its scholarship and sending Houston-area students to the U of A. Hoping to appeal to a large audience, the chapter arranged not only a golf tournament, but a silent auction and dinner as well. “You don’t have to be an alumnus to attend, or even a member. Anyone with an affinity to the University of Arkansas can come and participate,” said Prescott.
Since the golf tournament began in 1992, the chapter has worked to raise the amount of money given to one individual. According to Prescott, an estimated 30-35 students have attended the University of Arkansas with the help of the Houston Chapter scholarship. Currently, the chapter offers a scholarship in the amount of $10,000. The student awarded receives $2,500 per year, which is renewable for four years.
Proud of what the chapter has accomplished, as well as the pride that emulates throughout those involved with the chapter and the Association, Prescott urges students to not take the experiences earned in college for granted. “Get to know people and step up in your commitments from high school. Join the Alumni Association and plant that seed of getting involved.”