Each year, Arkansas Alumni Association recognizes three alumni for exceptional professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in a chosen field with the Citation of Distinguished Alumni. The Arkansas Alumni Association is pleased to introduce the 2019 Citation of Distinguished Alumni honorees.

Hayden McIlroy

Hayden McIlroy, Life Member, A+, B.S.B.A. ’62 is chair of the board and chief executive officer of HM Investments. He served as owner and chief executive officer of McIlroy Bank for 25 years before selling it and founding HM Investments.

McIlroy has served on the board of directors for the Arkansas Alumni Association, Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, Arkansas Bankers Commission, Fayetteville Youth Center and the Boy Scouts of America for Northwest Arkansas. He is a member of the Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee and is a Towers of Old Main Honoree.

Emma Kelly Rhodes

Emma Kelly Rhodes, Ed.S. ’84, Ed.D. ’87 is the director of the Emma Kelly Rhodes Education Center. She retired from the Arkansas Department of Education, Vocational Education Division in 1998 after 26 years. Rhodes founded the Emma K. Rhodes Education Center and Multi-Purpose Center for Adult Education as well as the E. K. Rhodes Activity Center and the House of Vision, all located in Little Rock. She is the recipient of multiple awards and was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bill Underwood

Bill Underwood, Life Member, A+, B.S.B.A. ’61 is the founder and chair of Underwood’s Fine Jewelers. He is a Certified Gemologist and Certified Gemologist Appraiser. Underwood has an international reputation for excellence in gemology and jewelry design and has held many leadership positions and is the recipient of multiple awards in his profession. He is the recipient of the 2003 Sam M. Walton College of Business Entrepreneur of the Year and a Towers of Old Main Honoree.

Alumni Awards Celebration

These distinguished alumni will be honored at the 75th annual Alumni Awards Celebration at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the Fayetteville Town Center. During this annual awards ceremony, the association recognizes those individuals who continue to bring national and local prominence to the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Alumni Association through their research, exemplary public and community service, and valued leadership.

This year’s celebration will honor the accomplishments of 11 alumni, faculty and friends and includes recipients in seven awards categories.

Registration for the 2019 Alumni Awards Celebration is available until Friday, October 18, 2019; see www.arkansasalumni.org/awardscelebration for more information. For more information on tickets and sponsorships, contact Deb Euculano at alumniawards@arkansasalumni.org or call 479-575-2292.